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Digital literacy and teacher education in Uganda : the case of Bondo Primary Teachers' College (PTC) Andema, Samuel 2009

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DIGITAL LITERACY AND TEACHER EDUCATIONIN UGANDA:THE CASE OF BONDO PRIMARY TEACHERS’COLLEGE (PTC)bySAMUEL ANDEMAB.A., Makerere University, 1997A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Literacy Education)THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA(Vancouver)July 2009© Sarnl4elAnc1em2009AbstractClaims about the potential of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) totransform education in the less developed countries of the world abound. This qualitativecase study, which took place at Bondo (pseudonym) Primary Teachers’ College (PTC) inUganda, from April to December 2008, was guided by two specific research questions,(1) What is the relationship between ICT policy and educational practice in Uganda? (2)To what extent do teacher educators use ICT in their professional practice and whatchallenges do they face in developing digital literacy? To address question one, theresearcher did a content analysis of the National ICT policies and held a key informantinterview with the ICT minister in Uganda. In order to address question two, theresearcher drew on data collected from a sample of six teacher educators usingquestionnaires, focus group discussions, online group discussions, and journal reflections.The study found that at policy level, Uganda has made significant progress insystematizing the integration of ICT in education. The introduction of ICT trainingprograms in PTCs has received positive response from the teacher educators, who areeager to use ICT in their professional practice and to develop their digital literacy skills.However, the study established that the teacher educators only use ICT in theirprofessional practice to a limited extent, due to factors such as limited Internet accesspoints at the PTC and in their communities. Other challenges include inadequate trainingand lack of support for professional development, cultural constraints, and irrelevantmaterials from the Internet. Another major concern is that ICT initiatives in Uganda aregeared more towards accessing global information than using ICT for knowledgeproduction and wealth creation. It also emerged that ICT is still being used to perpetuate11teacher-centered, examination-oriented, information-based teaching and learning inPTCs. The study concludes with a recommendation for more qualitative case studies onthe possibility of incorporating ICT programs such as the e-Granary Digital Library,which do not rely on connectivity, as a basis for ICT and digital literacy skillsdevelopment.111TABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract iiTable of Contents ivList of Tables viAcknowledgements viiDedication viiiCHAPTER ONE: BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY 11.1 Introduction 11.2 Statement of the Research Problem 31.3 Purpose of the Study and Research Questions 51.4 Overview of Thesis 5CHAPTER TWO: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND LITERATUREREVIEW 72.1 Introduction 72.2 The Promises of Information and Communication Technology 72.3 Theoretical Framework 122.4 Widening the Definition of Literacy 172.5 Uganda’s Experiment with ICT in Teacher Education 262.6 Summary 27CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY 303.1 Introduction 303.2 Site and Sample Selection 323.3 Research Participants 333.4 Research Design and Methods of Data Collection 363.4.1 Stage 1: Field Visits, Questionnaires and Group Discussions 373.4.2 Stage 2: Online Group Discussions 393.4.3 Stage 3: Key Informant Interview 413.4.4 Stage 4: Exit Questionnaire and e-Granary Workshop 413.5 Data Analysis 423.6 Limitations of the Study 433.7 Ethical Considerations 443.8 Summary 44CHAPTER FOUR: ICT POLICY AND EDUCATIONAL PRACTICE INUGANDA 464.1 Introduction 464.2 Personal Childhood Memories 464.3 The Historical Context 514.4 National ICT Policies 544.5 Insights from the ICT Minister 55iv4.6 The Education Sector .614.6.1 ICT in Schools 634.6.2 ICT and Teacher Education in Uganda 654.7 Discussion 684.8 Summary 74CHAPTER FIVE: ICT USE AMONG TEACHER EDUCATORS 765.1 Introduction 765.1.1 Teacher Educators’ Responses to ICT Initiatives 765.1.2 ICT Access Time 785.2 Reasons for ICT Use 805.2.1 Personal Reasons for ICT Use 805.2.2 Professional Reasons for ICT Use 845.3 Challenges Teacher Educators Face in Using ICT 925.3.1 Limited Access 935.3.2 Unreliable Internet Connectivity 935.3.3 Electricity/Power Outages 945.3.4 Inadequate Training and Lack of Hands-on Experience with ICT 955.3.5 Attitudes 965.3.6 Irrelevant Material 965.3.7 Sociocultural Constraints 985.3.8 Poverty 985.3.9 Gender Roles 995.3.10 Lack of Time 995.3.11 Lack of Technical and Professional Support 1005.4 Participants’ Own Assessment of the Extent of their ICT Use 1005.5 Incorporating the e-Granary Digital Library 1015.6 Discussion 1035.7 Summary 108CHAPTER 6: LESSONS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION 1096.1 Lessons 1096.2 Recommendations 1126.3 Conclusion 114REFERENCES 116APPENDICES 122Appendix A: Questionnaire 1 122Appendix B: Questionnaire 2 126Appendix C: Ethics Certificate 132vList of TablesTable 3.3.1 Participants’ educational and ICT training background 35Table 3.4.1 The time line 36Table 4.3.1 The growth in ICT infrastructure 1996—2004 53Table 5.2.1 Participants’ reasons for personal ICT Use 81Table 5.2.2 Participants’ professional reasons for using ICT - Aggregated 88viAcknowledgementsThere are many people without whose contribution this thesis wouldnot besuccessfully completed. First, I would like to single out my supervisor Dr. Bonny Nortonfor the immeasurable contribution right from the beginning to the very endof the study.She spent countless hours discussing, organizing and editing my workwith dedicationand commitment. Without her guidance and support, this thesis would definitelynot bewhat it is now. I feel blessed to be supervised by her and I will forever remainindebted toher. She is a source of inspiration for me and an incredible resource.I wish also to thank Dr. Maureen Kendrick, who was my co-supervisor,for thegenerous offer of her time and resources to facilitate my work. She constantlyfollowedmy progress at every stage of the research, which kept me focused. Similarly,I wouldlike to thank Dr. Margaret Early for the team work shebuilt with Dr. Bonny Norton andDr. Maureen Kendrick to support my work. I will alwaysremember her words ofencouragement and guidance. In addition, I would like to thank all my professorswhotaught me in the course of my studies at UBC. In particular,I thank Dr. Anthony Clark,Dr. Lee Gunderson, and Dr. Donald Fisher. I would not like to forget thesupport of myclassmates especially Ms. Angelika Sellick who offered to proofread mydraft thesis.Finally, I wish to acknowledge the enduring support of my familywho allowedme to leave them in Uganda to come for this course at UBC.I thank my dear wife Ms.Doris Abiria Maandebo for taking care of our two children Shalom JoelAwania and PaulLeta in my absence.viiDedicationI dedicate this study to my dear mother Irena Zinzoru and my father Steven Acema whosacrficed everything they had to send me to school in hope ofgiving me a betterfuture.viiiCHAPTER 1BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY1.1 IntroductionThis study on “Digital Literacy and Teacher Education in Uganda: The Case OfBondo Primary Teachers’ College” is part of a larger collaborative research projectbetween a team of researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC),’ Canadaand colleagues in Uganda2.The study investigates how web-based educational resourcescan enhance teacher development and improve classroom instruction in schools in EastAfrica.The educational research, which the UBC team has conducted in the developingworld in the last 15 years, has been designed not only to advance research andscholarship, but also to help develop the capacity of the local research participants andenhance education practice.3They do not only wish to identify educational problems anddocument pedagogical challenges but they also seek to ensure that the research projectitself provides opportunities for capacity building. This created an opportunity for me tocome to UBC to pursue an M.A in Literacy and Language Education with a focus ondigital literacy and teacher education.My study builds on a major research study conducted by USAID in Uganda on“Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Teacher ProfessionalDevelopment in Uganda” (USAID, 2006). The objectives of this research were toThe team from University of British Columbia included Dr. Bonny Norton, Dr. Maureen Kendrick andDr. Margaret Early who all teach in the Department of Language and Literacy Education, UBC as well asMs. Lauryn Oates and Ms. Carrie-Jane Williams who are graduate students in the same department.2The Ugandan contingent includes Dr. Juliet Tembe of Mbale Islamic University in Uganda; Dr. HarrietMutonyi of Uganda Martyrs’ University, and myself, Mr. Samuel Andema from Kyambogo University.This was stated by Bonny Norton and Maureen Kendrick in their proposal for the Hampton project.1determine if ICT makes a difference in the professional development of teachers in 16 ofUganda’s 47 Primary Teachers’ Colleges (PTCs), and what issues would need to beconsidered in a potential scaling up of ICT activities in the country. The study found outthat while there was much enthusiasm for ICT in education, (i) ICT training for teachereducators is an urgent priority because they are well-positioned to impart ICT skills to theteachers. whom they prepare; (ii) teacher educators need to have access to pre-selectedkey resources such as web-based classroom materials to optimize time surfing the Web;and (iii) teacher educators should form a network so that they can share useful resources.The study concluded that the more proficient teacher educators are with the use of ICT toidentify materials and resources relevant to the Ugandan context, the more effective theywill be in the training of teachers for Uganda’s burgeoning primary school population.This study is consistent with the findings of another study, the NEPAD (New Partnershipfor African Development) E-Leaming Initiative, which found out that many Internetmaterial are not relevant to the African context (Musamali, 2006).In their study on “ICT on the Margins: Lessons for Ugandan Education” Mutonyiand Norton (2006) concluded that if ICT is to play its part in achieving the MillenniumDevelopment Goal of Education for All by 2015, there is an urgent need for collaborativepartnerships between a wide range of stakeholders at both local and global levels.Teachers and teacher educators constitute an important category of the stakeholders ineducation. They are the interface between policy and practice. They are the implementingagents of educational policy. Their interpretation of policy and its translation intoprofessional practice is pertinent in determining the success or failure of policy in‘For further detail, refer to Bonny Norton and Maureen Kendrick’s Hampton Project proposal document —an unpublished document.2education. As the studies cited above have shown, there is need for more research on ICTand teacher education to better understand how ICT can be relied on to achieveeffectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of education in the country. My research istherefore a response to such concerns.1.2 Research ProblemAs signatory to international commitments like Education for All and theMillennium Development Goals that seek to democratize education in order to addresssocial injustice and achieve equity in the provision of education in the country, Ugandahas taken bold steps to fulfill its commitments. In 1997, Uganda introduced UniversalPrimary Education (UPE), which abolished school fees and opened a window ofopportunity for children from poor families, especially girls and children with disabilities,to go to school. With the introduction of UPE, enrollment figures rose from 2.5 million in1996 to 6.8 million in 2000 (Ministry of Education and Sports, 2001a,p.1). In 2006, thegross enrollment ratio (the proportion of pupils attending primary school from grade oneto grade seven) to the number of children aged 6 — 12 years in the entire population, was112.5% (Ministry of Education and Sports, 2007b,p.2). The dramatic increase isthreatening to compromise the quality of education in the country. In 1999, the UgandaNational Examination Board (UNEB) conducted a study to examine students’achievements in English Language and Mathematics. The study revealed that studentsperformed poorly (Uganda National Examination Board, 1999). For example, in readingand writing, only about 20% at Primary 3 and much less than 15% in Primary 6performed at a level judged to be adequate.3In 2004, the Education Standards Agency (ESA), which is the body that overseesthe standards of education in Uganda, did another study on pupils’ achievement in areasof literacy, numeracy and life skills (Education Standards Agency, 2004). The studyreported that pupils performed poorly in literacy skills. Some of the major factors cited ascauses of the poor performance in literacy were lack of qualified teachers, poor teachingmethods and inadequate teacher preparation in PTC” (Education Standards Agency,2004,p.98).In order to face the challenges arising from the dramatic increase of children inschools and maintain the quality of education in the country, government has embarkedon the promotion of modern technology in teaching and learning. It is hoped that moderntechnology will facilitate effective teaching and learning in schools. Several initiativeshave been undertaken to equip schools and universities with computers. Computerlaboratories have been established with Internet connectivity in PTCs to improve thequality of teacher education in Uganda. Colleges have been connected to encourage thesharing of resources among colleges. These reforms are driven by the belief that noeducation can be better than the quality of its teachers, nor can a country be better thanthe quality of its education.5In their study on “ICT on the Margins: Lessons for UgandanEducation”, Mutonyi and Norton (2007) recommend five lessons important forcurriculum planning and policy development; namely: (i) the need to have detailedempirical case studies that can inform policy and curriculum development; (ii) the needto recognize local differences and inequalities in ICT policy and curriculumdeveloprnent; (iii) to promote professional development of teachers’ competencies andThis is how the then Minister of Education Hon. Amanya Mushega summed up Government position inthe Education Policy Review Commission Report of 1989. Details can be found in the 1992 GovernmentWhite Paper on Education Policy Review Commission Report, under the Ministerial Statement, page, Xiii4skills in ICT use; (iv) the importance of integrating in and out of school digital literacypractices; and (v) the need to consider how global software can be best adopted for localuse.1.3 Purpose of Study and Research QuestionsThe main purpose of the present study has been to examine how teacher educatorsin Uganda use ICT in their professional practice and to identify the challenges the teachereducators face in developing digital literacy skills. In other words, I was interested infinding out the extent to which teacher educators use ICT in their professional practiceand the challenges they face in developing digital literacy skills. For the purposes of thisstudy, the use of the term ICT relates to computer hardware and software used forcommunication purposes. Digital literacy will be used to refer to the range of skills andknowledge required to use ICTs to generate, locate, evaluate, and use information.Because there is considerable overlap between these two terms, I sometimes use theterms “ICT” and “digital literacy” interchangeably in the thesis. There were two mainquestions, namely:1. What is the relationship between ICT policy and educational practice in Uganda?2. To what extent do teacher educators use ICT in their professional practice and whatchallenges do they face in developing digital literacy?1.4 Overview of ThesisI have divided the thesis into six chapters. Chapter One is introductory and provides abackground to the study. It spells out the setting where the research took place, theresearch problem, the purpose of the study and the research questions. Chapter Twoarticulates the theoretical framework that informs the study. It also contains a review of5the related literature, which links the study to the existing body of knowledge on thesubject, namely, digital literacy and teacher education. Chapter Three describes themethods and procedures that were used to collect data. Chapter Four is a description ofthe relationship between ICT policy and educational practice in Uganda, whereas ChapterFive is an examination of the digital literacy practices of teacher educators at Bondo andthe challenges they face in using ICT in their professional practice. Chapter Six containsthe major findings of the study, conclusions and recommendations.6CHAPTER 2THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND REVIEW OF LITERATURE2.1 IntroductionIn this chapter, I will make a case for the need to carry out research on ICT andteacher education in developing countries, focusing on Bondo Primary Teachers’ Collegein Uganda. I will begin by examining the promises of ICTs, and digital literacies andhighlight the importance ascribed to ICT for national development broadly, andimprovement of the quality of education, more specifically. While agreeing that ICTsmay have transformative potential to promote education in developing countries, I willargue that the much-hyped potential may not be realized if the major focus of promotingICTs ina developing country like Uganda is to access but not to produce information.This line of argument will help me to explore the relationship between ICT and teachereducation in Uganda, the extent to which teacher educators use ICT in their professionalpractice, and the challenges they face in using ICT to develop digital literacy skills. I willframe my argument within the New Literacy Studies’ perspective of viewing literacy as asocial practice situated in a specific sociocultural context.2.2 The Promises and Perils of Information Communication TechnologyICT has become one of the most common terminologies in developmentdiscours. ICT is considered as the primary force in socioeconomic transformation. Inrecognition of the role information and communication plays in our lives and societies,the United Nations—with UNESCO as the lead agency—held the World Summit on theInformation Society (WSIS) in 2003 and in 2005. In 2003, 175 countries wererepresented by more than 11,000 participants at the Summit, which adopted the Geneva7Declaration of Principles and the Geneva Plan of Action (2003). In the Declaration,participants voiced their commitment to a people-centered, inclusive and developmentoriented information society and acknowledged that ICTs have immense impact onvirtually all aspects of human life (Tamukong, 2007). The World Summit on theInformation Society Declaration of Principles asserts:Everyone should have the necessary skills to benefit fully from the InformationSociety. Therefore, capacity building and ICT Literacy are essential. ICTs cancontribute to achieving universal education worldwide, through delivery ofeducation and training of teachers, and offering improved conditions, for lifelonglearning, encompassing people that are outside the formal education process, andimproving professional skills (UNESCO, 2003).In developing countries in general and Africa in particular, ICTs have been seenas the panacea to solve the persistent problems of underdevelopment. Steps taken toembrace ICT for socioeconomic transformation range from enactment of ICT laws andpolicies to the establishment of fully-fledged ICT Ministries to spearhead the promotionof ICT for national development. Governments and development partners are investingmany resources to initiate ICT projects in sectors such as education, health, tourism, tradeand commerce, agriculture and environmental management in the belief that this can leadto social transformation and improvement in the quality of life for ordinary people.In his study on “The African Challenges: Internet, Networking, and ConnectivityActivities in a Developing Environment” De Roy (1997) identifies the networkingdevelopment projects and information technologies in Africa as coming from three8different zones; namely, the commercial sector, the international institutions and Africaitself.Commercial projects use two types of technology: satellites and fibre optic cables.A large number of geostationary satellites and low-earth orbit satellites are launched toprovide global coverage, remote communications, low-cost telephone and global Internetservices. Among the different satellite projects are Motorola’s McCaw, Globalstar fromLoral and Qualcomm, Teledesic from Microsoft and McCaw and Spaceway from HughesCommunications.Among the projects using fibre optic cable, AT&T’s Africa One is the mostpublicized. Africa One is a project to encircle the continent with a fibre optic cablenetwork:In this project, a 32,000-kilometer submarine cable will ring the Africancontinent from the Mediterranean Sea around Cape Horn and up to the Red Sea. Thecable will ultimately provide 2.5 gigabits/s link to 41 coastal nations. The second step ofthe project will attempt to link all African nations through the development of a regionalnetwork, that will integrate the existing infrastructure. The third step of the project willconnect the fibre optic cable to the information superhighway. This project, if pursuedsuccessfully, could yield tremendous advantages to enhance connectivity in schools anduniversities in Africa. It could also address the problems of small bandwidth and slowspeed.Among the international organizations, the World Bank is playing a major role inthe dissemination of information technology by providing funding and training under theInformation for Development Program (InfoDev). The program aims to showgovernments and decision makers the economic impact of communication and9information dissemination technologies. It also seeks to provide training and grants tosupport ICT initiatives in developing countries. The objective is to help developingcountries fully integrate into the information economy.An international effort led by Africans is also underway, an effort that will helptheir leaders to be aware of the impact of electronic networks and information technologyon the development of their countries. This effort is illustrated by the measures taken byAfrican leaders in May 1995 at the UNECA conference of African Ministers Responsiblefor Economic and Social Development and Planning. A resolution entitled ‘Building theInformation Highway in Africa’ was signed by the Ministers who are focusing theirattention on the African information superhighway as a tool for planning and decisionmaking via the building of national information and communication networks and thecreation of a group of African experts, known as the High Level Working Group onInformation and Communications Technologies.In addition, several African countries are taking voluntary steps and actions todemocratize and reform the telecommunication sector. These changes are expected toallow greater participation of the private sector and privatization of companies, alongwith opening of the national market to competition, separation of postal services andtelecommunication services, and the creation of regulatory organizations.De Roy (1997) argues that ICTs play an important role in a variety of sectors suchas government, research, education, health, statistics, agriculture, natural resources,development, planning, telecommunications, economy, cooperation and internationalorganization. According to him, electronic networks will allow Africa access toinformation that was not previously available on the continent. He asserts that with10electronic networks, databases, centers for scientific documentation and publications canbe browsed and searched with ease through the existence of electronic networks. The bestlibraries in the world, De Roy says, will become available with a few keystrokes, fromany location on earth allowing the acquisition, use and exchange of information.Electronic networks, he contends, will permit African scientists to repatriate an importantvolume of data and analysis originally obtained from African sources that haveaccumulated in research centers and libraries in countries of the North.6While I agree that ICT may have the potential to transform society through therapid, free flow of information globally, I would argue that the transformative potential ofICTs especially in non-Western contexts might be over-exaggerated and largely based onassumptions, especially in the field of education. Computers and the Internet are digitaltools for constructing meaning and communication. They are part of an evolutionaryprocess of the signs of meaning making and communication within a definite historicalsociocultural context of Western Societies. Their application in a nonwesternsociocultural context may not necessarily yield the same results as they would in aWestern socio-cultural context. Computer training programs going on in developingcountries like Uganda largely tend to focus on teaching the trainees to simply accessalready existing information on the Internet or to carry out basic word processingfunctions. Hardly any mention is made of the skills to generate new knowledge anduploading it onto the Net for the rest of the global world to consume. This will perpetuatedependence syndrome among the trainees, stifle their creativity and innovation, andundermine local knowledge.6The North is used to refer to the developed countries most of which happen to be in the northernhemisphere specifically Western Europe and North America.112.3 Theoretical FrameworkI will frame my argument within the New Literacy Studies (NLS) framework,which sees literacy as situated social practice embedded in a cultural and ideologicalcontext (Prinsloo, 2008; Street, 1984, 2001). The New Literacy Studies is an emergingschool of thought from a body of independent yet conceptually linked work producedover the last two decades across a number of disciplines, including anthropology, history,psychology, and sociolinguistics all emphasizing a social approach to literacy research(Barton & Hamilton, 1998; Barton, Hamilton, & Ivanic, 2000; Gee, 1996; Heath, 1983;Scribner & Cole, 1981; Street, 1984).The New Literacy Studies seeks to direct our attention towards the understandingthat there is a need to move beyond limited psychological accounts of literacy to onesthat capture the complexity of literacy practices in society (Snyder & Bulfin, 2008). Asopposed to looking at literacy as a set of discrete skills easily transferable from oneperson to another, the sociocultural approach focuses on examining literacy practices andevents by considering the role of literacy in people’s everyday lives (Barton & Hamilton,1998; Pahl & Rowsell, 2005; Prinsloo & Breier, 