ASSESSMENT OF THE ACCESSIBILITY, AVAILABILITY AND APPLICATION OF COMPUTERS ON STUDENTS’ PROFICIENCY IN WORD-PROCESSING IN INSTITUTIONS OF EDUCATION IN NORTH-WEST, NIGERIA

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ASSESSMENT OF THE ACCESSIBILITY, AVAILABILITY AND APPLICATION OF COMPUTERS ON STUDENTS’ PROFICIENCY IN WORD-PROCESSING IN INSTITUTIONS OF EDUCATION IN NORTH-WEST, NIGERIA  

ABSTRACT

 

The study focused on assessment of the availability, accessibility and utilization of computers on students‟ proficiency in word-processing in Colleges of Education, NorthWest, Nigeria.  Four research questions and four Null Hypotheses were drawn to guide the study. The research adopted descriptive survey design.  The population for the study was 300 secretarial students drawn from 9 (nine) Federal and State Colleges of Education, NCE III doing word-processing in North-West Nigeria.  No sampling was done because of the size of the target population. However, out of the 300 OTMstudents, only 278 of them responded validly to the questionnaire.  A structured questionnaire tagged AAAUCWP designed by the researcher was used for data collection.  Data collected wereanalysed using mean and standard deviation for the four research questions, while the 4 (four) null hypotheses were tested using logistic regression at 0.05 level of significance.  The entire four (4) null hypotheses were rejected.  Findings revealed that most laboratory computers/ICT resources were not available, inadequate, obsolete and non-functional.  Thus, the few available ones could not commensurate with the number of students. This situation made it impossible for OTM students to have proper practical knowledge to acquire the proficiency for speed and accuracy of 60 words per minute in word-processing required for today‟s job acquisition.  Similarly, disruptions caused by irregular power supply and the absence of an alternative power supply such as power generators or solar energy to drive these resources and lack of technical support staff kept students from utilizing the laboratories computers and their resources.  Based on the aforementioned findings, the research concluded that owing to the fact that most computers were inadequate, obsolete and not functioning at optimal level for students‟ use, students were deprived of the benefits of learning and acquiring the proficiency for speed and accuracy of 60 words per minute in word-processing which could have improved their skills‟ competence required for self-reliance and for office of today.  The study recommended that alternative power supply such as power generators or solar energy to drive these resources should be provided in the colleges.  Similarly, Federal and State Government should endeavor to make sufficient funds available for the colleges to enable them procure enough functional computers for the acquisition of these skills.  Where this is not forthcoming, colleges should appeal to business organizations within their school localities for either financial or material support.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

             1.1       Background to the Study

Modern offices have rapidly changed as a result of office automation, which has brought new methods in carrying out functions performed ordinarily by people with conventional manual typewriters in organizations.  At the centre of the new trends in schools and colleges, is the computer word-processing equipment brought about by Information and Communication Technology.  The impact of this technology in teaching and learning is gradually gaining ground and affecting the production of knowledge and transforming the world in an unexpected way.  This has facilitated the paradigm shift from the traditional instructional materials or traditional pedagogical methods to a more modern and innovative technological based teaching and learning methods.

Word-processing is a business subject in office education and one of the core courses.  There is the need for students to acquire the skills to enable them cope with the new technological development and also exposing them to career awareness by exploring usable options in the world of work and enabling students to have an intelligent understanding of the complexity of technological resources (Chigbuson, 2009).  Perhaps no other technology has had a great impact on education as computer or word-processor.  Not only does word-processor offer high versatility and flexibility, it also has instructional software that reflects no particular instructional approach.  A teacher can use it to support any kind of instruction or activity (Brierley and Kemble, 1991).  Wordprocessor as an aid to teaching and learning, is universally acknowledged and has become the most commonly used hardware in education.  It offers many general relative advantages, unique benefits over and above other methods to teachers and students.

Akan (2002) outlines some characteristics that differentiate this technology revolution from others that have taken place before it, as it has fast pace; impacting all corners of the globe and the demand for its products are insatiable as the growth of the technology has increased intuitive means of absorbing problems the capacities that technology offers sometimes to the bewilderment of the other generation.  Skill acquisition is described by Barth &Everistus (2005) as the process of gaining ability to do certain jobs very well and with dexterity or expertise.  The gain of ability to carry out any work with expertise, that is, skill acquisition can be found in different fields of human endeavours and on different age brackets of human beings.  This means that skill acquisition offered to students at NCElevel of education is for the purpose of introduction into the world of technology and appreciation of technology towards a choice of vocation at the end of school can only be developed through practice and this implies that one can only acquire speed and accuracy in word processing through constant practice.  By practicing and acquainting their fingers on the alphabet of the key board regularly to be able to master and acquire the speed and accuracy of 60 words per minute (wpm) and above.

