Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills required by Business Education students in tertiary institutions
Background of the Study
In recent years, several studies and reports have highlighted the opportunities and the potential benefits of information and communication technologies (ICT) for improving the quality of education. ICT is viewed as a “major tool for building knowledge societies” (UNESCO, 2003) and, particularly, as a mechanism at the school education level that could provide a way to rethink and redesign the educational systems and processes, thus leading to quality education for all.
The computers are indispensable tools, equipment’s and instruments found in today’s offices, industries, hospitals, schools and homes, this means and shows that the computer has gradually found their way gaining entrance into every facet of our lives today, living everyone in a puzzle of not knowing what to expect tomorrow seeing that everything tends to be computerized. Due to this result, computer illiterates are regarded and considered as waste in the society.
One of the basic functions of education is preparation of students for life. This function in 21st century may be participation in an information rich society, where knowledge is regarded as the main source for socio-cultural and politico-economical development of countries and/or nations. Information rich societies are developed and dominating and they are controlling the information throughout the world. Information encompasses and relies on the use of different channels of communication, presently called information and communication technologies (Hussain, 2005) and would be incorporating better pedagogical methods to cope with such emerging situation
ICT is an acronym for information and communication technology. Computer, communication equipments, gadgets such as (iphone, i-pad, windows mobile, etc) software used to manufacture, arrange, design, install, save, transmit, interpret finally manipulated information in its divers format are all embed in information and communication technology (ICT). Some types of ICT tools; are the computer, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, micro chips, television.
The role of information communication technology in the 21st century cannot be over emphasized and has been described by several researchers as vital to keeping ahead with rapidly changing technologies. The development of ICT into the Nigerian education system, has come to stay with its importance being translated into huge potentials in terms of positive outcome, although investment in ICT in Nigerians educational system have need yielded much, when compared to similar investments made in communication (Atureta, 2011).
According to Kwasha (2007), the educational field worldwide has been greatly influenced by ICT making impact on the quality and quantity of teaching, learning and research in institutions using it. The introduction of ICT usage has ushered in a new world of educational method, logics, having the potentials to accelerate, enrich and deepen skills, motivate and engage students (In this context Business Education student). In learning, it helps to relate school experience to workplaces, help to create economic viability for tomorrow workers, contributing to radical changes in school, strengthening teaching techniques and providing opportunities for connection between the school and the world (Davis and Tearie, 1999; Lamek and Coughlin, 1998; cited by Yusuf, 2005).
These have changed the scenario of education particularly, pedagogy and instruction making teaching learning process more productive creating collaborative, learner centered and interactive global learning environments. Therefore, information technologies are assumed to play a constructive role in education to make the teaching and learning process more productive through collaboration in an information rich society.
Information rich society promotes new practices and paradigms for education where the teacher has to play new role of mentoring, coaching and helping students in their studies rather to play the conventional role of spoon feeding in the classrooms. Students can learn independently having a wide choice of programme selection and access to information. Students can be involved in skill oriented activities in group learning environments for accumulated knowledge. They can interact and share learning experiences with their teachers and fellow learners in knowledge construction and dissemination process. They can receive and use information of all kinds in more constructive and productive profession rather depending upon the teacher.
Branson (1991) stated that students learn not only by the teacher but they also learn along with the teacher and by interacting with one another. Indeed, now students can learn much more than that the teacher teaches in conventional learning environments. For productive teaching learning process teachers and students have to use information technologies according to their requirements and availability.
The world has developed into a global village with the introduction of ICT and the development of ICT has not only brought the world closer but had equally allowed the world’s economy to be a single independent system. This suggests that sharing of information is guided and efficient due to the fact that longitude and geographical barriers are eliminated. The application of ICT has been claimed to be responsible for the improved efficiency and effectiveness of business office (Osuala, 2008). Nwosu (2006) defined ICT as those machines and equipments used in business office such as computer, calculators, shredders, etc. but Charles (2009) refer to ICT as the management and use of information using computer based tools. The term is used to include both hardware and software. ICT system includes acquiring, processing, storing and disseminating information.
Since every activity mostly business activities is being synchronized to be compatible with ICT, it is necessary that business education students become knowledgeable and alert to every change found in the academic environment and assiduous that there is a positive action towards this change in order to achieve ICT skills acquisition and sound academic result.
Business Education is that aspect of the total educational programmed that provides the knowledge, skills, understanding and attitudes needed to perform in the business world as producers or consumers of goods and services that business offers (Igboke, 2012). Business education has been described as a utilitarian education (Ulinfan, 1986). Also, adequate dedication of resources, experience and diligence to studies are the prerequisite for a successful and vibrant business education student. Every Business Education student in Ebonyi State University is required to get acquainted with and follow the trend of ICT due to today’s’ academic problems, not all knowledge are gotten from the lecture hall, but extra effort like surfing the net, could be of immense assistance and also help the students to acquire skills like browsing and handling of more sophisticated gadgets like ipad, tablets, etc.
