Preparedness to Integrate Information and Communication Technology in Management of Public Secondary Schools in Nakuru County, Kenya
Njeru, Judith Wamiru
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Educators and policy makers around the world have lauded the potential of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to support the management and administration of education since they can provide quick and critical information that is crucial for decision making. In Kenya, little is known about the preparedness of secondary schools to use ICTs for leveraging management and administration processes, despite the heavy investment in ICT policy and infrastructure by the government and the private sector. The present study sought to investigate the readiness of public secondary schools to adopt ICTs for school management. It was guided by four objectives namely: to assess the availability of computers, management software and Internet connectivity within the schools; to establish the schools managers‟ preparedness to use ICT tools to perform management functions based on their attitudes, ICT skills and training; to establish the extent to which schools utilized ICTs to perform educational management functions; and to identify challenges impending schools to integrate ICTs in school management. The study used a descriptive survey research design and the target population was 20 public secondary schools in the Sub County, their principals, deputy principals, heads of departments (HoDs), accounts clerks and secretaries. Systematic sampling technique was employed to select 10 schools that participated in the study. To sample the respondents, purposive sampling technique was used to arrive at the following categories: 10 principals; 10 deputy principals; 40 HoDs; 10 accounts clerks and 10 secretaries. The sample size of the study was thus 80 respondents. The research instruments included questionnaires and an observation schedule. Validity of these instruments was established through expert judgment while Cronbach alpha was computed to test their reliability. Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version-22-computer program. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages were used to analyse the quantitative data. Analysed data was presented using charts and tables. The study concluded that availability of ICT tools namely: computer hardware, management software and Internet connectivity that are critical for supporting management processes was quite low in schools, and the funds allocated for the same were insignificant. Secondly, the management and support staff lacked appropriate skills for integrating ICT in management. Thirdly, financial related aspects such as budgetary, procurement, and monitoring funds and grants processes were least supported by ICTs in the schools. Lastly, affordability and financial factors were the main barriers to ICT integration in the schools. The study recommended that: the government should allocate more funding to schools for procuring requisite ICTs to support management functions; the current policies on ICT training and capacity building for top management be reviewed and tailored to equip them with skills for utilization of the tools in all the key management functions; MoE to put in place policies and mechanisms to enable schools ICT integration in all key management functions; and education stakeholders to facilitate schools to acquire ICT infrastructure, besides the government zero rating all ICTs meant for school use so that they may be affordable to the institutions.