Keshane (2014) describes laboratory as a room or building equipped with computers and computer related equipment for scientific research experimentation or computer practicals.  He also sees it as a place which provides computer services to students who attend the institution for use in a curricular computer classes.  Presently, the use of computer laboratories as practical tool is considered as an important means to facility for promoting new methods of learning.  It is in this direction that the Federal Government of Nigeria incorporated Computer Education into the curricular at all levels of education system.   The National Policy on Computer Education (NPCE) (2007) stipulates that at the tertiary level, the students should be conversant with and be able to use any curricular programme, developed for their subject.  They should be able to develop and know the rudiments of word processing which the students should master at the tips of their fingers by practicing functional keys (ASDF; LKJ) before attempting to form small sentence structures which would eventually lead to speed and accuracy development. In the quest to achieve these objectives, the learning process should be activity-oriented and student-centred.

One of the pillars of successful implementation of effective use of computer laboratories at all levels is the availability, accessibility and utilization of learning resources.  This is in the form of facilities, equipment and services needed to enhance instructional delivery and skills development to bring about standard and quality products.  Experts in word processing are of the opinion that computer laboratories with other resources have important role to play in Business Education students‟ skills acquisition in learning word processing as it will prepare the graduate students for the teaching of business education profession (OTM)option. Business Education (OTM)option is offered in Colleges of Education as a subset of general education and is described by Njoku (2007) as an education programme that equips the recipients with functional sale-able knowledge, skills and attitude/value that enable them operate in the environment they find themselves.  The main purpose of Business Education

(OTM)option at the Colleges of Education is to prepare students to be self-reliant or employer of labour and or seek employment in government offices, industries and business offices (Akarahu, 2010).

Virtually, all the core subjects offered at this level are practical in nature.  These include word processing, computer appreciation and application, shorthand, keyboarding, advanced desktop publishing, database management system, and web-page design. This new trend according to Amoor (2010) would charge the colleges that offer business education programme (secretarial option) with the responsibilities of adequately exposing the secretarial students to the modern office technology and information systems so that they can minimize strain on the part of the learners, and aid quicker assimilation of the skills and also perform maximally in office occupation when they graduate.

In view of the foregoing, it is important to note that emphases are being made upon the changes in the curriculum more than ever before on the skill aspect of learning which involves word-processing, computer/computer appreciation and other computer related courses (Baba and Akarahu, 2012).  There is urgent need to emphasize the use of computer laboratories in learning word-processing in Business Education in Colleges of Education and in all other related institutions to ensure high academic achievements and high quality delivery.  In the area of business education, particularly with reference to two key options, Accounting Education, Office Technology and Management, these options appear to lack key instructional facilities such as computers, among others.

 

             1.2       Statement of the Problem

Business Education programme offered at Colleges of Education comprises of accounting and secretarial education.  Word-processing is a course offered at NCE III for Office Technology and Management (OTM) only.   In this course, the students are expected to graduate with the speed and accuracy of 60 words per minutes (60 WPM) in word-processing.  The researcher through observations and personal interactions with the students of OTM discovered that students hardly acquire the speed of 60 wpm before graduation.

Further interaction with the students by the researcher revealed that most of OTM students do not have adequate access to computers in the laboratories for constant practice for the acquisition of the speed limit of 60 wpm in word processing.  It is on this background that the researcher carried out the study to determine the effect of availability, accessibility, utilization and functionality of computers on students‟ proficiency in word processing in Colleges of Education, North-West, Nigeria.

 

             1.3       Objectives of the Study

The main objective of the study is to assess the effect of Computer Laboratories in

Business Education in Colleges of Education, North-West Zone, Nigeria.

The specific objectives are to:

  1. determine the availability of computers on students proficiency in word processing for speed and accuracy of 60 words per minute in Colleges of Education, North-West Zone, Nigeria.
  2. assess the functionality of computers on students proficiency in word processing for speed and accuracy of 60 words per minute in Colleges of Education, North-

West Zone, Nigeria.