Skill acquisition cut across all professions, therefore as far as students are concerned, what is being required of them from their skills are based on what they have learnt which is (subject matter) information literacy, how, where and when they learn. It is imperative for all the business education students in Ebonyi State University who would want to own business and adopt a system of information management based on the modern ICT or work either in an office, to acquire intense and comprehensive knowledge on information and communication technology. In fact, the application of modem information and communication technology has been claimed to be responsible for the improved effectiveness and efficiency of business offices. This is one of the very reasons why offices and business have been equipped with all types of information and communication technology in Nigeria today.
In regards to the nature and structure of their academic work, and to make this practical, business education students of Ebonyi State University are used as case study. ICT acquisition will enable them to contribute to the development of business education via their knowledge in all ramifications. Achievement of this purpose depends on the students, therefore business education students ought to meet up with the development trends “ICT acquisition skills” of event in business education field as this will make them competent is the area of business education. Competencies are casually linked to individuals’ performance outcomes (Spencer and Spencer 1993). The competencies needed by business education students are, competency in knowledge and ability to operate the computers, competency in integrating computer’s hardware and software skills into applicable classes, competency in the use of computer applications and management of database; also competency in the ability to manipulate other technologies. As business education students, one is expected to be equipped with all knowledge relating to information and communication technology ICT.
Statement of the Problem
The influence of ICT is very wide and vast in our society. The reason in advancement is to change from the unorganized and non-systematic/unconventional ways of running different activities (business or academics) or collections of information. Going down memory lane, we realize that when new technologies are acquired by institution, a challenge is been posed with usage and application of innovation. Revolutions do not only require leadership with a clear vision and what the vision is about but also entails know-how and manipulative ability. This is where we find completely equipped institution to achieve the laid down objectives of business education but in respect to limited know-how (knowledge) resulting from computers and media illiteracy, poor research achievement of ICT is now paralyzed. Furthermore, there may be technically advanced students but they are handicapped when it comes to other competencies like: communication ability and information enhancement.
Teaching and learning process in business education in Nigerian tertiary institutions is still at its crudest form. In fact students are still relying on textbooks information and lecturers class verbalization due to the general poor attitude towards innovation. So students believe that government has neglected education. Invariably, it is noticed that many students are yet to fully utilize ICT for learning. Due to this deficiency, the actual duties of business education students such as secretarial duties, effective marketing and distributive duties, and accounting duties have been difficult and tedious. Also some subjects are not well learned by students due to failure of institutions to supplement the traditional method of teaching with the ICT related education. Thus calling for research in this direction.
Purpose of the Study
This study is set to ascertain the ICT skills required by Business Education students in tertiary institution in Ebonyi State University. Specifically the study seeks to;
- Ascertain the knowledge requirement of ICT packages (e.g. word processing, Microsoft excel, power point. etc.) for Business Education students.
- Determine the extent of ICT equipment manipulation as used in office to business education students.
- Determine the extent of relevance ICT skills are to Business Education students.
- Ascertain the extent of the need for internet skills required by Business Education student.
Significance of the Study
This study will be significant to school administrators and its management, the students, the instructors, the government business organization and the society.
The study will help identify the problem hindering effective and efficient study, university including other schools; therefore help the institution (school administration) become more efficient and effective in ICT utilization.
It will also determine why some of the business students do not often perform as well as expected in their academics. It will go as far as helping student to acquire skill, knowledge and attitude used for decision making in academics and business after school for those who would want to have their private business.
The study will also be of immense benefit to organization, it will help them know and equip the business with new set of ICT skills and determine the extent of the effectiveness of these skills, the finding will enable them efficient in the collection, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information recorded with information store in database. Problem solving in education formulation and policies implementation are known via this study. It will aid the researchers who may go into further studies, and will serve as a study material both for students and educators.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
- What are the ICT knowledge requirement for core business administration for Business Education students?
- To what extent does ICT equipment manipulation in offices useful to business education students?
- To what extent does ICT skills acquisition relevant to Business Education students?
- To what extent are internet skills required by Business Education student needed in the world of business?
Scope of the study
This study covers the area of business education students in Ebonyi state university, Abakaliki, this is to ensure proper and better analysis of findings. It is delimited to enquire further into the ICT skills required by business education students with special reference to Ebonyi state University. The investigation includes problems, roles and prospects of ICT.
REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE
This chapter reviewed the related literature under the following heading-:
- Concept of information and communication Technology (ICT).
- Concept of Business Education and what it entails of the tertiary level of education.
- ICT skills required by business education students.
- Relevance of ICT to Business Education Students.
- Problems encountered by business education students.
- Review of related empirical study.
- Summary of literature review.