ICT UNDERUTILIZED IN GHANA’s EDUCATIONAL SECTOR , THE CASE OF KNUST

This article is the original work of Nana Esi  Egyirba Amuah, a participator of the SRC genus competition held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana.

Background

t is evident that the information age is far advanced and consistently improving. There are the challenges, opportunities and the potentials in the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Ghana for Education, Research and Development. Ghana’s ICT vision portrays the transformation of Ghana into an information-rich knowledge-based society and economy through the development, deployment and exploitation of ICTs within the economy and society. Ghana is ranked the fifth among the first and best ten ICT developed countries in the continent. KNUST has the ICT centre with about 210 computers running online which is open to student and staff use for a good number of hours of the day. There is also the wireless service on campus now and its active in all the halls at varying strengths. There is also the connection of the offices of lecturers and administrative offices onto the internet. But what percentage of the student population own laptops in order to enjoy the wireless? Many KNUST students don’t even know there is an ICT centre. Several faculties, colleges and departments have collaborated to benefit in the area of ICT facility. Students who discover the facility think they have to pay for it and hardly know fees for ICT is incorporated into their school fees. How much and to what extent do the students take advantage of the facility? How far have the students been benefiting? How many students and staff are computer literate? How effectively is the internet facility and pc skills utilized among teaching and non teaching staff? The general question is; how is Ghana especially the youth taking advantage of these technologies towards development as far as it is available so far?

IT can be seen to have at least six areas of complexity which were mentioned earlier as software, hardware, databases, datasets, procedures and knowledge of people. Hence it is no mean task to implement an IT project as many people think.

As compared to other tertiary institutions, KNUST has about one third of the number of pc facilities in Legon and as compared to other institutions, its better off,

Many secondary schools don’t use it.


Many homes don’t have pcs because they are beyond the budget of the average Ghanaian. The average university student cannot afford pcs. People own pcs for fancy sake and scarcely for seeking and development of information

Timing for availability of services is bad – within working hours in KNUST

We are in the information age and there is no doubt information is very vital in all spheres of our lives. The right information just when needed could solve so much problem

With this in mind, man thought of and made the computer, a device that serves as the prime machine in expediting the processing and distribution of information. The world today can boast of millions of computers hooked up onto the internet or as standalones.

Information Technology (IT) is all the software, hardware, databases or datasets, procedures and knowledge of people that are used in a way to satisfy requirements of an entity.

Ghana over the past few years has seen in-floods of hardwares and software of all forms but is seriously lacking a very vital aspect of IT, which is knowledge in IT. There have been cases where firms – small and large – made IT policies and went ahead to implement them. Unfortunately, these laudable projects more or less find their way in the wrong hands. Why am I saying this? Chief Executive Officers or people who have the power to initiate these projects mostly render their friends or loved ones the opportunity to take these projects up, and in most cases, these people may not be competent enough to handle these projects.

IT can be seen to have at least six areas of complexity which were mentioned earlier as software, hardware, databases, datasets, procedures and knowledge of people. Hence it is no mean task to implement an IT project as many people think.

The aforementioned factors and undue politics in initiating IT projects often cause these laudable projects to fail hence making people or end users have a bad perception about IT in general.

Elsewhere in the world, these projects are well implemented by the experts and it has resulted in cases where medical doctors can be assisting in operations in remote centres, lecturers instructing students on various University campuses at the same time, quick checking-in at train and bus terminals, but to mention a few.

The egocentric interests of some Chief Executive Officers have also contributed to these bad perceptions. In some cases, competent people could be found in the country to undertake these IT projects, but because of the selfish interest of some of these Chief Executive Officers, they tend to either bring people from other countries or use incompetent people. After the implementation, maintenance becomes a problem because experts are from outside or the project was poorly executed by non-experts. Looking at the bigger picture, much more harm has been caused than the purchase money which goes down the drain, and this basically creates a bad image for IT.

The knowledge of many in IT in the country is woefully inadequate and it is recommended that, IT be made a sole field of study at the higher level of education to help produce the requisite manpower to man the up-and-coming IT projects.

Furthermore, the few local experts in IT should be rendered the projects allowing for quality and relatively cheap project cost. This will also help in the building of the country’s IT capacity.


The above article is the original work of Nana Esi Amuah, a participator of the SRC genus competition held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana.

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