THE EXTENT OF COMPUTER LITERACY AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL SCIENCE TEACHERS (A CASE STUDY OF ENUGU NORTH LGA)
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1.1Background to the Study
Education is one of the main corner-stones for economic development and improvement of human welfare. As global economic competition grows stiffer, education becomes an important source of competitive advantage as it is linked to economic growth and ways for countries to attract investment and hence jobs (Srivatsava 2002). Education further appears to be one of the major determinants of sustainable life-long earnings. Countries, therefore, frequently raise educational attainment as a way of tackling poverty and deprivation (UNESCO 2005). A well -educated and skilled workforce is one of the core pillars of the knowledge-based economies (UNESCO 2005). This realization makes the reforms in education and development to remain a central pre-occupation for many countries and for international development. In every country at any given level of economic development, there is a great demand for education reform in order to be able to face the prevailing political, social and cultural changes as well as scientific and technological transformations ( UNESCO Educational policy and Reforms 2008)
Since 1990, many governments have been promoting the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) in education, particularly to expand access to and improve the quality of education. At the same time, globalization and shift to a knowledge-based economy requires that education institutions develop individual ability to apply knowledge in dynamic contexts. ICTs have been identified as a means to attain these objectives (School Net Africa 2003).
Although ICT is now at the center of education reform efforts, not all countries are currently able to benefit from this development and advances that technology can offer. Significant barriers often referred to as digital divide limit the ability of some countries to take advantage of technological development (Kozma and Anderson 2002). The developing countries are faced with challenges related to access, pedagogy or assessment when using ICTs to improve and reinforce education ( Kozma et al 2002). It is important to note that the concept, methods and application of the term ICTs are constantly evolving rapidly; starting from the popularity of the issue of computers in education in the 1980s, when relatively cheap micro-computers became available for the consumer market, later, near the end of 1980s the term was replaced by IT (Information Technology); signifying a shift of focus from computing technology to the capacity to store, analyze and retrieve information. This was followed by the introduction of the term ICTs
(Information Communication Technologies) around 1992 when email and World
Wide Web (Internet) became available to the general public (Pelgrum and Law 2003).
Though initially educators saw the use of ICTs in the classroom mainly as a way of teaching computer literacy, it has a broader role: that of delivering many kinds of learning at a lower cost and with high quality than the traditional methods of teaching allow. In addition schools and universities increasingly use ICTs as do other large organizations, to reduce cost, improve efficiency and administration (Blurton 2002).
There has however been a wide disparity between the levels of investments in developed countries vis-a-vis the developing countries, Nigeria included. Scrivatsava (2002), nonetheless states that this disparity is not necessarily a bad thing as developing countries can learn from developed countries on ICT integration.
The government of Nigeria recognizes the benefits of ICT Integration in Education at all levels of education in the country. The Nigeria Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment (2003-2007), stresses that ICT is crucial for realization of the required improvement in the Curriculum. The vision of Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST) is to facilitate ICT as a universal tool for education and training. In order to achieve this vision, in every educational institution, teachers, learners and the respective community should be equipped with appropriate ICT infrastructure, competencies and policies for usage and progress (Nigeria National ICT Strategy GoK 2006)
A critical aspect to the successful implementation of ICT integration-related objectives is the planning aspect. Pelgrum and law (2003), indicate that policy makers and educational planners play a central role and indicate that there are policy and planning implications in each step of implementation.
