Information and communication technologies in early childhood education teacher training colleges: a case of Igembe districts, Meru county - Kenya
The government has undertaken an ambitious programme to introduce laptops for all children joining class one in all public government schools in the country beginning the year 2014. This policy has been reinforced by a government budget allocation for the programme. This programme, however noble, can only succeed- if the teachers within the schools have adequate skills and knowledge on how to use Information and Communication Technologies in their instruction to ensure the children reap maximwn benefits. Children should be prepared on how to use the computers from pre-school so that they can fruitfully make use of the government computers once they join mainstream schooling. Lack of teachers with the correct skills in lCT usage in instruction will greatly affect the success of introduction of computer programme in primary schools. This research aims to establish the availability and use of Information and Communication Technologies in Early Childhood Teacher training colleges within 1gembe Districts. The researcher aimed to establish the availability and use of lCTs in the Districts, factors influencing their use, challenges and possibly solutions to challenges in the use of lCTs in ECDE colleges. The study was based on Banduras Social Learning Theory and the Self-efficacy Theory. The researcher adopted a descriptive survey design to carry out the research. The population for this research were the ECDE teacher training colleges within 1gembe District encompassing the teacher trainers (tutors) and student teachers. Random sampling was used to select the sample to avoid bias. A questionnaire and an observation schedule were the main data collection tools used for this study to test the availability and use of lCTs in the ECDE colleges. The data collection instruments were piloted before they were used in the field to attest their validity and reliability. Data was collected from 30% of the population with a 98% return rate of the questionnaires. The data was collected, analysed, tabulated, classified and presented using frequency distribution tables, bar graphs, charts and summary paragraphs. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to prepare data for analysis. T -test and Chi-square test were used to test the data collected to ensure their credibility. From the research findings, there are very few lCTs available in the ECD TTCs and the few available are inadequate. Tutors and students too have limited ways in which they use lCTs. Availability of lCTs and limited knowledge of the lCTs are among the many factors hindering use ofICT in the colleges. The researcher has made conclusions from data collected that negative attitudes by teachers and lack of government intervention are among factors affecting the use ofICTs in the colleges. The researcher has proposed a raft of measures to ensure the use of lCTs in colleges such as attitude changes by all stakeholders, government interventions such as coming up with an appropriate curriculum to help train teachers in lCT, tax incentives to make the lCTs affordable, collaboration with development partners and supervision among others. All these will be geared to having lCT savvy teachers and the same knowledge, skills and attitudes will eventually be transferred to the children in the ECD centres before they transition to mainstream schooling.