INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SKILLS REQUIRED OF SECONDARY SCHOOL GRADUATES IN PRIVATE AND PUBLIC BUSINESS ENTERPRISES: IMPLICATION FOR SECONDARY SCHOOL CURRICULUM

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

       The fundamental requirement of education is to meet the needs and aspirations of students and the society. (Ajagun,2003),pointed out that meeting the needs and aspirations of the students depends largely on the learning experiences to which the students were exposed. For students to be active and adaptive in their places of work, the school curriculum must be dynamic because the society and experiences are not static. The secondary school curriculum should be flexible and able to accommodate the information technological changes of the world. This will help students to learn and cope with the new knowledge and information technology (Iheonunekwu, Eze and Nweze, 2008).

       Curriculum is a series of courses leading towards a definite goal or objective. It can thus be regarded as all the educational experiences that an individual encounters under the direction of the school (Calhoun and Finch, 1996; Olorundare, 2006). Curriculum helps a child to develop his potentials in order to function effectively in the society. Students’ effectiveness in the society and business world is based on the knowledge and information they acquire in school, in the use of tools and machines (Olorundare, 2006).

       For many centuries, a lot of information that were generated and gathered in business organizations have been human-oriented, though assisted by manually operated tools and machines (Osuala, 2004). The present age demands that business world-wide should do away with much of the human energy exerted in the processing of information (Shebi, 2006). From 1950s, the human- oriented information system started witnessing a gradual but steady replacement with new information technology based system. Since that time, computer became responsible for data processing functions for which it is better suited than human beings (Umendu, 2004).

       Samba (2001), held that information is an amalgam of data, image, texts, documents, voices and many other items, intelligently organized to make meaning. Samba stated that information notifies, surprises, stimulates, reduces uncertainties, reveals available options, influences individuals and expresses feelings among other roles. Okereke and Ndinechi (2001), defined information as the communication of the knowledge or intelligence, while technology is a technical method of achieving a practical purpose. It is the totality of the means employed to provide objects necessary for human sustenance and comfort.

       The wide use of information technology via computer, in almost all the activities in developed countries of the world will soon spread like wild fire in the developing countries of the world like Nigeria (Ezeano and Onoh, 1992, Osazuwa, 2006 and Ofulue, 2008). The growing implementation of information technology and techniques in private and public businesses as an aspect of technological advancement will no doubt affect the teachers, government, business educators, businesses and the entire society (Ofulue, 2008). The more knowledge the business education students acquire in the new technology, the better prepared this country will be in the quick adaptation of the computer in all offices and business activities in this country (Nwaokolo and Ahukannah, 2001).

       The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004), through the National Policy on Education, introduced information and communication technology (ICT) in the secondary school system in recognition of the role of ICT in advancing knowledge and skills in the modern world. The Federal Government of Nigeria equally introduced computer education in all Federal Government Secondary Schools in 1985. These are indications to ensure that the country adapts quickly to the ever- changing global technological innovations and advancement. Unfortunately, many secondary schools lack these information technology facilities and machines for the acquisition of these life-time information technology skills applicable to private and public business enterprises.

       Information technology skills are undoubtedly indispensable tools of technological and national development. Hence Anyanwu and Osuagwu (1990), Victor and Justina (2007), held the view that every child needs to be computer literate whether or not the child is going to study science or engineering. Stubble in Uwakwe (1999), observed that to become computer literate, students need at least three kinds of exposure to the computer. First, students need to use computer as a general aid to their learning through computer Assisted Learning (CAL). Secondly, the students should to familiarize themselves with problem solving capabilities of computer. Thirdly, it enables students receive good introduction to computer literacy so that they feel comfortable enough to face greater challenges in the computer learning.

       From the foregoing, it is evident that students who acquire appropriate information technology skills increase their employment potentials in any private and public business enterprises, irrespective of the year of establishment of such business enterprises, the location or size of organization. The integration of information technology in secondary school curriculum will enable the students to understand the modern techniques of teaching and learning. It will also help them fit into the increasing computerized technological world and profession and enable the students further their courses in the institutions of higher learning.

Statement of the Problem

       Private and public organizations require information technology skills to perform traditionally manual administrative tasks such as producing sales and business documents, storing customers’ orders etc.

Secondary school students who are employed or self employed in private and public business organizations appear not to have acquired some of the information technology skills. The employers are forced to adopt on-the-job training on the newly employed secondary school graduates in order to upgrade their skills for optimum productivity.

       The problem of this study is to find out from employers, the information technology skills required by secondary school graduates in private and public business enterprises.

Purpose of the Study

       This study is principally aimed at ascertaining the information technology skills required by secondary school graduates in private and public business enterprises. Specifically, the study will find out:

  1. How often the secondary school graduates work with information technologies in their daily tasks.
  2. Which information technology skills the employers suggest must be acquired by secondary school leavers before securing employment.

iii. The degree of importance employers attach to each of the identified information technology skills for the purpose of offering employment to secondary school leavers.

  1. Which information technology skills employers suggest could be developed on the job.

Significance of the Study

       It is hoped that the findings of this study will:-

  1. Link the world of work to educational programmes in secondary schools. This will assist educational planners and administrators to plan and implement a much more functional business education programme that is capable of equipping the students with the skills they need in order to be gainfully employed after graduation.
  2. Serve as a guide to interested researchers who would want to conduct further studies in this area.

iii. Offer the government and curriculum planners some information on improving the curriculum of secondary schools. This will lead to effective implementation of the integrated information and communication technology in the secondary school curriculum.

  1. Reveal to business teachers information technology skills that are expected of secondary school leavers by business organizations. With this knowledge, business teachers will be in a better position to impart the desired information technology skills to the students while in the school.

Research Questions

       The study seeks to find answers to the following research questions:

  1. How often do secondary school graduates employed in private and public business enterprises work with information technologies in their daily tasks?
  2. Which information technology skills to employers suggest must be acquired by secondary school leavers before securing employment?

iii. What degree of importance do employers attach to each of the identified information technology skills for the offering of employment to secondary school leavers?

  1. Which information technology skills do employers suggest could be developed on the job?

Hypotheses

       The following null hypotheses will be tested at 0.05 level of significance.

  1. There is no significant difference between the information technology skills required by urban employers and those required by rural employers from graduates of secondary schools.
  2. The information technology skills required by large business organizations do not differ significantly from those required by small business organizations from graduates of secondary schools.

iii. There is no significant difference between the information technology skills require by older business organizations from graduates of secondary schools.

Scope of the Study

       This study aimed at ascertaining the opinions of employers of labour on the information technology skills required of secondary school graduates for gainful employment into private and public business enterprises. In doing this, attempt will be made to find out how often the secondary school graduates on employment work with information technologies in their daily task; which information technology skills must be acquired by secondary school graduates before seeking for employments; the degree of importance attached to the identified information technology skills by the employers and the information technology skills the employers suggest could be developed on the job.

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