DIFFICULTIES IN LEARNING COMPUTER STUDIES IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background of the Study
One of the fundamental rights of every human being is education. Education prepares the individual for challenges in life. Consequently, Gujjar (2010) opined that education does not only deliver information but for developing the complete personality of a child. In Nigeria there are three levels of education: primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. Secondary education is the level between primary and tertiary education. It equally prepares students to be productive members of society (Jegede2013). In developed countries, Secondary School is seen as the gateway to providing not only an educated citizenry but also a capable workforce. According to the World Bank in Etim (2006), Secondary education is now being recognized as the cornerstone of the educational system in the 21st century. It, therefore, means that quality Secondary education is indispensable in creating a bright future for individuals and nations alike.
The term Computer Studies have been used interchangeably, in some cases, it has been referred to as computer education while in other cases it is called computer literacy. In whatever way, it means the same thing. Computer education is the effort or the ability to make the generality of the people computer literate. Computer literacy is the ability to be able to read, write, and speak the language of the computer. It can also be looked at as a process of educating the people on how to use a computer to run a program and diverse applications including business, industry, and commerce (Okorie, 2012). Computer studies according to Edhuze (2003) involved teaching and inculcating in the learner the basic skills required to independently manipulate the computer to achieve educational goals. He further stated that computer studies as a subject are aimed at making students acquire skills and competencies required in this digital world of competitiveness. Such basic skills and competencies upon graduation make them conversant with terms and practices embedded in the world of computers. Computer studies, therefore a subject organized to enable people to understand the function, uses, and limitations of the computer and to provide an opportunity for the study of the modern methods of information processing.
The intention of Nigeria to include computer studies into the secondary school curriculum dates back to 1988 when the National Policy on Computer Education was enacted and launched (Abimbade, 1999). The policy on computer education suggested the following as some of the computer curriculum contexts at the secondary school level: A basic appreciation of how the computer works, an understanding of the basic principle of operating the computer, hands-on experience using the pre-programmed packages which are relevant to the interest of the students as teacher aids in different subjects. According to the National Policy on Computer Education (2006), it is expected that by the end of secondary education, the child has acquired reasonable competence in software such as word processing, spreadsheet, database analyzing programs that allow learners interact with the computer the way they desire (Ayogu, 2008). It therefore means that to achieve these objectives as stated in the National Policy on Education, strategies are needed.
In the modern world, the computer is being gradually applied in all aspects of human endeavor. It has been stressed that the application of computers will enhance effectiveness and efficiency in this rapidly growing and technologically changing world. Computer education is being advocated because it is almost certain that computer literacy will have as much impact on career opportunities in the fast-growing information age (Adamu and Bello, 2012). The relevance of computer education is, therefore, hinged on its utility value. The National Policy on Education (NPE, 1981, revised in 1988, 1991, 1998, and 2004) introduced the teaching of computer studies in Nigerian schools. The inclusion of the study of computer studies in the school curriculum was aimed at providing an opportunity for every student to become computer literate. The study of computer studies has in effect, gained tremendous influence on the student and society. However, the use and study of computers in Nigeria is recent when compared to other parts of the world where computers have been in use in all facets of human endeavor including offices, schools, industries, research centers, communication, hospitals to mention but a few. The complex nature of the present-day school situations has made the transmission of information and instruction to students and the nature of learning and teaching, in general, more complex. This has made the role of the teacher in promoting learning more challenging. The new role does not just, involve the mere transmission of information to students but also includes looking at the problems associated with learning and instruction so that students can gain maximally from the teaching and learning process. Computers are now used where there is a lot of data to be manipulated, where complex tasks must be managed, or where there is a need for real time access to centralized information from arbitrary locations such as in education, telemedicine, telecommunicating, and in several other areas (Adewopo, 2015). The study of computers in school is, therefore, aimed at helping the students cope with modern technological development, equip them with knowledge and competencies or skills of program and administrative management as well as, improve the learning process. Students are expected to master the skills of computer appreciation or application and not just what it is and can do. Students are, therefore, expected to be taught in such a way as not only to conceptualize and understand the computer but also to be able to effectively manage their own learning, reinforce it and apply such knowledge or training in practical situations. This new approach has made the teaching of computer studies a little bit more complex and challenging. It has been observed that the teaching and learning of computer studies in schools have not been quite easy. Often time, people talk about inadequate equipment, facilities, and computer instructional resources for learning and teaching exercise (Aghadino, 2014). It is believed that teaching science in general and computer studies, in particular, is beset with a number of problems (Adamu, 2010). The slow pace of learning and application of computers had been attributed to this. This presupposes that there are problems associated with the teaching and learning of computer studies education. In the circumstance, therefore, one is prompted to ask: what exactly is the situation? What are the problems associated with the teaching of computer studies education? It is against this backdrop this study was designed to assess the difficulties associated with computer studies education using Enugu East as a case study.
