Developing a Contextualized Information Systems Curriculum for an Emerging Economy

Yirsaw Ayalew, Jaco Renken, K.V. Mgaya, T. Nkgau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Information Systems (IS) curriculum development in developing countries faces the challenge of balancing conformance to international trends while remaining relevant to the local context. Model curricula such as IS2010 provide a clear and up-to-date reflection of IS curricula trends. However, such curricula cannot be directly implemented especially in developing countries where there are a number of environmental factors that affect the curriculum. In this paper we describe the approach taken to develop a contextualized undergraduate IS curriculum in a highly interdisciplinary African university. In an effort to harmonize the 3 undergraduate IS programs at the University of Botswana (UB), it was necessary to identify the content and direction for a new common IS core curriculum. To achieve this, several activities were carried out, namely: study of existing model curricula, survey and study of the needs of the local IS industry, tracer study of UB IS graduates, study of some regional and international IS curricula, and study of some relevant local policy documents. The paper discusses how the results of our empirical enquiries (i.e., different studies) have shaped the proposed IS curriculum appropriate to the emerging economic context in Botswana. We emphasize on the importance of proper adaptation/contextualization and exploiting the interdisciplinary nature of IS that can resolve important resource (both human and physical) constraints which is common in many African universities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalElectronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2012


  • Information Systems
  • Curriculum Development
  • Contextualization,
  • Inter-disciplinarity IS
  • Botswana

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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