The Status Of Information And Communication Technology In Polytechnics And Universities
This research work has been carried out to determine the status of Information and Communication Technology in Polytechnics and Universities in Imo State. The population of the study consists of 40 students in the selected institutions of higher learning viz; Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), Imo State University (IMSU), Federal Polytechnic Nekede (FEDPONEK) and Imo State Polytechnic (IMOPOLY). Five research questions were used to guide the study. About 30 full completed copies of questionnaires were used to analyze the data collected. The result of the findings show that Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Meanwhile, equipments such as computer was recommended as a major hindrance in teaching and learning of Information and Communication Technology in these institutions of higher learning in Imo State. It was recommended that this Information and Communication Technology should exist in all institutions of higher learning in Imo State and the schools should provide adequate equipments such as computer for the teaching and learning of Information and Communication Technology so that students will have the adequate skill and knowledge of Information and Communication Technology as to work in any computerized organization after graduation.
1.1 Background of the Study
In this fast growing and moving world faced with globalization, the core of economic development today depends on knowledge and technology but successful economics excel at generating and disseminating knowledge, as well as exploiting it. Technology is the engine of change that transforms resource based economy to knowledge based economy but at the macro-level, technology enables national leverage in the modem world and it brings about wealth and better welfare for the people.
In as much as development is concerned, these is now a new trend of religion that is sweeping across the world like a wild-fire in both length and breath and thereby transforming the entire world as a global unit-Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been defined by many elites from different perspective thus: Lucy, (1990) defined it as term involving the process of acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of local pictorial, textual and numeric information. Information technology is not merely seen as a hardware development but also as software which is advantageous in changing works, attitude to work, in establishing efficiency in business transaction, in achieving efficiency in communication, increasing profits margin creating new jobs and effective in mass education. Ohakwe, (2001).
Information Technology has applications in almost all spheres of human endeavours; Akpore (2005) states that developing suitable economy through information technology implies applying information and communication technology in all the main sectors of the economy hence as the world is transiting from being a resource based one into a knowledge – based one. Much as natural resource can provide as much as can be realized from the output of a society that has truly become a knowledge – based society”.
Sadly enough, our schools (The learning environment is a shadow of itself in terms of quantity and quality of items of information and communication technology… the result being that we are using yesterday’s knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies” in this era. Consequently, the introduction and use of such technologies in communication and information such as internet, computers, Microelectronics Tele communication tools as the e-mail, e-commerce, e-banking just to mention but a few is a mirage. Even many educators and students in higher institution are yet to be in abreast with some of this soft and hardware’s what an education tragendy; Ohakwe, (2001).
Recently, in e-learning, that is, electronic learning, project embarked by Zinox Technology across 40 institutions of higher learning with the aim to train Nigerian undergraduates to internationally acceptable standards hence coming to the heels of computerizing Nigeria thereby taking this venture to all the nooks and crannies of this country, hence the establishment of Information and Communication Technology parks in institutions of higher education with Imo State inclusive, therefore, it becomes imperative to determine the status of Information and Communication Technology in polytechnics and universities in Imo State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The information and communication technology as a new trend in linking several African universities to the global village with ultra modern world class information and communication technology tools is aimed at capacity building, youth empowerment, expert information technology (IT) training and information and communication technology certification which in the short-run will help address the shortage of expert information and technology skills in the country and in the long run as a lunch pad for attracting global out-sourcing opportunities for Nigerians with graduates in particular.
Therefore this approach towards capacity building as an effective model to bring training, technology and digital access to people within the geographical location and there need for effective global competitiveness.
But in higher institutions in Imo State especially the universities and polytechnics, this approach towards capacity building seems to be a far cry in as much as information and communication technology is not seen either to be talked about nor thought, even is existence and usage among the student are nothing to write on its foundation, thereby using the yesterdays knowledge abilities and competence in today’s educational sector. thereby leaving their undergraduates groping in the dark, as far as modern and information and communication technology is concerned.
Therefore based on this problem identified, motivated the researcher to ascertain the status of information and communication technology in the polytechnics and universities in Imo State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of this work is to ascertain the status of information and technology (ICT) in polytechnics and universities in Imo State.
Other objectives include;
- To identify areas of information and technology open to the students.
- To determine the level of knowledge and skills of the undergraduates in the information and technology.
- To determine how information and communication technology is taught in this institutions.
- To ascertain the degree of existence and usage of information and communication technology in polytechnics and universalities in Imo State.
- To highlight hindrance to teaching and learning information and communication technology in these institutions.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study is an attempt to provide empirical base for ascertaining the status of information and communication technology in polytechnics and universities in Imo State.
