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Key stakeholders' perceptions of the effectiveness of a higher education programme in the state of Kuwait

Alanezi, Y. H. (2018) Key stakeholders' perceptions of the effectiveness of a higher education programme in the state of Kuwait. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

Kuwait has a vision to become an active economic and financial hub by 2035, and educators were recently asked by the Emir to review the educational system to see if it meets the requirements of the job market to fulfil this purpose. The higher education sector in Kuwait is thus expected to play a significant role in preparing the country’s future workforce; however, the literature on Kuwaiti higher education makes clear that the higher education system needs revision. This study examines and analyses the perceptions of key stakeholders towards the educational technology programme of the Educational Technology Department in Kuwait, in terms of its programme pedagogy, technology and resources. This study investigates whether, and to what extent, the department is aligned with the government’s vision. To this end, the study applies an interpretivist paradigm, an inductive qualitative methodology approach and a case study strategy. Interviews and focus groups were appropriate methods for the research because there were various perceptions of the programme, and each research participant had her or his own interpretation. The data collection involved semi-structured interviews with 12 academic staff members of the programme and with eight managers at the MoEIA (Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs), one of the main recipients of the programme’s graduates, as well as 16 focus group discussions with 78 final-year students of the programme. The theories that underpin the current study include both socio-constructivism and technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). The data were analysed by applying thematic analysis. The study yields several important findings. Academic staff and students perceive the educational technology programme pedagogy to be ineffective (for example, vi involving outdated curriculum content), and they suggest that the programme does not meet the job market demands. In addition, both academic staff and students view the technology used in the programme as inadequate and not in line with the predominance of information and communication technology (ICT) in the 21st century. In this regard, they point to the programme’s reliance on face-to-face lecturing and communication in the current digital era. Moreover, academic staff and students indicate that the programme lacks resources; for example, they cite defunct computers and poorly equipped classrooms and media studios. MoEIA managers also report that the educational technology programme offers outdated technology solutions, and that its graduates lack professionalism and experience of organisational culture – arguing that graduates exemplify a student culture rather than a work one. To illustrate this point, the managers mention students not being on time for work and being uninterested in job tasks. In general, the MoEIA managers who participated in the research stated that there is a mismatch between the programme’s teaching and the MoEIA’s expectations. Academic staff and students made many suggestions for improvements in the educational technology programme, suggesting that the programme should implement pedagogy (e.g., digital content and blended learning), make greater use of technology (e.g., using websites and smartphone apps) and improve its resources (e.g., equipping classrooms and providing Internet access in the department). Similarly, MoEIA managers clearly defined their expectations of the programme’s graduates, which include teamwork skills, being prepared for an organisational culture, critical thinking, problem-solving, ICT communication skills, and digital media skills in video, sound and graphic design. The study concludes by offering a set of recommendations that aim to improve the educational technology programme in terms of pedagogy, technology and vii resources, enabling it to contribute to the achievement of the government’s Kuwait 2035 vision.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Tissot, C. and Taggart, G.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education
ID Code:85358

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