The Challenges To Computer Studies Instruction In Senior Secondary Schools

Project and Seminar Material for Computer Science Education

The Challenges To Computer Studies Instruction In Senior Secondary Schools


Chapter One


Introduction

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 recognized as 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 researcher observation on senior secondary schools 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 learning Computer 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 East LGA, Enugu State.


Research Questions

To achieve the objective of the study, three research questions were formulated.

  1. What are students-related difficulties affecting learning of Computer studies in Senior 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?

Chapter Five


Discussion, Conclusion, Recommendation and Summary

The chapter is concisely built on the discussion of the results obtained, the implication of the study to education, conclusion, recommendations, limitations of the study, suggestion for further studies, and summary of study.


Discussion of Findings

It is important to note that discussion of findings on the difficulties in teaching computer studies in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu state are done under the guiding research questions

Research Question 1: What are students-related difficulties affecting learning of computer studies in secondary schools?

Table 1 with item 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 dealt with research question 1. It was the opinion of the respondents that the student-related difficulties which includes Students lack of interest in computer lessons, lack of practical which makes students devote less time to computer lessons, students lack of adequate problem solving and analytical skills, students do not secure adequate textbooks, peer group influence and poor parental upbringing of secondary school students in Enugu East Local Government Area. This finding is in agreement with the findings of Aghadino (2014) who observed that the teaching and learning of computer studies in schools has not been quite easy. Often time, people talk about inadequate equipment, facilities, and computers instructional resources for learning and teaching exercise. This proves to a very high extent that student related factors also contribute to difficulties in teaching computer in secondary schools. Dittimiya (2002) stressed that if the above difficulties are not solved, it will greatly affect the development of human resources needed for national development.

Research Question 2: What are the school-related difficulties affecting learning of computer studies?

The result of the findings revealed that poor and unconducive environment, lack of instructional materials for effective teaching and learning, propensity of large class size, lack of adequate supervision, inadequate and unqualified teachers. The responses from item 6 to 10 revealed to a very high extent school related factors as one of the difficulties in teaching computer studies among secondary school students in Enugu East Local Government Area. This finding is in agreement with Afolabi (2003) and Grissom (2005) who emphasized that the teacher is expected to be academically, physically and intellectually fit in society at large. It was further intimated that the teacher skills, disposition and most especially teacher professional’s status could affect their efficiency at desirable behavior and enhance the academic achievement of the students. Adesoji and Olatunbosun (2008) also stated that whatever the profession, there is need for training to create awareness of the problems of that profession. He stressed that such training, would improve the level of competence for dealing with such problems. This means that schools with stable, experienced and qualified teachers usually have better school facilities in terms of textbooks, equipment and the laboratories than that school which have difficulty in attracting experienced and qualified staff. He further said that attendance at computer laboratory is expected to enhance the understanding of the teachers as to the facilities which are necessary for students’ achievement in computer studies. In-service on the job education create form for further learning which expose the workers to new development and ideas in their area of study. It could also be refreshing courses which make the professional not to lose grips with their skills, attitude or knowledge. In some cases, the reward for such training is promoting to a new rank or the acquisition of better and higher status in essence of this view, absent of this training affect the teachers in delivery of its duties effectively and paying teachers’ enhanced salary to take care of their socio-economic needs to avoid divided attention in their duty.

Research Question 3: What are the strategies for improving the learning of computer studies?

The finding also revealed that it was the opinion of the respondents that motivation of students should be part of the pedagogical innovations, parents should provide the necessary academic background for their children, the teacher should develop well planned lessons prior to their delivery, sufficient number of computer teachers should be trained for the Programme, Government should provide sufficient tools and equipment for the teaching of computer studies. The opinions of the respondents from item 11 to 15accepted that there are innovative strategies for improving the teaching of computer studies.

This findings is in support of Gary (2011) who asserts that the availability of quality human resources such as staffing, personnel management is necessary because of global competition, technological advancement, economic challenges and fast changing world of work. The findings of the study revealed that to achieve this, there is need to de-emphasize employment based on paper certificates, proven ICT experts as computer teachers be employed, consistent staff developmental activities to be planned, developed and followed up, providing scholarships to teachers and students who distinguishes themselves as well as developing and maintaining appropriate channel of communication between teachers, students and superiors staff like principals, education secretaries etc. The findings further revealed that computer studies teachers and other subject teachers in general should be retrained to become computer literate since a good number were not exposed to computer and its skills during their years of straining (Etuk, 2007). This can be facilitated through the school administrators namely principals and vice-principals in conjunction with cooperate organizations like HP, GLO, MTN, Microsoftetc such as to equip teachers with sound computing skills that will enable them to prepares students successfully for today information and knowledge driven economy.


