AVAILABILITY, ACCESSIBILITY AND USE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN MANAGEMENT OF STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC
The study was about availability, accessibility and use if ICT in management of students‟ academic affairs in Makerere University. This emerged because of the problem that there was mismanagement of students‟ academic records despite the technological advancement that had advanced in the University. Such problems include loss of marks, miscalculation of marks to mention but a few. The study intended to establish how ICT affected management of students‟ academic affairs. It applied both correlation and cross sectional survey design. Data were collected using semi-structured survey questionnaires and interviews. Correlations were used to determine the extent to which ICT was related to management of students‟ academic affairs and a cross sectional survey design was used because data were to be collected at one time from the sample of lecturers and administrators of Makerere University. Findings indicated that internet facilities, computers, management information systems, electronic databases all were available and accessible to administrators, lecturers and students though with restricted access for viewing results, record keeping, setting and marking exams. ICT for registration was used for tracking students‟ registration progress by administrators and academic progressing. It was concluded that ICT facilities such as computers Management Information System and internet were the most common used for examination management and they were mainly applied for processing examination results, tracking students’ academic progress, grading of students according to their performance, communication between lecturers and heads of department, communication to students via emails. It was again noted that ICT was accessed for communication between administrators and other teaching staff members in the University, for returning results to students online, calculating students‟ GPA and CGPA and processing transcripts.
Investigation about the level of use of ICT for registration management in Makerere University established that ICT facilities were used for provision of information easily on registration of students, easy monitoring of students‟ registration progress, easy comparison of registration status with other data such as students‟ academic progress and enhanced time management. So ICTs were reliable compared to the previous manual system. However ICT had not effectively improved collaboration between University administrators, students and the university outside community. Electronic Registration System was more It was recommended that the University authorities should adequately train and acquaint users with ICT skills such as database management, typing and printing, online examination management, skills in management information systems and internet and facilitate them with ICT facilities and University authorities should make it a policy for lecturers to use ICT facilities for examination management. It was also suggested that University authorities should train administrators and provide them with the required facilities like computers, computer software, internet facilities and reliable databases and there must be a formal procedure to be followed to enforce strict use of ICT structures in the University. It was also recommended that a framework of guideline be provided for prior to purchasing an e-registration system, that is, a list of the required specifications be made after consultation with users (administrators) to enable purchase of a reliable ICT structure and initial ICT training for administrators must be undertaken to engender commitment to e-registration initiative and support for new ICT skills acquisition for effective implementation of online registration.
1.1 Background of the Study
This chapter explains the background, purpose, objectives, research questions, scope and the significance of the study.
Uganda developed its initial ICT national policy in 2003, Tanestik (2007). The policy framework document that delineated the need for a national ICT policy recognized that Uganda would need to embrace the goal of lifelong education for all. One of the recommendations that were executed early in 2006 resulted into the establishment of a Ministry of ICT to address the convergence of ICT and to provide coordination of policy development (ICT4DGUYANA, 2006). However, before the Government of Uganda embraced ICT in education, Makerere had already started its way to promote technology in education (Nakanyike, and Nansozi, (2003)
The Makerere University Kampala (MUKLA) network was initiated; MUKLA was an isolated project dependent on donor funding and, largely, the efforts of one individual. It was not part of a University-sponsored approach to connectivity. After a short while the network collapsed and was replaced by the use of expensive private Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that were springing up in Kampala. Again, however, the approach was piecemeal. Some faculties made their own efforts to adopt information technology and the Faculty of Law was the pioneer in 1998 of this innovation followed by Faculty of Forestry in 1999 with Norwegian Agency for Development (NORAD) funding, and others followed. Since 1999, the University as a whole has then adopted ICT as an integral part of its rebuilding strategy.
In late 2000, the University developed an ICT Policy and Master Plan, which was approved by the University Council. The policy and plan provided a framework for academic and administrative departments to increase their ICT capacity and utilization within a University-wide system. ICT in education was viewed as an intervention to streamline education management issues such as record keeping, examination management and registration management.
1.1.2 Theoretical perspective
The theory that guided the study was Adaptive Structuration Theory (AST) of DeSanctis and Poole, (1994). Adaptive Structuration Theory is based on Anthony Giddens'(1984) structuration theory. (AST) Adaptive structuration theory (AST) has been used for a number of years in the information systems discipline to study the use of new technologies in organizations, West, & Turner (2000). Proponents of AST contend that developers and users of these systems (ICT) hold high hopes for their potential to change organizations for the better, but actual changes often do not occur, or occur inconsistently. AST examines the change process from two vantage points: (1) the types of structures that are provided by advanced technologies, and (2) the structures that actually emerge in human action as people interact with these technologies.
