ROLE OF INTERNET IN THE PROMOTION OF EDUCATION IN NIGERIA: A STUDY OF SCHOOL OF HEALTH TECHNOLOGY NGBO.
1.1 Background to the Study
Interest in the internet as a tool for health-related information, communication and education has grown immensely in recent years. Today, not only is there an extensive amount of medical information and interactive services available through the internet, but also an increasing number of health sites focusing on ‘health lifestyle’ issues.
Such general health sites appeal to the public in general, providing a wide range of information on different health topics such as ‘Ask an expert’ service, test, discussion boards, etc. To this effect, Eysenbach et al, (2000) observed that “concerted efforts had been put to place to assess the quality of e-health information and to create quality standards for internet health sites”.
The focus of this study is directed at the internet as an interactive medium for information and communication accessibility. The internet makes a universe of information and knowledge easily accessible for anyone with a computer and internet connection. It also makes possible interactivity in the shape of direct feedback and real-time communication, and, not the least, contact between people independent of time and space.
Another aspect of internet as a source of health information which alternately boost the quality of education among schools of Health Technology around the country, is it possibility of looking for information and answers to questions in an individual way and at each individual’s own pace (Fox and Rainie, 2000 p. 10).
Each individual can take the time needed to figure out what questions to ask and how to ask them.
In some respects, the internet, as an unlimited and uncontrollable source of information is a good thing. It provides opportunities for people to search for and to access valuable as well as useful information needed to addressing health related issues in the country.
It is pertinent to note that good health is all men affairs and therefore, an intensive effort should be made towards improving internet access facilities in our health institutions which will give aides to acquiring requisite knowledge by the health trained personnel, that will be applied on the day-to-day activities or routine, in diagnosing and treatment of various ailment.
The Evolution of Internet
Internet is a global network of computers and is also an information and communication medium that spans the whole world.
Internet actually began in the early 1960s as a twinkle in the eye of the US Defense Department which saw it as a means of super computer communication for researchers and military facilities across the country. Until its commercial explosion in the 1990s, the internet remained a relatively obscure network of linked computers used mostly by academics, military researchers, and scientists around the world to send and receive electronic mail, transfer files, and find or retrieve information from databases.
The invention of internet in the 1960s was sponsored by U.S. government and it was called ARPNET which was designed to interconnect computers and permit the reliable transfer of data between them via telecommunication lines. They were various networks that led to the internet. Initially, the ARPANET linked university researchers, business and government agencies involved in defense matters were split-up to another network and the ARPANET evolved into a meta-network of interconnect but separately owned networks used at universities and other institutions for non military research.
Agba (2001, p. 25) noted that the internet is a global communication infrastructure which enables any computer connected to it to communicate with any other computers connected to the internet at electronic speeds, regardless of geographical location.
Vis-à-vis, the word internet is now used by most people of the world today, especially when it comes to the information superhighway technology. The internet has now become a means of information exchange. It should be noted that information in the computer has drastically changed the way we deal with information.
How to Access the Internet
To get on the internet, people must first choose from two types of communication: systems-narrowband and broadband.
Narrow band is a type of digital data transmission in which wires each carry only one signal, or channel, at a time. Normal telephone communication is narrow band. And most communication involving computers also use narrow band transmission. They include communication from the computers to devices (printers, monitors, and so on), communication via modems, and even the majority of computer networks. In contrast, broadcast transmission enables a single wire to carry multiple signals simultaneously. Cable television, for instance, use broad band transmission. This technology makes it possible to download large graphics files, watch video clips, play video games online, and surf the net comfortably without having to endure what has been dubbed the world wide wait”.
Currently, there are several ways people can get online. The most common method is still narrowband via a dial-up modem through an internet service provider (ISP). While the dial-up method is universally available, the connections are unfortunately slow, so people can spend a lot of time drumming their fingers as they wait for pages to download.
Levels or Classes of Computer Network
- Local Area Network (LAN): This type of network functions within a particular environment or area. It also gives room for flow of information from one computer to the other within the area.
- Metropolitan Area Network (MAN): This type of network requires a communication service before it can communicate with each other. It functions within a particular state.
- Wide Area Network (WAN): This is the type of network that requires communication service for proper transfer of information from one computer to another within a particular country.
- World wide web (WWW): As the name implies “world wide” is the type of network that is globally configured whereby information or equipment or messages can be transferred from one country to another. This network can also search for the entire world information not minding the distance.
William F. Arens, (2004, p. 249) opined that World Wide Web is where people come to “browse” or “surf the Net” is the best known feature of cyberspace. Although the name is often used interchangeably with the internet, the World Wide Web is actually just one facet of the medium. The graphical and multi-media interface used to view websites like that of the Discovery Channel’s Animal Planet (www.aniplanet.com).
