Forced and Unplanned Digital Transformation of Education in Sri Lanka during Covid-19 Crisis: A Case Study

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Informationssystem

Author: Shashini Rajaguru; [2021]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: Digital transformation has been an important, popular and revolutionary topic for research fordecades. Constant and rapid updating digital technologies and tools have mainly influencedthe phenomenon of digital transformation to remain interesting and evolving whileemphasizing the significant importance of other concepts related to digital transformationsuch as challenges and opportunities. However, when compared with the otherindustries/areas, digital transformation of education, has been a slow process; especially inthe developing countries. When Covid-19 crisis hit the world, the importance ofdigitizing/digitalizing/digitally transforming businesses was highlighted more than ever andmany organizations and institutes had no other option than accepting digitalization; includingmajority of educational institutes around the world.This thesis aim to understand the challenges faced by a primary school located in a relativelyrural area in Sri Lanka, when implementing digitalization of education within the school forthe first time from 13th March 2020 till 17th August 2020, due to the impact of Covid-19 crisisinfluenced temporary closure of the school. To answer the research question of this study,data was collected qualitatively using semi-structured interviews from carefully chosenrespondents. According to the collected data, it was emphasized that the main challengesfaced by the school when digitalizing education involved: digital literacy, infrastructure,internet and other related services, traditional structure of education, and economy relatedissues. During the analysis of the case study built based on the empirical results, it isdiscussed how the identified challenges affects self-efficacy of users and how thesechallenges can be addressed in order to improve digitalization od education in Sri Lanka.When analysing results in compliance with the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), it wasinteresting to see how Covid-19 pandemic has acted as a strong external variable to influencethe traditional structure of TAM and its‘ components, causing perceived usefulness oftechnology to act solely as the primary factor that motivated technology acceptance by usersin the study setting. The findings also leave it questionable whether if it is still required in thefuture to address the existing challenge of ‗resistance‘ as one of the most importantchallenges related to digital transformation. This study also discusses how Covid-19pandemic impacted on the pace of digital transformation globally that it has become asubstantial experience to motivate digitalization of education in Sri Lanka and otherdeveloping countries.4The study suggests more extensive investigation on unheard digitalization stories in thedeveloping world and highlights the importance of contributing more varied case studies toliterature. This thesis also implies the relevant authorities of Sri Lanka to consider thefindings provided in this research, when planning the digital roadmap for the country‘seducation system and when restructuring the education system to improve the standard ofeducation towards the development of country. Key Words: Digital Transformation, Impact of Covid-19, Digital TransformationChallenges, Developing Countries, Education, Sri Lanka, Digitalization of Education,Technology Acceptance Model

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