AN EVALUATION OF GENDER ADMISSION DESIGN INTO SECRETARIAL STUDIES PROGRAMMES IN HIGHER INSTITUTIONS
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Gender refers to the acquired social distinctions and relationships between men and women, which vary greatly between civilizations and cultures and evolve over time (UNESCO 1998). Gender is not synonymous with sex, which refers only to biological distinctions between men and women. In all domains and in each particular social context, the word gender is used to evaluate the roles, responsibilities, limits, opportunities, and demands of women and men. Gender roles are learnt behaviors within a particular culture, community, or social group. Age, class, color, ethnicity, and religion, as well as the geographical, economic, and political environment, have an impact on the condition, activities, duties, and roles. Gender is a commonly misunderstood term that is usually used interchangeably with the term “sex.” Gender is sometimes used to involve women, particularly since the term became popular in developmental difficulties. Okeke (2004) defines sex as a person’s biological make-up that determines whether they are physically and physiologically feminine or male. Sexism, according to Foreman (1972), is defined as attitudes and behaviors that degrade or stereotype people or groups based on their gender. Gender equality refers to the idea that all humans, including men and women, are free to develop their particular skills and make decisions without being constrained by stereotypes, traditional gender roles, or biases (ILO 2000). Gender equality indicates that men and women’s varied behaviors, desires, and needs are equally recognized, respected, and favored. It does not imply that women and men have equal rights, duties, or opportunities, but it does mean that their rights, obligations, and opportunities will not be determined by whether they are born male or female.
In today’s world, the gender notion has taken center stage in terms of educational access.
Stromquist and Anolyman (1988) looked at some of the elements that influence women’s educational success, such as access to schools and years of study. He pointed out that these elements are important for women in both rich and developing countries, while also pointing out that mainstreaming ideas concerning gender inequality are gender blind and do not seek to explain gender variations in schooling. According to him, the socialist feminist theory is the most acceptable explanation for the current state of women’s educational disparity.
Vanello, Siemenska, Damien, and Lvpring (1990) investigated gender disparity in four countries: Canada, Italy, Poland, and Romania, and revealed gender disparities in values, attitudes, family work, education, and public policy. The study’s findings found that now it is feasible to talk about gender equality rather than gender inequality in numerous ways, noting that although significant differences still exist, the worlds of women and men are far less separate and different realities than they were before. The authors also noted that although the number of boys and girls in high school is almost equal in the four nations, around one-third of university students are female, highlighting the need to encourage more females to pursue higher education. In a similar research, Mansaray&Monroe (1992) looked at gender disparity in education and found that women in Nigeria are underserved in education and should be offered a better deal. Is it possible that the situation will remain the same in all educational programs? There is no discrimination against any gender in access to educational opportunities at all levels under the Nigerian constitution or education policy. On the ground, though, the reality is much different. Gender equality, which refers to girls and males having equal access to social and personal interests and successes, such as education at all levels, namely elementary, secondary, and post secondary or higher education, has remained elusive. In Nigeria, there have been a number of programs aimed at ensuring universal access to education in order to reverse the trend of access imbalances favoring males. Universal Primary Education (UPE), which was established in 1977 (and updated in 1981 and 1989), provides a sense of direction in this respect. The policy stipulates that the country’s educational objectives, in terms of their relevance to individual needs as well as the sort of society sought in connection to the environment and the reality of contemporary life and fast social change, should be clearly stated for the benefit of all people.
The implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Program was another endeavor. The Universal Basic Education (UBE) initiative was begun in September 1999 with the goal of providing free, universal education to all Nigerian children of school age, regardless of gender. In 1992, the definition of basic education was broadened to encompass both formal and non-formal education, mass literacy for teenagers, adult and women’s education, and the pursuit of equality (UNESCO, 1998)
These programs aimed to address the perceived gender imbalance and educational fairness in order to repair the society’s social, economic, and political flaws. Gender imbalance in school enrollment, with girls and women as the disadvantaged, seems to be a well-known element of the Nigerian educational environment, according to Emetarom (2000). Emetaron went on to say that the growth of basic education has led to the establishment of some of Nigeria’s mid-decade targets, which must be reached by 1995.
