PhD Thesis researched the digital divide in schools of developing countries

On 22 June, James Sunney Quaicoe from the Tallinn University School of Digital Technologies defended his doctoral thesis that focussed on ICT implementation challenges in schools with emphasis on developing countries and used Ghana as an example. The author explored the digital divide and its related challenges as a school-based phenomenon with the characteristics of a functional (digital teaching and learning) systemic activity.


“The presence of digital tools and resources in school have led to the creation of 21st century learning environments that facilitate technology-driven innovative teaching and learning practices. In spite of the positive influence of technology in schools, it brings in its wake inequity - in and among schools – a state where some schools are digitally endowed than others,” the author explained. This condition of unequal state of technological benefits has the potential to derail the facilitation of innovative teaching and learning activities, and thus breed digital divide in schools; and eventually render the digital culture of such schools to be less proactive.

The results of the study indicated that schools were digitally divided and the factors informing the disparities were the digital literacy of teachers, ICT usage on the part of head teachers and teachers, and school ICT plan (digital agenda). “The study further revealed that within the framework of the population used for the study, more than fifty percent of the sampled basic schools were not proactively engaged in digital teaching and learning activities. Even though, the outcome of the study indicated that teachers have a high perception about their standard of ICT competence, this did not commensurate the digital activities in schools - as most schools almost never used digital tools and resources as means for teaching and learning activities on daily bases,” he added.

The novel contribution of this doctoral thesis is advancing a school-based digital teaching and learning model based on teachers’ perspectives, and aids in comprehending the challenges inherent in the digital divide and its related issues in the domain of digital teaching and learning activities in schools; and further suggesting which training needs require emphasis.  In this model, it was established that teachers’ personal attitudinal and cultural factors were having significant effects in the model. The study suggests that in the basic school system digital training is not sufficiently mediating the teachers’ personal, attitudinal and cultural factors within the system. In a more specific context, the model has ICT policy implementation, school digital maturity and teachers’ ICT competence implications that cuts across both local and global educational settings. 

The public defence of the doctoral thesis “The Challenges of ICT Implementation into Teaching and Learning in Ghanaian Basic Schools” will take place on June 22 at 11 at room M-648 (Uus-Sadama St 5). The dissertation was supervised by Senior Researcher Kai Pata (Tallinn University). The reviewers are Prof. Nataša Hoić-Božić (University of Rijeka) and Prof. Piret Luik (University of Tartu). The defence is held in English. 

The full thesis can be read at the TU Academic Library e-depository ETERA

Additional information:

Kerli Onno