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STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING THE INTEGRATION OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN DISTANCE EDUCATION PROGRAMMES OF THE NATIONAL TEACHERS’ INSTITUTE IN AKWA IBOM AND CROSS RIVER STAT

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Abstract

The study was embarked upon to find out the strategies for improving the integration of ICT in the distance education programmes of National Teachers’ Institute in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, Nigeria. Four specific objectives with four corresponding research questions were formulated, and four null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The descriptive survey research design was used for the study. Literature pertinent to the study was reviewed. The population for the study consisted of five thousand seven hundred and twenty two (5,722) instructors and students of NTI programmes in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States. The multi stage sampling technique was used to select two hundred and ninety seven (297) respondents across both states, comprising 282 instructors and 15 students used for the study. The instrument for data collection was a forty-four (44) item questionnaire (SIIICTDEP). Five experts from Adult Education and Science Education Departments, University of Nigeria, Nsukka validated the instruments. The reliability of the instrument was established using Cronbach Alpha method on 20 subjects and a correlation co efficient of .72 was obtained and was adjured reliable for embarking on the study. Two hundred and ninety seven (297) copies of the questionnaires were administered to the respondents and returned dully filled, giving 100 percent return rate. Percentage, mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions while t-test statistics was used to test the null hypothesis at.05 level of significance. The result of the study showed that continuous training and retraining of NTI instructors and students on ICT skills acquisition programmes; increasing fund allocation for procurement of ICT facilities for NTI DE programmes; donations of ICT facilities to NTI institutions; formulating policies to reduce cost of newer technologies by the government among others were some of the strategies that can improve ICT integration in their NTI DE programmes to a high extent. It was also found that the challenges that militate against the effective integration of ICT in the NTI DE programmes of these states to a very high extent were poor funding of NTI institutions; high cost of ICT facilities; and non- availability of ICT facilities in NTI institutions. There was no significant difference between the mean responses of instructors and students across both states on economic strategy of providing special grants to NTI institutions for installation of ICT facilities; and on the challenge of non- availability of ICT facilities in NTI institutions. The major implication of the findings of this study is that if the strategies are adopted, the integration of ICT will be improved to a high extent hence, their mode of delivery and quality of their programmes will be improved thereby reducing their drop-out rates. Based on the findings, the major recommendations among others were that Federal Government should increase fund allocation for the procurement of ICT for NTI DE programmes; and budgetary allocation for education should cover provision of ICT to NTI institutions. Also, Federal and State Government, NGOs and philanthropists should give special grants and also donate ICT to NTI institutions; this will make available funds for ICT integration and also enhance the availability of ICT facilities for effective integration. Again, policy makers should formulate policies to reduce cost of newer technologies, and also policies that will bring about reduction in tax and rate payable for the procurement of ICT facilities, by so doing the cost of ICT facilities will be reduced making it affordable and accessible, this will in turn enhance its effective integration in the NTI programmes of these states.