Is there a gender related difference in the use of ICTs at institutions of higher learning in Sudan?

Given the importance of ICTs in economic and social development and as a tool of empowerment, and in spite of the vast efforts being made to integrate computers and the Internet into education, there is still a poor understanding of how these technologies are being used, and how ICTs have impacted gendered learning in Sudan.
In conducing this research we are dealing with the question: Is there a gender-related difference in the use of ICT at Institutes of Higher Learning in Sudan?
The main objective of this study is to discuss and investigate the prevalence of the digital divide in higher learning in Sudan using the University of Khartoum as a case study, to identify the gender-related factors that prevent uptake of ICTs by female students in higher learning institutes and suggest interventions that might increase female uptake. In order to identify and understand inequalities based on gender, we gathered and examined information on gender differences in the use of ICT. Statistical data was collected through a structured survey format distributed to computer labs supervisors that was filled daily for a period of six months. Qualitative data were collected in order to provide in depth dimensions of the subject. Techniques included face to face in-depth interviews with a number of female students at the university by the researchers. Also Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted, one for female students and another for male students. To convey the research findings to policy makers and concerned personnel in the institute of higher learning a workshop was conducted. A fruitful discussion was held with the participants which recognized that to minimize this digital divide, policy-makers holding a gender perspective when formulating ICT policies was recommended.

LOCATION: Khartoum

Amel Mustafa Mubarak, PhD
Nuha Massoud, MSc

WEBSITE:  www.uofk.edu 

Results Dissemination workshop:

A workshop was conducted in Khartoum on 10/11/2010 with the objective of presenting our research results to policy makers concerned with ICT, and to people concerned with gender issues and women’s empowerment. The people invited included policy makers representing the Manager of Information Network at University of Khartoum and Ministry of  Higher  Education, the National Telecommunication Corporation, the National Centre of Information, as well as administrative and staff members of the School of Mathematical Science including the Department of Computer Science, the Department of University Requirement Administration at University of Khartoum, the development study and research Centre including the Unit of Gender, the Faculty of Engineering, in addition to staff members of other universities and some male and female students. Some journalists representing local journals were also invited.
The research results were presented by Amel Mustafa (the research leader) followed by an intervention by the Manager of Information Network at University of Khartoum, then the representative of the National Telecommunication Corporation, followed by a representative of the National Centre of Information, a representative of University Requirement Administration, a representative of the School of Mathematical Science (Department of Computer Science), in addition to the contributions made by other participants in the workshop.
The participants were highly impressed with the results concerning the difference in use of ICTs between male and female students and suggested future collaboration with this type of gender conscious research. After a long discussion, some recommendations were raised from the meeting with the promise of implementations from concerned personnel.






Grace is an initiative envisioned and funded by
the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), developed by Research For the Future (RFF) and managed by The GRACE Project Voluntary Association
Grace est une initiative initiée et financée parle Centre de recherches pour le développement international (CRDI), développée par Research For the Future,
et gérée par l'Association Volontaire Projet de GRACE .