In 1990, the gender gap in elementary education was reduced by one-third (Boys 43 percent , Girls 33 percent ). The gender disparity is 10%. By 1995, the adult female literacy rate had fallen to one-third of its 1990 level (i.e., from 61 percent to 40.7 percent) (UNESCO1998), p. 124).
Okojie and Uriel (1998) observed that although enrollments in Nigeria have expanded dramatically since 1960, fewer females than boys are enrolled at all levels of school, with the discrepancy widening at higher levels and in rural regions. According to the 1991 report of the Joint Consultation Committee on Education, the total number of males in primary schools in the states and Abuja was 7,352,305 compared to 5,874,097 girls, giving boys a 1,478,208 advantage over girls. At the secondary level, with a focus on the senior school, males outnumbered girls by 458,447 to 357,385 students. The number of males outnumbered the number of girls by 101,062. These results revealed a gender gap in school enrolment, with males outnumbering girls at both levels. This supports Maryland’s (1983) observation that gender imbalance in education favors males in terms of enrollment, graduate turnout, and facilities supplied at all stages of education, from pre-school to post-secondary.
The World Bank (1994) study portrays a bleak picture of gender imbalance in education, stating that one billion individuals cannot read or write, two-thirds of whom are women, and that 60 percent of the 300 million school-aged children who are not in school are females.
SESSIONS IN THE ACADEMIC WORLD
Students’ enrolment in technical colleges, developed by: The National Seminar on Television Education in Nigeria: Vision and Action was organized by the organizing committee. Abuja, Nigeria, October 31st to November 2nd, 2000. The graph depicts the national enrollment trend for technical colleges by gender. Males’ enrollment was at 38,000 in the 1993/94 session, but girls’ enrolment was only around 6000; this trend continued in 1994/95, with boys’ enrolment dropping slightly to around 36,000, while girls’ enrolment grew modestly to about 6,500. In 1995/96, the number of boys enrolled declined to about 34,000, while the number of females enrolled increased somewhat to over 7000. Boys’ enrollment increased little to about 36,000 during the 1996/97 school year, while girls’ enrolment improved somewhat to around 7000. The boys’ count increased to about 37,000 in the 1997/98 session, while the girls’ figure increased to almost 8000, the highest throughout the time under consideration. These results show a large gender gap in technical college enrollment throughout the country, which is larger than the gender gap in elementary and secondary school enrollment.
Secretarial Studies is a component of business education that focuses on workplace competence, career preparation, and work adaptations, preparing students to join teaching and office positions as competent and intelligent workers. In response to technological advances in business and office administration, the secretarial studies component of tertiary-level Business Education programs has also seen a significant metamorphosis from the conventional to the more sophisticated. The introduction of information and communication technology has had an influence on secretarial studies curriculum, allowing students to tackle the difficulties of changing corporate and commercial trends.
Secretarial Studies programs are mostly available at the university and college levels of education. The Bachelor of Science Degree in Education is the emphasis at the university level. Students are accepted to a four- or three-year program based on their method of entrance, which is either direct entry or the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board’s University Matriculation Examination (UME) (JAMB). Successful students are accepted to business education programs at the 100 and 200 levels via the UME and Direct Entry modes, respectively, but specialize in secretarial studies at the 300 level. Students may concentrate in secretarial studies by taking the UME at level 100. The Nigeria Certificate of Education is awarded upon completion of the curriculum at the college level (NCE). It’s a three-year curriculum with a second-year concentration. NCE programs are also admitted via JAMB, albeit with a lower ordinary level admission criterion. NCE graduates make up the majority of the input for direct entrance university programs, while National Diploma (ND) Secretarial Studies graduates from Polytechnics are also accepted. The focus is on teacher education at both the NCE and Degree levels, but the skill components, as well as certain social and management science courses, provide the principal input into the programs to enable for career mobility from teaching to the business and industrial sector. At both the degree and NCE levels, the admissions process is not gender-specific. As a result, there has been no policy discriminating against any gender in admission to secretarial studies programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In the cognitive, emotional, and psychomotor areas, tertiary Secretarial Studies programs are comparable to other modern vocational and general education programs. Competent secretarial studies graduates have several job alternatives available to them, as well as the potential to be self-sufficient due to their easily marketable talents. As a result, there is no motivation for either gender to avoid or dominate the programs. This may lead to a gender imbalance in enrolment, with unforeseen effects. Male secretarial studies graduates working outside of the classroom, for example, are free to work lengthy hours needed of secretaries, unlike their female colleagues. Male secretaries are