An analysis of processes and contexts for ICT interventions in Malawian primary school education system

  • Frank Mtemang'ombe

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education has greatly transformed and improved the quality of teaching and learning all over the world. In Malawi, efforts are continuously being directed towards having ICT resources in all primary schools through different ICT interventions. However,though the interventions are likely to be widespread, there is no empirical evidence if the interventions are fully adopted and purposively used by the schools and teachers respectively. While there is considerable evidence to show that the integration of ICT intervention in classrooms is influenced by the entire education system, research on ICT in education is generally limited to the study of teacher level factors.This research examines how ICT interventions in Malawi primary school education system are planned, introduced and guided, and how these processes configure and influence adoption and use of the interventions by schools and teachers,respectively. Based on research questions about how the ICT interventions are conceptualized, implemented and integrated, the main aim of this study is to analyse the activities and processes taking place in the contexts that the ICT interventions are implemented by linking teachers' ICT practices in classrooms to particular mediating processes and contexts.;The study used a qualitative research approach. It firstly investigated the roles,processes and collaborations between government institutions and ICT providers in the conceptualisation of the ICT interventions through interviews and analysis of documents. The baseline data generated from this phase was used to identify case study schools that were used to investigate how the interventions are adopted and used, through interviews with school heads and teachers, classroom observations and analysis of documents. An Activity System Analysis was used to draw relationships between and within how the interventions are conceptualised at national level, how they are implemented in the schools and integrated in the classrooms.The findings reveal gaps in the national education plans and policies as formal guidelines that regulate investments in the primary school education system. The efforts by the various ICT interventions providers are unguided and unregulated,and the process of conceptualising and implementing the ICT interventions in primary education is still in a form of experimentation, being led by the interventions providers rather than the Ministry of Education. This presents tensions as the schools and the teachers try to accommodate requirements for implementing and integrating different ICT interventions without any policy frameworks, curriculum guidelines, ICT training and technical support.The implications from this study reveal the need for policy makers, planners and education practitioners to generate rationale, goals, and vision on how the Malawi primary school education system can incorporate the ICT interventions; guide specific roles for relevant stakeholders in the design and development of specific ICT interventions; produce specific plans and curricula for teacher training and development; and guide the development of school-based ICT plans that can facilitate successful adoption and integration of the ICT interventions.
Date of Award11 May 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorLio Moscardini (Supervisor) & Alastair Wilson (Supervisor)

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