Equally, the study will be great benefit and assistance to institutions of higher learning, the government and other stake holders in education in Imo state in knowing there position in the global world as far as information and communication technology is concerned and to impact the greatest information, communication and technological skills to their undergraduates.
The study also highlighted the numerous benefit accruing from information and technology which will encourage the population under study to embark on full information and communication technology system.
More so, it will help in guiding the national and state boards for technical education and national universities commission in Imo state to plan and design their academic curriculum.
Finally the findings of the study are of great benefit to educational institutions where office workers like secretaries are trained. The information obtained will enable them update their curriculum and also increase their training facilities.
1.5 Research Questions
This research is focused on the following questions as to determine the status of the information and communication technology in Imo state polytechnics and universities.
- Does information and communication technology exist in the polytechnics and universities in Imo state?
- Does the students have the knowledge and skills of information and communication technology tools?
- Does the students benefit from the usage of information and communication technology tools in these institutions of higher learning in Imo state?
- Are there any hindrance in teaching and learning of information and communication technology in institutions of higher learning in Imo state?
- Is the knowledge of information and communication technology taught in these institutions of higher learning in Imo state?
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study is only interested in determining the status of information and communication technology in universities and polytechnics in Imo state.
In addition, some factors may be beyond the researchers control such as:
- Time constraint which may not permit a fully detailed work.
- Acquiring/obtaining of vital text books and information may not be very easy. So the researcher may be forced to use only a few available journals, magazines, seminar papers text books and internet.
- The researcher may have to limit this study to only selected universities and polytechnic due to financial constraints.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
Therefore, the research which was basically about the Assessment of the Use of Information and Communications Technology in universities and polytechnics in Imo state, Nigeria was analysed thoroughly and the following findings were discovered thus. In the preliminary section of the research study, chapter one has dealt with the introduction after discussing about the background of what the research, including the objectives, to be achieved. Based on the stated objectives, six research questions were raised in order to guide the researcher in getting answers to certain issues. The significance as well as the scope of the research work were discussed and presented.
The research study hoped to benefit the government, society, the school, lecturers and the students as well.
The research has encountered certain limitations which include inadequate information or knowledge of the concept of ICT, most pressingly by the student respondents. These character and attitude has resulted in poor response which is often accompanied with vague answers. The researcher had to take lengthy time in some way to explain, interpret and elucidate more on some aspects of the tools to the respondents.
In chapter two, concepts which are related to the study were discussed which include introduction part of the chapter and the conceptual framework. Others were the concepts of instructional technology, objectives of instructional technology, educational technology, differences between instructional technology and educational technology, information and communications technology and the challenges and prospects of ICT usage in Nigerian tertiary institutions. Additional concepts such as ICT in enhancing teaching and learning process, tertiary institution, and the roles of ICT in education and tertiary administration; empirical study was also briefly discussed. All these and other related concepts were presented in the work in order to enhance quick and faster understanding of the research work.
Chapter three had highlighted the introduction of the chapter and the design adopted in the study, the design used was a descriptive survey. Other areas for discussion include the population of the study which comprise of 1,133 lecturers and 20,468 students; sample and sampling technique in the study as well as the instrumentation, validity, pilot testing, reliability of the instrument, procedure for data collection and data analysis were expatiated. The samples include two universities and polytechnics with a population of 350 lecturers and 722students.
Chapter four discussed about data presentation and analysis, based on the findings, it was found that Government has provided universities and polytechnics in some ways internet connected desktop and laptop computers which are used for both academic and non-academic activities. Other ICT resources provided include Institutional Cyber café, Projectors, Photocopy Machines, Scanner and Printing Machines. Many important ICT resources are not available such as the Screen Readers, Loudspeakers, Digital Cameras, Multimedia Rooms, Radio and Televisions.
On the programmes of study offered in relation to ICT resources in Tertiary Institutions, it was discovered that PhD Programme is not offered but Masters Programmes are Fairly Offered in one of the institutions in the state. Whereas Bachelors‟ degree, Higher National Diploma, National Diploma, National Certificate of Education and Professional Certificate on Computer Application and Appreciation are Offered in universities and polytechnics in Imo state. International certificate programmes like Cisco are not offered.
On the forms of ICT resources which lecturers and students accesses for academic purposes, social interactions and so on, the research discovered that computers are strongly accessible followed by Photocopy Machine, Printers, Scanners, and Projectors. Also in discussing the benefits that are inherent in the use of ICT by both lecturers and students, the research discovered that numerous benefits could be gained when ICT resources adequately used. Among the benefits that the respondents suggested were in the field of making teaching more interesting and less boring, in providing distance learning programmes and in the enhancement of the quality of general work of lecturers. Others were making learning more interesting and less boring, in keeping school records and in enhancing the quality of general study of learners. Also, ICT has helped lecturers and students in accessing and in some other case enabling them to acquire materials that might not be available except online. In fact, the research has found that ICT is an important tool for shaping the future of our educational system.