  1. examine the accessibility of computers on students proficiency in word processingfor speed of 60 words per minute in Colleges of Education, North-West Zone, Nigeria.
  2. determine utilization of computers on students proficiency in word processing for speed and accuracy of 60 words per minute  in Colleges of Education, North-West

Zone, Nigeria.

 

             1.4       Research Questions

The following research questions were raised to guide the study:

  1. What is the effect of availability of computers on students‟ proficiency in word processing for speed and accuracy of 60 wordsper minute in Colleges of Education, North-West Zone, Nigeria?
  2. What is the effect of the functionality of computers on students‟ proficiency in word processingfor speed and accuracy of 60 word per minutein Colleges of Education, North-West Zone, Nigeria?
  3. What is the effect of the accessibility of computers on students‟ proficiency in word processing for speed and accuracy of 60 words per minutein Colleges of Education, North-West Zone, Nigeria?
  4. What is effect of the utilization of computers on students‟ proficiency in word processing for speed and accuracy of 60 words per minute in Colleges of

Education, North-West Zone, Nigeria?

 

 

 

             1.5       Research Hypotheses

In line with the specific objectives and research questions, the following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:

  1. There is no significant influence of availability of computers on students‟ proficiency for speed and accuracy of 60 words per minute in colleges of education in North West zone, Nigeria.
  2. There is no significant influence offunctionality of computers on students‟ proficiency in word processing for speed and accuracy of 60 words per minute in colleges of education, North West Zone, Nigeria.
  3. There is no significant influence of accessibility of computers on students‟ proficiency in word processing for speed and accuracy of 60 words per minute in colleges of education, North West Zone, Nigeria.
  4. There is no significant influence of utilization of computers on students‟ proficiency in word processing for speed and accuracy of 60 words per minute in colleges of education, North West, Zone, Nigeria.

 

             1.6       Significance of the Study

The findings of this study are expected to benefit the following: Government, Teachers, College Management, Curriculum Planners, Students and Parents.

College management will benefit from the study as they will be aware of the resources needed by the Colleges of Education. More so, they are interested in fostering good academic standards about their colleges and concern about their reputation to the larger society.  The study will further enable them to know the state of facilities in the computer laboratories for students‟ use at any particular time whether equipment are

available, accessible, usable or not.

Government invests heavily at all levels of education in Nigeria.  Therefore, when students‟ performance is enhanced through effective utilization of resources, it will help the government in achieving its aim for investing in the educational sector in Nigeria.

Curriculum planners will benefit from the study as it will help them in drawing conclusion on the need to update or expand the curriculum of Business Education courses by including relevant computer laboratory facilities and equipment important to Business Education.  This will empower the prospective secretaries in acquiring the needed speed and accuracy.

The study will equally benefit the teachers of Secretarial Education as they will understand the need for utilizing computer laboratories in teaching and the resultant effect on learners‟ achievement.

Students will benefit from the result of the study as they are part and parcel of the larger society.  Therefore, if the resources/facilities in the computer laboratories are available and properly assessed for students‟ use, the students will acquire skills and will be able to contribute their quotas to the development of the society.

Parents will also benefit from the result of the study as the progress and performance of their children is of paramount importance to them.  Parents are particularly interested in good academic achievement of their children as it will provide good career prospects and better job opportunities that will benefit the family and the society at large.

 

             1.7       Basic Assumptions of the Study

For the purpose of this study, the researcher assumes that:

  1. Availability of computers in the laboratories has effect on acquisition of speed and accuracy of 60 wpm in word processing.
  2. Accessibility of computers in the laboratories has effect on students‟ acquisition of speed and accuracy of 60 wpm in word processing.
  3. Utilization of computers in the laboratories has effect on students‟ acquisition of speed and accuracy of 60 wpm in word processing.

 

             1.8       Delimitation of the Study

The study was delimited to nine (9) Federal and State Colleges of Education located in the North-West Zone, Nigeria.  The study was delimited to availability, accessibility and utilization of computers in the laboratories because these were the equipment which the OTM students in the Colleges of Business Education were expected to be proficient in after graduation. The work was also delimited to NCE III Business Education Students within the colleges because they were the final year students hence were qualified to provide adequate information for the research work.

ASSESSMENT OF THE ACCESSIBILITY, AVAILABILITY AND APPLICATION OF COMPUTERS ON STUDENTS’ PROFICIENCY IN WORD-PROCESSING IN INSTITUTIONS OF EDUCATION IN NORTH-WEST, NIGERIA  

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