Ignoring Functionality as a Correlate of the Underutilization of Computer and Information Technology in Rwandan Higher Education Institutions
The world over, higher education institutions (HEIs) have invested heavily in the promotion of computer and information technology (CIT). Inmany HEIs in Sub-Saharan Africa, however, a disturbing dilemma pertains to the low adoption of the technologies, in spite of the enormity of the investment that the institutions have made in their promotion. Grounded on the propositions of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) model, this study examined whether this dilemma is due to the way the institutions invest in the promotion of the technologies, taking the case of three HEIs in Rwanda. Data were collected on the institutions’ expenditure on components of the TCO and the findings contrasted with documented experiences from CIT-savvy settings, to establish whether the institutions meet the TCO. The findings were that expenditure on the promotion of the technologies is skewed in disfavor of cost components that pertain to the functionality of the technologies. Overriding attention is put on acquisition of the technologies but this has led to underutilization of the CIT ware acquired. It was also found that the availability of CIT ware and personnel in the institutions is still inadequate, notwithstanding the bias of investment in CITs that is in favor of their acquisition. It is, therefore, concluded that while efforts to acquire CIT ware and personnel are still relevant, the managers of the institutions should also increase expenditure on training end-users; establishing end-user service desks; and repairing/replacing obsolete CIT equipment.
Keywords: TCO; ICT adoption; Rwanda.
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