1996; Snyder, Angus & Sutherland-Smith, 2002; Street, 1995; 2001).As Coiro, Knobel, Lankshear, and Leu (2008) have noted, the space of NewLiteracies is highly contested. Some authors conceive New Literacies as new socialpractices and conceptions of reading and writing (Street, 1998). Some see New Literaciesas important new strategies and dispositions required by the Internet and emerging withnew technologies (Leu Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004). Others see New Literacies asnew discourses (Gee, 2003) or new semiotic contexts (Kress, 2003; Lemke, 2002) made12possible by technologies. Still others see literacy differentiating into multiliteracies (NewLondon Group, 1996) or multimodal contexts (Hull & Schultz, 2002), and some see aconstruct that juxtaposes several of these orientations (Lankshear & Knobel, 2003; 2006).My conceptualization of ICTs and digital literacy in this study is rooted inPrinsloos (2008) and Street’s (1984, 2001) notion of literacy more broadly; bothconceptualize literacy as situated social practice embedded in people’s social, culturaland power relations. Street (2001) in particular, challenges the representation of localpeople in villages as “illiterate”, backward villagers. He argues that not only is there awealth of literacy going on in the villages but there are also different practices associatedwith literacy (e.g., churches and mosques, schools, markets, travels, meetings,ceremonies). He observes that dominant voices characterize local people as “illiterate”while on the ground ethnographic and culturally sensitive observations indicate a richvariety of literacy practices.The same argument could be made of the ICT projects going on in teachereducation programs, broadly in Africa, and specifically in Uganda. The programs aredevoid of local knowledge and local experiences. The trainees in these programs areassumed to have no digital literacies when they enroll for ICT training courses andprograms despite the fact that these people have mobile phones, TV sets, VCD and DVDplayers, radios, cameras, and recorders in their houses. Their daily interactions with thesetools are rarely recognized and integrated into the training programs they receive. Thetrainers make little effort to incorporate people’s daily experiences with locally availabledigital tools, which constitute their literacy practices in real life. Hence, the trainings13become abstract and de-contextualized, and people soon lose interest in them. As Street(2001) asserts:In many cases literacy campaigns fail to take off — few people attend classes andthose who attend drop out precisely because they are the literacy practices of anoutside and often an alien group. Even though many people may want to changetheir literacy practices and take on board some of those associated with Westernworld or urban society; a crude imposition of these literacies that marginalize anddenies local experiences is likely to alienate even those who might have beeninterested initially (p. 7).I agree with Street’s (2001) argument that good educational practice todayrequires facilitators to build upon what learners bring to class, to listen—not justdeliver—and to respond to articulation of ‘need’ as well as make their own ‘outsider’judgment of it. Indeed, as Wright (2001) observes, the innovations and adaptations whichmany teachers in the developing world have already devised within the constraints oftheir situation need to be ‘mined’- i.e., scrutinized for negative and positive attributes,adjusted accordingly, tested and incorporated into more realistic teacher training, therebyintegrating the best from their traditions. Otherwise, the much-cherished moderntechnologies and the state of art methodologies from outside the context may actuallylead our teachers, teacher educators, and the learners to being disempowered by the verythings they were led to believe would liberate them.According to Street (2001), in developing contexts, the issue of literacy, includingcomputer literacy, is often represented as simply a technical one whereby people need tobe taught how to decode letters and they can do what they like with their newly acquired14literacy after that. He refers to this approach as an “autonomous model” of literacy. Streetexplains that the autonomous model works on the assumption that literacy in itself—autonomously—will have effects on other social and cognitive practices. The model,however, disguises the cultural and ideological assumptions that underpin it and that canthen be presented as though they are neutral and universal. He proposes the ideologicalmodel, to which he subscribes, as an alternative because he believes it offers a moreculturally sensitive view of literacy practices as they vary from one context to another.Street (2001) contends that, “engaging in literacy is always a social act even fromthe outset”(p.8). The ways in which teachers or facilitators and their students interact isalready a social practice that affects the nature of literacy being learnt and the ideas aboutliteracy held by the participants, especially the new learners and their positions inrelations of power. It is not valid to suggest that literacy can be given neutrally and thenits social effects only experienced afterwards. Street’s arguments resonate with otherssuch as Heath (1983), King (1994), Doronilla (1996), Robinson-Plant (1997), Hornberger(1998) and Kalman (1999). They share his view that the autonomous model on whichmuch of the literacy interventions of the 1980s and 1990s were based was not anappropriate intellectual tool either for understanding the diversity of reading and writingaround the world or for designing the practical programs this required.Street (2001) encourages us to focus more on how people take hold of literacythan talking about the impact of literacy. The ideological model addresses not only thecultural meanings but also the power dimensions of literacy. Street (2001) states: “Itseems to me quite impossible to address the issues of literacy without addressing theseissues of power” (p. 9). In the context of Uganda, we seem to have taken it for granted15that adopting the use of modern technology per se will automatically lead to animprovement in the quality of education in schools and colleges. Instead, we need toexamine the influence of modem technology on the teachers being trained to use thesetechnologies. What power relationships does digital literacy engender in the localcontext? How do the trainers position themselves during training sessions and how doesit affect the trainee’s ability to function with the new technology? To what extent do thepeople trained take hold of the skills and knowledge they have acquired? Whatchallenges do they face in trying to function with the new skills in the local context? Howcan ICT best be integrated into the teaching and learning going on in schools and collegesin Uganda? These are some of the questions that need to be foregrounded whendiscussing digital literacy in a non-Western context.According to Street (2001), the concept of literacy practices attempts both tohandle the events and the patterns around literacy and to link them to something broaderof a cultural and social nature. This means the context in which people practice literacy ofany kind is very important for any meaningful analysis of their literacy practices. Theconcept of literacy practices recognizes the fact that we bring to literacy events, concepts,and social models about what the nature of the event is, what makes it work and whatgives it meaning. Thus, to understand the extent to which the teacher educators at BondoPrimary Teachers’ College (PTC) use ICT in their professional practice, it is not enoughto limit the discussion to what they are able to do or not able to do with computers andthe Internet in their teaching practice. Instead, we must go beyond and integrate into thediscussion the historical, social, cultural, economic and ideological contexts in whichthey were trained and in which they operate.16The ideological model of literacy begins from the premise that variable literacypractices are always rooted in power relations and that the apparent innocence andneutrality of the autonomous model serves to disguise the ways in which such power ismaintained through literacy. As Street (2001) rightly observes, there are no genres ofpower as such, but only culturally based ways of knowing and communicating that havebeen privileged over others. Whereas many educators and policy makers see digitalliteracy skills simply as a neutral skills to be “imparted almost injected in some medicallybased discourse to all in equal measure”(p.13), the ideological model recognizes thateducational policy and decision making have to be based on prior judgments regardingwhich literacy to impart and why.2.4 Widening the Definition of LiteracyCope and Kalantzis (2000) seek to broaden the understanding of literacy andliteracy teaching and learning to include negotiating a multiplicity of discourses toaccount for the culturally and linguistically diverse and increasingly globalised societies,as well as to account for the multifarious cultures that interrelate and the plurality of textsthat circulate. They argue that literacy pedagogy must account for the burgeoning varietyof text forms associated with information and multimedia technologies. To themcurriculum is a design for social futures whereas teachers and school managers aredesigners of the learning processes and environments. Their writing, however, is basedon studies done in Western contexts. There is a need to include non-Western contexts inresearch on digital literacies and ICTs. I am specifically interested to find out the extentto which teacher educators in Kampala, Uganda are designers of the learning processwith respect to ICT use for professional practice.17As Cope and Kalantzis (2000) have argued, educational research should become adesign science that studies how different curricular, pedagogical, and classroom designsmotivate and achieve different sorts of learning. The notion of design connectspowerfully to the core of creative intelligence the best practitioners need in order to beable to continually redesign their activities in the very act of practice. I strongly believethat there should be a reciprocal relationship between policy and classroom practice. Inmy view, research should be at the center of this relationship between policy and practice.Teachers and literacy instructors are in a better position to tell what works and what doesnot work. They are the agents of policy implementation and they too need to be involvedin policy formulation through empirical research.Drawing from recent works in cognitive science, social cognition andsociocultural approaches, Cope et al (2000) argue that if our primary goal as educators isa degree of mastery in practice, then immersion in a community of learners engaged inauthentic versions of such situated practice is necessary. It would therefore be of interestto examine the dynamics of digital literacy practice in a teacher education setting such asBondo PTC. Human knowledge, Cope and Kalantzis believe, when applicable topractice, is primarily situated in sociocultural settings and heavily contextualized inspecific knowledge domains and practices.Kress (2000) looks at the recent changes in the communication landscape andobserves that over the last three decades a revolution has taken place in the area ofcommunication. He asserts that the effect of this revolution in the communicationlandscape has been to dislodge written language from the centrality ascribed to it inpublic communication. He gives as an example the prominence of the visual and music in18public communication. He identifies the forces behind the changes in the communicationlandscape as the emergence of multiculturalism and technological advancement.Kress proposes a fresh agenda in the domain of communication andrepresentation for a theorization and description of the full range of semiotic modes inuse in a particular society. He argues for a full understanding of the affordances andlimitations of the modes especially their present use in society, their interactions andinterrelations with each other, and an understanding of their place and function in ourimagination of the future. He provides a basis for further research on the affordances andlimitations of the New Literacies including ICT and digital literacies in non-Westerncontexts and cultures. I would therefore like to explore what teacher educators say are theaffordances and limitations of the web-based resources in the teaching of English as asecond language in the Ugandan context. It is not enough for us to continue to rely on thediscourse emanating from Western scholars. We would like to hear the voices of teachereducators, in Uganda and elsewhere, in the discourse.In their study on “Multimodality and English Education in Ugandan Schools”Kendrick, Jones, Mutonyi, and Norton (2006) observed that the concept of multimodalways of communication, though very much in vogue in literacy studies, is not a newmodel within Ugandan communities. In many parts of Uganda, they noted, indigenousknowledge and ways of communicating have been integrated into non-formal learningcontexts, particularly in adult learning programs. However, within the formal schoolsystem, they found that teachers are often constrained in their ability to recognizealternative or indigenous modes of representing and communicating knowledge due to astrong emphasis on examinations, teaching to the curriculum, and lack of resources and19teacher training. Questions need to be asked as to whether teacher educators in PTCs arefacing similar constraints in their efforts to use ICT in their professional practice. Ibelieve there is need to examine these constraints in order to realize the transformativepotential of ICT in education in general and in teacher education specifically.Stein (2008) examines how some key ideas and concepts from multimodal socialsemiotics have been taken up in educational research and applied to specific aspects ofteaching, and learning. She argues that modes are culturally shaped resources for meaningmaking and representation. She believes that signs for meaning making andrepresentation are never neutral but culturally produced and motivated. Stein emphasizesthe importance of developing students’ flexibility across knowledge domains in relationto modes, genres, and discourses as well as developing their critical literacy and inquiry.To achieve these effectively, Stein proposes that teachers need to extend their subjectknowledge in relation to modality and multimodal texts, and their pedagogical knowledgein terms of how to use multimodality to improve students’ learning. She concludes with astrong recommendation for New Literacies in teacher education curriculum and furtherresearch in aspects of multimodality that are not yet sufficiently clarified. The use ofcomputers and the Internet in the teaching of English as an additional language in a nonWestern country like Uganda is one such area where research is needed to discover ifICT anddigital literacy have something to offer for the discourse on the subject.Following my review of the literature, I conclude that while Uganda has made theright decision to embrace ICT for transforming education, our policies and programs, letalone our practices, are not well aligned to achieve this goal. In most of the literature Ihave reviewed on the role of ICT in education, much emphasis seems to be placed on20training teachers to access information but not to produce information. While it is goodfor the teachers and teacher educators in Africa to be able to access information from theInternet, it is not enough for them to stop at accessing information. They must also beable to produce information and articulate their own views on pertinent issues in theteaching profession. If teachers in developing countries like Uganda are only going to beable to retrieve information, it means they are always going to be at the receiving end ofglobal discourse. This will simply perpetuate Western domination, suffocation ofindigenous knowledge production, and local creativity. With electronic networks, a largenumber of scientists and African researchers should be able to make their writings knownand distribute them electronically to a much wider audience. Thus electroniccommunication networks should be made to permit acknowledgement of Africanscientific production, contributing to the emergence of an African scientific community.Drawing on research carried out in contexts of social inequality in South Africaand on the orientation to literacy studies focusing on literacy as situated practices(Prinsloo & Brier, 1996; Street, 1984; 2005), Prinsloo (2005) argues that despite theirglobal impact, New Literacies are best studied as “placed resources” with local effects.He develops his case by further drawing on social models of literacy, language andcommunication. He examines data from a structured, high technology workplace in CapeTown tOwnships, and from examples of young children’s school encounters withcomputers in Khyaelitsha, Cape Town, to develop and illustrate his argument. Heconcludes that the New Literacies do not have an intrinsic resourcefulness. Theirresourcefulness depends on the context in which they are placed. The resourcefulness ofICTs is not universal, instead, it depends on the socio-cultural context in which they are21placed. According to Prinsloo, this view is often obscured by much that is taken forgranted in discussions of the New Literacies in well-resourced contexts in the Westernworld.Prinsloo goes on to recommend situated research to establish whether the NewLiteracies offer opportunities for particular users as opposed to relying on assumptions.The study shows that computers operate as exotic and dysfunctional resources when theyare inserted into an educational context where they do not have a significant part to playin relation to the social and technological practices that characterize that context.Understanding the Ugandan context is a response to Prinsloo’s call for situated researchon New Literacies. My study focuses on examining the extent to which teacher educatorsin the Ugandan context use ICT in their professional practice and the challenges theyencounter in using ICT to develop digital literacy.Mushengyezi (2003) observes that African governments and their developmentpartners often tend to extrapolate communication strategies from the developed worldand apply them wholesale in local environments in Africa that are quite unique. Heargues that such communication strategies do not often affect the rural masses for whichthey are meant because they are not contextualized to the local settings, cultural dialecticsand woridviews of the people. While recognizing that there is need to develop and keepabreast with new technologies like computers and the Internet, he suggests that,indigenous media forms should be made versatile and relevant through hybridization.Even though his article does not directly address the issues of classroom instruction, Istill find his critique of digital tools as a matter of interest primarily because it reflects the22Ugandan context quite well. His article provides a middle ground for the tensionsbetween modern technology and indigenous media.Ramanathan and Morgan (2007) review a number of articles in language policythat seek to emphasize the importance of micro-studies in understanding the realdynamics of the interpretation and application of language policies, including ICTpolicies and in the classroom situations. They argue that prior research in the area oflanguage policy and planning has been focused primarily on macro decision-making andthe impact of national, local and institutional policies in educational settings. Theyobserve that only recently have scholars begun to examine everyday contexts in whichpolicies are interpreted and negotiated in ways that reflect local constraints andpossibilities. Further, they argue that single cases afford glimpses into complex interplaybetween policies, pedagogical practices, institutional constraints and migrations.According to Ramanathan and Morgan (2007), our individual and collective existencedoes not occur in pristine spaces within which we place individuals, institutions, andpolicies, but inside a fluid set of social relations with the emergent possibility of change.Locality, they argue, is not just the end-point of top-down directives but also the genesisof bottom-up initiatives, which cumulatively and over time transform traditional flowsand frame works of decision-making (Ramanathan & Morgan, 2007).Ramanathan and Morgan encourage us to shift our gaze away from viewinglanguage policies as entities that happen to people or that create hierarchies to realmswhere we start thinking more about what we can do with policies in the contingencies ofour work. We need to consider policies (whether ICT policy or language policy) ascomplex multifaceted signs that have distinctive socio-historical formations, whose23interpretations and enactments rest in our hands, and are always contextual andnegotiated. Signs, like policies, signify but never autonomously. They draw their lifeforce from humans who claim and appropriate them into their respective domains(Ramanathan & Morgan, 2007). Thus, there is a need to examine how the ICT policyenvironment in Uganda is impacting the teacher educators’ use of ICT in theirprofessional practice and the challenges they face in using ICT to develop digital literacyskills.Kern (2006) explores the discourse on the unprecedented evolution ofcommunication technology, which has totally changed language pedagogy and languageuse, thus enabling new forms of discourse, new forms of authorship, and ways to createand participate in communities. Some of the central questions in Kern’s article are: Howdo these changes affect the ways we learn, use and teach language? How are peoplesocialized into electronic literacy practices and communities? What communicative,cognitive, and social strategies do people use in computer-mediated environments? Whatare the multi-media interpretations and authoring abilities that people acquire, and howdo they acquire them? What are the implications of electronic literacies for curriculum?Kern argues that as language educators, our job is to reflect on norms and exploretheir underpinnings, their contexts of operations, and their implications. She concludesthat technology offers us a means by which to make the familiar unfamiliar, to reframeand rethink our conceptions of language, communication and society. It is through thisprocess, she contends, that we can best decide how we can and should use technology inlanguage learning and teaching. The issues, which Kern raises in this article, are pertinentto a better understanding of how teacher educators take hold of ICT in their professional24practice. In that, they help us to appreciate the need for further investigations in the use ofweb-based resources in local situations. In the course of professional practice, we need tofind time to engage in some reflection and self-examination. Reflexivity is an importantaspect of the teaching profession. Teachers need to be involved in case studies to be ableto take account of their own practices and improve on the way they practice theirpedagogy. Reflexivity was a core component of my interest in exploring teachereducators’ experiences using digital tools in the execution of their professional duties.Bowers (2000) lends a scathing attack on computer enthusiasm. He argues thatthe subjective, de-centered attitudes hailed by computer enthusiasts as personallyliberating are in reality culturally and environmentally destructive, and reducible to adevil-may-care individualism (Bowers, 2000). He also adds to the list other attitudes thatare reinforced by computer use—moral relativism, a disregard for local knowledge,anthropocentricism and other such demeanors. According to him, technology is a carrierof culturally specific sets of values and worldviews. He believes that experience withparticular forms of technology strengthens certain attitudes while cloaking the possibilityof ways of thinking. He says the experience of computers is the replacement of localknowledge with data. He is particularly concerned with how technology affects languageand thought patterns. His article, although critical of technology, helps us to not takeanything for granted in our bid to use technology in second language learning. We mustbe aware of the sensibilities of employing technologies like computers as pedagogicaltools to enhance learning. It is even more intricate when reference is made to the teachingof English in a country like Uganda where English is still in many ways regarded not25oniy as second language but also as a foreign language despite the status assigned to itas official language by law.2.5 Uganda’s Experiment with ICT in Teacher EducationIn 2006, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)conducted a study in Uganda with the objective of finding out if ICT makes a differencein the professional development of teachers in 16 of the Uganda’s 47 Primary TeachersColleges and what issues would need to be considered in a scaling up of ICT activities(USAID, 2006). The findings of the study highlighted three aspects as priority areas;namely training, access to Internet resources and networking among teacher educators.Based on the findings of the USAID study and other similar studies, steps have beentaken to improve the quality of education in the country through ICT training initiatives,yet things seem to be only getting worse. There is a concern over the decliningperformance in students’ achievement in national examinations as shown in a recentnewspaper story by Tabu Butagira and Grace Natabaalo, which appeared in Uganda’sDaily Monitor of January 17, 2009. The article reported:At least 89,306, nearly a fifth of the 463,631 candidates who sat Primary LeavingExaminations (PLE) last year, flatly failed all the four papers; English,Mathematics, Social Studies and Science, highlighting the highest failure rate inthe three years. In the 2008 results released yesterday, officials said only 17,021pupils passed in division one with as many as 10,666 of them boys and 6,355girls. This number of grade one is just about half of the 31,969 pupils whoobtained the top grade in 2007, showing more than 50% decline in absolute‘‘Reference to Bonny Norton and Maureen Kendrick — Hampton Project Proposal document, not dated.26figures since the number of registered candidates grew from 404,985 the previousyear to 463,631 last year.It may not be easy to establish the real cause of the persistent decline instudents’performance but one thing that we can do is to start researching into programsthat have been initiated to particularly address the concerns about the quality of teachereducation. The introduction of ICT in teacher education is one such program. My interestin examining the extent to which the teacher educators use ICT in their professionalpractice and the challenges they face in trying to use ICT to develop digital literacy isconsistent with the concerns being raised. We need to find out how the teacher educatorsare taking hold of ICT to enhance their professional practice.2.6 SummaryIn the literature