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Regional varsities not plugged in ICT to be exposed

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 18 – An international research company has embarked on the process of ranking universities and other institutions of higher learning in East Africa on the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

CPS International, a social and market research company wants to establish how universities and colleges have employed the use of ICT in learning, including exposing their students and lecturers to computer use.

“The main reason for ranking universities is the vast growth in higher education in recent decades. Every university wants to be the best choice that a prospective student can have and that is why it is very important to establish how students are prepared in terms of ICT,” CPS director, Dann Mwangi said.

Two hundred and twelve institutions of higher learning – both public and private – will be ranked in the research whose results for 100 best institutions are expected to be released later this month.

Constituent colleges will however be ranked independently.

The research is being undertaken in 67 universities and constituent colleges in Kenya, 47 in Uganda, 23 in Rwanda, 27 in Tanzania and five in Burundi.

Some of them are higher learning institutions which are not universities but are considered to have university status.

“It is unfortunate to note that in this day and age, there are institutions that have more than 60,000 students with a computer lab of only 100 computers or less,” Mwangi said, describing such situations as “pathetic particularly during this era of information age.”

“ICT has become the fulcrum on which the world revolves today. It is an ever dynamic field, and everyone has to keep themselves updated on the current trends, innovations and inventions,” he said.

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Current approaches for evaluating ICT in higher education are focused on aspects such as input, utilisation and outcome.

The organisation has announced that evaluation of the ICT use will focus on the implementation process besides analysing changes in the culture of the school system.

“The use of information and communication technology in higher learning institutions is no longer optional,” Mwangi said.

The research on the use of ICT in universities will be centred on computer use, awareness, exploration, infusion, integration, expansion and refinement.

It will also look into ICT courses offered in the universities and the tools used in teaching and learning, including the number of computers, and the average period students spend on them.

With the changing times, CPS international said schools and institutions of higher learning are compelled to develop new initiatives that incorporate ICT tools in teaching and learning.

Currently, most institutions of learning in Kenya have invested in very few computers for learning and teaching while others do not have any at all-save for one or two used for administration purposes.

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