Iringa University College
January 21, 2008
International Seminar on Information Technology Education
January 15.-16., 2008, Tumaini University / IUCo hosted the East African Seminar on IT Education in the Developing World. The seminar was focused on the role of national special characteristics on information technology education. The main questions concerned contextualization: Is information technology curriculum universal? Can information technology be taught the same way all around the world? How much should the environments, cultures, or societies of different countries affect IT education? In what ways should IT education take into account students' existing knowledge and skills?
The seminar gathered together a number of international, national, and regional experts on IT and IT education; professors, university principals, IT experts, and IT educators from eleven institutions in five countries*. The participants presented latest technologies for IT education, perspectives on how to continuously develop education, challenges and open questions concerning IT education in the developing world, and a number of IT programs in Tanzania.
During two days of lively debate, the seminar participants came to an understanding that many university-level IT curricula are often indirectly designed so that they meet many of the needs that individual people, societies, and institutions have. In addition, the skills and knowledge that IT programs teach their students is often selected according to market surveys, meetings with biggest employers in the business, and existing curricula. There is, however, room for improvement when it comes to how IT educators teach those courses. For instance, in Tanzania many courses that could be taught with a tight connection to Tanzanian indigenous knowledge and to Tanzanian society, are nevertheless taught similar to their counterparts in USA and Europe. The problems are especially visible in courses such as professional ethics, but also apparent in technical courses.
Due to the large number of open issues in the seminar themes, and due to the interest in the main topics of the seminar, the seminar will be extended to a full-scale conference next year.
Matti Tedre, PhD
Associate Professor, Head of B.Sc Program in Information Technology
Tumaini University, Iringa University College, Tanzania
Erkki Sutinen, PhD
Professor, Head of Department
Dept. of Computer Science and Statistics
University of Joensuu, Finland
* In alphabetical order: Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology, Tanzania; FELM, Finland; University of Joensuu, Finland; Makumira University College, Tanzania; Mzumbe University, Tanzania; University of North West, South Africa; Pretoria University, South Africa; Purbanchal University, Nepal; Ruaha University College, Tanzania; University of Southern Denmark; Tumaini University / IUCo, Tanzania.
The seminar was co-organized with Open Doors - North-South-South network coordinated by University of Joensuu, Finland.