E-READINESS FOR INTEGRATION OF E-LEARNING IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN TAITA TAVETA COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Recent developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) have influenced approaches to teaching and learning in schools in the world. Consequently, e- learning has become more and more widespread because of its advantages over the conventional ways of teaching. The Government of Kenya developed a national ICT strategy for education and training whose objective was to encourage use of ICTs in all educational institutions. This was aimed at creating an ICT-literate citizenry for an ICT- driven economy by the year 2015. However, little is known about the state of readiness of educational institutions to implement this strategy. The purpose of this study was to assess the state of readiness for e-learning in secondary schools in Taita Taveta County, Kenya. This study adopted a descriptive survey research design. The target population included 440 teachers in 48 public secondary schools in Taita. A random sample of 201 teachers and 33 head teachers was selected from 33 randomly selected schools. Data was collected using two self-administered questionnaires to the selected respondents. Data was analysed using both descriptive (frequencies, percentages and means) and inferential (t-test and chi square) statistics using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0. The study findings indicate that public secondary schools lacked basic infrastructure and facilities to adopt e-learning in the process of delivery of content to learners. Teachers in public secondary schools lacked adequate skills to use e-learning facilities in teaching. Majority of the teachers had not fully integrated e-learning in teaching in secondary schools. The study recommends that the government should first equip all public secondary schools with necessary infrastructure and facilities before fully implementing e-learning programme in schools. All teachers in public secondary schools should be trained on integration of e-learning in instructional process before the programme is fully rolled out. The government should also come up with a policy document requiring e-learning to be conducted in schools if the programme is to succeed.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Secondary school education is a very significant link between primary school and tertiary education as well as the job market (World Bank, 2005). This is because some graduates of this level of education end up in the labour market. Further, academic results obtained at this level are used for placement of the candidates in various courses at tertiary level of education. Unfortunately in Kenya, this crucial link is faced with various problems due to the challenges generally facing the educational system in the country. When the Government of Kenya undertook to achieve Universal Primary Education (UPE) by 2010 and Education For All by 2015 in line with the international commitment, Free Primary Education (FPE) was introduced in 2003 (GoK, 2003; GoK 2005a). This resulted in an overwhelming increase in Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) in primary schools from 86.8 per cent in 2002 to 101.5 per cent in 2004 and increase in demand for secondary school places (Kaga, 2006). Consequently, the government increased the transition rate from primary to secondary schools from 47 per cent to 70 per cent and thereby effectively increasing student enrolment in secondary schools (African Development Bank, 2007).

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MOEST) observed that increased enrolment of students in secondary schools had led to overstretching of facilities and overcrowding in learning institutions as schools tried to accommodate the extra students (Government of Kenya, 2005a). With shortage of teachers’ standing at 100, 000 nationally (Mwangi, 2014), the teaching fraternity in secondary schools may have been over-stretched by these developments. Previous studies indicate that most instructional methods used by teachers in Kenya are teacher-centered and make learners passive recipients of information (Situma, 2016). This makes the students to dislike some subjects (Tanui, 2003). Consequently, secondary school education in Kenya is characterized by below average performance at national exams especially in core subjects such as mathematics and sciences (Kenya National Examinations Council, 2008). E-learning is one of the approaches that may help to improve the learning situation in secondary schools because of its advantages over the conventional teaching and learning methodologies (Kalinga, Bagile & Trojer, 2006).

E-learning is a way of learning that is enabled or supported by the use of information and communication technologies (American Society for Training and Development’s, learning circuits, 2008). It involves some form of interactivity, including online interaction between a learner and a teacher or peers. According to New Zealand’s Ministry of Education, it commonly makes use of computers and other ICTs to deliver learning content to learners (Government of New Zealand, 2009). The Government of New Zealand also argues that e-learning includes use of the Internet, audio and video video tapes as well as CD-ROMs, video and audio conferencing, mobile phones, data projectors, digital cameras, global positioning systems and interactive whiteboards to provide learning experiences. Kashorda and Waema (2007) observe that e- learning has the potential to enhance the quality of teaching and learning and improve effectiveness of institutions. Furthermore, e-learning will also develop the future workforce that can effectively participate in the knowledge-based economy (GoK, 2006b). It also provides opportunities to study at a pace suited to the individual learner’s needs and the capacity to give instantaneous feedback on assignments (Vockell & Schwartz, 1992). This yields a high rate of reinforcement. These authors further observed that there are many computerized mathematical programs that use pictures of concrete objects as part of tutorials or feedback to teach mathematical concepts and thereby make mathematics less abstract and more interesting. Computer programmes also have an advantage over teachers with regard to how long they are willing to wait for the student to respond without becoming irritated (Saks & Haccoun, 2011). This provides a more positive affective learning environment especially for slower learners. Further, they noted that use of colour, music and animated graphics can add realism and appeal to drill exercises, laboratory activities and simulations. Instruction through simulation and games may result in increased motivation and participation by learners (Ya-nan, 2013).

