Monday, 24 November 2014
HEAD TEACHERS IN KABAROLE DISCUSS ICT GUIDE LINES IN SCHOOLS
Objectives of the ICT guidelines in schools;
· To integrate ICT into mainstream educational curricula to provide for equitable access for all students and teachers
· To ensure ICT equipment at the schools is periodically maintained and handled carefully for durability
· To address the obstacle of lack of awareness about ICT usages/benefits as being a major and prevalent hindrance to the establishment of the Information society with in educational institutions.
· To bridge the gap of lack of skills for effective utilization of ICTs by the teachers through capacity building trainings
· To identify a cadre of e-champions who will inculcate and head the use of ICTs in educational institutions.
ICT facility management:
The ICT facility refers to the computer laboratory where all ICT gadgets/equipment like desktop computers, laptops, projectors and generators are put to use. The overall manager of this facility is the head teacher who makes the final decision after consultation with the computer lab manager or ICT teacher. Any teacher/student who wishes to use ICT gadgets /equipment should go through the custodian of the equipment who is the ICT teacher.
Maintenance and Repair of ICT equipment:
ICT equipment maintenance refers to periodical servicing of equipment to prolong its life. Maintenance is a necessity in schools because it reduces the risk of equipment break down while increasing the life span of the ICT gadgets. It is usually advisable to clean all ICT gadgets on a daily basis and preventive maintenance on a monthly basis. Preventive maintenance entails activities like blowing, antivirus checks, software updates and simple trouble shooting and this should be done by the ICT teacher/custodian. Advanced repairs should be done on a need basis by the ICT teacher if they have the capacity or outsourced to a trusted external technician who should be supervised by the lab custodian and approved by the head teacher. The ICT committee in the school should come up with a maintenance schedule which should be followed strictly.
ICT training refers to building of the capacity of the users to effectively utilise the equipment. The trainings are categorized into different sections to carter for different user needs. These trainings are categorized into; basic & advanced training for teachers, administrative trainings for administrators and technical trainings for lab managers. A needs survey should begin the entire process to ascertain the skills level and the type of training that should be administered. A training schedule should be drawn by the ICT committee and these trainings should take on a trainer of trainer (ToT) approach to create a multiplier effect.
ICT equipment/ lab Usage:
Most of the schools have desktop computers, laptops, projectors, generators, televisions and printers as ICT equipment. A schedule for usage is very important. The teacher in charge should develop a usage schedule which should manage who borrows or uses the equipment and when. The school should have a requisition procedure which should be followed by the user, recommended by the head of department, then custodian/ICT focal person and approved by the head teacher specifying the period of use, purpose of use and condition of taking/return of equipment.
Procurement of ICT equipment/Services:
Procurement refers to purchase of new equipment. It can be in form of replacement or buying new. Procurement is always necessary when the equipment breaks down beyond repair or when it becomes obsolete. It is advisable to try repairing equipment before procuring. The ICT focal person/teacher should check/trouble shoot equipment; if it fails, then an external technician should be engaged and finally if the technician fails, the procurement process should be initiated through requisitions to the ICT committee. The committee should discuss the specifications of the equipment that they would want to be procured which should be checked and verified by the ICT teacher on delivery.
Security of Equipment:
This involves physical safety and security of the ICT equipment. There should be a database of all ICT equipment with all the detailed specifications, engraving is important as it separates all property that belongs to the school from that of individuals. The proper engraving format should include the name of institution, type of equipment, the number and date of engraving. Access to the facility should be managed by one person and should always be available; if not the key should be handled by a defined senior official who takes responsibility. Institutions with the capacity should boost equipment security by installing CCTV cameras.
Unlike security of equipment, system security refers to safety of the system, i.e. protection of the system from intruders, viruses and unwanted users. There should be clear and defined system boundaries of who should access what kind of information. For example what should students access, teachers and school management, who manages access to the systems by unauthorised users? Management of different information like exams, student content, teacher materials, accounts, hospital and stores should be assigned to the responsible persons. Passwords should be created to give user rights to responsible persons. Periodical antivirus updates should help to prevent loss of data by viruses and software like anti-porn should be installed to bar students from accessing pornographic materials.
The ICT committee is a special group at the school that is chosen to make important decisions regarding all ICT matters at the school. This committee comprises of teachers, parents, administrators, and the community. The main role of the ICT committee is to make important decisions regarding ICT usage in the institution but it is also a lobby and advocacy voice for the use of ICT in the institution.
Skilling the students in ICT:
The capacity of students to use ICT should be built to effectively utilise the equipment. The government of Uganda through the Curriculum has made computer studies a subsidiary paper at “A” level and examinable at “O” level. Therefore computer studies are taught both at the school and community level. However to further encourage students to appreciate ICT use, ICT clubs at the schools should be formed so that they can have interclass, inter school and inter regional competitions.