Therefore, the research wish to concluded that although some ICT resources were provided in universities and polytechnics in Imo state such as computers and internet resources, Printers, Scanners and Photocopy Machine, others were not available, example is the screen reader, which would take care of learners with special abilities and needs (blinds people, etc). The research has drawn the attention of lecturers and students on the benefits of ICT in education and beyond. It has been vindicated that ICT has impacted on the quality and quantity of teaching, learning, and research in traditional and distance education institutions, (Yusuf, 2005). In concrete terms, ICT is a means to enhancing academic and non academic activities through its dynamic, interactive, and engaging content; and it could provide real opportunities for individualised instruction.
The research also wish to conclude that Information and Communications Technology had possess the potentiality to accelerate, enrich, and deepen skills; motivate and engage students in learning; helps to relate school experiences to work practices; contributes to radical changes in school; strengthens teaching, and provides opportunities for connection between the institution and the world. Also, Information and Communications Technology could make the school more efficient and productive, thereby engendering a variety of tools to enhance and facilitate teachers‟ professional activities.
Also ICT has contributed to effective learning through expanding access, promoting efficiency and improving the quality of learning and improving management systems. According to Obeng (as cited in Agbetuyi and Oluwatayo, 2002), ICT is now regarded as a utility such as water and electricity and hence has become a major role in education, learning and research in general, agriculture, and health and even in poverty alleviation by generating or creating new jobs and investment opportunities.
Apart from the benefits related to ICT, many obstacles and problems were related to its success in Imo state Tertiary Institutions. Among the hitches are power insufficiencies, lack of qualified personnel who will teach or instruct learners, poor connectivity and available network reception which cause poor access to internet utilisation and so forth. The research could not be completed without presenting necessary recommendations which could serve as an indicator towards reshaping the use of ICT in Imo state.
Therefore it is hoped that the research has answered the salient questions designed earlier which have given focus to what the research intended to achieve. Among the questions raised were to: what extent are universities and polytechnics provided with ICT resources in Imo state? Does universities and polytechnics in Imo state offer ICTrelated study programme(s)? What are the ICT resources lecturers have access to for teaching in universities and polytechnics in Imo state? What are the ICT resources students have access to for learning in universities and polytechnics in Imo state? What are the lecturers‟ perceptions on the benefits of ICT in universities and polytechnics in Imo state? What are the students‟ perceptions on the benefits of ICT in universities and polytechnics in Imo state?
The researcher recommends that there is need for a well articulated, needs assessment to be carried out to determine priority areas for ICT intervention in education in Imo state. The State Government should put in place explicit policy guidelines for the use of ICT in Tertiary Institutions. Provisions for the implementation of these policies should be made and monitored to ensure compliance. Training of lecturers should be given priority attention and should include basic computer literacy, email, search engines, website design, and the integration of technology into the classroom. The training should be either in-service or pre-service. Seminars and workshops should form a major method of in service training. The upspring of universities and polytechnics in the state warrants the need to employ more lecturers who are ICT specialists and those who have low education qualification be sponsored in and outside the country to go further and acquire more knowledge. This will help in addressing the problem of inadequacy of ICT experts.
Universities and polytechnics should establish linkages with funding agencies such as; World Bank‟s Link for Development (WorLD), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the International Education and Resource Network (IEARN) and the Department for International Development (DFID), Schools Online, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). The government
should ensure adequate funding of ICT. This should include capital and recurrent funds for provision and maintenance of ICT resources such as hardware and software, installation, expansion of existing resources, telecommunication, and phone lines, pre- service and in-service training of educational administrators and technical support staff.
Also, a campaign programme should be flag up with the aim of equipping all the students and lecturers of universities and polytechnics with computer and other various types of ICT resources. This can be achieved by providing them with personal computers at a cheaper rate or through free interest loan payable in a longer time, and ensuring adequate maintenance of already established ICT and computer centres in respective schools/institutions. A department could be opened in the ministry of education which will be saddled with responsibility of supply, installation, monitoring and supervision of ICT and computer resources in the State. This will no doubt boost long life and sustainability of resources in institutions. And, if the government intends to achieve more on ICT and computer literacy, O‟levels education should also be given consideration so that those students that will enter A‟ levels are already not new to ICT or computer resources and operations.
Programmes of study that are ICT related should be introduced and be given priority, into our institutions so that students who wish to specialise in one ICT area could do so without necessarily going far away. This will undoubtedly make our institutions to be ICT base higher institutions in the whole country and government may stand the chance of controlling the problem graduate unemployment as many would be self employed.
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