ICT stands for Information and Communication Technologies and it can be defined as a diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, create, disseminate, store, and manage information (Tinio, 2003). Examples of ICT include radio, television, video, digital versatile device (DVD), telephone, radio, satellite systems, management information systems, computer and network, hardware and software, as well as the services associated with them, such as videoconferencing and electronic mail. In this research ICT will mean availability, accessibility and use of ICT facilities like computers, computer networks (internet), in management of students‟ academic affairs in Makerere University. Management refers to organizing and managing resources in such a way that the task is completed within defined scope, quality, time and cost constraints (Taylor, 1911). In respect to this study, it will mean organizing and managing students‟ academic affairs like examination records and registration records as a means of achieving efficiency. Management of students‟ academic affairs meant examination management at two levels, that is management by teaching staff (lower level) and academic registrars (top level) and registration. Examination management considered how examination exercises like setting, directing exam /invigilation, assessment, grading, reporting, accessibility of exam results were managed. And registration of students considered how students‟ bio data, financial payments, communication with students and collaboration with other agencies like administrators and parents were carried out electronically.
1.1.4 Contextual Perspective
Academic Records Information System (ARIS) was started in 2004 (from the Systems Administrator ARIS, Makerere University) and was developed to support student and education related administrative and managerial processes, that is, management of student personal records, student academic performance registration and analysis, student admission/ registration, examinations, management of data related to academic programs and courses, allocation of facilities and staff, class scheduling. However despite such innovations, some information is still processed and kept in non electronic form as it used to be before ARIS installation. For example, students‟ data are still kept in folder files, students‟ line up for registration yet registration could be done online. And still in the examination and registration management related activities, there are a number of challenges leading to loss of marks, examination malpractices, statistical problems; where the cumulative grade point averages of students are wrongly calculated, delayed registration, delays in issuing and getting transcripts. In many of the universities‟ departments, students‟ data are still processed manually, making the production of reports, transcripts and degree certificates slow and prone to error, (Nakanyike and Muwanga, 2003). So, regardless of ICT initiative in management issues of exams and registration the challenges have remained persistent. Yet it was assumed that with a computerized system in place, it would lead to effective rapid processing of results and certificates, (Nakanyike and Muwanga, 2003). This therefore called for a thorough investigation of the levels of availability, accessibility and use of ICT for both examination and registration in Makerere University.
1.2 Problem statement
Despite ICT innovations in management related activities of examination and registration of students in Makerere University, still the process faces a number of problems, Byaruhanga, (2002). It was anticipated that with a computerized system in place, it would result into effectiveness and efficiency in the processing of results and certificates and registration, (Nakanyike and Muwanga, 2003). The causes of such problems remain uncertain. One wonders whether it emanates from the way the system was introduced; users‟ attitudes; lack of equipment; inadequate skills of users; complexity of the system; to mention. This therefore necessitated for immediate researcher to establish the reality of the matter. Otherwise, with persistent escalating problems in examination and registration management, Makerere University was bound to loose it reputable image publicly and world over and students were likely to abandon the University in favor of other institutions, where they would be free from such aforementioned problems.
The study intended to establish how ICT affected management of students‟ academic affairs in Makerere University.
1. To find out levels of availability of ICT for exam management in Makerere University.
2. To find out levels of accessibility of ICT for exam management in Makerere University
3. To find out level of use of ICT for registration Management in Makerere University
1.5 Research questions
1. At what levels is ICT available for examination management in Makerere University?
2. At what levels is ICT accessible for examination management in Makerere University?
3. What are the levels of use of ICT for registration management in Makerere University?
This study was conducted in Makerere University, Kampala Uganda. The content of the study was confined to establishing the level of accessibility, availability and use of information and communication technology in the management of students‟ academic affairs in Makerere University. The target population was lecturers (teachers) and academic registrars of Makerere University.
1. The study will provide examination administrators and registrars of Makerere University with information about the levels of availability of ICT facilities.
2. It would also benefit Makerere University administrators with data about the levels of accessibility of ICT and its use for exam management.
3. The study would help the future researchers to make future references on this work with the aim of building more knowledge in the field of ICT and education administration.