It is pertinent to understand that World Wide Web (WWW) is not the internet itself rather it is a designed software programme introduced inside the network to help the user in the network have access to any programme or information. This class of network has various websites that we can browse or surf, such as information or news sites, education sites, medical sites, sports sites, job sites, Health sites, etc.
The World Wide Web (www) is composed of an enormous amount of information found mostly in the form of home pages. These can best be likened to book covers or gateways, since they act as starting point to additional information. These pages are created by millions of online users and businesses, with content varying from culinary tips to sport commentary to corporate and business information.
Early sites on that web typically consisted of a home page that resembled a poorly designed brochure cover, with perhaps some limited information on subsequent web pages about the company and its products. The web exploded from about 50 sites in 1993 to more than 70, 000 in 1995 to 15 million sites world wide in 2000.
In order to access the World Wide Web (www), one needs to have the following:
– Personal computer (PC)
– Internet account with an internet service provider (ISP)
– Web browser software.
How Internet Came in Nigeria
The notable attempt at introducing internet into the country was in 1995, it was a programme aimed at bringing the Almighty internet into Nigeria. It is without doubt that internet had existed before this period. This programme was sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO). All this happened in 1995.
In the late 1990’s Obafemi Awolowo University Ife became the first tertiary institution to have the internet. And now the internet has become what almost every Nigerian in one way or another had the privilege to work on.
How the Internet Works
It is a common thing today in the cities, especially big cities to see cybercafés everywhere and a tall mast in front of a particular building. Many Nigeria are still ignorant of how internet works.
Nwanjika (2001, p.114) observed that the internet works as a loose organization of network, no single group run it. Instead, many private organizations; universities, schools of health technology, and government agencies pay for it and run part of it. It is a collection of thousands of individual networks and organizations, each of which is run and paid for in its own. Each network cooperates with other network to direct internet traffic so that information can pass along them.
Together, these network organizations make up the wired world of the internet and for network and computers to cooperate in this way, a general agreement must take place about things such as internet procedures and standards for protect.
Many internet service providers (ISPs), which provide internet access for individuals have network as well. Individuals who want to access the internet pay for internet service providers fee (ISPs), monthly connection fees; which means that in a way, everyone who uses internet helps pay for it.
Uses of the Internet
Internet is today one of the most important part of our daily life. There are large numbers of things that can be done using the internet and so it is very important. You can say that with the progress in the internet we are progressing in every sphere of life as it does not only makes our tasks easier but also saves a lot of time. Today, internet is used for different purposes depending upon the requirement. Here, for the purpose of this study, we browse internet for three common uses which is pertinent to this study.
Communication: Easiest thing that can be done using the internet is that we can communicate with extreme case; Earlier, the communication used to be a daunting task but all changed once internet came into the life of the common people. Now people can not only chat but also do the video conferencing. It has become extremely easy to contact the loved ones who are in some other part of the world. Communication is the most important gift that internet has given to the common man. Email, social networking sites are some of the prime example of it. This is one such gift of the internet which is cherished by everyone and has made our life easier to great extent.
Research: Internet has provided an avenue for carrying academic research prior to rigorous and uphill processes embarked upon earlier than now. In order to do research you need to go through hundreds of books as well as the references and was one of the most difficult jobs to do earlier. Since the internet came into life, everything is available just a click away. You just have a search for the concerned topic and you will get hundreds of references that may be beneficial for your research. And since internet is here to make your research topic, you can then benefit a large amount of people from the research work that you have done. Research is one such thing which has got a lots of benefit from this evolution of internet. Research process has now got wings and has gained the most due to the internet.
Education: The next point that we have in this list is education. Education is one of the best things that the internet can provide. There are number of books, reference books, online help centres, expert’s views and other study oriented material on the internet that can make the learning process very easier as well as fun learning experience. There are a lots and lots of websites which are related to different topic. You can visit them and can gain endless amount of knowledge that you wish to have. With the use of internet for education, you are non-longer dependent on some other person to come and teach you. There are various number of tutorials available over the internet using which you can learn so many thing very easily. There can’t be any excellent use of the internet other than education as it is the key to achieve everything in life.
Other uses are enlisted as follows:
E-mail (Electronic Mail): This is a global system for sending and receiving electronic mails such as pictures, letters, documents, etc to people across the continents. E-mail reaches its destinations in minutes unless some parts of the network are congested.
Chat Rooms (chatting): This is another aspect of internet which enables group of people using the internet to exchange messages among themselves at the same time. The chat is mostly popular among the youths. To take part in chat room, the participant must be connected to a server.
