Ict In Classrooms In Rural Area Education Essay

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This study aims at identifying the problems faced by school in Jada local Government Area (LGA). The quality of education in schools in the rural area is less compared to the quality of education in the urban centers. A survey and an interview were conducted in order to, identify what the problems are. From the results, the following problems were identified; lack of infrastructure, low quality of education, unqualified teachers and lack of funds to maintain the school. As results of these problems the students in such schools are failing there external examinations thus they don't get admissions into universities bringing a stop to their education. This paper suggests the implementation of information and communication technology (ICT) to solve the problems faced by the School in Jada with the help of the government and private organizations.

Introduction

Education is a very important aspect in the development of a country. An educated individual can accomplish so much for himself and his country. Education empowers people to follow their dreams, to make changes in their lives and the lives of others. In an article published in Onlinenigeria the missionaries first introduced education to Nigeria in the 1950s. The first education department established was in the southern Nigeria in the year 1887(Education, 2010). Ibadin a professor in University of Benin mentioned that "between 1960 and 1998, primary and secondary school enrolment increased from 2,912,619 to 17,942,000 or 516 percent rate increase" (2010, p.87). This shows the fast growing number of educational institutes in Nigeria. Both rural and urban areas have growing numbers of educational institute. Despite the increase, the educational status in rural areas is much less compared to that in urban centers, it is fair to say that education in rural areas have not yet meet the required educational standard. For example, the quality of education in urban places like Jimeta in Adamawa state is more than that of rural places like Jada Local Government Area. The performance of school in Nigeria is measured by how well they do in external examinations. Schools in Jimeta are performing much more than schools in Jada.

The schools in the rural areas have unqualified teachers. Furthermore, the government only concentrates on the urban areas while neglecting the rural areas. Because of this negligence, the rural schools do not have the necessary infrastructure in creating a good learning and healthy environment. The implementation of information technology would help in developing the educational standard in rural areas.

Methodology

The scope of this research was based on Jada Local Government Area and Jimeta in Adamawa state. The methods used in gathering information were, interviews, surveys and internet research. Thirty people answered the survey, fifteen from Jimeta and fifteen from Jada Local Government Area. Two people were interviewed; the local government chairman of Jada and a teacher from Jada secondary school.

Results of Findings

The survey was in two sections. The first section focused on the condition/state of the school, while the other section focused on how many people have access to computer and in what ways has the computer affected them. Most of the people in Jimeta agreed with the fact that there are well qualified teachers and the learning environment is a healthy one. The total opposite was the result in Jada, from the survey it showed that the schools in Jada local Government do not have enough tables and chairs, textbooks are out dated and they lack other learning materials.

From the result above it did not come as a shock that only 5 percent of the people who took the survey knew what a computer was. In addition, from that 5 percent none of them own or have used a computer before. They have no idea, that the use of computer can aid them to be more efficient in their work. The reverse was the case for the people surveyed in Jimeta; 85 percent have used a computer before and 60 percent have access to a computer. From the 60 percent that have access to the computer all agreed that it has made their work less hectic and it has also made them more efficient.

In an Interview with the Chairman of Jada; Alhaji Usman Bamanga mentioned that the ratio of teachers to students is 1 to 70, which is very bad. In addition to that, he also stated that the teachers are mostly unqualified. The Chairman also stated that most of the times you would find students seated on the floor because there are no tables and chairs in the classrooms. Furthermore, some of the textbooks available are outdated and the teachers are the only people who have access to them. When asked if there are any computers available in the school, the chairman said "In a place where there are no chairs for the students to seat on, do you expect them to have computers. The only available computer in this place is in my office."

According to the chairman, the reason why the school is in a very bad condition is because the government do not provide enough funding to education in rural areas. The amount of money provided by the government only helps pay the salaries of the teachers and the school cannot afford to buy other learning materials needed for teaching. In addition, the amount paid by the students for their tuition fees is very insignificant compared to the funds need to upgrade the standard of the school.

Interview with the teacher; a teacher from the school was picked because he would know more about the problems going on in the school. One of his major concerns among few others was, the students do not like coming to school and that the parents are not doing anything about the situation. In addition, even if they are in school the student find it hard to concentrate in class because of the conditions of the classroom. The teachers also complained that the number of students in the class, he pointed out that he cannot distinguish the cleaver students and those that need extra attention. Those that needed the extra attention would end up not learning anything at the end of the session. He also complained that most of the time the school does not provide them with learning material. For example, sometimes the teachers use their own money to buy chalks and other writing materials in order to teach their class while in some situation when the teachers do not buy the materials learning does not occur.

Problems Faced by Classrooms in Jada Local Government Area

From the survey and interviews conducted, it is clear that schools in the rural area are facing so many problems. These problems are:

Low number of schools in the area; as motioned above, there is only one school in Jada available to the population of 1000 students in the area. Because of that, the classes are overcrowded making it impossible for the teacher to control the students. If there are too many people in a room with poor hygiene, this makes it easier for the spread of diseases. In addition, in a class where there are almost seventy people in a room, would make it easier for the spread of diseases. In an article published by the World Resources Institute it stated that "Overcrowding and unsanitary household conditions favor the transmission of the disease, which is spread by droplets from a cough or a sneeze or unwashed hands (Airborne, 1999, p. 4)."