reviewed in this chapter, I began by observing that ICT hasbecome one of the most common subjects of discussion in development discourse. Indeveloping countries, broadly, and in Africa specifically, ICT has been seen as thepanacea to our problems in education. Many African countries are under enormouspressure from foreign governments and multinational companies to formulate nationalpolicies and programs to promote ICT for national development. In Uganda, an ICTMinistry has been established to spearhead the promotion of ICT to realize its vision oftransforming the country into a knowledge-based society.I agree with the ICT enthusiasts that ICT and digital literacy may have thepotential to transform our economies and systems of education. However, I havecontested that the Western model based on the mere transfer of digital literacy skills—aswas the case with earlier literacy interventions transplanted from the Northern27hemisphere to the Southern hemisphere without an adequate understanding of the localliteracy practices and the sociocultural contexts—may not lead to the full realization ofthat potential. I have noted that much of the emphasis in most of the ICT interventions ineducation have stressed the need to equip participants with digital skills to accessinformation from the Internet. Little or no emphasis is being placed on the need todevelop participants’ capacity to generate knowledge for global consumption. Similarly,participants are not being prepared to critically evaluate the volumes of information theyare likely to encounter on the Web for their authenticity and relevance in local contexts.The foreign governments and the multinational companies that are behind the push forICT in Africa in general and Uganda more specifically might be more interested insimply creating markets for their ICT products than genuinely helping the country totransform socially and economically.I have framed my argument within the New Literacy Studies framework, whichsees liteiacy as a social practice situated in a sociocultural context (Barton & Hamilton,1998; Barton, Hamilton, & Ivanic, 2000; Gee, 1996; Heath, 1983; Prinsloo, 2008;Scribner & Cole, 1981; Street, 1984; 2003; 2005). I have drawn primarily from Street’s(2001) ideological model, which starts from the premise that literacy is a social practice,not simply a technical skill; it is always embedded in socially constructed epistemologicalprinciples. It is about knowledge and power. Literacy is always contested, both inmeaning and in its practice; hence particular versions of it are always ideological androoted in particular woridviews and the desire for that view of literacy to dominate and tomarginalize others. The historically privileged position ascribed to written language sincethe spread of Western civilization and the dominance of the English language in formal28education is a case in point. The push for ICT and digital literacy in developing countries,if not carefully scrutinized, may reproduce further Western domination and stagnation ofprogress in developing countries.I therefore conclude that for the transformative potential of ICTs to be fullyrealized in education in developing countries like Uganda, a number of issues need to betaken into consideration: (i) effort must be made to understand and integrate localknowledge and local literacy practices into intervention programs; (ii) interventionsshould not only focus on equipping people with digital skills to access information fromthe Web but participants’ generative and productive capabilities should also be developedto contribute local knowledge to the global discourse; (iii) programs must be culturallyand ideologically sensitive to the local situation; (iv) in-depth ethnographic case studiesshould inform digital literacy intervention initiatives in local contexts; (v) the projectbeneficiaries must be involved in all stages of such programs, from inception, through toplanning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, in order to assume full ownershipof such programs and guarantee their sustainability. In the next chapter, I will describehow the study was conducted, the methods and procedures used for data collection, dataanalysis, and a the rationale for choosing those methods.29CHAPTER 3RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY3.1 IntroductionThis chapter describes the methodology and techniques used to collect data in thestudy. The data in this study were collected using qualitative study techniques, namelydocument analysis, questionnaires, focus group discussions and journal reflections. Mychoice of these qualitative study techniques of data collection was based on the nature ofmy study and the type of research questions the study was trying to address. The firstresearch question sought to map the ICT policy environment in Uganda with a focus ondigital literacy education. More specifically, it sought to examine how digital literacyeducation at Bondo PTC is situated in the current ICT environment in Uganda. Thesecond question sought to examine the extent to which the teacher educators are usingICT in their professional practice, and the challenges they experience in trying to use ICTin digital literacy development.In order to have a sense of how the educational needs are being addressed in thecurrent ICT policy environment in Uganda, I chose to examine the policy documents,ministerial statements, official reports, media reports and research reports. Further, Ireviewed previous studies done on the subject of ICT and education. This helped me toget a sense of the national vision for ICT integration in the country. Further still, I held akey informant interview with the Minister of ICT. I felt the interview was necessarybecause it would help me to get some insights on the interpretation of the policy and thepractical steps government is taking to promote ICT in education. The use of thesedifferent methods for data collection helped me to corroborate and augment evidence30from alternative sources and enhance the validity and reliability of my conclusions. Idrew on Wolcott’s (1994) mnemonics Of three E’s in (ethnographic) qualitative datacollection, which emphasizes: experiencing (participant observation), enquiring(interviewing), and examining (studying documents).In addition to analyzing relevant documents and interviewing the ICT minister, Ialso took advantage of my sociocultural background as a Ugandan scholar studying at aCanadian university to infuse into the discussion my personal account of some of thechanges I have witness from childhood. I was born in Uganda in the a small village calledInia Village which is located at the eastern slopes of Ujukua Hill in Terego County, Aruadistrict. The village, incidentally, derives its name from the Lugbara language word “mi”which means darkness. The village is surrounded by mountains, hills and rivers, whicheffectively cut off the inhabitants from communicating with the rest of the world. Thepeople in my village were therefore believed to be living in darkness because of itsremoteness. I grew up observing some of the changes that have taken place in thecommunication landscape in the village and the rest of the country. Moreover, I comefrom a predominantly oral society where information and culture is passed from onegeneration to another by the word of mouth through storytelling. I felt drawing on thatsociocuitural background and using my lived experiences as starting point would enrichmy study. The use of personal experiences as starting point in research is supported byscholars like van Manen (1990) and Merleau-Ponty (1962), who argue that one’spersonal experiences are immediately available to oneself in a way that no one else’s are(van Manen, 1990). I also discovered, in the course of reviewing the available literatureon the subject of my study, that few Uganda scholars have done studies on ICT and31teacher education. Thus, adding my own voice as a Ugandan scholar at a CanadianUniversity was an important contribution.With respect to the second research question, which was “To what extent do theteacher educators use ICT in their professional practice and what are the challenges theyface in developing digital literacy?”, I used four qualitative study techniques of datacollection, namely questionnaires, online group discussions, journal reflections, anddocument analysis. I chose to use these qualitative study techniques because I wasinterested in getting the teacher educators’ accounts of their use of digital literacy in thecontext of their professional practice at the college setting. I felt these qualitative studytechniques would enable me to study the participants’ actions and accounts in everydaycontexts, rather than under conditions created by me as a researcher. In addition, mystudy had a single setting with a very small group of only six participants to facilitate anin-depth study; these factors made my study ideal for the use of these qualitative studytechniques. Details on how each technique was used are highlighted in the subsequentsections of this chapter.3.2 Site and Sample SelectionThe selection of the site and sample for my study was done in the course ofdesigning the larger study of which mine was a part (see introduction under Chapter 1above). There was need to have both urban and rural colleges included in the largerstudy. Bondo PTC happened to be the most urban of all the colleges because of itslocation in the capital city, making it an appropriate choice for inclusion. It has acosmopolitan student and staff composition with diverse sociocultural backgrounds.32Thus, the college was chosen because of its typicality as a large, urban college withstudents of diverse sociocultural backgrounds.The college offers Grade III Certificate Course for secondary school students whowish to train as primary school teachers. These are commonly known as pre-servicestudents. In addition to the regular Grade III Certificate, the college also hosts a nationaloutreach program known as Teacher Development Management System (TDMS).Through this program, it offers in-service training for people who are teaching in schoolswithout professional teacher training qualifications. These categories of students receivetraining during holidays for a period of four years before they are awarded Grade IIIteaching certificates. The TDMS program has a component for head teachers’management training and community mobilization and another component for continuousprofessional development for tutors, teachers, head teachers, students and pupils. Inaddition to the pre-service and in-service programs, the college also hosts a Diploma inEducation — Primary, External (DEPE) Program of Kyambogo University. This programcommoiily known as DEPE provides an opportunity for Grade III teachers to upgrade toGrade V. In addition to these, an Information and Technology (IT) skills training coursehas also been introduced covering areas such as: Introduction to computers and theInternet, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Inspiration, websitedesigning and project-based learning. This training is provided to both students andmembers of staff at no cost.3.3 Research ParticipantsAccording to Hammersley and Atkinson (2007), the selection of participants maysometimes be undertaken in terms of fairly standard ‘face-sheet’ demographic criteria.33Depending on the particular context, one may select by reference to categories of gender,race, ethnicity, age, occupation, educational qualifications, and so on. In my case, I wasinterested in selecting only English language teacher educators at Bondo PTC.Interestihgly, there were six language teacher educators at the college. I involved all ofthem in the study. They included five women and one man.The participants were all experienced teacher educators who had taught atprimary, secondary, and tertiary levels of education in Uganda. Five of them started theirteaching careers as Grade III teaching certificate holders and taught in primary schools.One started as a Gradejj8teaching certificate holder before upgrading to Grade III. Allcompleted a Diploma in Teacher Education commonly known as DTE at KyambogoUniversity in Uganda. They all had Bachelor of Education degrees. Five had eithercompleted or were about to complete Masters Degrees in Arts, Education, Science orHuman Resource Management. Only one of them had not undertaken basic training inICT as shown in the table on Participants’ educational and ICT training backgrounds (seeTable 3.3.1).Besides teaching at the college, nearly all the participants had otherresponsibilities either at the college itself or in outreach programs such as the TeacherDevelopment and Management System (TDMS). None of the teacher educators stayed atthe college because the college does not have enough residential houses for staff. They all8Grade II teachers were recruited right from Primary schools to go and train as primary school teachersmostly in the 1960s, 1970s and parts of 1980s. During those years teaching used to be a prestigiousprofession in Uganda and the grade II teachers trained for three years before they qualified to teach in theprimary schools. That crop of teachers were known for their dedication, hard work, excellence andprofessionalism. However later in 1980s, the program was phased out to give way for the Grade IIICertificate course.34operate from their places of residence far from the college, and hence, spend much timetravelling to and from the college.The participants experienced the system of education as students in Uganda. Theyknow wbat the system is like right from the primary through to the tertiary level, how thesystem operates, what is expected of teachers by the parents and the public, what isvalued and what is not valued. As will be discussed in the next chapter, this has had asignificant influence on their career goals and pedagogical practice including the extent towhich they use ICT in teaching in their professional practice.Table 3.3.1. Participants’ educational and ICT training backgrounds:Participant Gender Age Education Subject ICT Training BackgroundJalia Female 47 MA, BED, English Connect-Ed, Harvard onlineDTE, course, (MA Course unit atGrade III MUKGrade IIHella Female 45 MED, BED, English Connect-Ed., Harvard unitDTE, online learning course,Grade III Introduction to computers ascourse unit at MUKHarriet Female 39 MED, BED, English Connect-Ed., Introduction toDTE, computers in education as MAGrade III course unitAisha Female 34 MSC English Introduction to computer(HRM), studies as course MSC unitBED, DTEKamuli Male 41 BED, English No training, DTE,Grade IIIJanene Female 47 MED, BED, English Introduction to computers atDTE, Entebbe (Internet café)Grade III353.4 Research Design and Method of Data CollectionThe study was originally designed to begin with fieldwork where I would be collectingdata at the research site from April 2008 up to August 2008. However, due to unforeseenproblems I could not complete the data collection process until December 2008. Detailsof the specific activities are explained in the table 3.4.1 in the time line below.Table 3.4.1: The time lineDate ActivityMarch 25, 2008 • Visited research site (Bondo PTC) to seek permission toconduct study at the college but didn’t find administrators.April 2, 2008 • Visited Bondo PTC for the second time to seek permission• Talked to deputy principal who granted permission• Deputy principal offered to inform participants• Agreed to have meeting with participants on 07.04.2009April 7, 2008 • Maureen Kendrick and I met participants at Bondo.• Briefed participants on the entire research project• Gave participants consent forms to fill for their consent• Administered Questionnaire 1April 7-8, 2008 • Collected questionnaires from participants• Held individual interviews to seek clarificationsApril 9, 2008 • Held focus group discussion where participants sharedwith us their experiences with the use of ICT in theirprofessional practiceJune 12,2008 • Met participants to determine why their participation inthe online discussion was low, and learnt that manyparticipants lacked skills to register for online discussionas it was their first time to engage in an online discussionAugust 11, 2008 . Bonny Norton and I met participants to share theirexperiences on the use of ICT in the previous monthsAugust 14, 2008 • Bonny Norton and I interviewed the ICT Minister at theICT Ministry Headquarters in Uganda• Briefed the minister on our research projectNovember 2008 • E-Granary workshop at Bondo PTC in UgandaAdministered exit questionnairesSept. 2008—Feb 2009 • Preliminary data analysis (Coding and labeling of data)March — June 2009 • Data analysis and report writingJune 30, 2009 • Defense of thesisJuly 2, 2009 • Submission of thesis363.4.1 Stage 1: Field Visits, Questionnaire 1 and Focus Group DiscussionsOnce the preliminary consultations and arrangements had been made with theresearch team at the University of British Columbia, the next step was for me to gainaccess to the research site and seek permission to carry out research at the college. OnMarch 25, 2008, I visited the college with the hope of meeting the principal tutor to seekhis permission to conduct research at the college. Unfortunately, I was informed by hissecretary, who looked rather protective of her boss, that all the tutors, including theprincipal tutor, had gone for a supervision exercise in schools and colleges and wouldonly come back the following week.I visited the college again on April 2, 2008 and managed to meet the deputyprincipal in charge of outreach programs, who incidentally happened to be my formerstudent and a colleague with whom I had worked before. This made things easier for me.After I briefed her about the research project, she welcomed the research readily andoffered to brief the principal about the project on my behalf. She also offered to mobilizethe participants, including herself. The recruitment of the participants into the study wastherefore relatively easy because of the professional relationship I had with the deputyprincipal.On April 7, 2008, Maureen Kendrick and I had a meeting with the participants tobrief them on the project and to begin data collection. We made clarifications wherenecessary. We asked participants to very carefully read and sign consent forms. We thenadministered Questionnaire 1 (see Appendix A). The questionnaire mainly sought tocapture information on participants’ personal background, ICT training, access to ICT,37and the extent to which participants were able to integrate ICT resources into theirteacher education classes in language education.On April 7 — 8, 2008, we collected the questionnaires and used the informationprovided in them to prepare a set of interview questions. We then proceeded to holdindividual interviews with the teacher educators to clarify the information they providedon the questionnaires. This helped us to put the data they provided in proper perspective.On April 9, we held a focus group discussion with the teacher educators. Krueger(1994) suggests that for complex problems, focus group size should be kept to no morethan about seven participants. In our case, six teacher educators participated in the focusgroup discussions. The meeting lasted for approximately 3 hours. The meeting was veryinteractive. The informal group discussion atmosphere of the focus group interviewstructur was intended to encourage participants to freely express any ideas, views andopinions they had. Thus, participants were eager to share with us their experiences withthe use of ICT in their professional practices. We established a collegial relationship withthe participants and gave each participant an opportunity to say whatever they wanted toshare on the subject of ICT in teacher education. In this group discussion, the teachereducators were able to openly share with us, and the entire group, their responses to thequestionnaire. They provided detailed information about how they tried to use ICT intheir teaching and the challenges they faced. Thus, the focus group was a useful strategyfor triangulation (Berg, 2007). During the focus group discussions, I was able to probeinto responses that were not clear in the first instance. I used the data from the focusgroup discussions to corroborate evidence gathered through questionnaires.38The focus group discussion was also used to further explain the research projectin more detail and to solicit the input of the participants in shaping the design andoutcome of the research. For example, in the course of our interactions with theparticipants, we came to learn that the Internet at the college lab had been disconnecteddue to non-payment of the connectivity fee. The college was expecting to receive moneyfrom the Ministry of Education to clear the payment. Unfortunately the money was notforthcoming. We had assumed that there was Internet connectivity at the college anddesigned much of the data to be collected from online interactions. The lack ofconnectivity was a set back in the study. It forced us to review our strategy as explainedin Stage Two below.3.4.2 Stage 2: Online Group DiscussionsAs Hammersley and Atkinson (2007) have observed, digital technology hasexpandcd the notion of what constitutes a “field.” Virtual fields and virtual fieldwork arenot only now possible but also assuming increasing significance in a social world that issimultaneously global and digital. As such, studies on digital life are now an importantaspect of contemporary social research. Therefore, my choice of the use of online groupdiscussion approach was not only appropriate to address main research questions but itwas also consistent with the current trend in virtual community studies.According to our original plan, from April 14 to August 11, 2008, the teachereducators would document their personal and professional Internet use through joumalingand artifact collection (i.e., documents printed from the Internet). At the end of everyweek, the teacher educators were to bring forward for online discussion a critical incidentfrom their reflections. We set up a forum for participants to hold online discussion39through Google groups. It was hoped that following a careful review of the participants’journals, artifacts and online discussions, I would identify a key issue for discussionduring a face-to-face fortnightly focus group meetings with the participants.Unfortunately, many participants could not register for the online group discussions. Iwondered what the problem could be.On June 12, 2009, I held a meeting with the participants to try to understand whythere was an absence of participation among the teacher educators in the planned onlinegroup discussions. Participants revealed a number of reasons to explain the lack of activeparticipation in the online discussions. The reasons given ranged from lack of access toInternet to lack of basic skills to complete the online registration process. The onlinerequirement of the data collection process revealed many of the inherent challenges ofusing and integrating ICT in professional practice in the Ugandan context.The difficulties we experienced in using the online method of data collectionbecome an important learning experience for the researchers. Nevertheless, the few whomanaged to register made very useful contributions to the data collected. We thendecided to ask participants to make journal entries to be shared with others via email asattachments. Still a few participants had difficulties in doing that. Eventually we askedthem to make their entries in hard copies, which all became vital sources of data for thestudy. Participants made journal entries once in a month from April to December 2008,though some participants occasionally took more than a month to submit their entries dueto personal reasons. Due to these ongoing challenges, some of the teacher educators wereable to participate more actively than others and consequently there is a greaterrepresentation of their responses in Chapter 5.403.4.3 Stage 3: Key Informant InterviewOn August 14, 2008, Bonny Norton and I scheduled a key informant interviewwith the Minister of ICT in Uganda. The interview was took place at the Ministry video-conference room in Kampala. The main purpose of the interview was to understand theMinistry’s strategic vision for the development of ICT in the country in general andeducation in particular. We also wanted to share with the minister and governmentinformation about our ongoing study and other research initiatives in Uganda and Africamore broadly. The interview yielded very useful data especially in relation to the stepsgovernment has taken to promote ICT in the country. The interview was also essential tocorroborate evidence gathered from alternative sources of data.The Minister briefed us about the government’s perspective on the role of ICT inthe creation of a knowledge-based society in Uganda, the practical steps they have takento create a legal framework conducive for attracting private investment in thetelecommunication sector, as well as the ongoing ICT initiatives in governmentministries, schools, colleges and universities.3.4.4 Stage 4: Questionnaire 2 and c-Granary WorkshopOriginally, we had planned to complete the fieldwork and data collection byAugust 2008. However, this had to be rescheduled because the participants were involvedin a number of other programs at the college and in the outreach centers. It was decidedin collaboration with research participants that data collection would continue through tothe month of December 2008.From August to November 2008, I engaged in preliminary analysis of data wehad collected through Questionnaire 1, the field visits, focus group discussions, informal41meetings, interviews, and artifact collection. During this period, I identified themesacross the different data sets and coded and labeled emerging themes and concepts(Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). I also identified gaps in the data, whichneeded addressing through further data collection. Consequently, in consultation with mysupervisors we then designed a second questionnaire to complete the data collectionprocess. The main purpose of the Questionnaire 2 (see Appendix B) was to seek furtherclarification from the participants on some of the issues they had raised and capture anynew issues that may have emerged. It also aimed at soliciting participants’recommendations on the way forward for the integration of ICT in language teachereducation in the context of their local context, at the college in particular and Uganda ingeneral. The questionnaires were administered after a training workshop in which theteacher educators had just been introduced to e-Granary digital library commonly knownas “Internet in a box”. We therefore asked them to include their views on the possibilityof integrating the e-Granary as an educational resource in teacher education in Uganda. Iwill talk more about the e-Granary digital library in Chapter Five.3.5 Data AnalysisWith regards to my first research question which focused on ICT policy inUganda in relation to education, I mainly used content analysis (Carley, 1990) whichinvolved a careful, detailed, systematic examination of the National ICT policy inUganda (2003), Ministerial Policy Statement for Ministry Information andCommunication Technology (2008-2009) financial year, in an effort to identif’ patternsand