ICT in rural primary schools in Nepal: context and teachers’ experiences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis investigates and reports aspects of Nepal’s progress in implementing ICT in education in rural primary schools. It examines the government’s policy for ICT in education and the context in which it needs to be translated into practice. That context includes the development of successive policies and curriculum plans, the aspirational goals for ICT in education, the international literature about ICT that influences policy, the education system of Nepal, the varying ways teachers are appointed and trained, the role of NGOs in providing infrastructures and training, characteristics and resources of the rural context and the resources within rural schools and communities. It also includes the impact of the devastating 2015 earthquake on rural life generally, and on schools’ capacity to teach with ICT in particular.
Central to the study are the experiences and perceptions of sixteen rural primary teachers from five schools across Nepal. The study foregrounds their practices of using ICT and their understanding of the uses of ICT. It also examines their experiences of training to use ICT, the resources they have available and how they use them, and the impact of the earthquake on their lives and work. In addition, it reports their reflections about the wider aspects of educational development, appointment of teachers and teacher training.
The study investigates the development of Nepal’s ICT education policy and its connection with international ICT development. It examines how the Government of Nepal works to integrate ICT in education and the potential risks that are involved in the current strategy. It also reports a great gap between Nepal’s current practices of ICT in rural primary schools and western development of ICT in educational practices.
This is a qualitative case study based on interpretive design. A sociocultural approach prompted investigation of the context and the gathering of thick data through interviews, open conversations with the participants, observation of participants’ teaching activities with digital technology and the review of relevant policies, reports and other archived documents, open publications and websites.
The findings of the research provoke questions about the extent to which the aspirations of government policy for ICT in education can be realised in rural schools in the current context of resourcing, training and lack of internet access, and about the sustainability of the current resourcing of ICT infrastructures. The current strategy of providing ICT supports to the rural state schools come not from the government’s fund but from development NGOs, and these will stop their service after certain time. The study also found that differences in teachers’ status and salary, limited ICT training for teachers and lack of web access constrained teachers’ use of ICT in their educational activities, although there was strong evidence of student engagement with the digital devices and of a changing classroom culture. The occurrence of the massive 2015 earthquake in the early stages of the study further highlighted the fragility of initiatives to develop ICT resources and practices in rural schools.