Educational Implication of the Findings

The findings of this study have implications for the Ministry of Education, Commission of Education and Local Government education secretaries and supervisors of Education in Enugu State, curriculum planners, teachers, school administrators and the society at large.

The study provided information on the difficulties and applicable strategies that will improve the teaching of computer studies in secondary schools in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. The study implies that the strategies identified will improve the performance of students in terms of acquiring relevant computer skills that will equip them for self or paid employment after schooling.

The findings have implications for school administrators. Computer studies is a technical and skill oriental program, thus requires adequate instructional facilities as well as qualified personnel for the transfer of knowledge. It therefore becomes imperative that these school administrators should endeavour to provide adequate training facilities and create enabling environment for serious academic work to thrive. The findings implied that school administrators should be dynamic in their administrative practices and initiate, support and encourage computer teachers by retraining them in emerging areas of information and communication technology.

The findings of this study have some implications for computer studies teachers. Methods of instructional delivery are activities that will enhance the understanding of students in computer studies subjects. This implies that teachers should keep abreast with recent developments in information and communication technology in order to equip the students with requisite skills. They should make personal effort in acquiring new skills and knowledge that their job demands and ensuring that appropriate teaching techniques are applied in the classroom during knowledge delivery process.


Conclusion

The study concludes that there are some basic strategies that could be adopted in order to improve the teaching of computer studies in secondary schools. The study is of the view that computer studies should provide sound basis for further training in computer studies at the tertiary level of education thus should be relied upon to enable students acquire the basic skills and knowledge needed to either secure a job and earn a living or to pursue further studies in the area computer and information science.

Evidence from the study also revealed that funding strategies for computer studies could be used in improving the teaching of computer studies in secondary schools. It is also found that strategies for improving the availability and supply of instructional facilities as well as teaching methodologies strategies could be used to enhance the teaching of computer studies in secondary schools. It is evident in the study that when students are adequately trained under an improved learning environment where instructional facilities are provided and qualified teachers engaged for the services of teaching and learning applying by proper teaching techniques there is no doubt that the performance of students in computer studies will improve considerably, and as such they are bound to develop a remarkable interest in computer studies and develop the necessary skills required to secure and succeed in the workplace.


Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, the researcher hereby makes the following recommendations:

  1. School administrators (Education Secretaries and Principals) should ensure that computer teachers are sponsored on retraining programmes at least twice a year through workshops, seminars and conferences to enable them learn the modern technological skills in their chosen field of endeavour.
  2. The school administrators should as a matter of urgency liase with private sectors to provide computers and other instructional materials needed for teaching of computer studies.
  3. Parents through the PTA and other major stakeholders of our education should assists our secondary schools by donating instructional facilities like laptops, desktop computers, multimedia, generating sets, internet etc to enable students practice and acquire the skills of computing.

Limitations of the study

The research encountered some challenges on the process of carrying this study. They include the following:

  1. Some of the respondents were reluctant in filling the questionnaire.
  2. The researcher also encountered financial problem as regards the production of questionnaire.

Suggestion for Further Study

In view of the limitations to this study, the researcher suggests the following for further studies:

  1. The study can be replicated in other states of the federation to identify the difficulties and as well proffer strategies to improve the teaching of computer studies in secondary schools.
  2. A study should be carried out to determine the training needs of computer studies in post primary schools in Enugu State of Nigeria.

Summary of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to establish the difficulties in teaching computer studies in secondary schools in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. In an attempt to focus the study, three research questions were posited to guide the study. Some published and unpublished works of earlier researchers were consulted.

To obtain answers to the questions a fifteen (15) item questionnaire was formulated based on the research questions and was administered to two hundred (200) respondents upon whose responses data was collected and analyzed.

The outcome of the analysis based on the responses of the respondents to the questionnaire items revealed that:

There are student related factors that causes difficulty in teaching computer studies. There are school-related factors that cause difficulty in teaching of computer studies in secondary schools. Proffer corrective strategies for improving the teaching of computer studies in secondary schools in Enugu East.

Therefore, it was concluded that it was concluded that there are some basic strategies that could be adopted in other to improve the teaching of computer studies in secondary schools.


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