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INTRODUCTION

This chapter deals with background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the
study, significance of the study, delimitation of the study, limitation of the study and operational
definition of key terms.
1.1. Background of the study
Unlike from previous world revolutions, Information Communication Technology (ICT) is
dynamically changing the livelihood of the society across the globe. It influences all aspects of
life with more reflection on education sector where both students and faculty have the
opportunity in adapting the knowledge transfer. Furthermore, the society is challenging the
sector aptly in responding to this ever changing innovation. Tinio (2002) states the potentials of
ICTs in increasing access to education and improving relevance and quality of education in
developing countries. Tinio further states that ICTs greatly facilitate the acquisition and
absorption of knowledge, unprecedented opportunities to enhance educational systems, improve
policy formulation, execution and widen the range of opportunities for business and the poor.
In Watsons (2001) description, ICTs have revolutionized the way people work today and are
now transforming education systems. Moreover, he mentioned that if students trained using
traditional learning methodologies and technologies they may not be effective and fit in
tomorrows world. For instance, ICTs are dependable tools in facilitating the attainment of one
of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which is achievement of Universal Primary
Education (UPE) by the year 2015. This shows the growing demand and increasingly important
place that ICTs could receive in education.
The Ethiopian government has an ambitious electronic-government strategy in which various
sectors such as education, health, agriculture and public administration are covered (Dzidonu,
2006). When it comes to educational sector, there has been no definitive evidence to justify the
effectiveness of ICT investment than in provision of textbooks, teachers training and nutritional
supplement which may also improve educational situation indirectly (Cawthera, 2001). Also, the
amount of books, articles, and web-related resources available to teachers is rapidly increasing
almost from one day to the next (Damtew Wolde, 2005).
1.2. Statement of the Problem
In secondary school where the researcher used to learn introduction to computer (ICT) as a subject of
teaching starts at grade nine. It was a private school and the computer usage was one to three ratios
which is the same as now in government schools of Dire Dawa. Most of the time all the computers in
the laboratory were working and the response for computer failures were immediate as the researcher
can remember now. But from the researchers experience and observation, this is not the story what is
happening now in the government preparatory schools where ICT as a subject resources are
maintained. As any chemistry class needs chemicals to teach students learn their reactions and
effects, ICT as a subject needs working computer in laboratories and motivated teachers to enable
students acquire knowledge which they most benefit in their career. This motivated the researcher to
study giving ICT as a subject of teaching challenges and practices in government preparatory schools
of Dire Dawa administration council; problem related to management and leadership. 3
ICT as a subject of teaching may face various challenges with respect to policy, planning,
infrastructure, learning content and language, capacity building and financing (Tinio, 2002). ICT
enhanced education requires clearly stated objectives, mobilization of resources and political
commitment of the concerned bodies. In fact, one impeding factor of ICT education is the skill gap of
people using and implementing it (Tinio, 2002). For instance, teachers need professional
development to gain skills with particular applications of ICT, combination into existing curricula,
curricular changes related to its use, changes in teacher role and on underpinning educational theories
such as constructivism or student-centered learning. In Curriculum Framework for Ethiopian
Education (CFEE), ICT has been given two periods per week in secondary schools grade levels 9-10
and three periods per week in grade levels 11-12. Although ICT is integrated in the curriculum,
students textbooks, reference books, teachers guides and enough computers are also not available.
Students ICT knowledge, skill and academic achievements are all in danger (MoE, 2010).
There might be different reasons for this to happen. Most of the problems may be related to the
management and leadership in one or the other way. Since the researcher used informal interview
and observed while in the school, the researcher could understand that there was a lack of concern
from management or leadership to face all challenges related to ICT as a subject of teaching in
government preparatory schools. The responses for resource failures are different reasons. For
example inconsistent supply of electricity, making it difficult for the ICT teachers to teach using
computers and also Internet and lack of computer technicians. There is also an insufficient supply of
digital learning materials. Moreover as the subject has no Ethiopian Higher Education Entrance
Qualification Certificate (EHEEQC) at the end, students perception as a subject may not be
encouraging and students not taking serious of the ICT subject. As the researcher get from
preliminary interview from government ICT teachers and the principals, the management itself had
little idea about ICT and its use in helping them to systematize and organize their task in effective
way. The introduction of advanced textbooks and ICT curriculum without enough training and
inclusion to teachers while in development makes them to frustrate and ignore their targets easily.
Watson (2001) states that many teachers are not in a position to make informed judgments on ICTs to
support their teaching goals and targets. From the researcher experience, there was also a knowledge
gap between students from private and government school as their ICT acquaintances was far
different. As we can saw from preliminary study the root cause of the problems seems 4
managerial failures to respond to the current ICT giving as a subject in government preparatory
schools.
For instance, the national ICT survey in the Netherlands shows that most primary school students use
computers less than once a week and there are still many secondary school teachers who do not use
ICT at all (Volman, 2005). Most often, they use computers for drill and practice and word
processing. The school leadership can also play a key role in the practice of ICT as a subject in
education. According to the study, lack of support from the school administration was also a big
challenge. With respect to language, English is the dominant language in many of educational
software, while English language proficiency is not high in many of the developing countries and this
is one barrier in the practice of ICT as a subject to education. Another great challenge is the
financing. ICTs in education programs require huge capital investment and developing countries
need to predict the benefit of ICT use to balance the cost relative to the existing alternatives
(Volman, 2005).
Related to ICT many researchers have studied and unveiled their findings from different
perspectives. Fisseha Mikre (2011), studied The Roles of Information Communication Technologies
in Education, Adel Ben Youssef (2008), conducted research on The impact of ICTs on students
performance in Higher Education, International Growth Center (IGC) published (2012), Role of
ICT in improving the quality of school education in Bihar. However, none of these studies dealt on
the practice of ICT as a subject of teaching in preparatory school has many challenges from different
corners; problems to enhance the utilization of the technology and role of the management is not well
understood. This research will give a clue with regard to the practices, challenges and function of the
management towards the implementation of ICT as a subject of teaching in government preparatory
schools.
Moreover, in the case of Information Communication Technology for Education (ICTE) projects,
negative statements are found on the documents from World Bank (2008). For example, the positive
impact of ICT use in education has not been proven and the use of ICTs in education in many
developing countries, especially the poorest of the poor is associated with high cost and potential
failure. In fact, in the case of the School Net project in Ethiopia, similar problems such as poor
infrastructure, availability of sustainable power, low skills for maintenance, low motivation of
teachers and language used in the contents are mentioned (World Bank, 2008). 5
Overcoming the mentioned challenges may help education systems benefit from this technology.
Hence the practice and challenges of ICT as a subject of teaching in government preparatory schools,
in Dire Dawa administration council has been studied. The research has focused on how ICT as a
subject of teaching is practiced and the prevailing challenges in the schools for its implementation.
As stated in ESDP IV (2010) the quality improvement program integrates core priorities such as
teacher and leader development and Information and Communication Technologies is one of the
major priorities to provide quality education in Ethiopia (MoE, 2010).
1.3. Research Questions
The most fundamental questions of this study were: what were the practices of ICT as a subject of
teaching in government preparatory schools, existing promises, challenges and limitations? For these
purposes, the following four research questions were set up.
1. What were the practices of giving ICT as a subject of teaching in government preparatory schools
of Dire Dawa administration council?
2. What was the perception of the school leaders, ICT teachers and students towards giving ICT as a
subject of teaching in government preparatory schools of Dire Dawa administration council?
3. What were the challenges faced by students and ICT teachers in giving ICT as a subject of
teaching in government preparatory schools of Dire Dawa administration council?
4. What were the means which enable overcome the challenges faced by the school leaders, ICT
teachers and students in giving ICT as a subject of teaching in government preparatory schools of
Dire Dawa administration council?

