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810 R. Chitiyo, S. W.

810 R. Chitiyo, S. W. Harmon Cost and financing The problem of cost and financing of ICT at universities in Zimbabwe and most of Africa immediately becomes apparent in reviewing the available literature. Presenting the obstacles faced by the Zimbabwean ICT sector, Machacha (2004) highlights the ‘‘Inadequate and irregular funding of ICT initiatives and prohibitive importation costs of ICT equipment, often compounded by high national import tariff levels’’ (p. 2). In a study of the application of ICT in higher education in Zimbabwe, Zinyeka (2005) says, ‘‘Cost is the main constraint which has resulted in the lack of resources and undesirable institutional environments’’ (p. 1). Arguing that cost has an adverse effect on the context in which IT integration is supposed to take place, Zinyeka (2005) says the impact of high costs and limited financing are reflected in the slow speed of the Internet, intermittent power supply, foreign-currency-denominated licensing fees and huge telephone costs. Nwuke (2003) says that while donors are currently playing an active role in enabling access to ICT in most institutions of higher education in Africa, at some time, ‘‘[these] institutions must assume funding and maintenance of the networks’’ (p. 37). Infrastructure According to Nwuke (2003), ‘‘The main challenge for Africa in this area [infrastructure] is to set up a system that is both reliable and efficient’’ (p. 37). He explains that some of the issues that need to be addressed are access to technologies and expertise, and the need to improve network connectivity and interoperability, not only within individual countries, but also across countries in the region. Machacha (2004) in a paper presented to the Zimbabwe National ICT Policy Formulation Team writes that while Zimbabwe has grown steadily to embrace ICT, it has yet to build the basic infrastructure needed to take advantage of the information age. In a study on availability of ICT resources in Zimbabwean universities, Zinyeka (2005) found that these are not sufficient. For example, he notes that in some cases 7–12 lecturers share an ICT tool (e.g. Internet) and on average 70 students share a computer connected to the Internet, while some students have no access to the Internet. The Association of African Universities (2000) goes on to say universities in Africa are already addressing some of these issues, but will need to assess the present state of ICTs, especially regarding the existing capacity, the short-term and long-term needs, and the nature of the enabling environment in which integration can take place. Critical to this study, the Association of African Universities (2000) points out, ‘‘the integration of technology into learning, research and management is still at its infancy’’ (p. 9) at most of the African universities. The Association then calls for research into the adequacy of the ICT infrastructure to the enhancement of teaching, curricula reform and improvement of learning. Whilst acknowledging that ICT experiences of African universities are limited and varied, and that many remain at various stages of planning and infrastructural development, the Association of African Universities (2000) notes that some universities have achieved Internet connectivity, although none have access to adequate bandwidth. It is pointed out that the development cycle from conceptualization through funding, installation, and operation has taken different turns in the institutions and with varied success. Specifically addressing the issue of technology integration, the Association of African Universities (2000) points out, ‘‘If (expensive) ICT tools are to improve the HEI’s [Higher Education Institution’s] effectiveness and efficiency, it is obvious that their application in support of teaching and learning should be seriously considered’’ (p. 11). The association 123

An analysis of the integration of instructional technology 811 notes the absence of systematized skills for integrating technology into teaching and learning and then urges for research to be done on whether these ICTs exist, or their availability, quality, and extent of use by students and faculty. The executive summary of the African Tertiary Institution Connectivity Survey Report (Steiner et al. 2004) starts by pointing out that, ‘‘The state of Internet connectivity in tertiary institutions in Africa can be summarized by three characteristics—too little, too expensive and poorly managed’’ (p. iii). The report goes on to explain that the average African university has bandwidth capacity equivalent to a broadband residential connection available in Europe, pays 50 times more for their bandwidth than their educational counterparts elsewhere and fails to manage and monitor the existing bandwidth. Lubbe et al. (1997) say there is a dearth of telephone infrastructure in rural areas, and even though a ‘‘variety of technologies are available to South Africa tertiary institutions, [for example]…the installation and maintenance of sophisticated equipment required for using modern information technologies is a problem in rural areas where the rough terrain and poor roads limit access’’ (p. 124). While wireless telephony has begun to ameliorate this problem, the current limited bandwidth available for wireless has led to a small resurgence of interest in fixed line use (Lange 2009). Discussing Internet traffic congestion due to limited bandwidth, Machacha (2004) says bandwidth in Zimbabwe is expensive and the amount of bandwidth available to organizations is inadequate. He suggests that more affordable access could be achieved by controlling costs and improving access through the state opening up the telecommunications market, joining forces with other countries to negotiate better connectivity deals and by encouraging local Internet service providers to set up country or regional Internet exchange points—that route traffic within the country or region instead of through Europe and North America. Capacity building Acknowledging the fact that information technology is an instrument, not a goal, and calling for capacity building in higher education institutions in Africa, Nwuke (2003) says that without training, the implementation of new technologies could result in reductions in efficiency. ‘‘Higher education may be worse off if resources that would have been used to purchase new books for university libraries or new chemicals for laboratories are expended on information technology that has minimal impact on access and quality because of the lack of complementary labour’’ (p. 38). Machacha (2004) writes that inadequate external and internal training programs for critical skills to manage and support ICT functions in Zimbabwe are compounded by organizational inability to retain skilled ICT staff and faculty due to poor remuneration. He adds that ICT is a continuously changing field which needs continuous training, but this training is expensive and companies and organizations in Zimbabwe have not adequately invested in this constant retraining and upgrading of ICT professionals. In a study of the availability of experts, Zinyeka (2005) found out that there are no ICT experts for teaching and learning at three universities established in Zimbabwe in the last 15 years and that there is only one expert per 100 professionals at the oldest and biggest university in the country. Content It is quite clear that there is need to attend to higher education content in Africa. Arguing that the degree to which information technology can contribute to higher education will, to 123

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