Sarita and Tomar (2004) observed that the use of computer simulations can replace experiments that would otherwise be very dangerous, very expensive or require a long time to complete. For instance, processes like germination, seed ripening and genetic developments can be demonstrated through computer simulation (Buzby, 1985). In art classes, computers encourage creativity without a mess as children can create art digitally (Sawyer & Williams, 2001). Evoh (2007) argues that use of e-learning in secondary schools imparts technological literacy among students which is necessary for the world of work. Besides, the use of computers has an enormous capacity for delivering realistic learning experiences. Computer generated audio-visual content with enhanced colour formations is very attractive to learners. E-learning has the capacity to infuse colour in instructional materials for presentation to learners. This concurs with a research by Ndirangu (2000) which observed that use of colour in instructional materials captured the learners’ interest and improved their attitude towards learning science subjects.

Countries that have embraced e-learning have attested to its inherent advantages. In United Kingdom, successful implementation of e-learning in schools was shown to result into higher academic standards and enabled students to complete their work more quickly allowing more time for revision (National Foundation for Educational Research, 2000). These observations are in line with those of Aderonke (2014) who found high achievement gains among students due to computer use. Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) was very effective with lower achieving students (Carnoy, Daley & Loop, 1986). In fact, such students as well as those who did not have computers at home experienced a sharp rise in academic achievement scores (Aderonke, 2014). Evoh (2007) adds that with e-learning, there is effective curriculum delivery by teachers as facilitators and there is improved learning by raising curiosity and technological literacy. Tanui, Kiboss, Walaba and Nassiuma (2008) observe that a computer reduces a teacher’s verbosity and encourages students to learn through active participation.

Implementation of e-learning in secondary schools in Kenya may take long to be realised. This is because secondary schools may not be prepared to implement it as little is known about their readiness. An assessment by Kenya Education Network (KENET) in 2006 on e-readiness at the universities in Kenya revealed that they were not effectively using ICT for teaching and learning as intended by the National ICT Policy of 2006 in spite of the fact that these institutions were relatively more endowed with resources as compared to secondary schools (KENET, 2006). This observation might imply that secondary schools were not yet using e-learning. Again, web-based learning may also be hindered if the telecommunication infrastructure is not well developed. Even though there has been rapid expansion of ICT infrastructure in the country in the recent past, GoK (2014) reports that local institutions of higher learning have continued to produce ICT manpower that is neither guided by a human resource development policy nor well aligned to societal needs such as e-learning. There has been overdependence of Kenya on foreign technicians and consultants for maintenance of telecommunication infrastructures. If these conditions still persist to date, then it may imply that e-learning at secondary schools may not have taken root in Kenya. This could also be the case in secondary schools in Taita Taveta County. It is for this reason that this research was launched to investigate the e-readiness in the secondary schools for e-learning, as intended by various national policy documents.

It is perhaps due to these benefits that the government of Kenya came up with various policies to enhance e-learning in schools. These policies include the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment creation (GoK, 2003), Sessional Paper number 1 of 2005 (GoK, 2005a), Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (GoK, 2005b), National ICT Policy of 2006 (GoK, 2006a) and the National ICT strategy for education and training (GoK, 2006b). The Kenya Education Sector Support Programme was a 5-year undertaking that was to run from 2006 to 2010 by which time e-learning was supposed to have been realised in schools (GoK, 2005b). However, its funding indicated a budget deficit of about Ksh. 40.5 billion. According to the National ICT strategy paper of 2006, educational institutions were to implement e-learning through funding by both private and public sectors. But it is not clear how the private sector was to fund the programme.

