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

Success Factors for ICT Implementation in Saudi Secondary Schools: From the Perspective of ICT Directors, Head Teachers, Teachers and Students

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

Success Factors for ICT Implementation in Saudi Secondary Schools: From the Perspective of ICT Directors, Head Teachers, Teachers and Students

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

In a global context, ICT is increasingly accessible and influential. Therefore, most countries see ICT as a gateway for the raising of educational standards (Noor-UI-Amin, 2013). Today, both developed and developing countries recognize the value of ICT tools for their economic development. Developed countries, The US, for instance, spends more than $10 billion annually in educational technology in public schools (Brunk, 2008), while Australia spends approximately AUD$8 billion (Lane, 2012).

Developing countries, for example India, which has adopted a program aimed at reconstructing the existing system of tertiary and vocational education through the integration of ICT tools to reinforce the acquisition of human capital (Halewood & Kenny, 2008). Likewise, Uganda's developmental policy relies strictly on ICT and the use of considerable ICT tools to act as a sufficient driver and enabler to boost the country's economy and education (Ssewanyana & Busier, 2007).

Saudi Arabia has not been left behind in the development of ICT. The Saudi government has made huge investments with a view to developing public education. For example, in 2007 the Saudi government invested almost £2bn in reforming and improving education using modern technologies. Furthermore, public education was improved by revising the curriculum and introducing electronic devices to facilitate teaching. This project also introduced training and developmental programs for educators to ensure sufficient use of ICT in education (Tatweer, 2015). Furthermore, about 25% of the overall Saudi government budget for 2015 is dedicated to the educational sector( more than £36 billion), which adds to the already massive funding being pumped into the educational field towards the implementation of technology in the school curriculum and improving ICT facilities (Ministry of Finance, 2015 ).

However, in spite of this massive spending and governmental support, Saudi Arabia still lags behind the countries that lead the world in the educational sector, especially in ICT (Ageel, 2011 ; Almadhour, 2010). There is still a real gap between the availability of ICT technology in Saudi schools and methods of implementation. For example, some recent studies related to ICT in Saudi schools (Oyaid, 2009; Almadhour, 2010; Almalki & Williams, 2012; Al-Harbi, 2014), revealed that the Saudi government needs to develop an effective strategy for ICT in education and to implement it in practice. Almadhour (2010) concluded in his study, 'Unfortunately although the Saudi Arabian government has lots of funding, there is no clear strategic framework towards equipping ICT in schools'. From a more global context, studies conducted in North America have actually shown that greater investments or the availability of technological resources in the classroom do not necessarily translate to improved academic achievement, mainly as a result of poor implementation (Wozney et al, 2006; Ungerleider & Burns, 2002; Balanskat et al., 2006).

Consequently, this paper aims to explore the success factors for the effective incorporation of ICT into instructional practices by answering the research question, 'what factors affect the successful implementation of ICT in Saudi schools'by examining relevant ICT strategies, models and frameworks used in education, In addition to the barriers that hinder ICT in education. The words model and framework are used interchangeably in this paper. Varied components of the framework are referred to as elements.

SUCCESS FACTORS AND HINDERING FACTORS FOR ICT IN EDUCATION

There are a number of strategies and frameworks, which have been applied in developed countries to allow the effective use of ICT in education. For instance, the research published by The Ministry of Education in New Zealand (2006), ICT Strategic Framework for Education', offered ICT tools to direct and manage ICT input with the goal of enhancing educational objectives for the government. …

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