The Impact Of Industrial Work Experience On Student Department Secretarial Studies

Project and Seminar Material for Secretarial Administration

The Impact Of Industrial Work Experience On Student Department Secretarial Studies


Abstract


The study reported herein was carried out to identify the impact of industrial training to the training of students secretarial with particular reference to the institute of management and Technology Enugu, Enugu State. Two research questions were raised to guide the study and were answered descriptively. The descriptive survey research design was adopted for this study. The population of the study comprised 941 Secretarial studies students and the proportionate stratified random sampling technique was adopted in selecting a sample size of 188 Secretarial studies students for the study. The instrument used was the structured questionnaire and it was validated by experts in the field. The test re-test method of reliability was used in ascertaining the reliability of the instrument and it yielded a co-efficient of 0.87. The mean and standard deviation were used in analyzing the data collated and some of the findings include: SIWES has great benefit especially in equipping Secretarial studies students with skills and that funding is a major challenge confronting SIWES. One of the major recommendations advanced in this paper was that there should be more funding of the scheme by the government in order for it to be more effective.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Secretarial studies is a part of technical and vocational education which is studied in secondary and tertiary institutions in the country. That is, universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. According to Osuala (2004), Secretarial studies is divided into two parts: office education, which is vocational in nature for office careers and general secretarial studies which is a programme that provides information and competences needed for managing businesses. The primary objective of Secretarial studies is to foster the acquisition of the necessary business competencies needed to effectively function in the world of work, either as an employee or an employer of labour. The need for ensuring that the theoretical knowledge acquired by students is matched with their practical knowledge gave room to the establishment of Student Industrial Works Experience Scheme (SIWES).

SIWES is one of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) programmes and it was introduced in 1974 due to the inability of engineering and technology students in Nigeria universities and polytechnics to meet the practical aspects of their training. That is, the needs to enable students match their theoretical school knowledge with the practical aspect of their training in industry. According to Ekpenyong (2011), one of the principles underlying any industrial work experience scheme for students in institutions of learning is the desire to marry the practical with the theoretical learning which characterizes conventional classroom situations with a view to striking a balance between theory and practice. The author stressed further that it was in realization of this that the ITF when it was established, set out to study the extent to which the theoretical knowledge that students in engineering technology and other allied fields in Nigerian institutions offering technology based courses related to the kind of work experience expected of them by employers. The result of the ITF survey showed a great disparity between students’ knowledge and their ability to apply it in relevant jobs. In order to bridge the gap between the two, the ITF in 1974 established a co-operative internship programme, which enabled students of technology to spend some part of their courses for relevant on-the-job. practical experiences in appropriate areas of the Nigerian industry (Ekpenyong, 2011). The author further stressed that the internship programme, SIWES, can therefore be seen as that which is intended to give Nigerian students studying occupationally related courses experience that would supplement their theoretical learning.

Secretarial studies is one of the vocational courses taught in academic institutions in Nigeria. According to Imeokparia and Ediagbonya (2014), Secretarial studies is described as an aspect of education that is geared at equipping the learners (students) with business and education competencies (that is, skills, knowledge and attitude) needed to effectively and efficiently function in the world of work either as an employee or an employer (job/wealth creator). The authors further stressed that Secretarial studies is an ‘umbrella word’ which covers both secretarial education (that is now known as Office Technology and Management) and Accounting Education. Office Technology and Management (OTM) emphasizes the teaching of office and management related skills while Accounting Education primarily emphasizes the teaching of accounting related skills.

In a similar vein, Osuala (2004) opined that Secretarial studies is divided into two parts: office education, which is vocational in nature for office careers and general secretarial studies which is a programme that provides information and competences needed for managing businesses. The primary objective of secretarial studies is to foster the acquisition of the necessary business competencies needed to effectively function in the world of work, either as an employee or an employer of labour. The need for ensuring that the theoretical knowledge acquired by students is matched with their practical knowledge gave room to the establishment of Student Industrial Works Experience Scheme (SIWES).

SIWES is one of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) programme which was introduced in 1974 due to the inability of engineering and technology students in Nigeria universities and polytechnics to meet the practical aspects of their training. That is, the needs to enable students match their theoretical school knowledge with the practical aspect of their training in industry. According to Ekpenyong (2011), one of the principles underlying any industrial work experience scheme for students in institutions of learning is the desire to marry the practical with the theoretical learning which characterizes conventional classroom situations with a view to striking a balance between theory and practice. The author stressed further that it was in realization of this that the ITF when it was established, set out to study the extent to which the theoretical knowledge that students in engineering technology and other allied fields in Nigerian institutions offering technology based courses related to the kind of work experience expected of them by employers.

The result of the ITF survey showed a great disparity between students’ knowledge and their ability to apply it in relevant jobs. In order to bridge the gap between the two, the ITF in 1974 established a co-operative internship programme, which enabled students of technology to spend some part of their courses for relevant onthe-job practical experiences in appropriate areas of the Nigerian industry (Ekpenyong, 2011). The author further stressed that the internship programme, SIWES, can therefore be seen as that which is intended to give Nigerian students studying occupationally related courses experience that would supplement their theoretical learning as a well of equipping the students with the needed skills to function in the world of work.

