Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

ICT in Universities of the Western Himalayan Region in India: Performance Analysis

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

ICT in Universities of the Western Himalayan Region in India: Performance Analysis

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The paper presents a comparative analysis of a case study carried out to understand the performance and impact of ICT initiatives taken by the Universities located in the Western Himalayan Region of India. A basic four- tier framework has been used to carry out this study. Accordingly, a pre- structured questionnaire on ICT initiatives, status and accomplishments, containing 117 questions divided in 18 groups, was prepared and given to the Head of the Department (HOD) of ICT in the Universities, who along with his technical team, supplied the feedback on a five- point scale. In each of the groups, at least one question was related to performance (as performance indicator) which was identified and thus another special group 'S' was created. In order to assess the respective performance and impact, a standard statistical analysis was carried out in terms of the weighted mean and the correlation (Pearson's) coefficients (CC) validated by t-test. The finding of the study are (i) a dynamic academic leadership and a properly trained skilled human resource yield better performance and impact leading to effective problem solving capability, research output and actual placements. This aspect is being implemented in most of the universities effectively and the performance is found to vary from one to another university (ii) For most of the groups the CC, with the 'S' group, was found to be significant, indicating a positive ICT- based performance in the universities (iii) The universities, to a greater extent, have been found to act as nuclei towards creating skilled professionals with enhanced core competence.

Keywords: Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Initiative, Status, assessment, performance, efficiency, Impact of ICT.

1. INTRODUCTION

During the past decade, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has taken rapid strides in the field of higher education, in various Universities and Institutions of higher learning across the length and breadth of India. Such a transformation was triggered by the developments in microwaves communication followed by powerful computer systems, VSAT/ internet connectivity and optical fiber communication. Broadband communication which consists of technologies and equipments required to deliver packet- based digital voice, video and data services on-line and at high speed, has facilitated progress in this direction so as to provide even virtual environment of work places to end users. The bandwidth problem is being addressed successfully. These developments have further resulted in the integration of various technologies, which could not have been imagined earlier. In the context of Indian higher education, the pace of development was accelerated by various initiatives of Government of India through UGC- INFONET program to connect various institutes and universities. Its pervasiveness has made inroads both in laboratories and classrooms.

The impetus at the national level was set in motion by the recommendations of Task Force 'Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council' (TIFAC), for Technology Vision 2020. One of the important pilot documents "India 2020, A Vision for the New Millennium" (1998) prepared by TIFAC, under the leadership of Dr. A.P.J. Kalam, provided a blueprint of the Technology Vision for India. According to this document, ICT can enhance skills in critical thinking, information handling, level of perception, problem solving capability and adding value to research in higher educational institutions. This document particularly underlined the importance of higher educational institutions/ universities as agents to take prompt and appropriate initiatives in this direction It also gave further direction for planning ICT strategies in which the role of higher educational institutions in India can be networked to achieve criticality. The document further emphasized that the Indian human resource has great learning capabilities which, with a core competence in technology, can lead to spirit of entrepreneurship and competitiveness. …

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