Developing and Testing Policy for Effective Use of ICT in Saudi Arabian Universities

Author: Fahad Alturise

Alturise, Fahad, 2017 Developing and Testing Policy for Effective Use of ICT in Saudi Arabian Universities, Flinders University, School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics

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Due to its far reaching influence on many functions of education institutions and its potential benefits for educators and students, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has become a topic of much interest in the educational community. ICT in the workplace can help a business improve its productivity. Many organisations now rely on ICT to manage their internal activities as well as other communication and business processes and procedures. University education is one of the most important methods for helping develop a country and its people. One country that must improve its education system is Saudi Arabia.

The first purpose of this thesis was to investigate the challenge of using ICT for students, faculty members and administrative staff in Saudi Arabian universities. The thesis explores the most important barriers that these stakeholders face and compares ICT use between Saudi Arabia on one hand, and the Gulf States - Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain – on the other, with a view to discovering the main challenges which have affected effective ICT adoption in Saudi Arabian universities. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were employed to collect data from ten universities in Saudi Arabia and five universities in the Gulf States. The study found there are significant barriers that impede the full adoption and utilisation of ICT in Saudi universities compared to Gulf States universities. The results suggest that Saudi Arabian universities lack proper ICT infrastructure, including the provision of suitable connection networks and formal training of staff in utilising ICT resources in contrast with Gulf States universities. Also, low ICT skills and lack of motivation are significant challenges that compromises stakeholders’ ability to employ available ICT effectively and extends to other problems.

The second purpose of this thesis was to propose strategies to overcome these challenges and make recommendations for ICT integration in universities in Saudi Arabia. An interim report of the proposed solutions was validated by ICT professionals and experts in Saudi Arabian universities, and feedback was incorporated into a final report. Proposed strategies include both cultural solutions, such as attractive incentives and up-to-date policies and rules, and technical solutions, such as comprehensive ICT usage monitoring, high-quality online training and universal access to ICT infrastructure.

The major contribution of this study is to suggest how ICT use can be increased and made more effective in Saudi Arabia’s universities. This study’s findings aim to advise the Saudi Arabian and Gulf States’ universities about their plans, policies and programmes for implementing ICT and the consolidation of required resources.

Keywords: Saudi Arabia, ICT, Information and communication Technology, Gulf States, ICT infrastructure, University,

Subject: Computer Science thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2017
School: School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics
Supervisor: Associate Professor Paul Calder