ROLES AND CHALLENGES OF COMPUTER SCIENCE, INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY

ABSTRACT

Computer Science Education (CSE) and Information and Communication Technology Education (ICTE) have their roles as well as challenges in developing a sustainable society. The future can only be secured in as long as there is sustainable development. This paper examines the goals of CSE and ICTE in creating a sustainable society, the roles that CSE and ICTE currently plays in developing a sustainable society and the challenges that arises in the course of playing those roles. The paper goes further to suggests various ways which if judiciously followed can help in addressing those challenges that stands in the way of CSE and ICTE in ensuring sustainable developments in the society. This paper will therefore be an indispensible asset in the hands of the relevant stakeholders to help them understand the roles of CSE and ICTE and ways they could combat the obstacles that hinders CSE and ICTE towards realizing a developed sustainable society.

INTRODUCTION

The two Latin words “educare (educere)” and “educatum” were the root words from which the English word “Education” was derived (Kumar and Sajjad, n.d.). So what is the true definition of education? The complete development of an individual and the complete development of the society as a result of intentional, aware or oblivious, psychological, sociological, scientific and philosophical process that brings about paramount amount of joy and prosperity to both the individual and the society, this is the definition of education according to Kumar and Sajjad (n.d.). Computer Science has been defined by the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board (CSAB) and reported by McGuffee (2000) as a field of study that incorporates the understanding and design of computers and computational procedures. The collection of technological gadgets used in producing, relaying, circulating, storing and handling information is referred to as Information and Communication Technology (Blurton, n.d. as reported in Saidu, Tukur and Adamu, 2014). The technological tools are what we see on a daily basis and perhaps even interact with. This ranges from computer, television, radio, mobile phones, Internet etc. When the economy of a country is able to cater for the needs of its citizens over a period of time with regards to it’s the economic, social and environmental limitations that country is said to have attained a sustainable development. It is not a sustainable development, if the current generation can attain to their needs and in the process makes it unable for the future generation to attain theirs (Saidu, et al., 2014). ICT for sustainable development promotes social change through public awareness and educational training of those morals, ways and lifestyle that are a prerequisite for a bright future (Saidu, et al., 2014).

ROLES OF COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION (CSE), INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION (ICTE) IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY

Presented below are the goals of CSE and ICTE for a sustainable development as stated by Saidu, et al., (2014)
a. To enable self reliance using Information and Communication Technology process, gadgets and facilities.
b. To sustain ICT skills and development by bringing together agencies, institutions of learning and organizations.
c. To promote ICT skills by facilitating and organizing various related information services.
d. To ensure that teaching and learning are carried out in a manner that guarantees sustainable development.
e. To ease access to instructional tools, information and knowledge and conduct various researches that aim at solving those problems that are peculiar to developing countries.

How do CSE and ICTE play roles in promoting sustainable development? Presented below are various ways CSE and ICTE contribute towards developments that are sustainable.


a. Self Reliance and Economic Sustainability

CSE and ICTE empower individuals with skills that will make them to become self reliant. Such skills include programming of desktop, web and mobile applications, maintenance and repair of computers and computer networking. The youths can be gainfully employed by creating websites, desktop and mobile applications for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Being in the information era there is hardly a business that does not strives to have an online presence. Having an online presence to market the products and services produced by a business is regarded as a competitive edge over those that only conduct their businesses offline. Even if a business does not market its products and services via websites or e-commerce at least it will have a website for the sake of public awareness about its products and services. More efficient advertising are now carried out over the various social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. A business usually strives to have its website managed by an employee with ICT skills in these social networking sites. Equipped with CSE and ICTE skills individuals can set up a “commercial computer outfit” to provide computer based services such as typesetting, printing, lamination, scanning, photocopying, digital passport photographs etc (Saidu, et al., 2014). Alternatively, an individual with CSE and ICTE skills can set up a computer training center or a cybercafé to train others or for online examinations registrations and checking of results. Electronic banking both via the mobile and Internet are now playing indispensible roles towards economic sustainability. An individual with CSE and ICTE skills can perform banking transactions within the comfort of his home or office. He can send money, receive money and pay for bills and services at a spot with a just a few clicks of buttons. E-Commerce creates another viable means for economic sustainability. A person with CSE and ICTE skills can set up an e-commerce site to sell his goods and services to the outside world thereby generating an income for himself/herself and a revenue to the nation via tax. Interested buyers can buy his wares and pay him via various ICT powered means of payments such as the indigenous Remita, PayPal, ATM debit and credit card or direct cash transfer via Internet or mobile banking. An individual with a low capital but possessing CSE and ICTE skills can begin a mini importation business via the popular e-commerce stores such as AliExpress, AliBaba, Amazon and E-bay. He/she can easily market such imported goods via the various groups in the social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram and the instant messaging facility WhatsApp.

