Implementing Infrastructure-Related Education Technology Solutions at the Government Primary and Secondary School Level

Implementing Infrastructure-Related Education Technology Solutions at the Government Primary and Secondary School Level

Camille Dickson-Deane (University of Missouri – Columbia, USA) and W. Andrew Deane (Senior Project Management Consultant, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4237-9.ch018


Advances in technology and the increased competitiveness of the world’s economy have changed the landscape for developing countries. One of the primary steps many countries have taken to be competitive is to infuse technology into the education system, using funds provided by international funding agencies. This case study discusses the SITUP project, which uses technology to enhance a portion of the education system in a developing country. These enhancements include infusion of technology into the delivery systems, introducing skill-based efficiencies for educators and general infrastructure-related access. The case highlights the importance of team buy-in, clearly identifying change management and general reporting processes and, most importantly, including all stakeholders through each phase of the project. Vendor-related solutions, lack of instructional design methodologies, creating processes, and identifying appropriate risks are some of the challenges discussed. Lessons learned and recommendations for similar projects that occur within difficult economic and political climates are presented.
Chapter Preview

Organization Background

Sugar Island is a country known for its beaches, eco-tourist attractions, rare flora and fauna, as well as an abundance of natural resources. It has a well-rated and highly competitive education system which is seen as being somewhat different from the majority of the other countries in its geographical region (The World Bank Group, 2013; United Nations Statistics Division, n.d.). Like most countries Sugar Island has a specific entity, the Sugar Island Education Agency (SIEA), which manages and guides the delivery of educational services to the general population. For most countries in this region education is seen as a critical-need and for Sugar Island this is demonstrated through the consistent focus in providing free education to all of its citizens.

SIEA Education System

SIEA oversees all aspects of education delivery and measures the successes and failures of the (education) system by comparing statistics. These statistics are gathered and reported annually to a non-governmental organization and combined with as well as compared against reports from other regional and international countries. SIEA’s education delivery system is divided into four key segments: pre-primary, primary, secondary and post-secondary. Primary education is compulsory and geared towards children between the ages of six to (approximately) eleven years of age. At (approximately) eleven years, a primary-school child must sit a mandatory examination. The results of this examination will be used to transition the child into the secondary school phase of the system. If a child is not successful in the examination, the expectation is that the child will repeat the examination until some form of success is achieved or the child is too old to matriculate to the next phase. Once the examination is passed, the next step is to attend secondary school. For some children attending secondary school is at their parent’s discretion, although most children do attend. Secondary school education is available until a child is about nineteen years of age but some children do withdraw from the system before this age. Withdrawals from secondary school typically occur when the child is in their mid-teens, just before the next phase of examinations: the O and A level examinations.

Sugar Island, like most countries in the region adopted the British-based O Level and A Level examinations into their education system. O Level examinations are completed when a child is fifteen or sixteen years of age and A Level examinations are completed at the end of the secondary school phase. Sometimes a child may transition to the secondary school phase at an earlier age and sometimes they may remain in the primary/secondary school phase beyond the stipulated age. Both of these phases are free and are somewhat expected to be completed by a child before progressing to the post-secondary phase. The post-secondary phase of the system includes technical-vocational and tertiary level education institutions (See Figure 1). These institutions are provided as alternatives to joining Sugar Island’s workforce and can be attended once a citizen has passed secondary school age.

Figure 1.

Type of education available based on age

Sugar Island’s education system is also divided into public, semi-private and private sectors. The public sector of the system is 100% financially and managerially supported by Sugar Island’s government. Semi-private institutions are governed by religious or secular entities and their students may pay fees related to the care of the institution. Private institutions are self-funded and the students pay tuition and other fees. There are approximately 700 institutions in the primary and secondary phases of the system housing approximately 300,000 students and 13,000 educators. All 700 institutions must follow the curriculum set by the SIEA but institutions at post-secondary phase of the system can set their own curriculum. The competitive nature of this education system arises when (semi-private/private) institutions woo students by bolstering their curriculum with additional work and resources. Government scholarships tend to be awarded to students who attend these schools and thus solidify Sugar Island’s reputation as having a competitive yet prestigious education system.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: