ICT Training to Rural Schools: Bridging the Gap

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Ssenabulya, James S
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and Open University Malaysia (OUM)

Uganda developed its initial ICT national policy in 2003 in which the framework document recognized that the country needed to embrace the goal of lifelong education for all. The policy also addresses literacy improvement and human resource capacity-building with strategies that include integrating ICT into mainstream educational curricula as well as other literacy programmes to provide for equitable access for all students regardless of level. Efforts have been made to introduce ICT both in primary and secondary schools of Uganda so as to equip learners with the necessary skills and tools. // Although the country’s national ICT policy lays emphasis on providing infrastructure to schools, this has not yet been realized mainly in rural schools as the adoption level is still low. There have been hindrances ranging from low income to support the programme, limited power supply to rural schools, shortage of ICT teachers and many others. // In a survey conducted by SRI International for World Links, it was reported that the lack of adequate hardware and software as well as unreliable Internet access were significant barriers to using computers in instruction. This report reflects the fact that many schools in developing countries have a student-teacher ratio as high as 80:1, and must contend with a computer lab of ten to twenty computers for the entire school - if they are lucky to have one. // Irrespective of these challenges, the government has moved on to make ICT education as a compulsory subject at secondary levels of education. It is a very big challenge to many rural students and schools as they can’t afford to own computers as their counterparts in urban schools which has created a digital divide among the rural and urban students. // It is behind this background that the Nakaseke Rural Youth Sustainable Livelihoods Initiative is conducting an ICT training programme to these schools. This case study outlines how an ICT training programme is helping students acquire skills as a means for literacy improvement and human resource capacity-building in rural areas. // Paper ID 27

Rural Communities,Digital Divide,Information and Communication Technology (ICT)