THE CHALLENGES OF ICT ON GIRL CHILD EDUCATION IN JOS SOUTH LGA
THE CHALLENGES OF ICT ON GIRL CHILD EDUCATION IN JOS SOUTH LGA
- Background to the Study
It is established facts that major sectors of the institutions within our society are already utilizing the capacity of information technology to improve life generally, the health, economic etc; the education institution is not left out in this trend of development. It is common knowledge that globalization brought about by information and communication technology (ICT) has reduced the whole World to a village without boundaries. ICT has been acknowledged as a powerful hub of development in the 21st century. The massive economic benefits real and potentials of ICT are not in doubt, especially in the industrialized economies where the revolution is rooted (Rayport and Jaworski, 2002). The 21st century, started with the awareness that the new revolution variously called information revolution and IT revolution has come to stay. Increasingly, it is also being realized that the revolution is presenting frightening challenges which must be frontally tackled in order to maximize both potential and real benefits emanating from it (Olatukun, 2009). The challenges are at personal, societal and global levels. For instance learning, understanding and operating within the action frame of a new vocabulary, if not an entirely new language, that is peculiarly associated with information and communication technology (ICT), is the bedrock of the IT revolution. The new ICT revolution has now broadened the horizon of the opportunities among nations, organization, institutions and individuals giving hopes to compete with their counterparts all over the world as observed by Collins (2002). It has been seen as an important vehicle to push individuals to bigger heights as the world moves further into the knowledge economy in this 21st century.
In today’s world, ICT is a ever-present component of our life. Most of the things we use have as a feature ICT. What is ICT then? Simply put, it stands for Information and Communication Technologies. It can be defined as “anything which allows us to get information, to communicate with each other, or to have an effect on the environment using electronic or digital equipment” (Siraj-Blatchford &Siraj-Blatchford, 2003). Today ICT and “e-learning” have become important concepts in primary, secondary, and tertiary education. Empirically, studies have confirmed that ICT revolution can strengthen pillars of development, poverty reduction and this is where it matters most in Nigeria (UNDP-APDIP Report 2004 in Ebebe, 2002). Judith &Lius, (2008) stated that within barely 15 to 20 years, information and communication technologies (ICTs)-driven new digital economy and high competition for global market share has engendered hunger for knowledge as one of the main drivers of economic development factor for cities, states, nations and organizations in advanced nations. Chen and Kee (2005), describe that, ICTs are the back bone of the knowledge economy in recent years have been recognized as an effective tool for promoting poverty reduction, health, education, economic growth, and sustainable development. The demands for high technological skilled workers are needed in the workforce in the 21st century.
In the beginning of the implementation of ICT there were optimistic beliefs about profound changes in teaching and learning practices, among both educational researchers and policy-makers (Agu, 2010) but from the immense contribution of ICT to other sectors, one is convinced ICT will thrive in the teaching-learning situation, it is just a question of adaptation . Although there have been several development projects, experiments and pilot studies on using ICT in school, the studies about long-term and deep-going effects of ICT are still few (Kozma, 2003). As computers and information and communication technology became more user-friendly, more efficient and cheaper, it awoke interest among educators to pass on theoretical ideas by using ICT in the classroom.
Technology was thought to serve a dual function: it was thought to provide the tools for the realization oflearning-as-construction, as well as for the social process of meaning appropriation, and it was thought to offer novel opportunities for novel learning activities and ways of teaching, which, in turn, would require novel psychological insights (Salomon & Ben-Zvi, 2006). According to Cuban (2001), the expectations in the past were to make schools more efficient and productive, to transform teaching and learning into an engaging and active process connected to real life, and to prepare young people for future workplaces, but the modern expectations is one that encourages the learner to go all out for learning in the search for knowledge.
There can be no significant or sustainable transformation in societies and no significant reduction in poverty until girls receive the quality basic education they need to take their rightful place as equal partners in development, (Bellamy, 2002). This statement underpins the importance of the girl -child education. Notable improvement have been made on girl-child’s access to education as a result of numerous intervention programmes of UNESCO, UNICEF, governmental and non-government organizations all over the world, particularly in Africa and Asia . This notwithstanding, access to and quality of education are still a challenge for many girls and women in this part of the world due largely to cultural and religious orientations.
On the Online Discussion for the Review of Beijing +10 moderated by UNESCO which focused on“Education and Training of Women and Girl-Child ” Lifanda(2005:30) reported a consensus by participants that: “Current methods and practices of educating girls and women have not been fully successful in reducing the number of women without education. The education system should strive to provide quality education for women in today’s knowledge economy”. The girl-child education has been the one that Africa in general have been battling with in the dawn of modern civilization mostly as the influence of the West grew within the African society, the increasing need to remove the barriers that have relegated women to the background where their role is seen only at our homes is obsolete. Educating the girl-child implies empowering the women to develop and acquire knowledge to make independent decisions that shape her life, including access to wealth, participation in decision -making and control over distribution. ICT skills and knowledge has huge potential to achieve these goals as well as facilitate the realization of the Millennium Development Goals through increasing accessibility of education to the girl-child, increasing girl-child interest and motivation in science and technology, and access to the knowledge – based society. Olulube (2006:6), amongst others, believe that “Information and communication technology can accelerate, enrich, and deepen skills; motivate and engage students in learning; helps to relate school experiences to work practices; helps to create economic viability for tomorrow’s workers; contributes to radical changes in school; strengthens teaching, and provides opportunities for connection between the institutions and the world. Information and Communication Technologies which include technologies that facilitate the capturing, processing, storage and transfer of information (Dholakia, Dholakia&Kshetri, 2003), has become very pivotal/crucial to personal improvement and national development. There is a growing body of evidence even in African countries like Uganda, Senegal and Kenya, of the benefits of ICT for women’s empowerment, through increasing their access to health, nutrition, education and other human development opportunities. However, High illiteracy rates of women and girls and their lack of ICT training are two of the most serious barriers that prevent them from entering the information economy (Annan 2005: 13). As such, girls and women have been left disadvantaged in the utilization and harnessing of the gains of ICT.
