IT Equipment Use in the Workplace:
Infrastructure & Statistics:-
In Gambia the rate of use of
computers into workplaces is very high;
66.2% of institutions on the average owned / accessed more than one
computer whilst 12.0% owned only one PC.
Photocopying machines are normally found and used in most
workplaces, on average about 45.8% institutions used photocopying
machines but some local government areas reported low usage
of copying machines in the workplaces in Mansakonko (11.2%),
Kerewan (17.1%) and Janjangbureh (12.5%).
Nationally, the overall availability and usage of other information
and communications technology equipments like fax machine
and printers in offices is quite high at a rate of 38.5% and
58.7% respectively. The rate of penetration of digital projectors
is very low in the offices.
Public Key Infrastructure:
The development of a legislative and regulatory framework for the use
of information technology in a secured environment is limited.
There is only one public television station and no private television
station in the Gambia but satellite and cable viewing is possible.
There are also one public radio, five private radio and three
community radio stations.
Projects for Development:
A number of projects have being designed and implemented by government and public institutions to
enhance accessibility and use of IT equipments and services in the
Equipment for Use in IT Services at Households:
Households mainly obtain information through the use of
radio, mobile telephone and television programmes for increased productivity and
growth. At national level about 90% of households have
radios, 40% have a television and 56% use mobile telephone to
send and receive information.
Other information technology equipments and facilities are found in both urban and rural
households. The survey
results showed that about 2% of individuals in households used
computers in the last 12 months whilst only 1% of individuals in
households have internet facilities in the same period.
was the first country to participate in the UNDP's Internet
Initiative for Africa programme to assist in creating a low-cost
Internet backbone running at 512Kbps via Teleglobe in Canada,
with local high speed POPs to provide national coverage.
The first ISP connected to the system was QuantumNet.
Online services that are commonly used in the by
people are email, web browsing, web hosting, discussion
forum and file transfers. Four Internet Service
Providers (ISP); Gamtel,
QuantumNet and Netpage
are licensed to operate and to provide dial-up internet
access to the public and to institutions. The technology
services provided through dial-up system are cheaper
in the Gambia than in many African countries.
With regard to internet connectivity, the
survey results revealed that
on the average 46.2% of institutions covered have had internet
connectivity whilst 22.1% of the workplaces interviewed have their own
Training in the Use of ICT:
Status of ICT in Education sector:-
The importance of information technology underscores the
importance of adopting IT in schools. The
availability of computers in the education sector is still very
low, on the average and at national level; student-to-computer
ratio is 142 students per PC. The availability of
computers to pupils increases with increase in the level of
education. In fact, 256 students in Lower Basic School have to
share one PC whereas 10 pupils in tertiary / higher
education share a computer. In the urban areas, there are about
29 students per PC in the Senior Secondary schools whilst
there are only 11 pupils per computer in the Vocational schools.
With regard to training received in the use of the IT, there are
disparities according to gender. Our survey results shows that
there are only 18 percent of the female students enrolled in
tertiary education who are in an ICT dominated field whiles
there are about 60 percent of the male pupils in the same category who are in an IT
dominated field. However, the results concern with
Vocational/Technical schools show a higher participation of female in
ICT field than the males. There were 17 percent of female student in
this school category who are in an IT dominated field as against
only 15 percent of male pupils in the same school category
are in an ICT dominate field.
The proportion of students and teachers using the internet is
very high. About 98.4% of pupils and 98.9% of teachers used the world
wide web for email messaging.
Limitations to Access to IT:-
Education-low literacy levels:
To develop the economy and improve the lives of local people we therefore
need a basic level of education underpinned by developing a learning
culture. The ability to use new technology that is ever changing,
acquire relevant knowledge and convey information in a manner that
empowers individuals to maximize their natural potential perhaps
stands out as the most basic prerequisite. In this regard,
opportunities to use ICTS has to be precluded by training and learning.
Low Skilled Workforce:
The proliferation of IT training will provide a future
base but now it is important we recognize that the relevant knowledge
base and therefore skills required to be competitive or have the
competitive edge are lacking.
Before we even get in to the IT fields or the lack of it in schools,
what first comes to mind is the ongoing debate about the atrocious
level of English proficiency in schools. Language forms a fundamental
part of development and it is through this that the principle of skill
acquisition is based on regardless of which skill one needs to
Awareness & Sensitization:
“Information is power” to empower and power to act. The completely
learning process for us in Africa and The Gambia specifically, is
challenged by how quickly we raise the level of awareness of ICTs. At
present, the information technology industry in is focusing more on selling
PCs, basic computer training, networking and a few other basic
services. The innovation to demonstrate to people what a simple
computer program can do for them or their business that can translate
to the need for PCs is lacking.
Affordability of Equipment & Services:
Universal usage to and affordability of are inextricably linked.
The cost of computers and the price of accessing the
World Wide Web are one of the main issues that influence the spread of ICTs.
Purchase of equipment is still far beyond the reach of the average
citizen. The high price tags compared to other necessities in life act
as a barrier to getting to use ICT equipments and services.
The high cost of PCs and connectivity keep IT services far
beyond the reach of most women. The infrastructure is largely
urban-centred. Internet content is overwhelmingly in English.
Insufficient attention is given to content in local languages and the
use of the Internet for women with low levels of literacy. Gender
roles and other cultural factors translates to the fact that women
have less time to make use of the latest equipment.