A recent report by the Kenyan ministry of higher education, science and technology said the integration of information and communication technology (ICT) in technical, industrial and vocational training institutions (Tivet) is below average.
The report further noted that tertiary institutions in the country were ill-equipped to use ICT.
The report entitled “Tivet ICT Baseline Survey Report 2011” said slow rate in ICT adoption in tertiary institutions might not only lead to underutilisation of growing technology but might also limit graduates from securing gainful jobs.
“These findings compare unfavourably with the move by most firms to align their duties to modern ICT for efficient service delivery. Many have set basic knowledge in technology as an entry point to their entities,” the report said.
“It is therefore worrying to find out most of our higher institutions of learning are not changing fast enough with technology,” the report added.
The report said that while the country had made tremendous effort in increasing its investment in ICT infrastructure the integration in the higher institutions was worrisome.
“Over the past five years, Kenya has made milestone in improving its ICT infrastructure and access. Through subsidies and several other arrangements, the cost of hardware in the country has fallen, helping to improve access to technology to a wider range of publics but regrettably the integration in higher institution calls for concern,” the report added.
According to the report, the higher institutions lacked the much-needed capacity to integrate ICT in their curriculum. “This denies graduates the opportunity to interact with the ever-changing technology in their daily tasks,” the report notes.
“The inadequacy leads to year-in-out churning out of graduates ill-equipped to use ICT resources that Kenya now has in abundance.”
The report said that most of the TIVETs run on old curriculum, lack the latest teaching tools, and have non-aligning policies, which make it hard to integrate ICT in their courses.
The report faulted lecturers for lack of confidence to teach ICT topics, noting that this was real even among teachers who have knowledge in ICT.
An estimated 24 per cent of heads of department interviewed according to the report cited limited ICT skills and literacy among lecturers as a major challenge for integrating ICT to TIVET course provision.
“Teacher confidence presents a particular challenge for ICT integration in tertiary colleges,” the report said.
The report called for a modernisation of training and curricula to reflect use of technology in enhancing critical thinking and higher order.
“TIVETS need to embrace professional development programmes to enable lecturers overcome fear in teaching ICT subjects,” recommends the report.
“There is an opportunity for institutions to formally recognise internal resources and develop programmes for institution-based staff development that is focused on short regular in-house workshops using external and internal resources supports.”
Prof. Olive Mugenda, Vice-Chancellor of the Kenyatta University called on government to expand options for TIVET lecturers to purchase ICT equipments.
This she said could improve learning in the colleges. “Government can facilitate direct purchase of ICT equipment at subsidised prices or through an arranged check-off system between financiers and employees.”
In an effort to put the nation ahead of its peers on the continent, Kenya has improved Internet speeds and lowered cost through investment in three submarine fibre optic cables linking it to the rest of the world.