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

AIDS: An ICT Model for Integrating Teaching, Learning and Research in Technical University Education in Ghana

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

AIDS: An ICT Model for Integrating Teaching, Learning and Research in Technical University Education in Ghana

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Globally, the basic operations of tertiary institutions lies in the provision of appropriate and reliable academic education consisting of teaching, research and service (Beebe, 2004; Boulton and Lucas, 2011; Cloete and Maasen, 2015). Through Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the provision of access to knowledge anywhere and anytime as well as opportunities for networking and communications for knowledge sharing, participation, and lifelong education is guaranteed (Buabeng-Andoh, 2012; Asabere, 2013). Developed nations in the world have made significant applications of ICT in their daily activities. This is however relatively slow in developing nations such as Ghana. In developed nations, these new technologies and approaches are having a positive impact on education.

Though the application of ICT may be slow, measures are placed to guarantee that proliferation of ICT integration in education is made possible. An example of this is the National Research and Education Networks (NREN). The role of NREN is to operate as the national backbone that connects a country's tertiary institutions with each other as well as providing Internet services for research purposes (Mkandawire, 2013). In addition, Ghana is also enforcing the integration of ICT in various areas such as governance, education and research (Yidana, 2007). Through connection of tertiary institutions, NREN has provided a means of carrying out research through the increase of Internet bandwidth, enabling researchers to collaborate with each other by providing ICT resources (Mkandawire, 2013).

According to the Ghanaian Academic and Research Network (GARNET, 2014), the advancement of West and Central African Research and Education (WACREN) has led to the development of AfricaConnect2 which is involved in developing a high-speed Research and Educational network to connect the entire African continent to the European GEANT network thereby allowing students, researchers and academics in Africa and beyond to collaborate. The objectives of GARNET are as follows:

1. To ensure that there is inter-institutional human networking, research collaboration, and academic collaboration between Ghanaian tertiary institutions and other tertiary institutions worldwide.

2. To build, develop and share high-speed networks by creating economies of scale.

3. To encourage associations between academic and research communities, industry, government and other international research and educational networks.

In order to address the educational challenges of the Ghanaian population, the Ghana ICT4AD Policy (2003) states that in various tertiary institutions in Ghana, the major role of ICT is vital. As a consequence, Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in Ghana have to support this policy by aligning with its specific objective in terms of education i.e. to support an enhanced educational system whereby ICTs are extensively positioned to expedite the provision of educational services at all stages (Ghana ICT4AD Policy, 2003). The Ghana ICT4AD Policy (2003), further states that there exists high illiteracy rate in Ghana, and this constitutes about 40% of the population. Only 3% of the population have attained tertiary level of education, which results in serious repercussions regarding national development. Therefore, Technical Universities and other HEIs in Ghana have to enhance social education services to ensure quality and locational equity.

In order to stay current and acquire help in upholding the financial viability and operation involving ICT-based education programmes, tertiary institutions are entering into partnerships with the private sector (Beebe, 2004). In Ghana, as of November 2015 there are about five (5) million Internet users of which most of them are the youth. They mainly use the Internet for chatting on social media, watching or downloading entertainment videos and listening to music (Internet World Stats, 2015). …

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