thethes. I used color-coding to label emerging themes from the text, which I thenorganized for easy interpretation of government’s understanding of ICT and its role in42education broadly and teacher education, in particular. To achieve triangulation, Itranscribed the key informant interview with the ICT Minister into a written text foranalysis. My analysis also draws on some of my own lived experiences with thetechnological changes in Uganda, which none of the methods I chose for data collectionwould have captured. The use of personal experiences as starting point in research issupported by scholars like van Manen (1990) and Merleau-Ponty (1962), who argue thatone’s personal experiences are immediately available to oneself in a way that no oneelse’s are (van Manen, 1990).As regards question two on the extent to which the teacher educators use ICT inthe development of digital literacy skills, examined the data collected in the form of fieldnotes, questionnaires and journal reflections to look for patterns. All data were analyzedand coded using a constant-comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Lincoln &Guba, 1985). I color-coded the data, organized them under themes such as responsestowardsiCT, ICT access time, reasons for ICT use and challenges faced, which I later onused to present my findings. I achieved triangulation by corroborating data the teachereducators provided through the different sources of evidence.3.6 Limitations of the Studythere are three main limitations of my study. One relates to the setting. Thesetting for my study was an urban setting, which cannot be compared to a college in ruralarea. Thus, the findings of the study may not adequately depict what happens in ruralcolleges in Uganda in some aspects. Secondly, the fact I have worked with some of theparticipants before, and they see me as a colleague, may have influenced the way theyresponded to some questions. Finally, the fact that I did not have an opportunity to43observe the participants in class but largely depended on what they told me could havedenied me the opportunity to confirm some of the claims participants made. NeverthelessI believe these limitations do not necessarily compromise the over-all reliability of thefindings of my study as I tried to use alternative sources of data collection to minimizethe shortcomings.3.7 Ethical ConsiderationsLtook care of ethical considerations by giving participants detailed information onthe research and inviting questions of interest to them with regards to the potential risksand benefits. I made sure they gave voluntary consent to participate in the study and alsomade sure that they knew that if any participant wanted to withdraw from the study theywere free to do so with out any preconditions. After writing the report, I made sure I sentthem soft copies of the draft report to read through and find out if it was a fairrepresentation of their views. In order to safeguard participants’ privacy, we agreed that Iwould use pseudonyms instead of their real names in the report. A member check wasalso completed; all participants were provided an opportunity to read and respond to thethesis.3.8 SummaryIn summary, therefore, my research was basically a qualitative study in which Imainly used qualitative study techniques. I began by examining policy documents on ICTand teacher education, ministerial statements, official reports and media reports in orderto have a better sense of the relationship between ICT policy and educational practice inUganda. I also drew on my personal experiences as a Ugandan scholar who was born inthe country and who did not only witness but also experienced some of the major changes44in the information and communication sector in the country. I also had an addedadvantage of being a lecturer at Kyambogo University, which is in charge of teachereducation in Uganda. In terms of fieldwork, I used questionnaires, focus groupdiscussion, online group discussion and key informant interview for my data collection.The uses of various methods of data collection made it possible for me to triangulate myfindings to establish consistencies in order to guarantee their validity and reliability.In the next chapter, I will describe the relationship between ICT policy andeducational practice in Uganda. I will give a historical context of the evolution of ICTpolicy in Uganda and highlight some of the practical steps that have been taken tointegrate ICT in education, with teacher education as the primary focus.45CHAPTER 4ICT POLICY AND EDUCATIONAL PRACTICE IN UGANDA4.1 IntroductionThis chapter addresses the first research question, which seeks to examine therelationship between ICT policy and educational practice in Uganda. In order to explainthe relationship between ICT policy and educational practice in the Uganda, I will beginby reflecting on my childhood memories of some of the major changes in the informationand communication landscape that I witnessed while growing up in Uganda. I willpresent the historical context in which the current ICT infrastructure evolved. Thereafter,I will highlight key aspects of the national ICT policy framework before outlining howeducational needs have been addressed through ICT use broadly and in teacher educationmore specifically, and draw on the key informant interview with the ICT Minister inUganda. I will also draw content analysis of three key policy documents: the NationalICT Policy, 2003; the Draft Policy for Information and Communication Technology inthe Education Sector, 2005; and the Ministerial Policy Statement for the Ministry ofInformation and Communication for the 2008/2009 financial year. I conclude the chapterwith a discussion on some of the salient issues emerging from my data analysis.4.2 Personal Childhood MemoriesIn my over thirty years of existence, I have never seen such profound changes inany aspect ofthe Ugandan society as I have seen in the information and communicationsector. When I was still a little boy running around with patched shorts, and bare chest,for that was the way oflife in the village, my parents used to tell us stories ofthe mode ofcommunication used by the colonial administrators. We used to laugh when my father46narrated that during the colonial period the chiefs had some special people in theirpalaces that would run several kilometers holding letters tied on sticksfrom one parish toanother to deliver official communication. It sounded very strange andfunny to us. Wewould ask all sorts of questions to try to understand how the system worked. We wouldask what kinds ofpersons were the runners? Didn ‘t they get tired along the way? Howwere they chosen? Did they enjoy what they were doing? We would ask what if therunner was caught up by rain in a place where there were no houses and the letter wassoaked by rain. My father would tell us that under no circumstance would the runnerallow himself to be soaked by rain because the consequences of allowing himself (therunners were usually men) to be soaked by rain were extremely unbearable including thepossibility ofbeing put before afiring squad.When Ijoined school in the 1980s, the postal services were already in existence.Once or twice in a month, the headmaster would go to the district headquarters and comeback with a bag of letters. The names of the people to whom the letters were addressedwould be read aloud during the morning assembly and students who knew the ownerswould be asked to collect the letters. It was very prestigious for a student to collect aletter for a person he or she knew. During break time, the rest of the students wouldgather around such a student to admire the letter, usually in brown khaki envelops. Thestudent looked special. He or she was associated with the postal services, which seemedvery sophisticated at that time. Many ofus could not imagine a system ofcommunicationbetter than the postal services. It was great! One day my aunt, who was also a teacher atArua Demonstration School, sent myfather a letter. When they read his name, I thought Ihad head it wrong because I did not expect myfamily to be in the category ofthose who47used such a modern system ofcommunication. He was a peasantfarmer who had nothingto do with letters, which were thingsfor people working in offices. The headmaster had topronounce the name three times before I gathered courage to go for the letter. At breaktime that day, I was swarmed by students curious to see or touch the letter. Many studentswanted to become my friend. Some students tried to bribe me into friendship with gflsrangingfrom roastedpotatoes to pencils and books just to be allowed to touch the letter.All of a sudden, I became the centre of attraction among not only students but alsoteachers. Shortly after that, I was made a class monitor and the following term I becamea prefect largely because, I believe, of my association with the “modern” system ofcommunication. I was perceived to have connections with the civilized world, whichenhanced my identity and increased my influence at school. I started receivingpreferential treatment.Another incident, which I cannotforget in relation to personal experiences of thechanges in the field of communication in my flfetime, was the day my father managed tobuy a radio, which was the first of its kind in the whole village. In fact, he bartered theradio with six goats four of which were given to the owner instantly and the remainingtwo were yet to be born in afew weeks time. The coming ofthe radio into the village waslike a miracle! When news of the radio started circulating in the village, it was like amystery. Someone who has lived in a rural village would know what I am referring to.The news swept the village like bushfire. All sorts ofpeople—the young and old, men andwomen—descended on us demanding to see the thing for themselves. An old mancommonly known as “baba” because of his advanced age made the crowd burst intolaughter when he curiously asked fmy father had not brought home what he referred to48as the “white people ‘s ghosts” to come and finish them (the village) off Another manbegged my father to open the radio so that he could see those tiny human beings talkinginside the radio with such loud voices. They strongly believed that those were actualhuman beings talking inside the radio but they wondered how grown up people couldhide inside such a tiny thing and talk in a very clear voice. Nevertheless, the radio soonbecame a major source of information in the whole village. Teachers and civil servantswould converge at home to listen to news, announcements and entertainment. The schoolclock was adjusted using the time announced on the radio. People with watches,especially teachers, also relied on the radio to adjust their time. The radio started havingan impact on people in the village. Any information passed through the radio was treatedwith respect and given all the upmost attention, especially fsuch information came froma government official. The phrase “The radio said... The radio said.... “ became commonin the village.People started growing cash crops particularly cotton and tobacco to raisemoneyfor buying radios. Unexpectedly the radio became an instrument oftransformationin the village. With time, more people managed to acquire their own radios and theinformation and communication landscape was dominated by Radio Uganda for manyyears. Eventually the radio became ordinary. The excitement it generated throughout thewhole village slowly disappeared as the number of radios in the communities increasedandpeople got used to it.Besides being a source of information and entertainment, the radio was alsoeffectively used as a medium of instruction for education programs in dfferent subjectareas using dfferent languages. One of my favorite programs on Radio Uganda was a49storytelling program in Lugbara, my mother tongue. I loved the program so muchbecause nearly all the stories read on the radio were the very stories we used to tellaround the fireplace during moonlit nights in the village (though I sometimes felt that Icould tell the stories better than those people on the radio did). I was not the only personwho enjoyed the stories on the radio programs. At school, other students also reportedthat they too enjoyed the stories. We would compete in trying to narrate the stories weheard the previous day. Educational programs such as the Sunday Literature Clubbecame common on the national radio in the 1980s. Prominent authors and teachers ofliterature were brought to discuss topical issues on radiofor the benefit ofstudents in thecountryside. We gave ourselves names after the famous program presenters on thenational radio. Nicknames like Collins Bolingo Nyale, Josh Ajabo, Char Char CharlesKorototo Agondua, Avua Lino and Baale Francis were common among children inschools because ofthe influence ofthe radio as a medium ofcommunication in the 1970sand 1980s. However, the problem with the radio programs was that it was not possiblefor the program presenters to get instant feedback from the listener. Radio programswere not as interactive then as they are today where listeners can make direct telephonecall during radio programs. The presenters therefore could not gauge the impact oftheirpresentation on the listeners. Otherwise, they were touching the lives of many peopleespecially young people deep down in the villages.turrently another unprecedented change, the explosion of digital tools likecomputers, mobile telephones, and the Internet as part of the information andcommunication landscape is unfolding before our eyes. Before the emergence of mobiletelephones in Uganda in the mid 1990s, we continued to rely on postal services and50Radio Uganda for distant communication. I recall how we would get excited aboutsending a letter home and receiving a reply within a month. That seemedfast. We wouldgather in groups and talk about how fast the post office had become. Each person wouldalways want to tell their personal experience of receiving a reply to their letter within amonth. Alternatively, fthe message we wanted to send home was very urgent we wouldsacr/Ice a few shillings for a radio announcement. Today, things have changed andchanged fundamentally. The postal service and Radio Uganda have almost run out ofbusiness. Mobile telephones and the Internet have taken over. Hardly any one now talksabout sending letters and making radio announcementsfor ordinary communications theway we did in the 1980s andparts of1990s.The Internet in particular has brought unprecedented dimensions to both the speedand scale of change in the global communication landscape. These changes in theinformation and communication landscape in Uganda brought about by the explosion ofdigital communication have profound implications for teaching and learning in schoolsand institutions of learning. In the ensuing discussion, I will examine briefly the historicalcontext of the evolution of the current ICT environment in Uganda as well as thepractical steps Uganda has taken to embrace ICT generally and in education specifically.4.3 The Historical ContextThe current ICT environment in Uganda, in my view, is a result of theconvergence of both external and internal factors. Internally, the perennial problems ofunderdevelopment such as biting poverty, high illiteracy rates, political instability,rampant unemployment, low productivity, inequality and disease have always keptUganda searching for solutions to transform its economy. Externally, the International51Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were pushing for structural adjustmentpolicies of liberalization and privatization as a precondition for lending aid to developingcountries. In the case of Uganda, the critical incident leading to the changes in thecommunication landscape was the dismantling of government-owned Uganda Post (UP)and Telecommunications Corporation (UP & TC), the take-over of thetelecommunication services by Uganda Telecom and the subsequent privatization ofUganda Telecom in 1996.The privatization of Uganda Telecom was followed and reinforced by legislativeenactments. These included the Electronic Media Statute of 1996 and theCommunications Act of 1997, for which the objective was to increase the penetration andlevel of telecommunication services in the country through private sector investment.There was also the Rural Communications Development Policy of 2001, which aimed atproviding access to basic communication within reasonable distance to all Ugandans.These enactments provided the initial legal framework that triggered the inflow of privateforeign investment into the telecommunication sector in the country. Prior to 1996,Uganda’s communication infrastructure was among the least developed in Africa(Ministry of Works, Housing and Communication, 2003). However, because of theliberalization policies adopted in the 1 990s, the ICT infrastructure situation in the countrybetween 1996 and 2004 changed as illustrated in the table below:52Table 4.1 Growth in ICT Infrastructures 1996 — 2004SERVICES PROVIDED 1996 1998 1999July Feb July 2002 2003 20042000 2001 2001Fixed Lines Connected 46,0 56,0 58,058,000 61,000 56,149 59,472 56,793 7127200 00 00Mobile Subscriber 3,50 40,0 70,0 140,00210,00 276,03 505,99 777,56 9870 00 00 0 0 4 63 456National Telephone 1 2 22 2 2 2 2 2OperatorsMobile Cellular Operators 1 2 2 23 3 3 3 3Internet Access Service 2 7 99 8 9ProvidersInternet/Email Subscribers 50012006500*6,500 7024 8000(Wireless Access)*Internet/Email Subscribers 4,0004,500(Dial-up)VSAT International Data 48 8 8 8 8GatewaysPublic Internet Service 3 8 14 2449 17 18 18Providers (Cafés)Public Payphone Licences 7 13 1918Paging Service Providers 2 3 3 33FM Radio Stations 14 28 37 40 100110 117 125 129Television Stations 4 8 1 1 11 1920 22 23 25Private Radio 453 530 688 688770 1210Communication OperatorsNational Postal Operators 1 1 1 1 11 1 1 1Courier Service Providers 7 8 10 1010 11 19 19Source: Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) http://www.ucc.co.ugThe trend depicted in the table above shows a significant growthincommunication and ICT infrastructure in Uganda between 1996 and 2004.For example,fixed telephone lines connected grew from 46,000 in 1996 to71,272 in 2004, whichtranslates to a 54% increase. The number of mobile subscribers grew froma mere 3,500in 1996 to 987,456 in 2004, an increase of 28,113%. Internet andemail subscribers usingwireless facility grew from 500 in 2000 to 8,000 in 2004, which translatesto a 150,000%increase.53By 2008, there were over 5.3 million telephone subscribers in Uganda andtelecom operators grew from three to five within a space of just one year (Ministry ofInformation and Communication Technology, 2008). The phenomenal growth in theinformation and communication infrastructure in Uganda has compelled government totake appropriate steps to streamline the integration of ICT into the different ministriesand sectors of the Ugandan society. In the following section, I highlight some of themajor developments leading to the current state of ICT in education in Uganda.4.4 National ICT PoliciesThe national ICT Policy in Uganda was established in 2003. The ICT policyframework document envisions a Uganda where national development, especially humandevelopment and good governance, shall be sustainably enhanced, promoted andaccelerated by efficient application and use of ICT, including timely access toinformation (Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications, 2003). Objective # 2 ofthe ICT policy focuses on literacy improvement and human resource capacity buildingwith strategies that include:1. Integrating ICT into mainstream educational curricula as well as other literacyprograms to provide for equitable access for all students regardless of level2. Developing and managing ICT centres of excellence to provide basic andadvanced ICT training3. Setting up mechanisms that promote collaboration between industries andtraining institutions to build appropriate human resource capacity.4. Promoting the twining of training institutions in Uganda with those elsewhereto enhance skills transfer (Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications,542003, pp. 33-34).An e-readiness assessment done in 2004 revealed that there was need for acoordinated approach for effective implementation of the ICT policy in the country(Farrell, 2004). This led to the establishment of an ICT Working Group that tabled anumber of recommendations (Ministry of Works, Housing and Communication, 2003).One of the recommendations executed early in 2006 was the establishment of a Ministryof ICT to address the convergence of ICT and to provide co-ordination of policydevelopment. The mandate of the ministry is to:•Oversee and harmonise operations of its affiliated agencies: UgandaCommunication Commission, the National Information TechnologyAuthority, the Broadcasting Council, and the proposed InformationManagement Commission.‘ Collaborate with National Planning Authority to spearhead activities fordeveloping sector wide ICT plans for integration into the NationalDevelopment Plan.• Oversee periodic policy reviews for the telecommunications subsector formobile and fixed line telephony, postal, Internet and email services.• Oversee and guide the implementation of the Uganda e-Government StrategicFramework by various government ministries and agencies.• Develop and implement a prudent monitoring and evaluation system for theICT sector.4.5 Insights from the ICT MinisterA key aspect of understanding the communication landscape in Uganda was55through an interview with the Minister in charge of ICT. By the time this interview washeld on August 14, 2008, I had already visited Bondo PTC many times and was aware ofthe status of the ICT infrastructure at the college. I had also spoken with the teachereducators, who shared with me the challenges they encounter in trying to use ICT. As Ientered the Minister’s office with one of my thesis supervisors, I noticed a sharp contrastbetween the environment at the Ministry head office and the one I saw and had becomeaccustomed to at Bondo PTC. Directly opposite the Minister’s chair on the left side of theroom was a huge Government-wide video conference voicing facility, which the Ministertold us he uses to have video conferences with other ministries and the President. He saidthey used it to watch Her Majesty, the Queen of England’s procession moving all the wayfrom Entebbe International Airport to Kampala during the Commonwealth Heads ofStates and Governments Summit held in Uganda in 2007. Elsewhere in the room, onecould see new computers and other support equipment for ICT use. In contrast, at BondoPTC there was just a small office space converted into a computer lab with ten possiblysecond hand computers, one photocopier, a table for the lab attendant and chairs for thetrainees. That was all. The Minister described how, if we wanted the Minister of InternalAffairs, the President or the Minister’s receptionist to join our discussion, he could justpress a button and they could join our discussion instantly. The Minister’s explanation onhow the video-conference facility works matched its physical appearance. As I listened tothe Minister, I began to wonder whether it might not have been better to have suchfacilities at the colleges where there is a real need to use them for educational purposesinstead of keeping them mainly for a show at the Ministry head office.During the interview, the Minister reiterated the importance government attaches56to the promotion of ICT for national transformation. He explained that the establishmentof the Ministry of ICT and the nature of the appointments of staff at the Ministrydemonstrated government’s commitment to the promotion of ICT for nationaldevelopment. According to the Minister, government made the appointments based ontechnical grounds not political grounds, right from the minister down to the lower cadres.He revealed that he has IT (Information and Technology) expertise, with a PhD from theUniversity of London Imperial College. His focal area is software engineering with aspecialisation in statistical software. To quote him directly, this is what the Minister saidabout the ICT Ministry he is heading:We have just been around for just over two years as I was saying. And it is atechnical Ministry because of that when the President was appointing leaders, heappointed me, I come from a technical background and not political backgroundI am an IT (Information Technology) person. My PhD is from University ofLondon Imperial College. My area is software engineering with a bias towardsstatistical software. So then the core Ministry is structured around very technicalbackground right from the Minister to the rest of the staff (Interview transcript,14.08.2009)The Minister recognized that there is a lot of technology globally but the problemis how Uganda could harness it to exploit its natural and human resources sustainably toimprove the quality of life for its people. I found it rather interesting to hear the ministeracknowledging the existing technology in the country while at the same time appreciatingthe fact that applying the available technology for sustainable exploitation of availableresources is the major challenge. The question then arises how well our ICT policy is57aligned to develop our natural and human resources.The Minister defined technology as a tool and traced its origin to the Stone Ageperiod where humans relied on stone, which was shaped in different forms to performmany vital functions. Later on, he said humans developed the hammer and many othertools for different purposes. He looked at the new technologies and the ICT morespecifically as part of that evolutionary process to meet human needs. The following ishow theMinister made his point when asked to comment:You see, technology is just a tool and the most basic technology of man, sayduring the Stone Age, was his stone. When he shaped it, he could use it foranything and then as it evolved he made hammer. Now we are looking at thesemodern communication tools. On their own, they are of no use. The question ishow do we apply them? In this case, how do we apply them in education andliteracy? Education is so fundamental because today we are looking at the mostfundamental requirement for national transformation and development- to haveeducated human resource base (Interview transcript, 14.08.2009).His reference to ICT as a tool is consistent with what is stated in the ICT policy, whichreads in part: “Like other countries, Uganda has recognized the potential of and enablingelement of Information and Communication Technology as a tool for social andeconomic development.” (Ministry of Works, Housing and Construction, 2003, p.8).Below is how the Minister went on to explain the importance government attaches to ICTfor national transformation:As you go out you will see the vision of the Ministry- “a knowledge basedsociety. “How do we do that? By making society knowledgeable. It means having58a society, which knows its environment, which can help it adopt and adapt its ownenvironment, and therefore moves from one stage of living to another stage ofliving. That is a knowledge-based economy because we cannot make wisedecisions unless you know, unless you have a knowledge base. That is why we aremoving from data to information to knowledge to wisdom, and action. Ifyou toldpeople in the rural