c. Social Sustainability

CSE and ICTE foster the social well being of the community. Through the social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat people are able to positively interact with one another verbally or visually and this brings them immense satisfaction and add to their well being. Several WhatsApp Groups are created for uniting the family, classmates, friends or colleagues. The constant interaction made through the use of this WhatsApp feature promotes the relationship among this category of people. In United Kingdom, people who wish to grow fruits and vegetables but do not have a land of their own, can gain access to a land via a web based service called Landshare (http://www.landshare.net). The people who own the garden are usually people who are too old to do gardening or are too busy to do the gardening. No money is being paid but the harvest is shared between the two parties (Cho and Rogel, n.d.). Another instance is seen in the U.S. where people can rent cars from car owners whose car is lying dormant, and unused, made possible by a web based service called RelayRides (https://relayrides.com). The person who rent the car has benefited since he/she may not be able to buy a car of his own but he can rent a car and pay per use. The person who rented out the car has benefited since he has gained income (Cho and Rogel, n.d.). All these examples given promote social sustainability since they leads to resource efficiency. The garden that was shared would have otherwise remained underutilized.

d. Political Sustainability

In recent times politicians are finding social media sites to be highly indispensible for their campaigns. Politician popularity is most of the times attributed to how many “followers” he has been able to garner on his social media site such as Twitter (https://twitter.com/). Television, radio and Internet are being very much used for campaigns and political activities. To predict the likelihood of a certain politician in an election, people conduct surveys/polls on social media sites such as Twitter. And to a very large extent the results of the social media polls usually reflects the acceptance of that political candidate or otherwise. ICT facilities have been a means to sponsor a political candidate in an election. A readily example could be seen in Nigeria during the 2015 elections. The current President Muhammad Buhari campaign team were able to gather funds for him from the masses via a scratch card. The scratch card comes in various denominations and a person can buy as many as he could according to his means. After buying the scratch card a person scratches the card and sends the revealed PIN via a special number on the card. In liaison with the telecommunication companies, the campaign team can now collect the funds. CSE and ICTE skills also play a vital role in minimizing election malpractices. The youths during the 2015 elections in Nigeria
curtailed the chances of election malpractices by posting the results from their various polling units. This act helps people to keep track of the election results from the nooks and crannies of the country. It has also helps in ensuring the incumbent political party PDP did not manipulate the elections. Another way CSE and ICTE plays a role in political sustainability is in the election itself. Through electronic voting a lot of ballot malpractices and irregularities can be curtailed and ensure that that the votes of the citizens count. It will also encourages a wider participation as everyone in anywhere can cast his ballot within the comfort of his home without exposing him/herself to the elements and waiting on a long a queue to cast his/her ballot.


e. Educational Sustainability

CSE and ICTE through ICT services provides quality teacher training. Example can be seen in South Korea where individualistic, self-paced, online courses for school teachers is provided via a program called Cyber Teacher Training Center (CTTC) (Saidu et al., 2014). CSE and ICTE through the use of ICT facilities enable interactive learning. Students can decide on what to study, when and where to study it (Saidu et al., 2014). Collaborative learning has been made possible by CSE and ICTE where teachers and learners do not necessarily need to be together in the same spot for learning to take place (Saidu et al., 2014). An example of this can be readily seen in online courses sites such as Udemy (https://www.udemy.com/) and Coursera (https://www.coursera.org/). With CSE and ICTE, learners can easily deploy ICT facilities to seek and find knowledge instead of listening and remembering which indirectly encourages learning by rote (Saidu et al.,
2014). CSE and ICTE have enabled the transformation of traditional classroom based examinations into computer based tests. This reduce the stress of marking a thousands of scripts placed on a teacher and also helps in providing swift feedback to the students.


