THE CHALLENGES TO COMPUTER STUDIES INSTRUCTION IN SENIOR 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 complete personality of a child. In Nigeria there are three levels of education: primary, secondary and tertiary level. Secondary education is the level between primary and tertiary education. It equally prepares students to be productive members of the 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 World Bank in Etim (2006), Secondary education is now being recognizedas the cornerstone of 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 application 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 is aimed at making students acquire skills and competencies required in this digital word of competitiveness. Such basic skills and competencies upon graduation make them conversant with term and practices embedded in the world of computer. Computer studies, therefore a subject organized toenable people 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 context 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 modern world, the computer is being gradually applied in all aspects of human endeavour. It has been stressed that the application of computer 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 studiesin Nigerian schools. The inclusion of the study of computer studies in the school curriculum was aimed at providing 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 facet of human endeavour including offices, schools, industries, research centre’s, communication, hospitals to mention but a few. The complex nature of present day school situation has made 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 mere transmission of information to students but also include looking at the problems associated with learning and instruction so that students can gain maximally from 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 need for real time access to centralized information from arbitrary locations such as in education, telemedicine, telecommunicating and in several other area (Adewopo, 2015). The study of computer in school is therefore, aimed at helping the students cope with modern technological development, equip them knowledge and competencies or skills of programme 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 situation. 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 has not been quite easy. Often time, people talk about inadequate equipments, facilities, and computers instructional resources for learning and teaching exercise (Aghadino, 2014). It is believed that teaching of science in general and computer studiesin particular is beset with a number of problems (Adamu, 2010). The slow pace of learning and application of computer 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 computer at all level of education especially in secondary schools. The researcherobservationonsenior secondaryschools in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State shows that laboratory, computer and instructional materials required for learning of computer studies are not only inadequate but have not been fully utilized. Further interaction with student has shown that they are not taught computer studies regularly like any other subject due to shortage of computer teachers. However, one of the reasons why computer teachers are in short supply is that when teachers with computer qualification 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 programme while little or no attention was paid to the practical aspect of their programme during their years of training. (Aghadino, 2014).
It therefore means that without proper improvement on the gaps facing computer studies in senior 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 senior 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 senior secondary school students on difficulties in learningComputer Studies in Secondary Schools in Enugu East Local Government Area, Enugu State.
The specific objectives include;
1. To find out students-related difficulties in learning computer in Senior secondary School
2. To determine School-related difficulties affecting learning of computer in Secondary Schools
3. To find out strategies in improving learning of computer in Senior 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 the 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 this issues.
This work adds great knowledge to 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 senior 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 proffer solutions to the out-listed difficulties. The study is delimited to public secondary schools in Enugu EastLGA, Enugu State.
To achieve the objective of the study, three research questions were formulated.
1. What are students-related difficulties affecting learning of Computer studies inSenior secondary Schools?
2. What are the school-related difficulties affecting learning of computer studies?
3. What are the strategies for improving the learning of computer studies?
The review of literature of this study was organized under the following sub-headings:
⦁ Concept of computer
⦁ Computer Studies in Senior secondary School
⦁ Problems of Computer Studies in Senior secondary Schools
⦁ Strategies for Improving Computer Studies
⦁ Constructivism Learning Theory
⦁ Downes Siemens Connectivism Learning Theory
Related Empirical Studies
Summary of Literature Reviewed
Concept of Computer
Computer, according to the International Records Management Trust (IRMT) (2009), a computer is a programmable machine. It allows the user to store all sorts of information and then ‘process’ that information, or data, or carry out actions with the information, such as calculating numbers or organizing words. Computer studies: For the purposes of this document, the term computer studies refers to the study of computer studies, meaning computer and algorithmic processes, including their principles, their hardware and software designs, their applications, and their impact on society. The major focus of these courses is the development of programming skills, which are important for success in future postsecondary studies (URT, 2007).
Computer literacy refers to the ability to use computers at an adequate level for creation, communication and collaboration in a literate society ( Guile, 1998). Information Communication Technology has several definitions depending on the nature of its use, but for this study ICT is used as an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing: radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning URT (2003),. We refer to ICT in the particular context of ICT provision, policy and teacher factors that variously support teaching, learning and a range of activities in education. It is from this explanation that the Ministry of education and Vocational Training upon integrating ICT into school call it computer studies. Every human being has a right and an equal opportunity to not just education but quality education and that’s why the policy of ICT for basic education is directed at the achievement of the objectives of Nigeria’s education policies and education development programs, (URT, 2007).
Education policy of 2014 stated that the overall aims of education in Nigeria are among other things: “To promote the acquisition and appropriate use of literary, social scientific, vocation technological, professional and other forms of knowledge, skills and understanding for the development and improvement of man and society”. In 2001, the Education Sector Development Programme (ESDP) was launched to realize the objectives of education policies by addressing critical issues including ICT, improving equality the quality of education, both formal and non-formal; to promote access and equity to basic education to promote science and technology. Furthermore, Article 26 of the Human Rights Declaration states “The concept underpinning human rights education is that education should not only aim at forming trained, professional workers, but also at contributing to the development of individuals who possess the skills to interact in a society. Human rights in education, aims at providing pupils and students with the abilities to accompany and produce societal changes. Education is seen as a way to empower people, improve their quality of life and increase their capacity to participate in the decision-making processes leading to social, cultural and economic policies”.
According to Fiske (2009), If we are talking about empowering an entire community – parents, teachers, administrators, even students – then they all need access to newest technology, otherwise we are trying to prepare students for the twenty first Century world using Stone Age tools. Noll (2010), support that Advocates of Information Age education will again point to the precedent of the printing press and the great democratization of education that followed. Just as the printing press brought high quality and affordable education to the masses, new educational technologies should do the same. By reducing the cost of access to the best instruction in the world, these new technologies if properly implemented should decrease the discrepancy between the information haves and have nots.
According to Riordan (2004), in democratic societies citizens demand both greater equality and greater quality from schools. They desire both the simple transmission of basic knowledge and skills and selection of certain students to pursue specialized and functional roles in society, but also our society demands equity and equality of educational opportunity for all citizens. UNESCO’s World Conference on Education for all, held in Jontiem in 1990 and from the Global Forum on Education, held in Dakar in 2000. According to these recommendations, it is not the enrollment of a certain part of the population, in other words access, that fulfils the right that all have to education. Education for All refers to an education capable of serving all children, youths and adults with the required quality and equity. Improving the quality of education, keeping students in school and expanding access to education are among the major challenges currently faced by countries. Such challenges are associated to the increasingly important role played by education at a global level, because of its relevance to the pursuit of sustainable development in society, citizenship awareness building and the fight against social exclusion. The development of public policies based on those perspectives is a core strategy to ensure the universalized access, attendance and learning at all stages of basic education..