Again, research has shown that boys and men possess positive attitude to and usage of ICT in most sectors/spheres of life endeavours including education more than girls and women, (Dholakia, Dholakia&Kshetri 2003). It is therefore the need to reverse this trend by employing ICT as tool in educating the girl-child at every stage of her education, particular the primary and secondary levels. Considering that teachers have variously been identified as the kingpins in the education of the child and also having identified poorly trained teachers and the use of outdated technologies in teaching as some of the barriers to girl -child education (UNESCO report, 2007), it is very crucial that teachers’ readiness in the use of ICT in education is ascertained as well. It is also important that both policy makers and stakeholders in education have data and information with which to balance its progress in ICT penetration in education and in the classroom.
A good number of scholars have expressed the belief that ICT integration in education would yield bountifully (Wilderotter, 2007:1). In keeping with this, Nigeria included computer education in the primary and secondary school curriculum so as to build on the formative stages of child’s development to inculcate the ICT skills necessary to effectively function in this era of globalization. In terms increasing children’s including the girl-child access to education, Futrell (2007:2) observed that ICT can be used to expand and enhance learning opportunities for children by allowing them accessto courses not available in their schools and interact with students attending schools in other communities as well as educational models or mentors. Relating the gains of ICT to girl-child education, (Ranjan, 2005) stated, that ICT can be a valuable part of any strategy that seeks to enhance girl child accessibility to education, through distance learning programmes, girls who are not able to gain access to education due to long distance of school from home, fear of safety, and other related reasons that exist in the northern part of Nigeria, will gain quality education. An analysis of the contribution which ICT could make in the education of the girl-child unveils three tripods access, quality and functionality, (Ranjan, 2005). Access of more females to education could be through distance education. Achieving qualitative and functional education through ICT includes making learning more meaningful, research oriented and real-life oriented using ICT equipment like digital projectors, digital cameras, whiteboards/smart boards, digital video recorders, editing and mixing equipment, Personal computer with internet access, digital microscopes, and animated software among others.
1.2. Statement of the problem
Rufai (2004), is of the opinion that “with the various summits all over the world, it is increasingly clear that development cannot be achieved where the needs and contribution of women are downgraded, marginalized or completely ignored” the proposition of this statement is that for any country to succeed and develop, girl child education should be a focus for policy formulation and implementation as far as democracy in concerned. Nigeria as a member nation of the United Nations agreed to the obligation for achieving the goal of education for all by the year 2000 but figures show that by 2008, the situation for the majority of the girl child remains the same as there have not been any drastic measure or plan by the government to address this challenge. It is on this backdrop that the problem of this study is posed in this question form; what are the challenges of ICT on girl-child education in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State?
1.3. Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the challenges of ICT on girl-child eduction in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Other specific objectives of the study are
- To determine the challenges of ICT on the girl-child education.
- To evaluate the effects of these challenges on the educational achievement of the girl-child.
- To proffer proper solution where necessary.
1.4. Research Questions
The study is guided by the following research questions:
- What are the challenges of ICT on the girl-child education?
- What are the effects of these challenges on the educational achievement of the girl-child?
- What are the possible solutions to these problems?
1.5. Significance of the Study
The benefit of this study cannot be over emphasized. This is because the girl-child is not ready to be left behind. Therefore, the study will be beneficial to the government, curriculum planners, teachers, the girl-child and future researchers.
To the government, the will understand the challenges confronting the girl-child in the use of ICT, therefore, they will take measures to tackle these challenges for effective learning of the girl-child.
Curriculum planners will also benefit from this study as they will structure learning experiences in order to accommodate the use of ICT for teaching and learning to girl-child schools.
To the teachers, they would give more attention the girl-children when using ICT. This will enable them understand better when they are taught.
The girl-child will benefit from this study as all the recommendations given at the end of the study, will be in their favour which will enhance their academic achievements.
The study when successfully completed will serve as reference materials to future researchers who will want to make further research in the field of ICT and the girl-child education.
1.6. Scope of the Study
The study shall cover the challenges of ICT on girl-child education. The study shall be restricted to Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State. However, it is very important to note despite that the study is restricted to the selected local government area, the findings can be applicable to other parts of the state and country at large.
1.7. Operational Definition of Terms
The following are terms used in the course of the research:
ICT: Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extensional term for information technology (IT) that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals) and computers, as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage and audiovisual systems, that enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.
Girl: Female child, a daughter or young
Child: Young human being who is not yet an adult.
Girl-Child: Means a female young human being who is not yet an adult.
Challenges: Difficult matters requiring solutions.
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