CHALLENGES OF COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION (CSE), INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION (ICTE) IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY

a. Scarcity of Resources

ICT facilities required to provide CSE and ICTE for sustainable development are usually very much expensive and this consequently lead to their scarcity. Most of the computer science laboratory in schools cannot accommodate the large number of students admitted into the CSE and ICTE programs. A computer that is meant to be used by one student at a time is shared by almost four students.

b. Lack of Stable Electricity

ICT tools are electronic devices that require electricity to function. Developing countries like Nigeria are not being able to generate the amount of electricity required by its citizens for their needs. That means the few ICT tools that are available are not fully utilized to provide CSE and ICTE for sustainable development.

c. Lack of Qualified Teachers

Most of the CSE and ICT teachers are lacking the practical knowledge of the ICT skills. Due to lack of facilities and resources, most CSE and ICTE courses taught at tertiary institutions are theoretical. This leads to the graduation of half baked graduates that will subsequently be employed as trainers and they in turn brings about the graduation of another set of half baked graduates and the cycle goes on and on.

d. The Challenge of Politics

Governments usually feel unsecured when its citizens have unrestricted access to the Internet. In Nigeria not far too long, there has been attempt to increase the Internet data tariff to reduce the citizens access. Governments are of the opinion that the unrestricted usage of Internet might leads to instability. Government are therefore always willing to increase the taxes levied on the telecommunication firms that could lead to hike in the price of the data tariff.

e. Lack of Awareness

Putting ICT services to address development goals require a solid grasp of the current technologies in existence and appreciation of how they can be efficiently employed to address those needs (Essentials, 2001). The major ICT stakeholders need seek out what ICT facilities are relevant to our needs and situation.

ADDRESSING THE CHALLENGES OF COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION (CSE), INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION (ICTE) IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY

a. Increase Budgetary Allocation and Seek the Help of Donor Agencies

There is a saying that “investment in education yields the best interest”. The Government needs to increase its spending in the area of CSE and ICTE to reap the potentials of the CSE and ICTE in providing sustainable development. The Government can also seek the help of foreign donor agencies to assist us in attaining CSE and ICTE for sustainable development. The cooperative organizations in the country most especially banks and telecommunication companies as cooperate social responsibility can provide ICT facilities for use to deliver CSE and ICTE.


b. Seek Alternative Source of Power

Solar energy is increasingly used as an alternative source of energy. There is a need to equip ICT facilities with solar energy generation facilities to ensure constant supply of electricity for provision of CSE and ICTE for sustainable development. A periodic maintenance of the solar facility provided will also increases its life span.

c. Recruitment of Qualified Trainers

To end the cycle of continuous graduation of half baked graduates, trainers should only be employed based on merit and there should be a reduction on the emphasis on paper qualification. Practical interview need to be conducted to applicants before they are employed as CSE and ICTE trainers.

d. Take Away Politics from the Scene

Governments should not let politics beclouds its judgements when it comes to enacting of policies that will influence CSE and ICTE. Government should first gauge the advantages and disadvantages of any new policy that will affect CSE and ICTE before implementation.

e. Create Awareness

There is a need to overhaul the CSE and ICTE curriculum to make it creates awareness of the relevant ICT technologies and how the nation can use it for sustainable development. Workshops, seminars and training can serve as indispensible tool in creating awareness of the capability of ICTE and CSE in ensuring a sustainable development (Essentials, 2001). National Summit is another avenue for creating public private partnerships and creating strategies and partnerships that will foster the CSE and ICTE for sustainable development in the society (Essentials, 2001).

CONCLUSION

CSE and ICTE have a great role in creating a sustainable development. There are also challenges in trying to play these roles. CSE and ICTE makes the youths to become self reliant, ensures economic sustainability, social, educational and political sustainability. Lack of awareness, lack of adequate resources, recruitment of unqualified trainers, lack of electricity and political influence stands in the way of ensuring these roles are properly played. Seeking alternative source to electricity, increasing budgetary allocations, recruitment of qualified trainers and taking away politics from initiatives that promotes CSE and ICTE will go a long in creating a sustainable society.

REFERENCE


Blurton, C. (n.d.). New Directions of ICT-Use in Education. Retrieved October 8, 2017, from
http://www.unesco.org/education/educprog/lwf/dl/edict.pdf


Cho, E. J., & Rogel, L. (n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2017, from http://2013.ict4s.org/wpcontent/
uploads/paper/Ji_Cho_Rogel_Urban_Social_Sustainability_Through_the_Web.pdf

Essentials. (2001). Information Communications Technology for Development. Evaluation Office.

Kumar, S., & Sajjad, A. (n.d.). Retrieved October 7, 2017, from https://sol.du.ac.in/solsite/Courses/UG/StudyMaterial/16/Part1/ED/English/SM-1.pdf

McGuffee, J. W. (2000). Defining Computer Science. SIGCSE Bulletin , 74-76.

Saidu, A., Tukur, Y., & Adamu, S. H. (2014). Promoting Sustainable Development through ICT in Developing Countries. European Journal of Computer Science and Information Technology , 24-29.

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