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Assessing ICT Access Disparities Between the Institutional and Home Front: A Case of University Students in South Africa’s Eastern Cape

Abstract : Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have been used to promote equality and inclusivity, foster human development, enhance opportunity and fight poverty in developing countries. In spite of this effort, inequality to ICT access persists in developing countries like post-apartheid South Africa. This paper contributes to the ICT4D discourse by investigating ICT access disparities between various actors within a country. The theoretical foundation adopts elements of Engeström’s [1] activity theory as a conceptual lens for examining the access disparities experienced by users at home and within a formal institutional activity system, such as a university. Fifteen in-depth interviews were conducted with university students at two campuses of a previously disadvantaged university in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The study shows that the reason for different access, limited access on the home front and unlimited access on the institutional front, was due to access cost, lack of devices, inadequate skills and lack of awareness of the value of internet access. We conclude that these factors worsen poverty by limiting access to opportunities for the majority of the population that lacks institutional access.
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Sam Takavarasha, Liezel Cilliers, Willie Chinyamurindi. Assessing ICT Access Disparities Between the Institutional and Home Front: A Case of University Students in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. 13th IFIP International Conference on Human Choice and Computers (HCC13), Sep 2018, Poznan, Poland. pp.45-59, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-99605-9_4⟩. ⟨hal-02001929⟩

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