areas our GDP has by 8%, is that good or bad? (Frowns). Bythe way, what is GDP any way? How does it grow? That isjust data. Informationis — in East Africa, the GDP in Burundi was 7%.. That becomes information, youcan use it for comparison, whether it is good or bad and you can relate it tosomething. Knowledge is —DGP was 8% last year, this year it is 9%, which meansi1’zereis a growth. Wisdom is — we should never go to 15% growth because it willcrush! That is now wisdom, which is vast knowledge. So, we are moving in phasesto have a knowledge based society, not only knowledge about what is happeningin the rest ofthe world but also what is happening around them.The other day, recently, someone was telling me about patents. There is arock, which is found in many places in Uganda. Ifyou have snakebite and put apiece there, it sups the venom and in no time you are fine! It heals. When youwhen people wanted to market it and went to the patents, they said no. That is agood idea, we see it works but to have a patent you have got to explain how itworks. They said to get the patent you have to tell us how it works, how somechemicals react then we put it down. They know in communities it works, sosomeone could come from some where; for example, an engineer from ImperialCollege and he comes and picks the stone and puts in his sophisticated lab, does59mass spectrum analysis and whatever, and realizes that there is a chemical whichreacts with DNA etc, gets the formula, goes to the patent shops and gives all thechemicalformulas and chemical reactions.How do we get communities to understand the environment and use itwell? That is when you said you are researching at the grassroots in PTCs andPrimary schools; that is where it should start. Those youths or those children oftoday are the managers of society tomorrow and when they come to managesociety, it should not be an option but an inevitability to know ICTThose are the two points. One, how do we use ICT to develop theirknowledge base and not only in ICT but geography, history, biology, science,mathematics etc.? Secondly, how do we do it so that they are ICT enabled?The other day we were cracking a joke with colleagues about the mobiletelephone, blackberry and so forth. Those days they would ask what is DDT[dichiorodiphenyltrichioroethane]? You would scratch your head... Whendalculators came, everyone is at the same level. There is no digital gap becauseevery one in class has a calculator so it would take almost the same time to getthe right answer. But, when you say what is DDT? What does it standfor? Everychildjust picks their Blackberry and Google DDT and gets the answer. It is ane’qualizer (Interview transcript, 14.08.2008).Three comments can be made about the Minister’s remarks. In the first place, theMinister recognizes ICTs as tools, which on their own are of no use. They only becomeimportant when they are applied to serve our interests. This raises the question of theextent to which are the available technologies are being used. Secondly, the Minister60recognized that technologies are constantly changing. The following questions then arise:How prepared are we as a country to cope with the changes in technologicaladvancement: How might we support those who have attended ICT programs especiallyin the colleges? To what extent are the teacher educators supported to cope with thechanges in technology? Thirdly, the Minister emphasized the need for us to adopt andadapt technologies into the local environment to bring about improvement in ourconditions of living. The question is to what extent is the ICT Policy environmentfavorable for the effective application of ICT in education? What are the major concernswith the ICT policy and practice with reference to education? In relation to thesequestions, I now turn to examine ICT in the education sector.4.6 TheEducation SectorAnother recommendation from the Working Group was that an ICT policy forschools be developed (Farrell, 2007). The ICT policy together with the evolution of thenational policy is believed to have provided the impetus for the Ministry of Education toexpand its focus on the use of ICT (Ngugi, 2007). While the national policy focuses onthe importance of developing the ICT competencies of learners, the interpretation by theMinistry appears to be moving towards a more integrated vision. Evidence for this can bedrawn from the 2005-2006 sector review in which the following initiatives were reported:• Guidelines on the use of ICT were developed.• An agreement with Microsoft has been signed to subsidize software licencesand training of teachers. In addition, the Microsoft Partners in LearningProgram has endorsed a number of activities for implementation.:An ICT budget for all secondary schools is now required.61• Subsidized rates from ICT service providers have been negotiated.• Training of teachers in ICT has begun.• Ordinary level curriculum on ICT was operational and is examinable by theUganda National Examinations Board.• Operational funds to support ICT in some schools have been provided.• Some ICT infrastructure has been provided to schools. (Ministry of Education,2006)In addition to reporting the initiatives undertaken, the review also identified thefollowing actions as necessary if the goal of transforming Uganda from informationsociety to one that is knowledge-based is to be realised in the following ways:• Update the legal and security measures for the effective use of ICT ineducation.• Address the language, socio-economic, disability, and cultural barriers toaccessing ICT.• Adopt cost-reducing measures to counter the high cost of ICT equipment,installation, and maintenance, paving the way for more equitable access.• Revise the curriculum.• Produce more ICT literate teachers.• Streamline the operations of different ICT service providers in order to avoidduplication and conflict of interest, and to secure everyone’s cooperation.• Provide the requisite ICT infrastructure to the poor rural schools during thefirst phase of implementation.• Define the minimum technical specifications of ICT equipment.62• Routinely update a record of the existing ICT initiatives to avoid duplication.(Ministry of Education, 2006)Another important stage in the promotion of ICT in education in the country is thedevelopment of a draft policy for ICT in the education sector, which is due for legislationin the national parliament. The draft policy is intended to: apply to all education sub-sectors, including non formal education; focus on the development of ICT competenciesas well as use ICT to teach across the curriculum; include strategies for the developmentof digital learning content; develop teachers’ ICT competencies; and foster research inthe educational applications of ICT.4.6.1. ICT in SchoolsAs ICT infrastructure continues to spread in the country its penetration in schoolsis slowly but steadily growing. There is a growing recognition that contemporaryinformation and communication is taking root in Uganda, especially among young peopleknown for their interest in text messaging and the Internet (Edejer, 2000; Mutonyi &Norton, 2007; Nawaguna, 2005). In 2004, the Curriculum-Net, a project to spearheadonline learning, received formal government approval for its ICT based curriculummaterials for both primary and secondary schools (Ngugi, 2007). Research confirms thatICT has already been incorporated in the academic programs of several primary schoolsand secondary schools especially those in and around Kampala (Ngugi, 2007).Initially, the penetration of ICT in schools was sporadic with some initiativestaking the form of second-hand computer donations from the Western world to schoolswith international connections. Later on, schools with powerful Parents’ Teachers’Association (PTAs), particularly in Kampala, began contributing money to buy computer63and establish computer labs in schools for the benefit of their children. Similarly, oldstudents’ alumni started supporting their former schools to establish computerlaboratories to enhance the glory of their previous schools, especially in historicallypopular schools. As chair of St Joseph’s College Ombaci Old Boys’ Association, Ispearheaded a project in which we bought ten computers to establish a computer lab inthe school in 2000 to introduce students to basic computer skills. Until then there was nota single school in the whole of Northern Uganda with a computer lab. Since then anumber of students have trained in basic computer skills and sat national examinations inbasic computer skills at St Joseph’s College Ombaci.Of late, major companies and businesses have also embarked on supplyingschools and institutions of learning with computers as part of their corporate socialresponsibility policy and public relations campaigns. Some individual schools, especiallythe private schools, have also started making concerted efforts to buy computers andestablish computer labs to attract students as more people have started making substantialinvestments in education. I would even argue that some of the best computer labs in thecountry are found in private schools.One of my major concerns with the ongoing ICT programs in schools is that eachschool conducts the training according to its own convenience and capacity, and thetechnical expertise it has. This to me is a worrying situation, which needs to be addressedbefore it gets worse. Government needs to streamline the training in schools by providingsome guidelines on minimum standards for beginning computer programs and providingsome basic training for all teachers in charge of computer labs.The level of infrastructure and services are still far below the average compared64with other economies in the world. Moreover, most of the developments are stillconcentrated in urban areas, only benefiting a small percentage of Ugandans, which couldlead to the problems of a “digital divide” (the gap between people who have access toICT and those who do not) with its sociocultural, political and economic ramifications. Itis clear that more needs to be done to further develop the infrastructure for effectiveadoption of ICT in the country, more so in the rural areas where the majority of schoolsare located and where there is the greatest numbers of pupils due to the UniversalPrimary Education Policy.4.6.2. ICT and Teacher Education in UgandaSince the launching of the Government White Paper on the Education ReviewCommission Report (1992), major reforms have been introduced to transform the systemof education in Uganda. In order to complement some of the major reforms such as theTeacher Development Management System (TDMS), the Uganda Program for Humanand Holistic Development (UPHOLD) and the Basic Education Policy Support (BEPS),the Ministry of Education and Sports teamed up with donor agencies to explorepossibilities of supporting teacher training by using ICTs. Examples of specific initiativesto use ICT in support of teacher professional development in Uganda include USAID’ssupport for the Connectivity for Educator Development (Connect-ED) program Phase Iand Connect-ED Phase II projects, Irish Aid’s Support for Canon Lawrence ApolloPrimary,Teachers’ College PTC in Lira and the Rockefeller Foundation’s support for twoother PTCs. In the following paragraphs, I will single out Connect-Ed for closerexamination as an illustrative example mainly because this was the ICT program most ofthe participants in my study attended.65Connect-ED functions in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education andwithin the framework of U.S Education for Development and Democracy Initiative.Implemented by the Academy for Educational Development (AED), Connect-ED isbased in eight PTCs and aims at increasing computer literacy among teachers to enablethem to integrate ICT in the classroom (SchoolNet Africa, 2004). Phase I of Connect-Edset up computer centres and Internet points of presence at Kyambogo University and ateight Primary Teachers Colleges (PTC5): Shimoni PTC, Mukuju PTC, Gulu PTC,Bushenyi PTC Bondo PTC Ndegeya PTC, Soroti PTC and Conon Lawrence BoroboroPTC. The project provided computer literacy and materials development training forteacher educators, and began to repurpose the print-based national PTC curriculum intointeractive, accessible online versions.Connect-ED Phase II built on the infrastructure established in Phase I but withcloser collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports and KyambogoUniversity. Its focus is on sustainability and long-term ICT strategies for KyambogoUniversity and the PTCs. They are also continuing to provide computer training and arecompleting the digitisation and enhancement of the national PTC curriculum.An assessment study on the ICT initiatives in the PTC revealed that there are cleardifferences between PTCs with computer labs and those without labs (Fillip, 2006). Morespecifically, the labs were found to have a positive impact in terms of (i) awareness ofICT and their potential in teaching and learning; (ii) access to ICT for both tutors andstudents; and (iii) basic skills among tutors and students (Fillip, 2006). It was furtherfound that 72% of teacher educators in PTCs with labs had received formal ICT trainingas opposed to only 24% of teacher educators who had received ICT training in PTCs66without labs.However, Fillip’s study noted that while a significant percentage of students andteacher educators had acquired basic ICT skills, these were insufficient to have asignificant impact on teaching practice and on learning. A key lesson drawn from thisstudy is that while basic ICT skills are prerequisites for meaningful access to ICT, goingbeyond basic ICT skills (e.g., type on the computer) and towards ICT integration skills(e.g., uploading content,) is critical to ensuring an impact on the quality of teaching andlearning and realising the national vision of transforming the country into a knowledge-based society. Unfortunately, the policy itself seems to be misguided especially if onelooks at the emphasis placed on the importance of accessing information as opposed tolocal knowledge production. Evidence arising from studies tends to suggest that both thequality and quantity of ICT trainings currently being provided deserve serious attention.If careful attention is not paid to the types and depth of training in the schools andcolleges, a lot of resources will be wasted with no significant benefits to the country.Another concern I have with the Uganda’s ICT initiatives is that currently, there isno standard ICT curriculum for use by all PTCs (Fillip, 2006). Furthermore, ICT is not anexaminable subject in the PTC curriculum. If ICT is to be fully integrated in teachereducation and professional development programs, a standard curriculum has to bedeveloped. In addition to that, ICT needs to become an examinable subject in the PTCcurriculum for it to be fully embraced by students and tutors. The project approach, whilegood for experimentation, is not sustainable for long-term strategic intervention topromote ICT for educational transformation.674.7 DiscussionAccording to a World Bank commissioned survey on ICT and Education in Africa(Farell & Shafika, 2007), the process of adoption and infusion of ICT in education inAfrica is in transition. Fare!! and Shafika contend that Africa is experiencing a shift fromdecades of experimentation in the form of donor-supported, NGO-led, small-scale, pilotprojects towards a new phase of systemic integration informed by national governmentpolicies and multi-stakeholder-led implementation. They cite the priority thatgovernments are giving to policy as one of the primary features of the new phase.As far as reference to policy is concerned, I agree with Fare!! and Shafika’ sconclusion that among African countries, Uganda is moving towards a new phase ofsystemic integration. There is sufficient evidence to support the c!aim that Uganda hasindeed taken positive steps to systematize ICT integration in education. For example,!ega! reforms have been carried out; the communication sector has been !iberalized; thereis an e!aborate national ICT Po!icy, which gives guidelines on the integration of ICT indifferent sectors including the education sector. A specific draft ICT po!icy in educationhas been developed and is waiting to be tab!ed in the nationa! parliament for !egislation.Most importantly, a Ministry of ICT has been estab!ished to spearhead the coordinationof the growth and deve!opment of ICT in the country.However, at grassroots !evel the situation is rather different. As reported ear!ierin this chapter, the process of adoption and infusion of ICT in education in Uganda is stillcharacterized by experimentation in the form of donor-supported, NGO-!ed, sma!l-sca!e,pilot projects. For examp!e, the Connect-Ed project under which participants in myresearch received training was a USAID sponsored project, which is struggling to survive68as the funding for the project has ended. From February to December 2008 the Internetconnection at the computer lab in the college, where my research was based, had been cutoff because the college had no money. They were relying on the project funds to run theprograms, and as soon as the funding stopped, it became difficult for the college to payfor the connection fee due to financial constraints. There are two main lessons to belearned from this experience, one of which is that the sustainability of the donorsupported, NGO-led, small-scale pilot project approach may not be guaranteed in thelong run. The other lesson is that the donor-supported NGO-led, small-scale pilot projectshave short-term goals which may not necessarily translate into the achievement of thelong tern national educational goals. Donors and NGOs have their own priorities, whichchange from time to time. Thus, overreliance on donors and NGO funding may not be thebest strategy for the realization of the national goal of integrating ICT in education.Government needs to come up with a strategy to invest in ICT through budgetaryallocations specifically for ICT development in PTCs.Similarly, Uganda has adopted a private sector-led development strategy andliberalized the telecommunication sector. While this has attracted private foreigninvestment in the communication sector, leading to significant growth of ICTinfrastructure, it has on the other hand resulted in uneven development of ICTinfrastructure in the country with most ICT infrastructure being concentrated in townsand urban centers. This in turn has led to slow penetration of ICTs in schools located inthe rural areas where the cost of taking ICT infrastructure are too high for privateinvestors to recoup profits. Questions need to be asked to whether this strategy will not69lead to the problem of digital divide (digital inequality) between rural schools and thosein urban areas, between children from poor families and those from rich families.According to Warschauer (2008), there is a relationship between technology andinequality. Warschauer argues that ICT can be an amplifier of other social and economicfactors and processes. While ICT is rightly seen as having the potential to helpindividuals, groups, and even nations leapfrog over developmental stages, its infusion ifnot carefully pursued could also amplify existing inequalities as the effective use of ICTrequires other human and social resources. Drawing on McConnell (2000), Warschauer(2008) further argues that the role of leadership, vision and local “champions” is crucialto the success of ICT projects for social inclusion. A common mistake made in ICTdevelopment projects is to make primary use of computer experts rather than of the bestlocal community leaders, educators, and opinion leaders with proven local expertise ofmanaging complex social projects to foster innovation creativity and socialtransformation. Thus, the donor-supported NGO-led, small-scale pilot projects approachand the private sector led development strategy might have to be reviewed to avoid thepossibility of ICT becoming an amplifier of social and economic cleavages in Uganda.As a country, even as we seek to embrace ICT in education, we need to be mindful aboutthe emerging problem of the digital divide between the rural schools and urban schools.We also need to draw on local knowledge and local expertise in problem solving todesign appropriate intervention programs.To emphasize my point, I am not necessarily against a donor-supported NGO-led,small-scale pilot projects approach, at least in the short run. However, my point is thatpilot projects should not be substitutes for planned scaling up of ICT integration in70schools, universities and colleges in the end. I recognise as Warschauer (2008) does thatgood big things come from good small things, and room for innovation, creativity andlocal initiative is critical to give the space for good small things to emerge. Furthermore, Ishare Warschauer’s view that flexible pilot programs should be an important part of thedevelopment process (Warschauer, 2008). However, I believe that scaling up should bethe most important aspect of pilot programs; specifically, the potential for scaling upshould be part of the formative and summative evaluation of pilot programs.Earlier in this chapter, it was noted that the 2005-2006 Education Sector ReviewReport highlighted the need to routinely update a record of the existing ICT initiatives toavoid duplication (Ministry of Education, 2006). In the course of searching for literatureabout ICT and teacher education in Uganda, I discovered that while there were many ICTinitiatives going on in the country, very little research has been carried out on theseinitiatives. In their study on “ICT on the Margins: Lessons for Ugandan Education,”Mutonyi and Norton (2007) also noted that the need to collect empirical data on ICTaccess and use is very important for planning and policy development in Uganda. It isprobable that the country is experiencing duplication of programs and services (e.g.,many NGOs operating in isolation) due to lack of comprehensive information on existingICT initiatives and programs, which could result in wastage of scarce financial resources.As Ngugi (2007) has noted, for a nation to embrace a technology and make effective useof it, it is vital that substantial investment is put into understanding the technology andadopting it to the environment and circumstances in which technology is going tooperate. .1 believe that the donor-supported, NGO-led, small-scale pilot project approachprovides an opportunity to engage in qualitative case studies on ICT initiatives to inform71ICT policy and practice for the realization of the goal of creating a knowledge-basedsociety. As Adams (2003) points out, there is need to constantly research the increasingrole of ICT in education, ongoing initiatives, progress made, and the dilemmas andchallenges.De Roy (1997) argues that ICTs play an important role in a variety of sectorsincluding education. He believes that ICTs will transform education in Africa byincreasing access to information. His argument seems to resonate well with the thinkingof the government of Uganda, which envisions a Uganda “where national development,especially human development and good governance shall be sustainably enhanced,promoted and accelerated by efficient application and use of ICT, including timely accessto inforthation” (Ministry of Works Housing and Communication, 2003,p.32). I havesome concerns over De Roy’s argument and the thinking behind the ICT policy inUganda.To begin with, the emphasis in the ICT policy and ICT initiatives taking place inschools,’universities and colleges in Uganda, seem to be on equipping participants withthe basic skills (e.g., typing documents and sending mails,) of only accessing informationfrom the Internet. This has the tendency of training participants to be consumers of globalknowledge instead of being producers of knowledge. I therefore think that thetransformative potential of ICTs may not be realized if the sole purpose of their adoptionin education is to turn people into consumers of global knowledge instead of empoweringthem to be producers of knowledge to confront local and global challenges. I believe thebest way to generate wealth is through knowledge production and not knowledgeconsumption, as some scholars would like us to believe. Again, I need to point out that I72am not necessarily against people having access to information. In fact, I recognize theimportance of having access to information. However, my point is that we must gobeyond acquiring information and become producers of information as well. ICTs musthelp people to discover their creative potential and exploit it to the fullest. One of theconcerns with the current system of education in Uganda is that it stifles creativity andcritical thinking and it produces job seekers instead of job creators. ICTs should help usto transform this kind of scenario instead of perpetuating it.Secondly, the ICT and digital literacy initiatives seem to be rooted in what Street(1984) calls the autonomous model. The autonomous model presents the issue of literacysimply as a technical one where people only need to be taught how to decode letters andthen after that, they can do whatever they like with their newly acquired literacy. Itpresupposes that literacy is a neutral and universal skill that can be applied in any contextor situation to achieve the same results. Yet we know from the ideological model, whichStreet (1984) proposes as an alternative to the autonomous model, that literacy is a socialpractice and not just a technical, transferable and neutral skill. It is always embedded insocially constructed epistemological principles. It comes with its own ideologicalbaggage. The way in which people address literacy is rooted in conceptions of knowledgeand power. We also know that literacy is always contested both in its meaning andpractices and that particular versions of it are always ideological and rooted in aparticular woridview as well as a desire for that view to dominate. The primacy ascribedto reading and writing skills in formal education at the expense of other modes ofcommunication is a case in point. It has worked to the disadvantage of children in non73Western societies with oral traditions especially in Africa. Digital literacy should avoidtaking the same path.It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the current ICT and digital literacyinitiatives, in Uganda broadly and in education specifically, tend to perpetuatedependence and not promote social transformation as they only aim at equippingparticipants with basic skills to access information from the Internet. This is reminiscentof Bowers’ (2000) argument that the subjective, de-centered attitudes hailed by computerenthusiasts as personally liberating could in reality be culturally and environmentallydestructive because they promote moral relativism, a disregard for local knowledge andanthropocentricism. While I do not necessarily agree with everything Bowers says, I tendto share his concerns for cultural sensitivity and respect for local knowledge as we seekto adopt modern technologies to improve teaching and learning. I strongly believe thatwhile it is good for our people to have access to global information, it is better if inaddition to having access to the information, they too can also become producers ofknowle4ge and creators of wealth. It