Information and communication technologies integration into early childhood development education in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe : a critical analysis.
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ICT integration has been considered a silver bullet in different studies internationally. As a result, the multi-faceted Zimbabwean primary education system has made initiatives to adopt ICT. Early Childhood Development (ECD) has not been an exception to this as it is currently in the process of integrating ICTs into its curriculum. Teachers are now required to keep current with this development by integrating it into their classes. The aim of this study was to critically analyse the integration of ICTs in ECD education from the teachers’ perspective. The general image emerging from the literature about developing countries’ ICT education was that it is marred by severe lack of ICT resources, infrastructure, competence and funding challenges. To this end, research questions examined teachers’ ICT integration attitudes, competencies and challenges, and how ICT integration can be improved for ECD education. The Diffusion of Innovations and the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology theories guided this study as analytic frameworks. A sequential explanatory mixed-methods approach using a cross-sectional survey was employed. Data were generated through questionnaires, interviews and focus group discussions in two phases. Questionnaires were administered in phase 1; interviews and focus group discussions in phase 2, based on outcomes of phase 1. The results indicated that the teachers’ attitudes were mostly positive. The research also unveiled the dearth of ICT resources and infrastructure in schools and ICT competencies among ECD teachers. To overcome resource constraints, the study discovered that teachers subserviently conformed to their employers’ requirements by using their personal resources. The most significant predictors of ECD teachers’ attitudes, accounting for 87.6% of the variance, were Perceived Usefulness, Extrinsic Motivation, Perceived Behavioural Control and Complexity. Therefore, there is need to embed ICT integration requirements into ECD education policies; for more parental and alumni support through fundraising activities; to improve training and extend it to all teachers prior to ICT integration. It is recommended that government urgently drafts an ICT policy on ECD education backed by an ICT audit conducted in all primary schools; recruits ECD experts to spearhead ICT integration; electrifies schools in rural areas; and introduces an ICT integration levy.