Research done by Brassford, Brown and Cocking (1994),showed that ICT can enhance critical thinking, information handling skills, the level of conceptualization and problem solving capacity among learners. However, according to GoK (2006) there is considerable technology lag in the Nigerian education institutions. Most of the institutions still use nearly obsolete systems and consequently are unable to exploit educational potentials of the emerging technologies. The document also notes that most schools use less than 40% of the available infrastructure and there is; therefore, a need to ensure optimum use of ICT resources by students, teachers and administrators in order to exploit educational potential of the technology. It is, therefore, against the background of the foregoing, that the researcher sought to investigate the extent of ICT integration in enhancing teaching and learning activities in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
1.2Statement of the problem
The successful integration of ICT into the classroom warrants careful planning and depends largely on how well policy makers understand and appreciate the dynamics of such integration (Jhurree 2005). Ministry of Education has placed considerable emphasis on the importance of ICT integration in education as evidenced by the promulgation of National ICT strategy in 2006 following the approval of sessional paper number one of 2005. The vision of Ministry of
Education is to facilitate ICT as a universal tool for education and training and in particular stimulate ICT integration in education in various regions in the country. However, while other countries have reported up to 41% of ICT integration in teaching and learning the proportion remains substantially low in Africa Nigeria included. Kasharda and Waema (2007) and Irura (2008) referring to the implementation of ICT integration policy asserts that , there has not been well spelt out procedure to address uniformity in the pace of ICT integration and it’s adoption approach due to the various needs and disparities in secondary school in Nigeria. A recent report by Wikipedia Nigeriain 2012 in Enugu North LGA indicated that some secondary schools had very few computers and that for most of the schools that had reasonable number of computers, the main use was in teaching Computer Studies. Nyeri South is a relatively new district that was gazette in 2009. A study was therefore essential to determine the extent of ICT integration in education in Enugu North LGA with particular focus on exactly how technology is being used in the teaching and learning process.
1.3Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study was to assess the extent of computer literacy among secondary school teacher (A case study of Enugu North LGA)
1.4 Objectives of the study
- To determine the extent of accessibility of computers to teachers and students in secondary schools in Enugu North LGA.
- To determine the level of teachers’ and students’ expertise in ICT integration in teaching and learning process in Enugu North LGA.
- To determine the ways in which ICT is integrated in teaching and learning process by teachers and students.
- To determine the extent of implementation of the Ministry of Education policy on ICT integration in secondary schools in Enugu North LGA.
- What is the extent of accessibility of computers and related peripheral to teachers and students to support e-learning?
- What is the level of teachers and student expertise on ICT integration in the teaching and learning process?
- In which ways do teachers and students integrate ICTs in the teaching and learning process?
- To what extent has the Ministry of Education ICT integration policy objectives been implemented by schools in Enugu North LGA?
1.6Significance of the study
The Study findings may be used to facilitate the integration of ICT in the teaching and learning process by both teachers and students. This information may also be useful to administrators, policy makers and other stakeholders in education in determining the preparedness of secondary schools in Enugu North LGA in terms of availability of appropriate ICT infrastructure for e-learning. Also, the findings may be used as a baseline data for laying strategies on increasing the level of ICT integration in the district. The study may further indicate the capacity building gaps which may be useful in formulating framework to empower ICT users in integrating ICT in the secondary school curriculum.
1.7Limitations of the study
Some questions of innovation and teaching practices relied on the level of ICT knowledge of the respondents and some respondents had limited knowledge owing to their level of ICT awareness. This was solved by use of contingency question items such that one only responded to items that applied to him or her. An observation checklist was also be used to confirm, where it was possible, the veracity of responses in the questionnaire items. Again, owing to the nature of technology explosion and rapid changes taking place in education institutions, the ICT integration situation in secondary schools in the district may change rapidly within a short span of time, rendering the study to be obsolete. However, the findings may still be useful as a baseline for future study to assess the extent of such change.
1.8 Delimitation of the study
Delimitation of the study is the boundary limitation Best and Kahn (2005). This study focused exclusively on utilization of ICTs in teaching and learning activities but did not focus on ICTs utilization on other aspects in education like administrative processes. Although Enugu North LGA is located in an agriculturally productive area, it is typically a rural area; hence, the findings of this research may be generalized to other regions with caution since some conditions in the district may be unique and different from other areas especially those in urban set-ups.
1.9 Assumptions of the Study
i).Secondary school teachers and students are computer literate and are conversant with various computer usages in teaching and learning in Secondary Schools.
ii).The study assumes that secondary schools in Enugu North LGA utilize ICT in the teaching and learning process.