is for this reason that I would strongly recommend areview of the ideological orientation of our ICT policy and curriculum if our localcommunities are to benefit from technological advancement and survive the onslaughtfrom globalization.4.8 SummaryIn this chapter, I have examined the relationship between ICT policy andeducational practice in Uganda. Based on evidence drawn from analysis of relevantpolicy documents, a key informant interview with the ICT minister, and my reflections asa Ugandan scholar who grew up to witness some of the changes in the information and74communication sector in the country, I conclude that much has been done to integrateICT into education in Uganda. These efforts include the enactment of laws and policies,the establishment of ICT Ministry, as well as the introduction of ICT training programs inschools and colleges. However, I have noted that the private sector-driven NGO-leddonor-sponsored small-scale pilot project approach while good for purposes ofexperimentation and research should not become a substitute for long-term direct publicinvestment in ICT infrastructure.I. have also argued that the ICT policies and programs have put more emphasis onequipping participants with skills to access information at the expense of enhancingpeople’s abilities to produce information as a basis for knowledge production and wealthcreation. In the next chapter, I will examine the extent to which teacher educators atBondo PTC use ICT in their professional practice and the challenges they face indeveloping digital literacy.75CHAPTER 5ICT USE AND CHALLENGES TEACHER EDUCATORS FACE5.1 IntroductionIn this chapter, I will examine the extent to which the teacher educators use ICTin their professional practice. I will also consider the challenges the teacher educatorsface in developing digital literacy, with a view to investigation how modern technologies(e.g., e-Granary) can best be incorporated in language teacher education in the context ofUganda. I begin by considering how the teacher educators have responded to theintroduction of ICT training programs in PTCs, to contextualize the investment in usingICT in their professional practice. I then examine if the teacher educators have access tothe Internet to gauge the extent to which they use ICT for professional reasons. I will alsoanalyze the teacher educators’ own responses on their assessment of the extent to whichthey use ICT for professional reasons. I draw on data collected through questionnaires,focus group discussions, interviews, online discussions and journal entries. I conclude thechapter with a discussion on key issues identified in the analysis.5.1.1 Teacher Educators’ Response to ICT Initiatives in the CollegesIt is believed that if people have positive attitudes to something they are bound tomake good use of it, and if they have negative attitudes they are not likely to make gooduse of it. Thus determining how the teacher educators responded to the introduction ofICT programs was crucial in determining the extent to which the teacher educators usedICT in their professional practice. To achieve this, I looked into the participants’ ICTbackground. Using questionnaires, the teacher educators were asked to state whether theyhad received any formal training in ICT. Through their responses, I learnt that five of the76six participants had received some formal training in ICT and only one of them had neverreceived any formal training. Asked how he then came to have some basic knowledgeand skills in ICT, the teacher educator reported that he learnt to use the computer and theInternet when he took his work to be typed at private ICT firms. He said the secretarieswho used to type his work showed him how to type on the computer. He also said that hebenefited from friends who showed him how to use the computer and the Internet at theInternet cafés in his hometown. The following was his exact response when asked if andhow he had received any formal training: “No, just personal initiative. I usually found afriend who guides me from time to time and when need arises. He is the Internet serviceprovider” (Reflective journal, 01.12.2008). We can therefore say that he learnt to usecomputers and the Internet through personal initiative and peer support.In order to have a better sense of the kind of training they received, I asked theparticipants to provide examples of the ICT trainings they had received, hoping that thiswould give an idea of their interest in ICT for professional practice. Two participantsreported that they did introductory computer courses. Three of them reported that theyreceived training under Connect-Ed, which is a three-month training program for teachereducators and students at PTCs (see Chapter 4). Four participants reported that inaddition to the Connect-Ed training, they also took ICT as a course unit during theirMasters Degree Programs at Makerere University. Two said they attended the HarvardEducation online course. One of them went even further and did some training in theSPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) program.From the data above one can realize that the teacher educators’ response towardsICT initiatives to incorporate ICT in their professional practice has been positive right77from the beginning. They have not only enrolled in ICT training programs designed forthem as teacher educators but they have also taken advantage of other ICT trainingprograms going on at universities and other institutions of learning. Even moreinteresting to note was the fact that the teacher educator who missed the regular trainingorganized for teacher educators was prepared to take personal initiative to train himself inICT with the support of friends and people around him. There is an indication that theICT initiatives have received favorable response among teacher educators in Uganda. Myfindings are consistent with the findings of the assessment study on ICT initiatives inPTCs which found that the computer labs at PTCs seem to have a positive impact interms of awareness of ICT, and that a significant percentage of teacher educators in PTCswith labs had received formal ICT training (Fillip, 2006). However, my findings are atodds with Fillip’s conclusion that the initiatives are necessarily having a positive impactin termsof their potential in teaching and learning, as I will elaborate later in this chapter,for the moment I would like to highlight the extent to which the teacher educators haveaccess to the Internet.5.1.2 ICT Access TimeIn order to understand the extent to which the teacher educators use ICT in theirprofessional practice, I found it imperative to look at the amount of time in which theyhad access to the Internet. Using Questionnaire 1, participants were asked whether theyhad regular (daily/weekly) access to the Internet. None of them indicated that they haddaily access to the Internet. Five of them reported they had at least some weekly or nearweekly access to the Internet. One participant said she had access to the Internet onlyonce every two weeks.78From their responses, one could notice that the teacher educators seemed not tohave regular access to the Internet. To further understand the extent to which the teachereducators had access to the Internet, it was important to look into the points of access,thus, participants were asked to state where they accessed Internet from, whether athome, or work or in the community at Internet cafés or friends’ offices. Their responseswere quite revealing. None reported that they accessed Internet at home. All six of themresponded that they accessed the Internet at work. Four of them said they accessed theInternet in the community, which I took to mean in the Internet cafés since they wereapparently the only points where one can freely go if they needed Internet services attheir own cost.I was also curious to find out the number of hours the teacher educators accessedthe Internet in a week, in order to have a sense of the amount of time they invested inusing the Internet. Thus, they were asked to state how many hours they accessed theInternet in a week at work. Their responses were 20 mm, 1.5 hrs, 2 hrs, 1.5 hrs, and 1.5hrs, which came to a total of about 7 hours. It means the average number of hours eachparticipant spent in a whole week was only 1 hour. Assuming that a participant wanted tohave some access to the Internet each day of work it means they would have access to theInternet for a maximum of 12 minutes only each day! Given the very low speed of theInternet in most of the access points in Uganda, where it sometimes takes up to thirtyminutes to open a page, it is not far fetched to conclude that the teacher educators haveextremely limited access to the Internet generally. This information is very important tobear in mind because it provides us with the context for determining the extent to whichthe teacher educators use the Internet in their professional practice under the79circumstances. As Streets (2001) asserts literacy is a social practice, as such in order tounderstand a given literacy event we have to put it in the broader context of their literacypractices.5.2 Reasons for ICT UseIn order to determine the extent to which the teacher educators use the Internet intheir professional practice at Bondo PTC, it was also important to look at the reasons forwhich the teacher educators used the Internet. This meant looking at the teachereducators’ ICT uses and practices in totality. The findings on the teacher educator’s useof ICT can be divided under two subheadings namely Internet use for personal reasonsand Internet use for professional reasons as presented below.5.2.1 Personal Reasons for ICT UseAccording to some of the New Literacy scholars like Heath (1983) and Street(2001), literacy events and literacy practices are inextricably linked. They argue thatliteracy events and practices are best understood in the broader context when placed inthe broader socio-cultural setting in which they take place. Prinsloo (2005) also arguesthat literacies are best studied as placed resources. In view of this assertion, this studytried to explore the participants’ non-professional use of the Internet in order to have asense of their digital literacy practices outside the classroom to take care of the broadercontext Heath, Prinsloo, Street advocate. Through questionnaires, participants were askedif they use the Internet for personal reasons. They all answered in the affirmative. Whenasked to. give examples of the personal reasons for which they use the Internet, six ofthem reported that they used the Internet for sending and receiving mails, while three ofthem said they used the Internet for getting news updates. One participant said she used80the Internet for receiving health related information and one reported that she used theInternet for entertainment (music). Below is a table showing how participants responded:Table 5.1 Participants’ reasons for personal ICT useReasons for using the Internet Number of participants who reported (6)To receive and send mails 6 reported in the affirmativeTo read news 3 reported in the affirmativeTo listen to music 1 reported in the affirmativeTo access health related information 1 reported in the affirmativeHigh on the list of Internet use for personal reasons was email communication.Participants reported that they used the ICT to send and receive mail from relatives,friends and colleagues locally and internationally. All the six respondents acknowledgedthat they communicated via email. Their preference for using email compared to otherforms of communication like the ordinary postal mails and telephone was attributed to itbeing fast, quite cheap and convenient.Second on the list of ICT use for personal reasons was reading news, with five outof six respondents reporting that they used the Internet for this purpose. This was notsurprising considering the fact that by Ugandans standards, many people find the cost ofa newspaper at Sh. 1.200 (US$ 0.66) rather expensive. Where they have free access to theInternet, they will therefore prefer to read, especially the local newspapers, online.One participant reported that she used the Internet to access information onhealth. There is a historical reason as to why some one would be interested in using themodern technology in search of information on health in Ugandan context. In order to81win the struggle against HIV/AIDS, Uganda adopted the use of both modern andindigenous technology to sensitize its population against the disease. For example, music,dance, drama, radios, television, poster, billboards and the Internet were used to pass oninformation on the dangers of HIV/AIDS. Through this approach, Uganda was able toreduce the HIV/AIDS infection rates from about 40% in the 1 980s down to 6% in 2000s.Since then, both the electronic and print media have been used to avail information to thepublic on different kinds of sicknesses. People with access to the Internet tend to find itconvenient to look for information on health from the net. It was therefore not surprisingto find that some of the participants reported that they used the Internet to look for healthrelated information. In fact, the Ministry of Health uses the Internet for health awarenesscampaigns on different health problems these days. The participants’ responses seem tohighlight their readiness to use the Internet to look for information that is of relevance totheir immediate and personal need. This could imply that one way of achieving theintegration of ICTs for professional reason is to promote their use for personal reason. Ifpeople can use ICTs for their personal reasons, they become invested in engaging themfor other reasons, including professional reasons.Other reasons for personal Internet use reported by participants reported includedentertainment such as music and sports. Whenever I visit the Internet cafés in the city, itis very common to see people with headphones listening to music or reading sports news.It would appear there is a widespread interest among Ugandans to rely on the Internet forentertainment. It is therefore not surprising that the teacher educators also find itpreferable to use the Internet for their own entertainment. It remains to be seen how thisinterest can be converted for educational purposes.82From the responses of the participants, it can be deduced that participants’preference to use the Internet is liniced to consideration of cost, relevance andconvenience. For example, where they have free access to the Internet, they will prefer toread newspapers on line. This indicates that free access is important in motivating teachereducators to use the Internet. They also go to the Internet to look for information, whichis relevant to their real needs whether that need is related to health or entertainment.Understanding the digital literacy practices of teacher educators in their real lifeexperiences is essential. ICT initiatives should build on that initiative, investment andknowledge base in order to help the programs to succeed.The participants’ responses roughly correspond to the list of most popular Internetactivities worldwide (Most Popular Internet Activities, 2008). According to the list, 92%of those who access the Internet ranked sending and receiving emails as their mostcommon activity. Other activities among the top ten out of 68 most common activitiesare: using a search engine to find information, searching for a map or driving direction,looking for information on a hobby or interest, researching a product or service beforebuying, checking the weather, looking for health/medical information, getting travelinformation, getting news and buying a product (Fillip, 2006).The data reveals that the infusion of ICT use into the private lives of the teachereducators is still limited. However, there is reason to believe that, as ICT infrastructurecontinues to grow and people’s access to the Internet increases, the range of activities inwhich people engage online will also increase, as has been the case elsewhere. This isevidencd by the similarity between the pattern of participants’ use of Internet and theglobal trend as highlighted above. The more exposure they have to the Internet in their83daily lives outside the classroom, the more ICT skills the teacher educators will develop,which they can transfer into their professional practice.The question that needs to be asked is to what extent the ICT training programsbuild on these non-formal digital literacy practices among participants to consolidate theprograms. ICT training programs need not only prepare participants for ICT applicationsin the classroom, but they need also to prepare participants to use ICT in their daily lives.This will enable their ICT practices in the professional practice and in daily livingcomplement one another to make the training more meaningful and exciting for theparticipants to embrace.5.2.2 Professional Reasons for ICT UseIn addition to investigating participants’ use of the Internet for personal reasons,the study focused on examining participant’s use of the Internet for professional reasons,which was one of the central issues in my study. When asked whether they use theInternet for professional reasons, all the six participants answered “Yes”. However, whenasked to state the number of hours they used the Internet for professional reasons, someparticipants were reluctant to provide a response on the number of hours they used theInternet for professional reason. I could not therefore determine the average number ofhours each person spent on the Internet for professional reasons. Nevertheless, when Ibrought it up in our conversation later, they said they spent almost similar amount of timeas for personal reasons, which as we have seen is insufficient for a serious engagement.In addition to using contextual parameters (participants’ response to ICTprograms and the amount of time for accessing the Internet) as a lens to ascertain theextent to which the teacher educators use ICT in their professional practice, I asked the84teacher educators to directly state the extent to which they use ICT in their professionalpractice. Using Questionnaire 1 and journal reflections, the teacher educators were askedto draw from their personal experiences and describe if and for what professional reasonsthey use ICT. From the information gathered, I learnt that most of the teacher educatorsused the Internet mainly for preparing their own lecture notes. There were very fewexceptions when they reported engaging students directly in using ICT to learn. Mostoften students rely on the information from the teacher educators.Interestingly, when asked to give examples of the professional reasons for whichparticipants used the Internet, the list was longer than the one for personal reasons. Thisfurther confirms my suspicion that the ICT training programs seem to have a narrowfocus of equipping participants with academic skills only. They do not seem to realize theneed to equip participants with ICT applications outside the classroom, which couldincrease their investment in ICT. Nevertheless, the professional reasons, which theparticipants gave for their use of ICT, especially the Internet, as put in their own wordswere as follows:• To find resources for reinforcing or enriching my presentations.• To create resources (notes and questions).To update my website.• To compare my teaching notes.• To add more information in my notes.• To know more about other fields of study.• To get supplementary information for teaching students.• For doing research work.85• Setting examinations.• Finding information for research.• Search for information before workshop.• Print out notes for use in the class.• Carrying out reflective practice.• Beef up action research.• When organizing continuous professional development for teachers (beefingup topics).• Searching for new methods of teaching.• For putting in place a professional development portfolio.• Search for more information on certain topics for research/studying andteaching.• Supplementing on my notes.A close look at the raw data above reveals that the range of activities forparticipants’ use of the Internet for professional reason reflects a strong influence fromthe current system of education in the country, which ICT was expected to transform. Theeducation system in Uganda is known for being elitist, highly theoretical, teachercentered, and examination-oriented (Government White Paper, 1992; Ssekamwa, 2000).If ICTs continue to be used to promote the same practices that have characterized thesystem of education in Uganda for many years, it is highly unlikely that they will bringabout the desired changes. Instead, they will only help to perpetuate the status quo andtheir transformative potential may not be realized.86ICT programs could take a lesson from the indigenous African education, whichwas generally practical and productive to the learner and their immediate community.Indigenous education ensured that every citizen in the tribe or clan was taught the basicknowledge and the basic technical practical skills (Ssekamwa, 1997). Both theknowledge and the practical skills helped the learner to be useful to himself or herself,his/her family, and the rest of the society. Under indigenous African education, childrenlearned while they were readily applying the knowledge and skills learned. Whilelearning, they were also producing useful materials and services for the homes and therest of the society. They did not wait until they left school to start producing usefulmaterial and services (Ssekamwa, 1997).ICTs training programs need to be seen yielding direct and easily realizable benefitsto the trainees and the community around them so that people are motivated to invest inthem for both personal and professional benefits. Digital literacy education should notsimply be a transfer of mechanical skills that cannot be put to immediate application anduse. The examples of the participants’ use of the Internet for professional reasons can besummarized (using participants’ expressions) as in the table below for a betterunderstanding:87Table 5.1: Professional Reasons for using the ICT - aggregatedReasons for using the Internet No. of participants who reported (6)To prepare teaching notes 6To conduct action research 4To keep a question bank 4To keep’professional development 1portfolioTo carry out reflective practice 1To research new methods of 1teachingTo know more about other fields of 1studyTo update website 1From the table above it can be seen that participants reported a relatively widerange of Internet uses for professional reasons compared to the list for Internet use forpersonal reasons. High on their list of Internet use for professional reasons wassupplementing or updating teaching notes. All six participants reported that they used theInternet resources to supplement or update their teaching notes. Considering the shortageof books and other reading materials in schools and colleges, their response seemreasonable. The library facilities in the colleges are inadequate and a visit to the libraryconfirmed to us that besides the small size of the college library, there are virtually nobooks for students and staff to read in the library. The teacher educators have limitedoptions other than using the Internet to get more information to update their materials toteach. Participants’. use of the Internet resources for teaching is further explained by oneof the participants (Hella) as follows:My participation in the use ofICT has changed my attitude and ways of teachinglanguage. I realized that I don ‘t need to go to the library to read each day andevery book related to a topic which may not even be there, but there is a simple88and quick way of getting the ‘wanted’ information on the net (Hella, JournalEntry, 21.062.008).From her response, Hella reveals her awareness of the potential the Internet has toprovide her with the resources she needs to teach. She also expresses the kinds offrustrations the teacher educators face in looking for resources to facilitate their teaching.She describes the option of getting information from the Internet as simple and quick.Judging from the tone of her response one can clearly notice the enthusiasm Hella has touse the Internet for teaching. She seemed to be fascinated by the ease and speed withwhich one can access information from the Internet. She compares it with the bother ofgoing to the library to look for a book, which may not even be readily available.She also disclosed that her use of ICT has “changed” her attitude and ways ofteaching language. Hella’s disclosure finds support from De Roy (1997) who argues thatin education, networks allow the contribution of new educational sources, such asdatabase searching for class materials and exchanges between students and teachers in thesame country or in another country. According to De Roy, these technologies alreadyhave an important educational role to play in Africa where schools and the educationsystem are in crisis and where the level of teaching is low. De Roy strongly believestechnologies are changing and challenging the ways of learning, and the acquisition ofknowledge is becoming more dynamic, creative, universal, electronic and interactive.Hella’ s fascination with the use of ICT in her professional practice is shared bymost of her colleagues in the study. For example, Harriet had this to say on how she triesto incorporate ICT in her professional practice:89I usually search for information that is relevant to the topics I teach in languageeducationfrom the Internet. I use this information to teach and give some notes tothe students. Previously I used to give students some links where they could getrelevant information such that they could read on their own but due to lack ofInternet service at the college this is not possible now (Harriet, Questionnaire 220.11.2009).Aisha also expresses a similar excitement about her attempt to use ICT in herprofessional practice when she says:ICT has enhanced my work asfar as teaching is concerned because before I go toteach, when I have something missing in my content, I usually visit the computerlab to do some surfing and get at least some knowledge about what am going toteach. And normally when I have prepared some work on the computer, studentsget access to them in their free time and do their supplementaiy reading (Aisha,Questionnaire 2, 20.11.2009).Similar enthusiasm with the use of Internet to teach was also expressed by Jalia whowrote said:I use Internet to find resources for reinforcing/enriching my presentations, tocreate resources (notes, questions) and update my website .. .1 can present alecture using power point/overheadprojector. I can upload information and referstudents to it (Jalia, Journal entry 9.4.2008)Jalia’s emphasis on revealing her ability to make a presentation using Powerpointneeds to be put in proper perspective. In the Western context, it would be obvious for ateacher educator to be able to make a presentation using Powerpoint; in Uganda,90however, it is not as obvious because Powerpoint projectors are still a preserve of thelucky few working in International organizations and powerful ministry headquarters,urban churches and media organizations. Many university lecturers in Uganda, includingKyambogo University, where I work, have never touched let alone used Powerpoint tomake a