1.4. Objectives of the Study


1.4.1. General objective
The general objective of the study was to assess the current practices of the management and
leadership in supporting giving ICT as a subject of teaching and prevailing challenges and
opportunities in government preparatory schools of Dire Dawa administration council. 6
1.4.2. The specific objectives of the study were to:
1. Search the current practice of giving ICT as a subject of teaching in government preparatory
schools;
2. Assess the perception of the students, ICT teachers and school leaders towards giving ICT as a
subject of teaching in government preparatory schools;
3. Assess the challenges faced by the students and ICT teachers in giving ICT as a subject of teaching
in government preparatory schools;
4. Identify the ways to overcome the challenges faced by the school leaders, ICT teachers and
students in giving ICT as a subject of teaching in the study schools.
1.5. Significance of the Study
The findings of the study may create awareness among the school stakeholders about it provides
possible mechanisms and suggestions which would help in ICT as a subject of teaching provision and
curriculum development for school leaders, educational planners and policy makers. The study may
also suggest successful methods utilized in ICT as a subject through computer laboratory and full
facility; lastly, it serves as a reference for future studies in the field.
1.6. Delimitation of the Study
The focus of this study is to investigate the practices and challenges of giving ICT as a subject of
teaching in the government preparatory schools in Dire Dawa. There were number of factors that can
affect ICT as a subject. The factors, such as lack of proper policies, finance, the ratio of computers to
students, provision of resources like internet access, number of ICT teachers and supporting staffs,
professional ICT teachers and the pedagogical constraints. In order to manage its scope, this research
was delimited to the practices and challenges of giving ICT as a subject of teaching in Dire Dawa.
Therefore the research was undertaken only in three preparatory schools of Dire Dawa administrative
council. 7
1.7. Limitation of the Study
There were no literature references regarding local context of Ethiopia in the library of Haramaya
University. Hence, the researcher was forced to depend much on foreign books and journals. Besides,
unwillingness of a few respondents to fill the questioner and return back on time. However, the
researcher had done all the possible efforts to complete this study successfully.
1.8. Operational Definition of Terms
In order to avoid ambiguity and to have clarity and consistency in the study, the following terms have
been given with operational definition as follows:
Challenges: problems that face ICT as a subject in the government preparatory schools of Dire Dawa
administration council.
Electronic-government: governments use of information technology to exchange information and
services with citizens, business and other arms of government.
Electronic-learning: the information and communication systems, whether networked learning or
not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process. This often involves both out of
classroom and in classroom educational experiences via technology.
Information Communication Technology: one of a subject included in Ethiopian curriculum and
given in preparatory schools.
Practices: teaching and learning of ICT as a subject of teaching and adapting more practical and
likely to lead to success in schools.
Preparatory school: refers to grade 11-12.
School stakeholders: include students, teachers, principals, supervisors and parents.
Subject: here the ICT course being taught in the preparatory schools. ICT is a curricular subject like
physics, chemistry taught in the classrooms by ICT teachers.
Technology: is the process of using scientific, material and human resources in order to meet human
need or purpose. 8