CHALLENGES OF E-LEARNING IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: THE UGANDAN EXPERIENCE
Tumaini University (TANZANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:In the recent past, universities and higher education institutions (HEI) in Uganda has been flooded with enrolment of students from secondary schools and from mature age entry exams conducted for adult and continuing education. Much as the government of Uganda has increased the number of public universities, it has also encouraged the private sector to invest in education at all levels, to accommodate the large number of students from universal primary education and universal secondary education that is comparatively so high to be accommodated in the existing universities and HEI. To curb the problem of congestion in classrooms, several universities and HEI therefore adopted distance mode of education and integrated information and communication technologies (ICTs) otherwise referred to as e-learning in their education environment as a platform for teaching, research and learning and as well as for delivering content and knowledge, which has met with varius challenges and limitations
This study therefore investigates the challenges that the integration of ICT in education presents to universities and HEI, as they undertook the process of the implementation of e-learning as a component of their academic environment and as a strategy to overcome the large classes. The study also explored and analyzed the kinds of institutional and tutor initiatives that were adopted to suit the challenges and the limitations in context to their learning environment, it included unequal access to ICT tools, services and resources, bandwidth limitation, high costs of internet subscription, unreliable internet, infrastructure limited to only urban areas, e-learning pedagogy, e-learning content, level of computer skills, and the capacity of the institutions to sustain and maintain the implementation.
Our results indicates that in many cases, the institutions have adopted in different context the various initiatives and strategies to overcome the challenges and promote learning and transfer of knowledge and information to the students. Such strategies include partial reliance on the ICT tools, administrative staff from several universities have revealed that, apart from using the ICT platform for uploading digital contents on the central repository that would be accessible for anywhere, they also printed hard copies of material, copied video on CDs and distributed to the students, others have seen tutors make trips to visit the students at an upcountry convergence center where the tutors meet students and attend to their queries, conduct small group discussions and some institutions have accepted hand-written assignments from students delivered by postal mail, while other institutions have gone a step ahead to give workshops and seminars to their staff on how to handle distance learning classes and assess e-learning students.
We therefore conclude that, the universities and HEI have recognized the potentials of integrating ICTs in education, and have registered enormous progress in its adoption but it is reasonably clear that the adoption has remained uneven throughout universities and HEI across the country and the situation is still inadequate. And the numerous universities and HEI in Uganda are faced with the dilemma of making use of the full potential of ICT in their academic operations (teaching, learning and research) while others are still in the initial stages of adopting the use of ICT for achieving their academic goals.
Keywords: Challenges, e-learning, developing countries.