Research Output
Adoption of information and communication technologies for educational purposes in Malawian Secondary Schools
  The adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) has often been motivated by ideas of bridging the digital divide and promoting socio-economic progress within these countries. For example, many LDCs within sub-Saharan Africa and development practitioners alike are enthusiastic about the prospects of socio-economic progress through the adoption and use of ICTs. In Malawi, this belief in ICT potential is widespread and it is presumed that the adoption of ICTs will provide
a sufficient condition for socio-economic progress and will offer Malawi the opportunity to leapfrog stages of development and accelerate her progress in socio-economic spheres. In particular, the adoption of computer based ICTs for educational purposes in Malawian secondary schools is being widely promoted.
However, in many LDCs particularly those within sub-Saharan Africa, the realisation of such over-hyped technological gains has always remained elusive and literature suggests that the use of computer based ICTs in LDCs is constrained by a cross section of critical challenges (Mansell and Wehn, 1998; Kawooya, 2002; Heeks, 2002). Wade (2004) further explains that ICT initiatives in LDCs are "... biased towards the supply side and give scant attention to demand" (Wade, 2004, pl9l) and that the alleged stories of ICT adoptions within the region are generalised with "little attention to scaling up problems" (p. 186). This suggests that ICT adoption processes can not be understood and explained by simply focusing on the perceived potential of ICTs and disregarding complex socio-technical influences which shape and are shaped by those adoption processes in LDC contexts.
This research focussed on the development of a socio-technical conceptualisation of ICT adoption processes in Malawian secondary schools based on empirical evidence. Methodologically, it uses both qualitative and quantitative approaches and focuses on three main notions of ICT choice, ICT use and ICT value in order to investigate ICT adoption processes. Socio-Technical Interaction Networks (STINs) technique is used in order to analyse research data. In particular, analytical affordances provided by the Social Actor Model (Lamb, 2006) are used to gain rich insights into ICT adoption processes in Malawian secondary schools and to generate an evidence based theoretical conceptualisation which appreciates the inextricable interrelationship between ICTs and the context within which they are embedded. The developed framework illustrates the significance of a context specific socio-technical approach when implementing ICT initiatives in Malawian secondary schools and the researcher argues that it deepens our theoretical understanding of the socio-technical nature of technologies and can facilitate the implementation of ICT solutions that are aligned and valuable to the adopting context in LDCs like Malawi.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    30 November 2008

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    L1 Education (General)


Ziba, A. S. K. Adoption of information and communication technologies for educational purposes in Malawian Secondary Schools. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



Information and communication technologies; least developed countires; digital divide; socio-economic progress; Malawi; adoption;

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