According to Ihebereme (2010), skill acquisition is the process of acquiring or gaining effective and ready knowledge in developing ones aptitude and ability in a particular field. It is also described as ability to show competence in what one is doing as a result of the theoretical and practical knowledge gained through training (Nwonyeh, 2010). Ihebereme (2010) stressed that skill acquisition is one among other policies embarked upon in Nigeria with the sole aim to alleviate poverty, youth restiveness, sophisticated crime and corruption rate, rural-urban drift, unemployment and other social vices. Skill acquisition in Nigeria education is meant to equip our students with more practical and less theoretical knowledge that will make the students to be more useful in the world of work. The need to acquiring skills has further strengthened SIWES and research works in the area. Several research works have been carried out with a view to understanding the contributions of SIWES and the possible challenges confronting the scheme. The study carried out by Ekwue and Eluro (2002) on Secretarial studies for the Industry highlighted that SIWES helped to improve the skill acquisition requirement of Nigeria Certificate in Education Secretarial studies Students. Furthermore, it showed that SIWES is poorly managed and undermines the achievement of desired set objectives of the programme. The study by Uramah (2003) revealed that proper implementation of SIWES programme encourages good academic performance and enhances better productivity by students in the labour market. Awojobi (2002) in a study entitled College – industry linkage and the training of Secretarial studies Students, some of the findings from the study include: (i) The College-based supervisors were indicted by 51% of the respondents as not having visited them for the required number of times as stipulated in the scheme. (ii) Many students for the SIWES programme could not find relevant placement that would enhance their course of study. (iii) A significant number of students claimed that the SIWES programme was not relevant to their studies as they considered it to be a waste of time and resources. Wodi and Dokubu (2009) in a similar study equally concluded that there were also lack of adequate supervision by the school, difficulties of students in getting placement and undue delay in paying students’ and supervisors’ allowances.

Apart from the school and other supervisory agencies of the government (that is National Universities Commission, National Board for Technical Education and National Commission for Colleges of Education), the organizations play a very crucial role in ensuring that secretarial studies students are properly and adequately trained in line with the demands of the modern office. For there to be effectiveness and the realization of the overall mandate of SIWES, there must be proper collaboration between the schools where students are exposed to theoretical knowledge and the organization where they are exposed to detailed practical knowledge. Once the gap between the school and the industry (organization) has been bridged, there would be assurance of greater quality and productivity of the graduates from the various institutions.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

As indicated in the background of this study, SIWES was established in the year 1974 by Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to meet a felt need for individual efficiency by those who left school to work; precisely that of ensuring that engineering technology and management students who graduate from the universities and allied tertiary courses in technical and secretarial studies in colleges of education have not only theoretical but also practical competence in the areas of their studies.

Since business and technical education are industry related, the students of these courses are equally enlisted on the scheme. Over the years, there has been no clear evidence of effectiveness of SIWES, particularly as it relates to secretarial studies students enlisted on the scheme. Since there are diverse and unsubstantiated views of the effectiveness of the scheme in Nigeria, the study sought to assess the relevance of SIWES to secretarial studies programme objectives.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The study sought to assess SIWES relevance to secretarial studies programme objective. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. Determine the benefits secretarial studies students derive from SIWES;
  2. Determine the perceived challenges confronting the effectiveness of SIWES;

1.4 Research Questions

Based on the purpose of the research work, the following research questions have been raised to guide the study:

  1. To what extent do secretarial studies students benefit from SIWES?
  2. What are the perceived challenges confronting the effectiveness of SIWES;

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.


1.6 Scope of the Study

This study examined the impact of industrial work experience on student. The study covered the institute of management and Technology Enugu, Enugu State. Some of the variables useful in the study includes: students and secretarial studies.


1.7 Limitations of Study

Financial constraint:

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint:

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


1.8 Definition of Terms

SIWES:

The students industrial work experience scheme (SIWES) is a skills training programme designed to expose and prepare students of Universities, Polytechnics/Colleges of Technology/Colleges of Agriculture and Colleges of Education for the industrial work situation they are likely to meet after graduation.

Secretarial Studies:

Secretarial studies involves teaching students the fundamentals, theories, and processes of business.


Chapter Five


Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

This study has been able to x-ray the issues concerning SIWES which is a core scheme in ITF and which is saddled with the responsibility of strengthening the effective teaching and learning of skill based course such as Secretarial studies. Based on the data collated and the subsequent analyses, this paper therefore concludes thatSIWES is of great benefit to students of Secretarial studies in institute of management and Technology Enugu, Enugu State. It therefore implies that the proper and effective administration of SIWES will go a long way in boosting and enhancing the competencies of the workforce. It was also concluded that SIWES is confronted with series of challenges and this may have hindered the realization of the goals and objectives of the scheme and it therefore needs to be given attention by all concerned stakeholders.


5.2 Recommendations

This empirical investigation has revealed outstanding findings and based on that, the following recommendations are therefore advanced:

  1. Students’ Industrial Works Experience Scheme (SIWES) needs to be strengthened by all concerned stakeholder in order for its objectives to be realized;
  2. Organizations should always provide the necessary logistics needed for the smooth running of the SIWES;
  3. Regular monthly allowances for students on attachment should be paid promptly;
  4. Organizations should always accept students for SIWES and subsequently assign them to relevant jobs;
  5. Experience staff should always be made to train the students on attachment;
  6. Secretarial studies students learning progress should be closely monitored and supervised by experienced staff;
  7. Employers of labour should be more willing to absorb secretarial studies students for SIWES;
  8. There should be more funding of the scheme by the government in order for it to be more effective;
  9. There should be more collaborative efforts or liaison between business organizations and institutions of learning; and Business organizations should strive to provide more up-to-date office automations in the training of secretarial studies students on SIWES.

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