Statement of the Problem
The growing need for computer literacy has made it imperative that increased attention be given to the study of computers at all levels of education, especially in secondary schools. The researcher observations on the junior secondary schools in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State shows that laboratory, computer, and instructional materials required for the learning of computer studies are not only inadequate but have not been fully utilized. Further interaction with students has shown that they are not taught computer studies regularly like any other subject due to a shortage of computer teachers. However, one of the reasons why computer teachers are in short supply is that when teachers with computer qualifications are employed, they prefer to teach mathematics rather than computer subject. Most of these computer teachers have been exposed only to the theoretical aspect of their program while little or no attention was paid to the practical aspect of their program during their years of training. (Aghadino, 2014).
It therefore means that without proper improvement on the gaps facing computer studies in junior secondary schools in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State, Secondary School Students upon graduation are bound to be completely obsolete in our contemporary society where knowledge of computer has become a prerequisite for employment, interview, and in some cases for promotion. It is on this basis that the researcher deems it necessary to conduct a study on the perception of junior secondary school students’ on difficulties in learning computers and tend to provide strategies for improving computer studies in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Purpose of the study
The general objective of this study is to investigate the perception of junior secondary school students on difficulties in learning Computer Studies in Secondary Schools in Enugu East Local Government Area, Enugu State.
The specific objectives include;
1. To find out student-related difficulties in learning computer in Junior Secondary School
2. To determine School-related difficulties affecting the learning of computer in Secondary Schools
3. To find out strategies in improving the learning of computer in Junior Secondary Schools.
Significance of the Study
The researcher hopes that the result of this research work shall be beneficial to the following: educational administrators, computer studies teachers, learners which include secondary school students and future researchers.
The findings of the study will help to make our Educational Administrators see the need to have qualified computer studies teachers to handle the subject effectively for the benefits of the students and society at large. It will also help to sensitize the educational administrators to appreciate the need to make available the necessary materials, examples chalkboard, graph, audio-visual materials, etc that will enhance effective learning of computer studies if they are not available.
This study will be of need directly to the Computer studies teachers’ Association, drawing attention to the need for them to adopt more appropriate teaching method in order to bring about the desirable experience in the learners.
It will be useful for learners to identify the factors affecting the teaching and learning of computer studies. It will help to produce sound computer scientists that will function well in society. This work will serve as a source of encouragement to students and teachers that will come across it. It is hoped that the findings of this study would also form the basis for further research work by future researchers on these issues.
This work adds great knowledge to the already existing literature in computer education and education in general thereby serve as an aid to future researchers.
Scope of the study
This study aimed at identifying the perception of junior secondary students on difficulties in learning computer studies in secondary schools. It examined various factors which include; student-related factors, school-related factors difficulties that affect learning of computer studies, and as well as proffer solutions to the out-listed difficulties. The study is delimited to public secondary schools in Enugu East LGA, Enugu State.
To achieve the objective of the study, three research questions were formulated.
1. What are student-related difficulties affecting the learning of Computer studies in Junior Secondary Schools?
2. What are the school-related difficulties affecting the learning of computer studies?
3. What are the strategies for improving the learning of computer studies?.