The government policy of inculcating ICT in schools is not only designed to improve and monitor teaching and learning using ICT technologies but also to provide better support to parents on remote learning for their children.
Whilst for the schools, ICT is of the great paramount tool that it helps them to know more about how data can help them to monitor and assess the performance of their students more effectively, despite the traditional set of learning.
As the world moves into digital, education is also trying to adapt to the trend, unfortunately, a lot needs to be done especially in the local setting.
The dire need for digital monitoring of schools is always expressed by district and sector level officials.
Notably, teachers still experience a clear need for more training on offering remote teaching to their students and upgrading their own ICT skills, including the use of PowerPoint, using the internet to download teaching content, using ICT in the classroom, and the use of different ICT tools of computers, phones for delivering a class.
Upgrading the ICT skills of the education actors will be a key priority that which in turn will lead to improved remote teaching for the purposes of the unforeseeable future.
Conducive conditions for ICT infrastructure and digital literacy
School leaders generally perceive the ICT conditions for teaching and learning at their schools as conducive.
However, access to the internet, devices for all students, and physical space for digital teaching and learning remain a challenge. Teachers worry about their lack of access to a laptop. Additionally, someone with sufficient knowledge of ICT that can help to teach staff with the use of ICT is clearly needed.
The Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB) during the Covid-19, the organization procured 2535 laptops to boost the available ICT infrastructure for teachers to participate in online learning.
Together with this improved infrastructure, training on digital literacy for online learning is provided with a trace of gender differences in perceived ICT skills indicating female school leaders scoring themselves lower on ICT skills.
The learning curve for female trainees shows that it is steeper than for their male colleagues, training can thus contribute to closing a gender gap in digital literacy among school leaders.
The assessment of school resilience showed that the COVID-19 pandemic came with a lot of unforeseen challenges, such as difficulties in managing the school under strict COVID-19 measures; concerns of teachers about their own safety; difficulties with tracing down students that dropped out and ensuring that those back in school can catch up; teacher drop-out and teacher demotivation; and the lack of communication with parents, students, and teaching staff during the lockdown.
The pandemic however, also led to new innovative ideas and new collaborations. Community chiefs, volunteer graduates, and health centers for example supported schools for them to be more resilient.
The importance of smartphones, laptops, and internet connectivity was also palpable during Covid-19: where only a handful of schools could easily switch to online learning and allow communication with teaching staff.
This should be noted that as a challenge, the majority of schools did not have any means to continue communicating with students and parents during school closure.
In short, it is paramount to say that factors of connectivity, data, stakeholder engagements, sponsored projects and training will become increasingly important as key aspects of effective implementation of ICT in schools.