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Higher education systems have grown exponentially in the last five decades to meet the demands of quality education for all. This aspect has further gained momentum due to swift advancements in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The focus of this paper is to examine the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in higher education in India in the 21st century. The increasing use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has brought changes to teaching and learning at all levels of higher education systems (HES) leading to quality enhancements in the 21st century. Traditional forms of teaching and learning are increasingly being converted to online and virtual environments. There are endless possibilities with the integration of ICT in the education system. The use of ICT in education not only improves classroom teaching learning process, but also provides the facility of e-learning. ICT has enhanced distance learning in the 21st century. Successful implementation of ICT to lead change is more about influencing and empowering teachers and supporting them in their engagement with students in learning rather than acquiring computer skills and obtaining software and equipment. ICT enabled education will ultimately lead to the democratization of education in the 21st century. The adoption and use of ICTs in education have a positive impact on teaching, learning, and research. ICT can affect the delivery of education and enable wider access to the same. In addition, it will increase flexibility so that learners can access the education regardless of time and geographical barriers in the 21st century. Similarly wider availability of best practices and best course material in education, which can be shared by means of ICT, can foster better teaching and improved academic achievement of students. The overall literature suggests that successful ICT integration in education in the 21st century.
1.0 Background to the Study
Information and communication technologies (ICT) have become commonplace entities in all aspects of life. Across the past twenty years the use of ICT has fundamentally changed the practices and procedures of nearly all forms of endeavour within business and governance. Education is a very socially oriented activity and quality education has traditionally been associated with strong teachers having high degrees of personal contact with learners. The use of ICT in education lends itself to more student-centred learning settings. But with the world moving rapidly into digital media and information, the role of ICT in education is becoming more and more important and this importance will continue to grow and develop in the 21st century.
Higher education systems have grown exponentially in the last five decades to meet the demands of quality education for all. This aspect has further gained momentum due to swift advancements in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Demand for skilled and competent labour is ever increasing in the contemporary globalised society. In this backdrop, access to quality in higher education for all has emerged as determining factor of economic growth and development. In order to increase the access to higher education and improving its reach to the remotest parts of the country contribution of open and distance learning facilities is on the increase. In addition, it is catering to life-long learning aspirations and that too at affordable cost. The last two decades have witnessed the inclusion of developments in ICTs in higher education systems around the world. Even then the challenge to develop a higher education system that is flexible and dynamic so as to holistically integrate the technology in the management and delivery of learning programmes is daunting. The focus of this paper is to examine the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in higher education in India in the 21st century.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Today’s age of 21st Century and it is also the age of information and technology (IT). Every aspects of life are related to science and technology. Huge flow of information is emerging in all fields throughout the world. Now information and technology is popularly using in educational field for making teaching learning process successful and interesting for students and teacher both. In 1998, UNESCO World Education report refers about student and teachers must have sufficient access to improve digital technology and the internet in their classroom, schools, teacher educational institutions. Teachers must have the knowledge and skills to use new digital tools to help all students achieve high academic standard. The quality of professional development of teacher education depends on the extent of ICT integration in teacher education programme. According to UNESCO (2002) “ICT is a scientific, technological and engineering discipline and management technique used in handling information, its application and association with social, economic and cultural matters”.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are electronic technologies used for information storage and retrieval. Development is partly determined by the ability to establish a synergistic interaction between technological innovation and human values. The rapid rate at which ICTs have evolved since the mid-20th century, the convergence and pervasiveness of ICTs, give them a strong role in development and globalization.
The field of education has been affected by ICTs, which have undoubtedly affected teaching, learning, and research. ICTs have the potential to accelerate, enrich, and deepen skills, to motivate and engage students, to help relate school experience to work practices, create economic viability for tomorrow's workers, as well as strengthening teaching and helping schools change (Davis and Tearle, 2010; Yusuf, 2011). In a rapidly changing world, computer education is essential for an individual to be able to access and apply information. The Economic Commission for Africa has indicated that the ability to access and use information is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for development. Unfortunately, many developing counties, especially in Africa, are still backward in ICT application and use (Aduwa-Ogiegbean and Iyamu, 2008).This paper focuses on ICT use in Nigerian schools, it particularly dwells on the importance of ICT and the causes of low levels of ICT use in Nigerian schools as well as provides recommendations.
As Nigeria is striving hard to play a leadership role in Africa, particularly in the period of pragmatic and competitive science and technology, there is an urgent need to pay more prominent attention to the improvement of teaching and learning particularly in Nigerian tertiary institutions. This entails the adoption of information, communication technology (ICT) in the institution. The ICT is an invaluable intervention of this modern time. Its inherent attributes such as accuracy, high speed performance, reliability and capability to store very large amount of data have made it possible for its applicability to all human endeavours including teaching, learning and research in educational institutions. Teachers are at the core of any living society. Technologies play an important role in training programme of teachers. Students‟ accesses knowledge and information through TV, digital media, cable network, internet and social media i. e. Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Linkedinn, Igo, Line, Wechat etc. ICT is very important for Pre-service teacher education programme in the 21st Century. Without proper knowledge of ICT teacher cannot perform in his/her class room and it could not be said to be a complete one. This study is specifically set out to critically appraise the role of information, communication technology in the 21st century. It also examines the implication and challenges of ICT on the development of education in the 21st century.
1.3 Objective of the study
The objective of the present study is to find out the roles of ICT in the 21st Century, with emphasis on the education and academic system in the 21st century. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become inseparable entities in all aspects of human life. The use of ICT has fundamentally changed the practices and procedures of nearly all forms of endeavour within business, governance and civil service. In education, ICT has begun to have a presence but the impact has not been as extensive as in other fields of endeavour. The moving of the world to digital media and information has made the role of ICT in education to become more important and this importance will continue to grow and develop in the 21st century. Information and communication technology (ICT) is an indispensable part of the contemporary world. In fact, culture and society have to be adjusted to meet the challenges of the knowledge age. Undoubtedly ICT has impacted on the quality and quantity of teaching, learning and research in tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria. The various constraints to ICT utilisation as a change agent for higher education must receive prominent attention, for the ICT to continue playing its lofty role as a change agent for Nigerian educational development.
1.4 Significance of the study
The scenario of the classroom is changing. There is a technological gap between the progress of the society and instructional activities of the teacher in the classroom. If we see in our society on the one hand technology has revolutionized our society and on the other hand the teaching learning activities at school level have remained so far away from technology. In our classroom the knowledge is imparted by the teacher in an ancient way, a teacher centric mode which is most of the time boring and not to gain interest to the student. But present 21st Century’s education is student centric education. Students learn from multi sources and for this reason use of ICT and Multimedia is very much essential in educational field and simultaneously teacher’s knowledge of ICT and Multimedia also required. So this present study has great need and significance because this study shows roles of ICT in the 21st century.
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