Papers & Workshops



Information Technology Literacy and Usage among Rural Secondary School Teachers A Study in the Kelabit Highlands of Bario, Borneo


Elaine Guat Lien Khoo, Dr Peter Songan, Dr Roger Harris, Poline Bala Universiti Malaysia, Sarawak

and Tingang Trang Batu Lintang Teacher's Training College, Jalan College, Sarawak, Malaysia

The Malaysian government's tenacious efforts to establish the Multimedia Supercorridor (MSC) and the Smart School as one of its flagship applications has raised a growing concern for those who may be sidelined from the Information Technology (IT) bandwagon, i.e. marginalised populations living in telecommunication-deprived rural areas. This paper reports a study to investigate existing patterns of IT literacy awareness and usage among rural secondary school teachers in the Kelabit Highlands of Bario in Borneo. The findings hoped to establish the readiness of the school and its teachers in preparation for IT penetration for teaching-learning purposes in line with the concept of the Smart Schools. This study is part of a long-term research project by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) to introduce IT to establish sustainable human development in the Kelabit community in Bario. Quantitative and qualitative data drawn from interview transcripts from all 13 teachers indicate an intermediate to advance level of IT mastery with IT used mainly for record keeping, preparing test papers, teaching plans, notes and handouts. Factors such as transportation, communication, maintenance and concerns regarding the negative influences of globalisation were however cited as constraints in the implementation of IT literacy programmes. The paper concludes by discussing directions for and means of promoting IT literacy as a precursor to anchoring IT development in rural schools and remote communities in Sarawak.
  Presentation Format: 45 min. paper

RMIT, Melbourne, Australia

5-9 July 2000