presentation. It is therefore a great achievement for Jalia to be able to use powerpoint for presentations.Being able to master the modern technology seems to enhance Jalia’s self-worthand gives her the status that comes with being able to use the modern technology forprofessional practice. From the ability to use PowerPoint Jalia seems to have derivedsome transformative power, which has changed her identity from that of an ordinaryteacher educator to a more versatile contemporary professional. Her choice of words andthe tone of the expression itself reveal a level of happiness and satisfaction. It was notsurprising that she turned up to be the most active member of the group. She regularlyvolunteered to take minutes during our meetings, as well as prepared the minutes andsentd them to members of the group via email. She would photocopy documents at thephotocopying machine at the computer lab by herself. She was also the first participant toregister for the online Google group discussions, which we had to abandon since otherscould not register to participate in the online discussions, as highlighted in the Chapter 3.She even managed to post articles online for discussion and eventually she became thecoordinator of the group. Her colleagues relied on her for support whenever they neededassistance with modern technology.Another popular practice among the teacher educators is using the computer andthe Internet for building a ‘question bank’ for easy access and communicating with91student teachers via the Internet. It was interesting to note that some of the teachereducators were using computers and the Internet for, as they put it, keeping “questionbanks.” What this means is that they used ICT to store a set of examination questionsfrom previous years to be used for setting another examination. Over time, the teacheraccumulates a stock of examination questions that she or he can rely on to setexaminations with ease. This is a common practice in our education system right from theprimary schools up to the universities. The entire system of education in Uganda ismainly driven by examination as mentioned earlier. It undermines the real essence ofeducation. The tendency to use the Internet to promote the same old practice of rotelearning as opposed to enhancing creativity and innovativeness is a matter of concern forme and needs to be reviewed if the transformative potential of ICT which De Roy (1997)talks about is to be fully realized. ICT curriculum and training should introduce theteacher educators to a wide range of facilitative tools, which the computer and theInternet offer to transform teaching and learning process.5.3 Challenges Teacher Educators Face in Using ICTThe teacher educators’ response to the introduction of ICT training programs andthe range of activities, which the teacher educators use ICTs for personal and professionalreasons were not the only lenses used to determine the extent to which the teachereducators use ICT in their professional practice. In addition to these, I looked at thechallengcs the teacher educators face in trying to use ICT to contextualize my findings.The evidence shows that the teacher educators face a number of challenges in trying touse ICT in their professional practice as shown in the following section.925.3.1 Limited AccessThe study found out that the teacher educators face a number of challenges intrying to use ICT in their professional practice in the context of Uganda. The mostoutstanding challenge all the teacher educators talked about was the problem of havinglimited access to ICT facilities, especially the Internet. In the first place, the only Internetaccess point readily available to them is the one at the computer lab in the college. Yetthe lab itself has a limited capacity of accommodating only 20 people at a time. This ishow Hella brought out the problem in her one of her reflections:Access to resources is still a problem in the college because sometimes thecomputer lab is open when I have classes, then during my free time it can belocked or it is fully occupied... The computer lab is very small; it cannotaccommodate the big number ofstudents (Hella, Reflective Journal, 2 1.6.2008).5.3.2 Unreliable Internet ConnectivityApart from the problem of size, there is also the problem of irregular Internetconnectivity. For example, when we started our data collection process in April 2008, wefound the Internet connection at the laboratory had been cut off due to non-payment ofthe connectivity fee. This affected our original plan. Instead of focusing on thedocumentation of the ICT practices among the teacher educators we took some time todelve into the challenges the teacher educators face in trying to use ICT. We then decidedto facilitate participants with some money to be able to access Internet at the commercialInternet cafés in Kampala. However, we continued to hold regular meetings to discuss theissues as they emerged in addition to telephone and email contacts because relying on theInternet became rather frustrating for data collection.93Another participant, Harriet, echoes Hella’s concerns over the problem ofinadequate infrastructure. This is what she had to say about her experience:Due to large classes, a significant concern revolving around infrastructural orequipment accessibility especially by students was a big challenge. Many times Igave students practical activities like building blogs but they were let down bylack ofequipment andpoor access (Harriet, Reflective Journal, 02.05 2008).As seen from the responses of the participants, the ICT infrastructure at thecollege is still fragile. As a result, the teacher educators have limited access to theInternet at the college. Only two of the respondents (Aisha and Hella) had personalcomputers but they have no Internet connectivity. We tried to support the teachereducators with some money to be able to access the Internet at the Internet cafés orelsewhere; again, some had no nearby Internet cafés to their places of residence. Evenwhen others could drive back to the city to have access to the Internet, they would takehours to reach because of the nature of traffic jams after office hours.5.3.3 Electricit/power OutagesThere is also the problem of unreliable electricity from the national grid. Therewere moments when the whole city would be in a black out, without electricity for hours.As such, even if a person makes it to the Internet cafés, he or she would still not be ableto access the Internet. The challenges teacher educators in Uganda face are consistentwith what other scholars have observed in many parts of Africa. Drawing on Jipguep(1993), De Roy (1997) asserts:What is really lacking in African and telecommunication is . .. the basic networkinfrastructure upon which telecommunication services can be developed.94Scientists, researchers and the general population in most African countries faceand must cope with power outage, and surge, unreliable telephone circuits whenavailable, low availability ofhigh bandwidth and digital systems (De Roy, 1997,p. 889).5.3.4 Inadequate Training and Lack of Hands-on Experience With ICTAfter interacting with the teacher educators for months, I also came to realize thatthe training the teacher educators received is too basic to enable them to competently andconfidently use ICT in their professional practice. To begin with, they are not givenenough hands-on experience during training. As a result, they soon forget the skills theyhave been introduced to during training. For example when we asked participants toregister for the online Google group discussions most of them found it difficult to followthe registration instructions. At one moment, as we were having some tea with Janene,the Deputy Principal at Bondo (who was also one of the participants), I asked her toexplain why some teacher educators had not registered for the online discussions by theagreed date. She looked at me, started laughing, and told me in low tone “some of uslack the skills. We have not been practicing these things. We still need assistance.”(Janene, June 2008). When I asked the participants to state in their reflective journalstheir reasons for not participating in the online discussion, Kamuli simply put his reasonas “inadequate knowledge and skills on how to use the Internet services.” (Kamuli,12.06.2008). Hella made a similar disclosure when she said:There is a weakness with ICT use due to lack ofskills by both students and myselfFor example the other day I opened some information on the Internet, suddenly, it95disappeared. I was puzzled. Then I realized I must have touched a key, which Icould not restore. I lost the document (Hella, Journal # 2, 26.06.2008).5.3.5 AttitudesRelated to the problem of inadequate training is also the problem of people’sattitudes. In the local contexts, computers are still seen as exotic and luxurious tools forthe rich. Some people feel intimidated by computers and the Internet and thus, they feeleasily defeated to master computer programs. Others think computers are for youngpeople to learn. Such an attitude does not encourage learning; instead, it stifles creativityand the ability to learn. There is a need todemystifr the computer and the Internet duringtraining. It is not enough just to plunge people into skills training without cultivating theright attitudes toward the tools. Government needs to develop a national computertraining program that not only seeks to equip the citizenry with skills to accessinformation but also to sensitize the population on the need to look at computers as toolsto perform a wide range of functions in all aspects of human endeavor. People need to betaught not only the mechanics of computers and the Internet but also their psychosocialand economic aspects in order to demystify ICTs.5.3.6 Irrelevant MaterialThe teacher educators also reported the problem that most of the materials theyfound on the Internet was not relevant to the local situation, which they find verydiscouraging in their efforts to use the Internet resources to teach. This is how Harrietnarrated her personal experience:One of my most challenging experiences in language teaching using ICTresources was when I needed some information about language and culture.. .196got a lot of information but when I read through, I realized it wouldn ‘t beapplicable for my students... there was no way I could relate this information...Icould not see the relevance. Every information I got, talked about language andculture in a different context. I therefore decided to change the heading and typed“relationship between culture and language” I got a lot of information but still itwas not leading me to what I wanted. I got a bit disappointed; I had spent almostan hour on the computer, yet I was not getting exactly what I wanted. (Harriet,Reflective Journal, 15.7. 2008).The concerns which participants expressed about the materials they got from theInternet being largely irrelevant is extremely important and it underlies the institutionalweakness in the system of education in Uganda. Our universities are basically teachinguniversities, which means, they are not investing in research and publications asexpected. Their priorities are feeding students, paying salaries and monitoring theteaching that is going on. The core function of a university—to engage in research and togenerate new knowledge and ideas for national development—is given little attention inthe funding of universities. It is therefore not surprising that one does not find manyUgandan voices on pertinent educational journals published on the Internet. For example,in a recent study on the best performing universities in Africa, Kyambogo University,which is the second biggest public university in Uganda with a country wide network of12 National Teachers’ Colleges and 38 Primary Teachers’ Colleges, was not evenfeatured among the best 150 universities in Africa.9Makerere University took a positionclose to 1 00. There is a public outcry over the declining standard of university educationThe ranking of the best universities was based on the number of electronic publications the university hadproduced in a given period of time.97in Uganda. There is a need to strengthen research capacity at the universities if theproblem of lack of relevant materials is to be addressed. One would expect that the ICTpolicy would seek not only to promote digital literacy for the generation, and productionof new knowledge in universities and institutions of learning. Unfortunately, theemphasis seems to be on accessing existing information.5.3.7 Sociocultural ConstraintsThe teacher educators also faced socio-cultural constraints in trying to use ICTs intheir professional practice. The socio-cultural constraints have many dimensions. Ashighlighted by Harriet in her reflection above, many of the resources found on theInternet come from the Western world. They are not highly appreciated in the localcontext due to religious and cultural reasons, among others. Moreover, some peopleassociate the Internet with pornography, prostitution, homosexuality, and many other“social evils”. The prevalence of pornographic material at the Internet cafés in the urbancenters is becoming a point of concern for parents and people of faith. It has influencedpeople’s perception about the Internet and those who go to the Internet cafés are viewedwith suspicion. This discourages some professionals, especially women, from going tothe Internet cafés for fear of being perceived negatively.5.3.8 PovertyPoverty is also a major factor. Many people cannot afford to buy personalcomputers because of the high incidence of poverty in the population. A teacher educatorearns an average salary of $200 per month. Out of this meager salary, he or she isexpected to pay school fees for the children, meet medical bills, pay for house rent andutilities, feed the family, meet transport costs and pay taxes. This leaves nothing to save98for buying a computer. As such, people have limited exposure to the computer. In fact, inUganda it is still seen as luxury item, which teachers and teacher educators cannot afford.A teacher who manages to get a laptop will be treated with respect by the rest of his orher colleagues.5.3.9 Gender RolesMany of the participants, especially the women, reported that they could noteasily find time to go to the Internet cafés because of the many roles and responsibilitiesculture obliges them to perform in their homes. In the Ugandan context, the woman takesthe bulk of the responsibility of running a home. She is the first person to wake up in themorning, cleans the house, cooks breakfast if it is there, prepares the children to go toschool, nd takes the children to school. She buys food from the market, cooks food,serves the food, washes the utensils, ensures that the doors and windows are securebefore going to bed and attends to the husband who rarely appreciates the ceaselesssacrifices she makes to make their home a better place to live in. Under suchcircumstances, it is likely too much to expect that a female teacher educator can find timeto access the Internet after official work.5.3.10 Lack of TimeThe participants also complained of lack of time as one of the major challenges intheir use of ICT in teaching. They complained that they do not find enough time toconcentrate on their professional work of teaching because they are involved in a numberof national development programs in areas such as HIV/AIDS and health, environment,poverty eradication, women emancipation, civic education, elections monitoring andchildren’s rights campaigns. The problem is worse for the Centre Coordinating Tutors99who, because of their close association with the local communities, are seen as the bestagents of change to be involved in all community programs.5.3.11 Lack of Technical and Professional SupportI noticed that one of the major challenges trainees face is lack of sustainability inICT Training programs. Once participants are introduced to ICT, there are no follow- upactivities to give further support after the initial training. Consequently, participants loseinterest in the program and eventually forget the skills they had acquired. In addition tothat, there are no professional bodies to organize professional development events whereteacher educators can have opportunities to meet and share experiences. For example, theteacher educators have never had opportunities to attend an international conferenceoutside Uganda. The college does not have a budget even a single teacher educator in ayear to attend an international conference. Most of the time they are confined to teachingand supervising students at the college most of the time with exception of perhaps thosewho are centre coordinating tutors.5.4 Participants’ Own Assessment of the Extent of their ICT UseUsing semi-structured questionnaires, I asked the participants to explain to mefrankly the extent to which they use ICT in their professional practice. Their responseswere very frank and to the point as illustrated in the followings samples:Janene: “To very limited extent.”Aisha: “To a small extent, only to get some information to add on my teaching noteswhich I already have.”Harriet: “Due to the limited time I have to access the computers, integrate ICT in myteaching to a limited extent.”100Even by their own assessment, participants concur with my findings that they use the ICTfor professional reasons to a limited extend not so much because they have no interest inusing ICT but because of the circumstances under which they operate. Some of the issueswill be highlighted under the concluding discussions.5.5 Incorporating the c-Granary Digital LibraryThe study also sought to explore the possibility of incorporating alternativemodern technologies like the e-Granary to enhance teacher education and professionaldevelopment. To this end, participants were introduced to the e-Granary Digital Libraryin a one-day workshop held at Bondo PTC. The e-Granary Digital Library is a programof the WiderNet Project, The University of Iowa service organization is dedicated toimproving digital communication in developing countries. It provides access to Internetresources offline for institutions lacking adequate Internet access. It is a mass storage ofover ten million resources. After the workshop, participants were asked to describe if andhow the e-Granary Digital Library could best be incorporated in their teaching.Participants gave interesting insights as highlighted in a sample of their responses below:The e-Granary is a very useful avenue to getting as much information as onecould. The problem we have encountered is that our college (Bondo PTC) inparticular is not connected to the e-Granary yet and if it could be incorporatedinto the teaching, students would benefit from a lot of information (Aisha,Questionnaire 2, 20.11.2009).Janene, who missed the e-Granary workshop, even had something to say about what shelearnt from others:101I missed the workshop, had some commitments out ofcollege, hope to study moreabout it. However, from the introductory briefing by Sam on e-Granary, it is avery rich toll which could be adopted in phases and the idea sold to the Board ofGovernors and our Ministry of ICT so that institutions of learning can benefitfrom it (Janene, Questionnaire 2, 20.11.2009).Aisha and Janene’s opinions on the benefit of incorporating e-Granary into their teachingis echoed by Jalia in the following expression (Jalia, Questionnaire 2, 20.11.2009):e-Granary Digital Library is a welcome venture. It has a lot of information anddetailed in most cases. Since the college is unable to provide connectivity to thelab the e-Granary will be very useful and it will motivate tutors to search for newinformation. When we still had connectivity tutors actively and meaningfullyvisited the lab and their lesson presentations were improved/enriched! I believewe shall get more information to enrich our teaching and also improve on ourprofessional growth. Members can access information related to their researchtopics much easily and also encourage them to be more innovative in their areasofspecialization (Jalia, questionnaire # 2, 20.11.2008).Indeed as Jalia has pointed out the e-Granary Digital Library seems to offer somespecial advantages that make it ideal for the Ugandan situation. Some of the advantagesinclude: it is easy to install; it is fast, up to 5,000 times faster than satellite connection; itcan cut Internet connectivity costs by 70% or more; it looks and functions like the realInternet; users need no additional training; contents and software are updateable via asubscription to the e-Granary Digital Library Update Service. Further, it has fast andcomprehensive search capabilities; it’s a reliable and fast platform for building and102delivering any curriculum; above all it reminds teachers of the local concept of granarywhich is prevalent in all Ugandan cultures. In fact, the mere mention of the namegenerated a lot of excitement and set participants laughing. Some even wondered whethera Ugandan invented the program. The metaphor “e-Granary” sounded local andparticipants were able to identify with it very easily which made them like the program.5.6 DiscussionAccording to Olsson and Edman-Staibrant (2008), digital literacies can cover anumber of dimensions, which can be useful when trying to set up programs fordevelopment of courses and educational programs. They define these dimensions asinformation literacy, technological literacy, media literacy, global literacy andresponsibility literacy (Olsson & Edman-Stalbrant, 2008). Information literacy isdescribed as the ability to collect, organize, evaluate information and form valid opinionson what is learned. Technological literacy is described as the ability to use technology,access new media, and the Internet and communicate information. Media literacy on theother hand is how to use new media in a creative way to produce, communicate andpresent content to a wider audience. Global literacy is to understand global complexity,interact, and communicate accordingly, while responsibility literacy is to consider socialconsequences and use, and communicate information safely with respect to privacy andother social issues (Olsson & Edman-Staibrant, 2008).If we use Olsson and Edman-Stalbrant’s (2008) five dimensions forcategorizing digital literacies as a basis to determine the extent to which the teachereducators at Bondo PTC use ICT in their professional practice, then they were right tosay that they use ICT to a limited extent. Nearly all the personal and professional reasons103they gave for using ICT would probably fall under the first dimension only, that is,information literacy which deals with the ability to collect, organize, evaluate informationand form valid opinions on what is learned. A legitimate question that needs to be askedis why the teacher educators are only engaging in a limited range of digital literaciesdespite the ICT training programs they have attended.A theoretical explanation to this question could be found in Prinsloo’s argumentthat despite their global impact, the New Literacies (ICTs, digital literacies) are beststudied as “placed resources,” situated by social practices, with local effects (Prinsloo,2005). According to Prinsloo, the New Literacies do not have an intrinsicresourcefulness. In other words, they may not offer the same affordance when placed indifferent socio-cultural context, because each context has its own dynamic, which in turnaffects the way the New Literacies operate at a given time. Whether they offeropportunities for particular users is something that has to be established by local research,and not assumed, in contrast with research models that start from concerns around digitaldivides and offer solutions along the lines of technological transfer.Olsson and Edman-Stalbrant (2008) support Prinsloo’s argument that ICTs needto be studied as placed resources. They contend that thinking, learning and production ofknowledge is always embedded or situated in a context. According to Olsson and EdmanStalbrant (2008), learning as it normally occurs is a function of the activity, context andculture in which it occurs. It means if we are to design ICT training programs, which theteacher educators in Uganda will take hold of in their professional practice, then we haveto take into consideration the ICT environment in which the teacher educators operate.We need to understand their lived experiences with ICT in whatever form they may be.104We need to be aware of the basic skills they already have with ICT in their daily lives,their real areas of need for ICT, as well as the cultural sensitivities that need to be takeninto consideration.As discussed in Chapter Four above, our ICT policy and programs seem to buildon what Street (2001) refers to as the autonomous model, which assumes that literacy isabout transfer of a set of skills to participants, which when given will automatically causeparticipants to function in a particular way. This model uses a top-down approach, whichassumes that the literacy instructors already know the literacy needs of the participantsand all the participants can do is to receive the package already prepared for them. Thedanger with this approach is that it does not build on the already existing literacypractices among participants. Instead, it ignores their local knowledge and underminestheir lived experiences, which in turn makes the programs alien to the trainees.Drawing on findings from this research, the ICT initiatives should begin byexploring the specific digital literacy needs of the participants through active engagementwith the participants from the very beginning. They should seek to understand the digitalliteracy practices participants are already engaged in, not only in their professionalpractice but also in their private lives, and use it as a foundation to construct relevant ICTtraining programs which are applicable in the local context. As the New London Grouphave argued, people do not learn anything well unless they are both motivated to learnand believe that they will be able to use and function with what they are learning in someway that is in their interest (The New London Group, 2000).Besides, ICT initiatives should seek to integrate indigenous technologies, whichpeople are not only familiar with but which have also proven to work for many years.105The problem in Africa, as Mushengyezi has rightly observed, is that African governmentsand their development partners often tend to extrapolate technologies from the developedworld and apply them wholesale without considering the peculiarity of the localsituations (Mushengyezi, 2000). His suggestion that while keeping abreast of newtechnol6gies, indigenous media forms should be made versatile and relevant throughhybridization is consistent with our finding on the introduction of the e-Granary digitallibrary to the teacher educators. The teacher educators were fascinated by the e-Granarydigital library. I suspect that the metaphor “e-Granary” was culturally and technologicallyrelevant, as it represents a concept that cuts across the entire Ugandan cultural landscape.Traditionally, a granary was the most basic structure found in every homestead inUganda. It was a four legged gourd normally erected in the middle of the compound. Itwas used to store foodstuffs like millet, sorghum, maize, semis, groundnuts, and