Challenges of managing an information communication network in rural schools

Maryke A. Mihai

Abstract


The purpose of this study was to describe the management challenges and the type of management approach that developed during the implementation of an ICT network between six schools, transmitting Maths and
Science lessons for grade 12 learners. In April 2008 an interactive whiteboard (IWB) network was established in a Mpumalanga town, with one of the province’s foremost schools being partnered with five disadvantaged schools. A qualitative
descriptive study was undertaken. I described the reality through the eyes of the participants and the context of the study from the perspective of the researchers. The project is a case study that investigates a small geographical area with a
small number of individuals chosen. I undertook a content analysis of my semistructured interviews, documents and field notes. The data was divided in different codes and families in Atlas.ti and the patterns described. Findings indicate a
difference between the management challenges of the rural schools and the leading school. A systems approach was followed. A balanced matrix management model developed in the leading school, but in the rural schools teachers still reported
hierarchically to their HODs and principals. They also reported horizontally to the project manager, administrative officer and HODs of the leading school in their subject groups. This study contributes to current management theory, by means of the
description of the matrix model developed in the leading school, the discussion of the management procedures in the rural schools, as well as the special roles played by the participants.

Keywords


disadvantaged schools; matrix model; Information Communication Technologies; interactive whiteboards; management challenges; systems management approach; qualitative descriptive case study

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