Web conferencing: This is also another benefit of the internet. This involves using a hardware called the web-can to conduct conversations in two or more separated geographical locations. It also allows different people to converse as if they are in the same room.
E-shopping: This is most recent but now common and frequent use of internet in buying and selling over the internet. E-marketing is very popular for many reasons. One good reason is that it takes only a fraction of the cost of advertising through other medium like newspaper and television. Also it has been found that it can reach a far greater crowd based on interest, within the tens of millions internet and email users, thus bring in more demand resulting in more positive results than any other medium of marketing. Internet marketing also provides for two-way communication, which is something which didn’t exist in other traditional advertising medium, so the consumers can talk with advertisers while seeing the advertisement and get more details and even purchase the item or get the service online itself. The above are some of the very few common uses of the internet for the common man.
Concept of Education
Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defined education as a process of training and instruction, especially of children and young people in schools, colleges etc, which is designed to give knowledge and develop skills.
One time American president, John F. Kennedy says “that our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource”.
Education is the leading of human souls to what is best, and making what is best out of them (John Ruskin).
In a wider sense, education could mean the training of entire person to enable him/her not only to be able to read, write and calculate or be proficient in a given job, but also to enable him to fit himself for living in society.
According to Alumode (2005) education is an instrument for nation building. The development of country’s natural resources is dependent on the quality of human resources in turn depends on education. Nwogwugwu cited in Omo-Amen (2005) noted that education in Nigeria is an instrument per excellence for affecting national development. The philosophy and general framework for education policy in Nigeria from 1977 to 2004 is based on the content of the national policy on education first published in 1977, and revised in 1981, 1998 and in 2004. The main policy objectives during these periods was to raise the quality of education at all levels in order to make the products of the system more useful to the society and to maintain education as one of the prime engines for development.
1.2 Problem of Study
Internet is like a good servant that delivers both good and evil messages. This is because it is so democratic and liberal, as it can be accessed by both young and old, literate and illiterate, educated or semi-educated persons who can post any information of his/her choice even without verification. By this, it means internet harbors both founded and fallacious information that may be inimical or harmful to human health and the society in all ramifications.
Internet has been seen as a device that poses threat to the mental life of people through browsing pornographic sites, fraudulent act, obscene and fallacious publications and other vices contained therein in the websites.
However, like every other innovation in science and technology, internet has its own merits and demerits. Vis-à-vis, this research study is aimed at showcasing the benefit of using internet as a unique means for solving a lot of educational problems, enhancing the effectiveness of education in general, making the education democratic and available for millions and millions of people irrespective of distance and race. All these are made possible via the connectivity of computers to the host computer and through that, educational materials are achieved for learning purposes.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
- To find out why the students of school of Health Technology Ngbo use the internet.
- To find out how useful the internet is, in sourcing for educational materials.
- To find out the effect of the internet on the academic performances of the students of school of Health Technology Ngbo.
1.4 Research Questions
- Why do the students of schools of Health Technology Ngbo, use the internet?
- What are the effects of the internet on the academic performance of the students of school of Health Technology Ngbo?
- Is the internet useful in sourcing for educational materials?
- Is the internet doing enough in sourcing for educational materials?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
Ho: The students of school of Health Technology Ngbo do not use the internet.
H1: The students of school of Health Technology Ngbo use the internet.
Ho: The internet does not has an effect on the academic performance of the students of school of Health Technology Ngbo.
H2: The internet has an effect on the academic performance of the students of school of Health Technology.
Ho: The internet is not useful in sourcing for educational materials.
H3: The internet is useful in sourcing for educational materials.
Ho: The internet is not doing enough in sourcing for educational materials.
H4: The internet is doing enough in sourcing for educational materials.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The significance of this study is that:
- It will expose some online vices and as well guide us religiously on how to be making judicious use of the internet for our own good and that of the society in general.
- The primary beneficiaries of this study are academia (lecturers, students, researchers) who may wish to conduct similar research in the field.
- This study will also add to literacy and would serve as information to parents and the entire society.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This has to do with the extent or bounds that are to be covered by the researcher. This research is only concerned with revealing the powerful effects of internet in the promotion of education in Nigeria. The study areas are the four departments obtainable in the school of Health Technology, Ngbo.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
This is the predicament or challenges encountered in a bid to carrying out the research, which limits the effort of the researcher. The major limitation encountered was fund.
Moreover, there was reluctance of some students to respond or answer the questionnaire. Some misinterpret or misunderstood the purpose of the study while others find it difficult to understand some of the contents of the survey instrument.
Time frame allotted to this research study also poses a constraint, as it clashes with other academic activities.
It wasn’t so easy to arrange for personal interview with some personnel of the institution.