Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The use of Information and Communication Technology in Teaching and Learning within Higher Education Sector of a Small Island Developing State: The Case of the Maldives

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posted on 2021-11-13, 20:30 authored by Kinaanath, Mohamed

This study sought to a) discover the specific factors that influence Information and Communications Technology (ICT) use in higher education teaching and learning in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as the Maldives; b) determine how ICT can be used within higher education in SIDS; c) develop a framework / model for ICT adoption in higher education in teaching and learning of SIDS; and d) use UNESCO’s continuum model of ICT development and the TOEG framework to ground these factors to produce a practical roadmap.  The Maldives was chosen as a representative case for SIDS in this research. The Maldives consists of 1,192 coral islands with 198 inhabited islands. Due to its small population densities spread over remote islands, distribution of higher education access has been a major impediment in the Maldives, calling for the use of ICT.  This research utilised an interpretive paradigm with qualitative research methods (interviews; focus group discussions; qualitative survey and document reviewing). The case research methodology provided a variety of perspectives; enabled multiple data collection techniques; and examined technology integration within a technology rich environment. The research participants were students, teachers, senior academic managers, education and information technology consultants / experts in the Maldives.  The findings revealed the specific factors that affect the ICT adoption within higher education teaching and learning in the context of the Maldives. An Extended Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) of ICT use in higher education in SIDS was developed using TAM theory, Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theory and a TOEG (Technology-Organisational-Environment-Geography) framework.  The technology context examined government support for Information Technology, ICT support for teachers, ICT Infrastructure, underutilisation of ICT resources, perception of benefits from the present ICT infrastructure and ICT policies. The organisational context included finance, centralisation, human resources, top management support, ICT confidence among teachers, and research. The environmental context contained social issues (drugs and overcrowding) and cultural issues (gender disparity, cultural homogeneity among students and teachers and no culture of using ICT in academic learning, and a spoon-feeding pedagogical tradition). Finally the geography context identified issues associated with geography, transportation and the digital divide between remote islands.  These factors impede the adoption of ICT in the higher education sector in SIDS such as the Maldives. A practical roadmap was formulated by utilising the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) continuum model of ICT development and the TOEG framework to recommend four broad stages in terms of adoption and use of ICT in higher education.  This study contributes to existing knowledge by providing a clear understanding of the present role of ICT as well as information on how ICT can be used in higher education in SIDS such as the Maldives. This research is important to gain a wider understanding of the future directions for adoption of ICT within higher education in SIDS. The research will fill critical gaps in the current research, expand the coverage of relatively neglected research areas in SIDS, contribute to practitioners and the academic community, and stimulate further debate.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Information Systems

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

930503 Resourcing of Education and Training Systems

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Information Management


Lehmann, Hans; Smith, Alastair