Digital Divide in Work and Study among Mature Students Furthering their Education in Kenyan universities: The Case of Kenyatta University
Wang'eri, T. W.
Mutweleli, S. M.
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The aim of this research was to investigate the digital divide among mature students furthering their education in Kenyan Universities. To achieve this, the study sought to establish the following; if the students had access to electricity and computers, if they had basic computing skills and also if they used computers to perform work as well as study tasks.In addition,the study investigated gender and the education level effects on the digital divide. Data were collected from mature students pursuing doctoral, masters and bachelor degrees in education at Kenyatta University. A number of students reported that lack of electricity; computers and basic computer skills were their major hindrances to digital inclusion. The study findings revealed that mature students who were pursuing doctoral and masters degrees had higher levels of basic computer skills and computer use in their work and study than their bachelor degree counterparts. Contrary to the popularly held view that females are not as good as males in computer technologies, the findings of this study revealed no gender Differences between males and their female counterparts in accessing computers, possession of basic skills and the use of computers to support both work and study. Further to this, high cost of computers, lack of computer skills and limited computer access were reported to be the barriers to crossing the digital divide. To increase digital inclusion the respondents suggested that universities Should offer ICT as a common unit. In addition universities should provide enough Computers for student use and they should also enforcement e-Learning. Individual factors such as computer ownership and cultivation of positive attitudes towards computers were also identified as barriers to digital inclusion. The study recommended that rural electrification be fast tracked to enable installation of computers and internet which should be made affordable. Equally, ICT infrastructure should be installed at the teacher training colleges and at the universities to increase the student - computer ratio thus enabling the students to cross the digital divide more easily. Key words: Digital Divide, Digital Inclusion, ICT, Computers, Barriers, Mature Students, Teachers, Kenya