Barriers to the Rural Women of Ranong, Thailand to Accessing Education Using Information and Communication Technology.
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The purpose of this research is to develop an understanding of rural women's barriers and challenges to education an access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the province of Ranong, Thailand. For women in rural areas education is an opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills for their rapidly changing world. ICT is an effective means of delivering such education. Due to the interactive nature of ICT, women have the opportunity to access education not otherwise available, and a voice in the development of education programs that address their unique needs. For this reason, a primary hypothesis held by the international community is that access to information and communication technologies will contribute and enhance women’s lives. ICT are considered a crucial tool for distributed learning, networking, collaboration, e-commerce and e-government. The Government of Thailand has developed a National IT Policy Framework, IT 2010. This policy prioritizes the development of good practices with information and communication technologies to address the growing digital divide between developed and developing countries. Equitable access to education for all is also stressed in Thailand's educational and ICT policies, yet the reality is more difficult to attain. The premise of this study is that rural women need to be consulted and be key participants in the design, development and implementation of education and ICT programs. One hundred women throughout the province of Ranong were interviewed regarding their educational barriers and their access to ICT. The women ranged in age from 19 to 70 and came from various ethnic, religious, geographical and socio-economic backgrounds. This research concludes by presenting the difference between international and the Thai government's education and ICT policies and the reality of rural women's lives regarding education and ICT access. This research is an initial process in understanding what needs to be in place for rural Thai women to command and make their own opportunities in ICT and education development.