The Social Cost of the Integration of Information and Communication Technologies, Information, Education and Communication, on the Young of the Republic of Mauritius

Article excerpt

Introduction

The growing interest in the impact of ICT on the life of the population of countries all over the world has prompted us to analyze what researchers in other countries have found out on the subject. A survey of works carried out in several countries has revealed that things are not that bright and beautiful as one would expect. The ICT Impact Report (2006) states that" the use of ICT in education and training has been a priority in most European countries during the last decade, but the progress has been uneven. There are considerable differences of "e-maturity" within and between countries, and between schools within countries". In a working paper, Eva Tot (2002) highlights the following system-level problems in school ICT development: maintenance costs of ICT equipment; special skills and qualifications required for managing the ICT system; training for use of ICT is not an integral part of teacher training; lack of career and monetary incentives. Further it was underlined that "the use of the web as an information channel based on electronic forums and mailing lists is considered promising--but the number of users remains rather limited". The UNESCO ICT and Education Indicators Scoping Exercise (2006), "study which will contribute to the work of the International Partnership on Measuring ICT's for Development , expected to be ready after 2007, should yield interesting results and shed lights on the impact of ICT in Education as a whole. In a research report (2004 p. 4), "the findings suggested that ICT was helping to draw pupils into more positive modes of motivation. ICT appeared to be offering a means for a range of pupils to envisage success"....." a wide range of motivational impacts of ICT upon pupils were reported ... ". "All secondary teachers interviewed indicated that they felt that ICT had positive impact upon pupils' interest in and attitudes towards school work". Further, it was pointed out that "there was evidence of some pupils going unto unsuitable web-sites deliberately ... 'although they were aware that pupils were finding alternative ways to communicate by using ICT and offered just as many positive outcomes as potential negative outcomes.... ". It was also reported that "ICT can have positive impact on in-school antisocial behaviours; however some negative behaviours such as the sending of abusive emails was also mentioned ... " In an article published in Electronic Magazine of Multicultural Education, C. Molins Pueyo (2006) highlights some important elements on the use and misuse of ICT in the school environment in Spain. The author pointed out that "the use of some ICT elements by students is perceived negatively by schools. The school does not recognize the value of applying them either to curriculum or social learning.

The author stated that "the cellular phone is the lowest valued device among teachers ... " In an open reflection part, the author observed that "Although some experiences of incorporating new technologies in the classrooms have resulted in positive learning, there is still a lot to explore about potentialities in other dimensions". Further, it was argued that "the most worrisome fact is that the value of ICT uses for self-learning and as a means for cultural production is not recognized as central to students who are social and educational agents".

As can be judged by the above, both positive and negative impacts of ICT have been observed by researchers. These need to be acknowledged and dealt with as fast as possible so that the effects can either be minimized or eliminated for the benefit of the people exposed to the shortcoming in the use and abuse of ICT the world over.

Background

The incorporation of ICT into educational institutions has drastically affected their functioning; be it at pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary levels. The structures of learning spaces has undergone in-depth modifications; teaching and learning are being envisaged under new conditions; innovative teaching methods using new technologies are being researched and implemented; the traditional roles of teachers are being challenged and new pathways to students' learning is being explored; from passive recipients of knowledge, they are encouraged to become active learners. …