Statement of the Problem
In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education For All (EFA) by the year 2015, the Government of Kenya introduced the Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE) programme in 2008. This resulted in an increase in student enrolment in public secondary schools in the country. The programme may have compounded the problems that existed in education in Kenya. These problems include over-stretched facilities, overcrowding in learning institutions and high student-staff ratios. Applications of ICTs in e-learning may be used as an alternative to solve some of these problems, for example, access to online resources and providing students with some measure of self teaching. Further, use of movies, video and computer animations bring sound and movement to the static textbook lessons and make students’ classes to be lively. Again, the Internet has many websites that can help teachers develop or improve lesson plans, exchange ideas, obtain information, and find free animations and simulations to make their lessons interesting. It also has been observed that computer-based learning systems such as interactive video are highly attractive to use, with colourful and impressive images on the screen, interesting sounds and graphics, fascinating tasks for the learner to carry out and with the knowledge that there will be immediate feedback from the system. However, e-learning may not be successful if e-readiness as indicated by presence of computers, source of power, relevant e-content and trained personnel are not in place. It is for this reason, therefore, that this research was necessary in order to determine the state of readiness of secondary schools in Taita Taveta to implement e-learning. No study has been done in this area in this region. This study intended to fill this gap.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this research was to assess the state of e-readiness for e-learning in secondary schools in Taita Taveta County, Kenya.

Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study were to;

i. Determine level of adequacy of e-leaning facilities in public secondary schools in Taita Taveta County.

ii. Establish teachers’ level of skills in the use of e-learning facilities in public secondary schools in Taita Taveta County.

iii. Find out the level of integration of e-learning in teaching in public secondary schools in Taita Taveta County.

iv. Establish whether there was any significant difference in the adequacy of e-learning facilities between Sub-County and County secondary schools in Taita Taveta County.

Research Questions
The research questions of this study were as follows:

i. What is the level of adequacy of e-leaning facilities in public secondary schools in Taita Taveta County?

ii. What is the level of skills of teachers in the use of e-learning facilities in public secondary schools in Taita Taveta County?

iii. What is the level of integration of e-learning in teaching public secondary schools in Taita Taveta County?

Research Hypothesis
HO: There is no statistically significant difference in the adequacy of e-learning facilities between Sub-County and County secondary schools in Taita Taveta County.

Significance of the Study
The findings of the study are important in many ways. First, they bring out the state of readiness of the secondary schools in the County to participate in e-learning. This will enable the government to come up with appropriate measures to make sure that the schools are able to undertake e-learning in line with the National ICT Policy. This could involve equipping the schools with appropriate ICT facilities and in-servicing the teachers. To the teachers in the County, the study could enable them to re-evaluate their skills in preparation to embrace e- learning. This is because the success of any educational program depends on how effectively teachers have been prepared for it. The findings could also motivate the private sector to come up and help equip the schools. This is because the National ICT strategy for education and training indicates that the programme will partly be funded by the private sector.

Scope of the Study
This study involved public County and Sub-County secondary schools and teachers in those schools in Taita Taveta County. Head teachers of each target school were the respondents with respect to the facilities it the schools. This is because head teachers are the policy makers and authorise the use of funds in the acquisition of facilities at the school level. National schools were not involved in the study as they are funded by the government under a separate scheme. Private secondary schools charge different amounts of fees hence some may acquire facilities that public schools may not be able to get. Such schools were also not be sampled. Teachers are the implementers of the curriculum at school and critical for implementation of e-learning.

Limitations of the Study
The study was limited by the following situations:

i. The research findings only apply to public Sub-County and County secondary schools in Taita Taveta County.

ii. The findings are generalised with caution to other Sub-counties that have similar characteristics as Taita Taveta

Assumptions of the Study
The following were the assumptions of the study;

i. Teachers and head teachers responded honestly to the test items contained in the questionnaire.

ii. All secondary schools surveyed had one form of ICT technologies or the other.

iii. Teachers were using these technologies in teaching and learning.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 73 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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