The challenges to digitalization of schools in the Maldives

Main Article Content

Azlifa Mariyam
Fathimath Saeed

Abstract

Digitalization of schools has the potential to make learning cost-effective and equitable for all children of the Maldives. It can overcome barriers to education due to resource shortages in the remote small island schools of the Maldives (Ministry of Education, 2019a). This study evaluates the effectiveness and explores the challenges of the school digitalization program initiated by the Maldives Ministry of Education, in 1986 and expanded on ever since. A qualitative research process using document analysis and one-to-one semi-structured interviews was used. The data showed that teachers were willing to integrate ICT into their teaching since they believed that integration of ICT promotes children’s interest, participation and engagement in learning. However, the slow internet speeds and exorbitant costs of internet connectivity prevented even the most competent teachers from using ICT effectively in their classrooms. Other major factors at organizational level which hinder the effort of digitalization of schools of the Maldives was found to be the lack of a digital education policy and strategy, lack of teacher training in ICT education, and limited awareness from school management regarding the process and the concept of digitalization. Limited internet access, unfamiliarity with classroom management of devices, cost of replacing damaged or old equipment; and unreliable technical support prevented teachers from relying on ICT as a teaching tool. Additionally, the lack of exposure of students and parents to the use of ICT for learning contributes to the challenges of digitalization. It is recommended that awareness programs for key stakeholders including teachers, students, parents, school IT technicians, businesses, internet providers, university lecturers and public are conducted to overcome the existing challenges of digitalization, so that digitalization of schools can become a collaborative, transformative process, involving all of the stakeholders at multiple levels.

Article Details

Section
Articles

References

Adam, A. S. (2014). Cultural impact on teacher-educators’ use of technologies in their pedagogical practices: A study in the Maldives. Joint AARE-NZARE 2014 Conference. Brisbane.

Adam, A. S. (2015). Professional development for enhancing technology-integrated pedagogical practice: An ethnographic study in a Maldivian teacher education context. The Maldives National Journal of Research, 3(1), 7-28.

Amanuel, A. E. (2019). Exploring the Role of Information and Communication Technology for Pedagogical Practices in Higher Education: Case of Ethiopia. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 15(2), 171-181.

Cassidy, S. (2016, May). Virtual Learning Environment as mediating factor in student satisfaction with Teaching and learning in Higher Education. Journal of Curriculum and Teaching, 5(1), 113-123. Retrieved from http://jct.sciedupress.com

Hargreaves, A. & Fullan, M. (2020), “Professional capital after the pandemic: revisiting and revising classic understandings of teachers’ work”, Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 5 (3/4), pp. 327-336. https:// doi.org/10.1108/JPCC-06-2020-0039

Herodotou, C., Hlosta, M., Boroowa, A., Rienties, B., Zdrahal, Z., & Mangafa, C. (2019). Empowering online teachers through predictive learning analytics. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50(6), 3064–3079.

Hoque, K. E., Samad, A. S., Siraj, S., & Ziyadh, A. (2012). The Role of ICT in School Management of Maldives. The New Educational Review, 27, 270-282.

Huang, H.-M., & Liaw, S.-S. (2018). An analysis of learners intension towards Virtual Reality learning based on constructivist and technology acceptance Approaches. International Review of Research in Open Distributed Learning, 19(1), 91-115.

Jones, S. J. (2017). Technology in the Montessori Classroom: Teachers’ Beliefs and Technology Use. Journal of Montessori Research, 3(1), 16-29.

Kamath, A. (2015). A review of use of e-learning in pharmacology. International Journal of integrative Medical sciences, 2(9), 157-162.

Kozma, R. B. (2008). Comparative Analysis of policies for ICT in education. International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and secondary Education. NY Springer

Lewis, S. (2003). Enhancing teaching and learning of science through the use of ICT: Methods and material. School Science Review, 84(309), 41-51.

Ministry of Education. (2013). Inclusive Education Policy in Maldives. Male’ Maldives: National Institute of Education.

Ministry of Education. (2019a). Education Sector Analysis Maldives. Ministry of Education, Policy Planning and Research Division. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://support.moe.gov.mv/wp-content/ uploads/2020/05/EDUCATION-SECTOR-ANALYSIS_ESA.pdf

Ministry of Education (2019b). School Statistics 2019. https://www.moe.gov. mv/assets/upload/School_Statistics_20191.pdf

Motivalla, L. F. (2007). Mobile learning: A frame work and evaluation. Computers & Education, 49(3)

Muhaimin, E. A. (2019). A Sequential Explanatory Investigation of TPACK: Indonesian Science Teachers Survey and Perspective. Journal of Technology and Science Education, 9(3), 269-281.

National Institute of Education. (2015). The National Curriculum Framework. Male’: National Institute of Education.

Nishan, F. & Mohamed, A. (2021). Emerging stronger: policy directions for COVID-19 and beyond for public schools in the Maldives. Fullbright Review of Economics & Policy, 1(2).

Pane, J. F., Steiner, E. D., Baird, M. D., & Hamilton, L. S. (2015). Continued Progress: Promising Evidence on Personalized Learning. RAND Corporation.

Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods. (2nd Edition.) Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.

Phoele, T. M., Moakofhi, M. K., Phiri, T. V., & Leteane, O. (2017). Challenges of introducing e-learning at Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources: Lecturers’ perspective. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 13(2), 4-20.

Riehemann, J., & Jucks, R. (2017). How much is teaching and learning in Higher Education digitized? International Journal of higher Education, 6(3). doi:10.54330/ijhe.v6n3p129

Saeed, S. & Moreira, M. (2010). Learning from first time e-learning experiences for continuous professional development of school leaders in the Maldives: A case study. The Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 11.

Shibana, A. (2016, February 08). Challenges in Transforming Education in the Maldives. Retrieved December 20, 2021, from https://www. oercommons.org/authoring/11950-challenges-in-transforming-education-in-maldives.

Sunday, T., Ayooluwa, A., Pascal, A., & Olaniyi, I. (2015). Impact of E-learning and Digitization in Primary and Secondary Schools. Journal of Education and Practice, vol.6, No17, 2015.

United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF, 2021). Reimagine Education Case Study, Maldives. https://www.unicef.org/media/92551/ file/Building percent20teachers percentE2 percent80 percent99 percent20confidence percent20and percent20capacity percent20to percent20provide percent20online percent20learning.pdf

Vuorikari, R., Punie, Y., Gomez, S. C., & Van Den Brande, G. (2016). Digital Competence FrameWork for Citizens. JRC-Seville site.

Zahir, M. Z., Miles, A., Hand, L., & Ward, E. C. (2020). Sustainable Delivery of Speech-language Therapy Services in Small Island Developing States Using Information and Communication Technology - A Study of the Maldives. International journal of telerehabilitation, 12(1), 17–42. https://doi.org/10.5195/ijt.2020.6306