also free of the stress and emotions involved with pregnancy, child raising and care, antenatal and postnatal leaves, and other factors that prevent female secretaries from providing continuous service to firms. Male secretarial graduates, free of such constraints, would continue to contribute to the advancement of companies as well as total national economic production and development. There have been various gender sensitivity programs in Nigeria, and even throughout the globe, in recent years, aiming at rectifying the actual or perceived gender imbalance, particularly in education, against the female gender. These programs cover a wide range of topics, including social, cultural, political, economic, and educational aspects. The prevailing consensus is that women are underrepresented and underserved in many aspects of life. Women, mothers, and female children are said to have been denied equal chances in life, including access to education. As a result, there are efforts aimed at correcting this perceived imbalance. Some of the gender sensitivity programs focus on economically, culturally, socially, politically, and educationally strengthening women. Activists for a stop to female genital mutilation, increasing the girl child’s right to school, a halt to women trafficking and prostitution, and agitation for equal education and career opportunities for both genders are just a few examples of such programs.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Both male and female individuals may pursue secretarial courses at the postsecondary level. Nothing in the entrance standards of universities and schools of education that provide secretarial studies programs favors or disadvantages either gender. Secretarial studies, on the other hand, has been stigmatized as a female-dominated field. Social and management science elements were also absent from early secretarial studies programs. The programs were limited in scope, with a focus on the dual skills of shorthand and typewriting. The current secretarial studies curriculum has been substantially expanded in recent years. Graduates are no longer limited to working as secretaries in offices; new opportunities have opened for them to work as administration managers and information managers. The new program viewpoint necessitates not just superior cognitive and emotional abilities, but also advanced and complex psychomotor abilities. This evolution has provided graduates with a plethora of professional options as well as fresh perspectives in the public eye. Despite severe unemployment and underemployment among graduates of several other fields, the need for secretarial services in numerous domains of human endeavor continues to rise. As a result of the aforementioned, it is predicted that postsecondary schools’ contemporary secretarial studies programs would appeal to both men and women equally. In light of the recent development and enhanced delivery of secretarial studies programs, one could question what the gender enrollment trend in tertiary institutions has been like, and if gender inequity and imbalance is represented in secretarial studies.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The general objective of this study is to evaluate gender admission design into secretarial studies programmes in higher institutions. Specifically, the study will be guided under the following:
- To examine the factors that influence students choice of academic fields in secretarial study.
- To evaluate the difference in the admission design among male and female students.
- To find out if there is a gender discrimination in the admission design into secretarial studies.
1.4 Research Questions
To guide the study, the following three research questions were asked:
- What are the factors that influence students choice of academic fields in secretarial study?
- Is there a difference in the admission design among male and female students?
- Is there a gender discrimination in the admission design into secretarial studies?
1.5 Significance of the study
This study will be significant tothe education policy makers especially at the ministry of education both at the state and federal level as it helps simplify the complex dynamics of gender stereotype in higher institutions and how gender affects the choices of academic disciplines in order not to over-heat the lingering policy approaches which seek to merely balance the enrolment pattern of students into schools.
This study is beneficial to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study willexamine the factors that influence students choice of academic fields in secretarial study. The study will further evaluate the difference in the admission design among male and female students. Lastly, the study will find out if there is a gender discrimination in the admission design into secretarial studies. Hence this study will be delimited to Delta state.
1.7 Limitation of the study
Just like any other research, unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, and inability to get data were among the constraints the researcher encountered in the cause of this study. Financial constraint was equally faced by the researcher, in getting relevant materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires. Furthermore, time factor pose another constraint because the researcher have to shuttle between writing of the research and engaging in other academic work which made it uneasy for the researcher.
1.8 Definition of terms
Gender: the state of being male or female in relation to the social and cultural roles that are considered appropriate for men and women
Admission: a statement acknowledging the truth of something.
Secretarial studies: This program of study prepares a candidate to be a secretary