Furthermore, too many students to a teacher, causes learning to be limited to small number of students. The higher the number of students in a class the more difficult it would be for the teacher to control the class. With a crowded classroom, it would be difficult for the students to be attentive. The crowd would also increase noise making distracting other students ready to learn.

Another, problem faced by this school is the quality of education given to them. Most of the teachers in the school are unqualified; they cannot be accepted by other urban school so they come to the rural areas where they have no choice but to employ them. The rural schools such as the one in Jada have no choice because they do not have the money to pay for qualified teachers. The lack of qualified teachers has affected the performance of the school in external examinations such as Western African Examinations Council (WAEC), and the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Supporting this argument is Vincent.O.Ibadin stating that

………the ultimate quality of education is determined by the teacher, as he transmits the value of education to the student. In line with this, Merton (1957) in a paper titled "The Self Fulfilling Prophecy", pointed out that, "a teacher's expectation can and does quite literally affect a student's academic performance." Similarly, Aghenta (1998:44) emphasized that, "what the teacher does and how he does it are important in the determination of quality of education. The teacher is equally important in the determination of quantity of education." Hence, perhaps the National Policy on Education (FGN, 2004:39). (2010, p.89)

The quote above shows how the qualification of a teacher has a lot to do with the performance of their students.

As a result of unqualified teachers, the students do extremely poor in external examinations, and because of their performance, they don't get admissions into tertiary institutions. The students thus end up staying at home doing what their grandparents have been doing, leading them back to where they started. This discourages the parent from putting their children into schools and it encourages the number of dropouts in schools. They feel that education is a waste of time; they rather send their children to work and contribute to the family income.

In addition to all the problems, the school does not get enough money to run the schools. The environment in which the students study is very bad, the school does not have enough money to buy up-to-date textbooks and other infrastructures such as tables.

How ICT Can Help Solve the Problem.

The implementation of computers and the provision of internet facility would help solve some of the problems faced by Jada secondary school.

The problem of outdate information and textbooks: With computers and the internet, the teachers and students can have access to information they need. The need to buy a textbook is not necessary. There are so many e-books, e-libraries and so much more out there that are free and open for the public to use.

Distraction causing learning to be limited to few numbers of students: The computer can help draw the attention of the students. For example, in a class where there are three people to a computer, their attention would be on what is on the computer, (the computer here is like a mini teacher to them). The computer provides a fun way of learning, through educational games and multimedia, this makes the students to be excited and willing to learn more. The article Computers in the Classroom: How Information Technology can Improve Conversation Education, it acknowledged that "It is possible to make a lecture more engaging and entertaining by using the presentation tools available to us with computers and associated software (2003, p. 2)."

Unqualified teachers: The teachers can further their education by enrolling in universities that offer online degrees. They can also educate themselves with resources out there and find out what is new and teaching techniques that would help them in their teaching.

Problem of students dropping out: When ICT is implemented in the school it would serve as a motivator for learning to the students. The students would be willing to come to school and learn about what is happening in the world. Implementing ICT can help upgrade their external examination results, which would get them admission into the university. This would in turn encourage parent to put their children in school, because they can now see progress.

Quality of education: To summarize how information and communication technology can solve the problems of Jada secondary school, it would in the process increase the quality of education of the school. According to the minister of education he stated that e learning could help solve, the problem the nation's education is facing (Sam).

Government Roles in Solving the Problems

For the problem of unqualified teachers, government policies should be implemented to ensure that only qualified staffs are employed to teach. In addition, those teachers that are already in the school system should go back to school to further their education to the standard required. Government can also set a policy to address the issue of overcrowding. A policy can be created that states "A teacher should have not more than 40 students in a classroom." When the implementation of these policies is successful, it would address the issues of overcrowding and unqualified teachers teaching in rural schools.

The last and the most important problem is the issue of money, which generated most of the problems. As identified by the chairman of Jada Local Government, the fund given by the government does not provide the basic needs needed to run the school. The government should focus on education in the rural areas as they do the urban areas. The government cannot be the only source of funds for the school; there are other private individuals and organizations that are willing to provide the help. An example of a non-profit organization aimed at helping schools in Nigeria is "SchoolNet Nigeria is a non-profit organisation created to address the use of ICT in Nigerian secondary schools with the support of several government ministries. (Agyeman, 2007, p.6)"

Conclusion

In conclusion, when ICT is implemented in Jada secondary school it would upgrade the standard of education in that area. The changes would not only be limited to the school and its students but to the future of Jada Local Government Area. The students would come out with results that would take them to any university in the nation and compete with other schools in the urban areas. The children Jada Local Area would have control of what they want to be in the future. As education makes you who are and what you never thinking you can become. If this is too be successful in every rural area in Nigeria then the problems of Nigeria are solved

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