drymeat, which could last for a very long period. Women who knew how to regulate thesupplies managed them. They saved people during seasons of hunger and famine. Thus,the concept of e-Granary easily struck a chord with participants. It is seen as a “locally”available knowledge and information storage, from which you can retrieve information asand when the need arises without having to be connected on the Internet. However, thefull potential of the e-Granary to transform teacher education still needs to be establishedthrough further research.Furthermore, the programs seem to be too basic to enable the teacher educators toexplore the range of functions ICTs can offer to improve teaching and learning. Myargument draws support from scholars like Farell (2007), who argues that teacher trainingneeds to involve much more than the development of computer literacy skills. According106to Farell, teachers and teacher educators need to be able to design and adapt contentmaterials to suit student needs, search and manage information, and be aware of theethics and dangers inherent in the use of web-based resources. ICT training programsshould thus empower teacher educators to feel confident to use technology to improveteaching and learning. This necessitates going beyond the basics of being able to accessinformation from the Internet.There are legitimate concerns regarding the kinds of materials the teachereducators find from their use of the Internet for professional practice. As echoed in theirresponses earlier in this chapter, there was a general feeling among the teacher educatorsthat the web-based resources they try to obtain from the Internet are largely irrelevant forclassroom application in the Ugandan situation. This takes reinforces the need to reviewthe ideological orientation of the ICT training programs and the curriculum for thesetraining programs. The programs must be oriented to empower participants to becomeproduceis of knowledge and not mere consumers of knowledge. Thus, the curriculumshould be structured to develop participants’ skills in uploading local content, to reduceoverreliance on foreign materials that may not necessarily suit local needs.Based on the foregone discussion it can be concluded that while the teachereducators are trying their best to use ICT in their professional practice, there are a numberof issues that still need to be addressed before we can comfortably say that thetransformative potential of ICT is being realized in teacher education in Uganda. Some ofthe major concerns relate to limited access to ICT facilities due to inadequate ICTinfrastructure, the nature of the ICT training programs, and irrelevance of the web-based107resources. Consequently, the teacher educators use ICT in their professional practice onlyto a limited extent.5.7 SummaryIn this chapter, I set out to examine the digital literacy practices among theteacher educators at Bondo PTC, with a view to finding out the extent to which theteacher educators use ICT in their professional practice. To this end, I considered how theteacher educators have responded to the ICT training initiatives, Internet access time,their personal and professional reasons for ICT use, as well as the challenges they face indeveloping digital literacy skills. Based on the evidence drawn from questionnaires,journal reflections, online discussions, and focus group discussions, I concluded that theteacher educators at Bondo PTC use ICT to a limited extent in their professional practice.I have argued that salient reasons for the limited use of ICT among the teacher educatorsare rooted in the ideological orientation of the ICT policy and programs. I have alsoargued that the private sector-driven, donor supported, NGO-led small-scale pilot baseddevelopment strategy does not guarantee sustainability in the promotion of ICT ineducation. I have relied on Street’s notion of autonomous versus ideological model aswell as Prinsloo’s notion of ICTs as “placed resources” to; develop my arguments. In thenext chapter, I highlight some of the main lessons, make some recommendations, and endwith general conclusions and the way forward.108CHAPTER 6LESSONS, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND CONCLUSIONS6.1 LessonsIn view of the literature reviewed and data analyzed in the preceding chapters thefollowing lessons can be drawn on the global discourse on digital literacy, the ICT policyenvironment in Uganda, the extent to which teacher educators use ICT in theirprofessional practice and the challenges they face in trying to use ICT especially forprofessional purposes:1) Teacher educators in Uganda have a positive attitude towards the introduction ofICT in the teaching and learning of language. They have responded positively tothe training programs organized for teacher educators in PTCs. Others have evenundertaken further ICT programs offered in the public universities at their cost.The teacher educators are eager to integrate ICT in their professional practice buttheir enthusiasm is being hindered by a number of factors such as lack of regularaccess to computer and the Internet, inadequate ICT skills, prevalence ofirrelevant materials from the Internet and cultural constraints especially forwomen on whom society imposes many restrictions.2) ICT and digital literacy has the potential to transform teaching and learning andimprove the quality of our education. However, this potential may not be fullyrealized if the system of education continues to be dominated by examinations, asacknowledged by government (Republic of Uganda, 1992) as opposed topreparing students to become critical thinkers and productive citizens. The use ofICTs to store examination questions reported by some of the teacher educators is109a reflection of their understanding of what is expected of them by both the publicand the system of education under which they serve. As long as the emphasiscontinues to be on passing examinations, the tendency will be for the teachers andteacher educators to use ICTs for preparing students to pass examinations at theexpense of developing students’ creative and innovative potentials.3) Digital literacy like other forms of literacy such as reading and writing is a socialpractice embedded in socially constructed epistemological principles. As Street(2001) argues, literacy is about knowledge and power. Literacy is alwayscontested both in meaning and in its practice, hence particular versions of it arealways ideological and deeply rooted in a particular worldview and the desire todominate and marginalize others. In order to avoid the possibility of dominationand marginalization through the promotion of ICTs for knowledge consumptiononly, Uganda should seek to empower the teacher educators and its citizens morebroadly to use ICT for information generation, knowledge production and wealthcreation (e.g., business start up).4) The ICT policy in Uganda tends to be uneven and lopsided since it largely seeksto enhance the promotion of digital skills of accessing knowledge and informationfrom the Internet at the expense of developing skills to generate and produceindigenous knowledge for local use and the global community. This has thedanger of reducing Uganda into an absolute consumer rather than producer ofglobal knowledge, which will perpetuate dependence syndrome andunderdevelopment.1105) The ICT intervention programs taking place in the teachers training collegesappear to be inadequate to prepare the teacher educators to function effectivelynd efficiently with the ICT tools. The programs are too basic to expose thetrainees to the transformative potentials of ICTs. This may make it difficult for thecountry to realize the transformative effects of ICT in education. The inability ofthe teacher educators to engage in an online discussion to share ideas, views andopinions on topic issues relating to their professional practice should be a warningcall to give them more support through training and opportunities to attendimportant professional events.6) Common digital literacy practices among the teacher educators such as voice mailand text messaging are not being incorporated into digital literacy trainingprograms even though these practices are quite common among the locals.Ignoring the digital literacy practices prevalent among the participants in the ICTtraining programs denies opportunity to draw from funds of knowledge they haveaccumulated over the years.7) Current ICT training tends to perpetuate rote learning through the use ofcomputers and the Internet for preparing lecture notes which gives students noopportunity to engage with ICT directly and take hold of the learning process. Forxample, most of the professional reasons the teacher educators listed for theirengagement with ICTs implies that the student teachers are on the receiving endof learning and not at the centre of ICT moderated teaching and learning.8) Culturally sensitive ICT programs tend to evoke positive response fromparticipants. The e-Granary is a case in point. Participants overwhelmingly111embraced the e-Granary digital library because the concept of granary is not newto them. In their communities and cultures, they have experienced the use of agranary and they know how important it is for storage in an African culturalsetting. Thus, the concept of e-Granary resonated well with them though furtherresearch needs to be carried out to determine the real affordances and limitationsof the e-Granary Digital Library in teacher education in Uganda.9) Most of the digital literacy programs in Uganda tend to be either donor funded orprivate sector led. Such programs are not sustainable in the end. Governmentneeds to consider investing in development of infrastructure especially in ruralareas where private investors may be reluctant to put their money. Ironically, mostdf the schools with large numbers of pupils tend to be in these rural locations.6.2 RecommendationsIn order to realize the transformative potential of modern informationcommunication technology, the following factors should be taken into considerations:1) There is need to review the ICT policy in order to create an environment that willfacilitate not only the promotion of digital literacy skills to access informationfrom the Internet, but that will also emphasize skills that empower participants togenerate and produce knowledge and information in order to survive thecompetitive global environment.2) Deliberate efforts must be made to understand and integrate local knowledge andlocal literacy practices into digital literacy intervention programs in educationbroadly and in teacher education more specifically if the goal to create aknowledge-based society is to be realized in Uganda.1123) Digital literacy training programs taking place in teacher education should bereviewed to ensure that they are not only culturally and ideologically sensitive tothe local situation but that they also introduce trainees to a wider range of ICTapplications to engage them in critical thinking and knowledge production.4) Further in-depth qualitative case studies should be conducted into the ICT trainingin schools, universities and colleges with a view to developing some minimumrequirements to streamline the quality of digital literacy education provided inschools, universities and colleges. There is need to examine the ICT trainingprograms and curriculum as well as the actual delivery of the training programs inorder to have a better sense of what really takes place in these training programs.5) Government needs to increase its budgetary allocations in the education sector toprovide for the establishment of modem computer labs and digital libraries inschools, colleges, and universities broadly and PTCs more specifically.6) Indigenous media and communication technologies should be integrated withmodern technology to make modern technologies relevant and easily adaptable tothe local contexts. We should seek to have a hybrid of indigenous and moderntechnologies to make such technologies culturally relevant and sustainable.7) There is also need to explore possibilities of incorporating ICT programs, such asthe e-Granary, which do not rely on the Internet connectivity for access in schoolsand colleges. This is particularly important because the Internet infrastructure inrural schools is still thin and may continue be so for a very long time in Uganda.1138) ICT training programs must provide for reasonable hands on experience fortrainees to enable them to master the skills they have attained in ICT trainingprograms.9) Training programs should have follow up activities to give trainees continuoussupport in their use of ICT in professional practice.10) Teacher educators need to be encouraged by colleges to attend internationalprofessional events like conferences and workshop in order to establishcollaborative linkages and receive mentoring from well-travelled and experiencedsenior colleagues. Financial resources should be available for this purpose.6.3 ConclusionIt would be inappropriate for me to end this study without making a generalconclusion and suggesting a way forward. Based on the findings of this study which Ihave discussed in Chapter Four, Chapter Five and Chapter Six, it can be concluded thatwhile the introduction of ICT training programs in PTCs have been enthusiasticallyembraced by teacher educators, the realization of the transformative potential of ICTs fordigital literacy skills development is yet to be achieved. One of the major areas ofconcern is the ideological orientation of the ICT policy and programs which appear to berooted in what Street (2001) refers to as the autonomous model which presupposes thatliteracy is a set of skills which, when transferred to people, will automatically enablethem to function in a particular way regardless of the context. This calls for moreinvestigation into ICT programs and projects currently in operation in teacher educationand those that are yet to be initiated.114Inadequate ICT infrastructure and lack of Internet connectivity in particular hasalso featured as a major obstacle in the in the promotion of ICT and digital literacy skillsin teacher education. This necessitates exploring the possibility of introducing ICTprograms like the e-Granary that can function without the need to have Internetconnectivity. In my view, the best way forward is for all the stakeholders in ICT andteacher education to put research at the center of all ICT initiatives so that decisions andactions are guided by well-researched information. This will enable us to identifypotential problem so that appropriate measured can be taken in time to avoid wastage ofresources.115ReferencesBarton, D., & Hamilton, M. (1998). Local Literacies: Reading and Writing in OneCommunity. 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In JHEA/RESA, Boston College & Councilforthe Development ofSocial Science and Research in Africa, 1 (1), 195-22 1.Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962). Phenomenology of Perception. Evanston: NorthwesternUniversity Press.Ministry of Education and Sports (2006). The Education Sector Review Report AnnualPerformance Report 2005-2006. Kampala: MoES.Ministry of Works, Housing and Communications (2009). National Information andCommunication Technology Policy.Most Popular Internet Activities (2008). Internet Statistics and Resources. Retrieved on12.30.2008 from http://www.infoplease.com/ipaJa0921862.html.Mushengyezi, A. (2003). Rethinking Indigenous Media: Ritual, ‘Talking Drums andOrality as Forms of Public Communication in Uganda. Journal of AfricanCultural Studies 16 (1), 107-117.New London Group (2000). A Pedgogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures. InCope, B. & Kalantzis, (Eds.), (2000). 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Building Equitable LiterateFutures: Home and School Computer-mediated Literacy Practices andDisadvantages. Cambridge Journal ofEducation, 32(3), 367-83.Ssekamwa, J.C. (1997). History and Development of Education in Uganda, Kampala:Fountain Publishers.Stein, P. (2008). Multimodal Instructional Practices. In J. Coiro., M. Knobel., C.Lankshear & D. J, Leu. (Eds.), Handbook of Research on New Literacies (pp.87 1-898). New York: Taylor and Francis Group.Street, B. (1984). Literacy in Theory and Practice. Cambridge, U.K: CambrigdeUniversity Press.Street, B. (1995). Social Literacies: Critical Approaches to Literacy Development,Ethnography and Education. London: Longman.Street, B. (Ed.), (2001). Literacy and Development: Ethnographic Perspectives. London:Routledge.Tamukong, J. (2007). PanAfrican Research Agenda on the Pedagogical Integration ofICT: Analysis of Information and Communication Technology Policies in Africa.Retrievedon 12.30.2008 fromhttp://www.gkpnet.org/proj ects/public/ict4dinitiatives/view.do?gkpprojectid=523,0.120Uganda National Examinations Board (1999). The Achievements of Primary SchoolPupils in Uganda in English and Mathematics, Kampala: UNEB.United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (2006). ICT for TeacherProfessional Development in Uganda. The Impact and Sustainability Assessment,Centre for Applied Technology: Dot.com documents, USAID.van Manen, M. (1990). Researching Lived Experiences: Human Science for ActionSensitive Pedagogy. London: The Aithouse Press.Wolcott, H.F. (1994). Transforming Qualitative Data: Descriptive Analysis andInterpretation. Thousand Oaks, CA: SageWright W.M. (2001). More Than Just Chanting: Multilingual Literacies, Ideology, andTeaching Methodologies in Rural Eritria. In Street, B. (Ed.), (2001). Literacy andDevelopment: Ethnographic Perspectives. London: Routledge.121Appendix A: Questionnaire 1Digital Literacy and Teacher Development in East AfricaPrincipal investigator(s):Dr. Bonny Norton, Dr. Maureen Kendrick, Dr. Margaret EarlyDepartment of Language and Literacy EducationUniversity of British Columbia, Vancouver CANADAe-mail: bonny.norto.n@ubc.ca, .n.aureen.kendrick(,ubc.ca, margaret.eariy(ubc.caResearch assistant: Mr. Sam Andema, Kyambogo University, KampalaPURPOSEThe purpose of this pilot study is (i) to investigate how Information and CommunicationsTechnologies (ICT) can enhance the work of teacher educators in Primary TeacherColleges in Uganda, with particular reference to language and literacy education; (ii) toenhance and expand existing ICT strategies to improve teacher education; (iii) to developrecommendations for curriculum planners and policy-makers in Uganda and other underresourced areas of Africa.QUESTIONNAIRE #1 (PROJECT INTRODUCTION)1. NAME:2. AGE:_______3. SEX:________________4. PRIMARY TEACHER COLLEGE:________________________5. EDUCATION: (please provide a summary of when and where you have receivedyour educational training)6. ICTTRAIMNG (Please explain if and how you have received formal ICT traininge.g., Harvard Education ICT course, Connect-Ed, etc.):1227. OTHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (e.g., participation in curriculumdevelopment workshops, use of mother tongue language in the classroom):8. DO YOU HAVE REGULAR (WEEKLY/DAILY) ACCESS TO THE INTERNET?YES NO (Circle response)WHERE?AT HOME (e.g., personal computer)?YES NO (Circle response) NUMBER OF HOURS PER WEEK?AT WORK (office or computer lab)?YES NO (Circle response) NUMBER OF HOURS PER WEEK?_____IN THE COMMUNITY (e.g., cybercafes)?YES NO (Circle response) NUMBER OF HOURS PER WEEK?_________9. DO YOU USE THE INTERNET FOR PERSONAL REASONS?YES NO (Circle response)...NUMBER OF HOURS PER WEEK?123PLEASE PROVIDE A LIST OF EXAMPLES OF HOW YOU USE THEINTERNET FOR PERSONAL REASONS (e.g., to access medical information, plantrips, banking, entertainment):10. DO YOU USE THE INTERNET FOR PROFESSIONAL REASONS?YES NO (Circle response)NUMBER OF HOURS PER DAY? NUMBER OF HOURS PER WEEK?PLEASE PROVIDE A LIST OF EXAMPLES OF HOW YOU USE THE INTERNETFOR PROFESSIONAL REASONS (e.g., to find resources to integrate into your teachereducation classes, to create resources for your teacher education classes):11. TO WHAT EXTENT ARE YOU ABLE TO INTEGRATE ICT RESOURCESINTO YOUR TEACHER EDUCATION CLASSES IN LANGUAGEEDUCATION?124PLEASE PROVIDE EXAMPLES:12. DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER COMMENTS/QUESTIONS FOR THERESEARCHERS?THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO RESPOND TO THISQUESTIONNAIRE. WE WILL FOLLOW UP WITH INDIVIDUAL INTERVIEWSAND FOCUS GROUPS, WHICH WILL ALLOW YOU TO SHARE YOURRESPONSES WITH THE RESEARCHERS AND YOUR COLLEAGUES IN MOREDETAIL.125Appendix B: Questionnaire 2Digital Literacy and Teacher Development in East AfricaEXIT QuestionnaireNAME:____________________________DATE:___________Dear Colleague,We would like to thank you most sincerely for participating in our project ondigital literacy and teacher development in East Africa. Your contributions have beenvery valuable in helping us understand the possibilities and challenges of usingInformation and Communication Technology (ICT) to promote more effective teachingand learning in Uganda.In this final questionnaire, we would like to better understand the information we haveaccumulated thus far. We would also appreciate your comments on the project as awhole, your assessment of the possibilities of e-Granary as an educational resource, andyour recommendations to the new Minister of ICT in Uganda, Dr. Ham-Mukasa Mulira.The questionnaire is therefore divided into five sections as indicated. Your responses aregreatly appreciated.SECTION I: Clarification of ICT access and useWe have learnt from the first questionnaire and other sources that limited access to theInternet, lack of skills, irrelevant material, and time constraints are major hindrances inyour attempts to use ICT to in your teaching. In this section, we would like to ascertainthe magnitude of these challenges and seek your views on how the challenges can beaddressed. We therefore ask you to answer the following questions as fully as possible.1 .How far is the nearest Internet access from your place of work other than the collegecomputer lab?_________Meters/Km2. How far is the nearest Internet access from your place of residence?Meters/Km3. Please indicate your average expenditure on Internet use in a period of one month.126(A) Sh. 10.000 (B) Sh. 20.000 (C) Sh. 30.000 (D) Sh. 40.000 (E) Sh. 50.000 (F) Over Sh.50.0004. How many times on average do you access the Internet in a month?(A) Less than 5 times. (B) 5 to 10 times (D) Over 10 times.5. How many times on average do you access the Internet in one week?(A) Once. (B) Twice (C) Three times. (D) Four times (E) Five times (F) Six times &over6. When you do access the Internet, how much time, on average, do you spend on theInternet? (A) 10 to 30 Minutes. (B) 30 to 60 Minutes. (C) 60 to 90 Mi (D) 90 Mm. andabove7. How frequently do you use ICT material to teach in a period of one term on average?(A) 0 to 3 times (B) 4 to 5 times (C) 6 to 7 times (D) 8 to 10 times (E) Above 10 times8. We would also like to better understand the influence that your use of ICT may behaving in your circle of friends, relatives, and colleagues. Does any one usuallyaccompany you when you go to an Internet café? If so, please indicate who that person is,and explain the nature of your interaction in the Internet café.1279. Many of you reported that one of the challenges you face in trying to use the Internet isthat the materials you download from the Internet are often irrelevant to the localsituation. In the space below, could you please describe how you are trying to addressthis challenge?SECTION II: Research question 1In this section, and the next two sections, we wish to address the three research questionswe have identified as part of our pilot study. We would greatly appreciate your responseto each of the questions.The first question in our pilot study was as follows: How can ICT enhance thework of teacher educators in primary teacher colleges in Uganda, with particularreference to language and literacy education? Drawing on discussions over the last sixmonths, as well as your personal experience, please describe if and how ICT has made adifference to your teaching at Kibuli PTC? How might you incorporate ICT in yourteaching in the future?128SECTION III: Research question 2Our second research question seeks to investigate which ICT strategies can improveteacher education. In this regard, we are very interested in your response the e-Granaryworkshop. In particular, could you please describe if and how e-Granary can beincorporated into your teaching at Kibuli PTC.129SECTION IV: Research question 3Our final goal in the study is to develop recommendations on ICT use for curriculumplanners and policy-makers in Uganda. We have interviewed the new Minister of ICT,Dr. Ham-Mukasa Mulira, and have promised to share the findings of our research withhim. After reading the attached Ugandan ICT policy document, and with reference toyour experience with the use of ICT in your teaching, what recommendations would youlike to bring to the attention of Dr. Ham-Mukasa Mulira? Please provide as much detailas possible, incorporating examples to strengthen your recommendations. Yourrecommendations will be incorporated into the report we forward to the Ministry nextyear.130SECTION V: Concluding commentsIs there any thing else you would like bring to the attention of the researchers? If so,please use the space below.Thank you again for your generous participation in our research.Sam Andema, Margaret Early, Maureen Ken.drick, and Bonny NortonDepartment of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia,131Appendix C: Ethics CertificateThe University of British ColumbiaOffice of Research SeivicesBehavioural Research Ethics BoardSuite 102, 6190 Agronomy Road, Vancouver, B. C. V6T 1Z3CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL - FULL BOARDRJNCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: INSTITUTION I DEPARTMENT: ..JBC BREB NUMBER:4aureen KendrickBCiEducation/Language and Literacy07 01895ducationINSTITLJTION(S) WHERE RESEARCH WILL BE CARRIED OUT:Institution I Site1/A N/Ather locations where the research will be conducted:Iniveristy classrooms (Teacher Education Programme, Kyanibogo University in Kampala, Mukumu Primary Teachers College inbroro, Uganda, Gulu Primary Teachers’ College, Gulu, Uganda) Primary and secondary school classrooms associated with theyambogo, Mukumu, and Gulu Teacher Education ProgrammesO-INVESTlGATOR(S):lexandra AbrahamlamuelAndemaauryn M. OatesPONSORING AGENCIES:JBC Hampton Research Endowment FundiROJECTTITLE:igital Literacy and Teacher Development in East AfricaREB MEETING DATE: $ERTIFICATE EXPIRY DATE:November 8, 2007 INovember 8, 2008DOCUMENTS INCLUDED IN THIS APPROVAL: DATE APPROVED:December 7, 2007ocument NameI Version I Dateonsent Forms:DL Teacher Consent 3 December .5, 2007DL Teacher Educ Consent 3 December5, 2007The application for ethical review and the document(s) listed above have been reviewed and the procedures wore foundo be acceptable on ethical grounds for research involving human subjects.Approval Is Issued on behalf of the Behavioural Research Ethics Boardand signed electronically by one of the following:Dr. M. Judith Lynam, ChairDr. Jim Rupert, Associate ChairDr. Laurie Ford, Associate Chair132


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Guangzhou 2 0
Shenzhen 2 2
Manchester 2 0
Vancouver 2 1
Coquitlam 2 0
Chennai 2 0

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