The challenges to digitalization of schools in the Maldives

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Azlifa Mariyam
Fathimath Saeed


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.

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