Strategies for improving computer Education programme in Ebonyi State Secondary Schools.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

       The advent of computer has made tremendous impact in man and society. It has revolutionized the world in much the same way that automation did in the days of the industrial revolution. Computer technology has permeated all aspects of human endeavors. This complex and powerful tool has not only affected our individual lives but has also influenced the structure and working of groups within the society. Though the development of computer was hailed in many quarters, some arguments have trailed its introduction in the work places necessitating the need to improve its teaching and learning in Ebonyi State.

The computer system is of the most complex and wonderful achievement of mankind. Its complexity is indicated by the fact that the equipment as a single computer contains different parts, all working together at very high speed and with remarkable reliability to achieve high productivity. Nwosu (2003), argues that teachers, being the major implementers of UBE programme must have the right mental attitude and be capable to impact the set goals in the learners at basic school level. As a result, there is need to engender quality computer-teacher preparation in tertiary institutions in order to produce qualified teachers who will effectively teach computer studies in our basic schools. The teacher-trainees should be equipped with appropriate teaching methods that enhance their teaching-performance at the Basic School level. Thus, this research seeks the opinion of computer science teacher-trainees about the teaching methods utilised while on training.

Advantages of Computers in Education

According to (Oak, 2011), Computer technology has had a deep impact on the education sector. Thanks to computers, imparting education has become easier and much more interesting than before. Owing to memory capacities of computers, large chunks of data can be stored in them. They enable quick processing of data with very less or no chances of errors in processing. Networked computers aid quick communication and enable web access. Storing documents on computers in the form of soft copies instead of hard ones, helps save paper. The advantages of computers in education primarily include:

  1. Storage Of Information

Computers enable storage of data in the electronic format, thereby saving paper. Memory capacities of computer storage devices are in gigabytes. This enables them to store huge chunks of data. Moreover, these devices are compact. They occupy very less space, yet store large amounts of data. Both teachers and students benefit from the use of computer technology. Presentations, notes and test papers can be stored and transferred easily over computer storage devices. Similarly, students can submit homework and assignments as soft copies. The process becomes paperless, thus saving paper. Plus, the electronic format makes data storage more durable. Electronically erasable memory devices can be used repeatedly. They offer robust storage of data and reliable data retrieval.

  1. Audio-visual aids in teaching

Computers are a brilliant aid in teaching. Online education has revolutionized the education industry. Computer technology has made the dream of distance learning, a reality. Education is no longer limited to classrooms. It has reached far and wide, thanks to computers. Physically distant locations have come closer due to Internet accessibility. So, even if students and teachers are not in the same premises, they can very well communicate with one another. There are many online educational courses, whereby students are not required to attend classes or be physically present for lectures. They can learn from the comfort of their homes.

  1. Better presentation of information

Computer software help better presentation of information. Internet can play an important role in education. As it is an enormous information base, it can be harnessed for retrieval of information on a variety of subjects. The Internet can be used to refer to information on different subjects. Both teachers and students benefit from the Internet. Teachers can refer to it for additional information and references on the topics to be taught. Students can refer to web sources for additional information on subjects of their interest. The Internet helps teachers set test papers, frame questions for home assignments and decide project topics. And not just academics, teachers can use web sources for ideas on sports competitions, extracurricular activities, picnics, parties and more.

  1. Quick communication between students, teachers and parents

Computer teaching plays a key role in the modern education system. Students find it easier to refer to the Internet than searching for information in fat books. The process of learning has gone beyond learning from prescribed textbooks. Internet is a much larger and easier-to-access storehouse of information. When it comes to storing retrieved information, it is easier done on computers than maintaining hand-written notes.

  1. Computers facilitate effective presentation of information

Presentation software like PowerPoint and animation software like Flash among others can be of great help to teachers. Computers facilitate audio-visual representation of information, thus making the process of learning interactive and interesting. Computer-aided teaching adds a fun element to education. The otherwise not so interesting lessons become interesting due to audiovisual effects. Due to the visual aid, difficult subjects can be explained in better ways.

       Therefore, in computer education programme there is a growing application of computer in schools and colleges. Apart from being used for routine record school administration, it has also been used in test scoring, lesson planning and instrument delivery. Computer is used on individualized instruction that allows each student to learn at his or her pace. It provides repeated drill and practice to students without frustration or exhaustion (Ezeliora and Nwokike, 2000). Computer assists the efforts of the teacher and has also reduced the time and energy required for individualized instruction to supplement to the teacher and not a replacement for him. No doubt, the “human teacher” personal contact will always be necessary in teaching.

       The computer programme is a suitable one and needs to be implemented adequately. The trained computer science teachers to handle the implementation stage are necessary to ensure the smooth implementation of the programme.

       The road to computer technology today is now lined on how to bring computer into every shade of human endeavor including education. By 1990, government adopted many strategies for the training of computer science teachers who will handle it efficiently. For instance in the Technical Teacher Training Programme (TTTP) that took off in January 1972, curriculum of computer course should have been included in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004). According to the National Policy on Education, this leads to the acquisition of   practical and applied skills as well as basic scientific knowledge. Nwachukwu (1988) said that computer helps to increase the effectiveness of educational management and serves as a mode of thinking, a management tool, an accountability mode, an analytical tool and a procedure for establishing properties.

Therefore, the objectives of the educational service as contained in 2004:81 National Policy on Education are:

i      To ensure adequate and effective planning for all computer educational service.

ii      To provide efficient professional and computer engineers who will maintain and improve the system.

iii     The Federal and State Government should establish several computer Educational center, such as media resources center, computer training center, modern aids center, instructional resources center and so on.

The above objectives highlighted the need for Educational agencies to maintain effective machinery for planning since according to Ozigi (1977), all policies and programmes in education are based on planning. For example any review of the 6-3-3-4 curriculums with a view of making it more relevant to the needs of the society will include planning a head for the resources required manpower and capital equipment, facilities and financial needs.

       Government intention on the programme is a laudable one, there is much to desire with regard to the number of intake to pursue the computer Education programme. The role of computer is numerous therefore; it will be wise for any government of any country to invest into the setting up of computer Education programme so as to move her out of the manual work in order to conserve her human and financial resources.

       Several Universities and Polytechnics offer degree progranmme in computer science. This makes the computer education programme to be taught at the secondary schools.

       So for Nigeria to rise to the praise of computer world, there should be proper training of young people right from primary and secondary schools up to tertiary institution; with this a lot will be achieved in Nigeria generally. This is the reason this researcher decided to explore the strategies that could be used to improve computer education programme in Ebonyi State, with the view of reaping bthe benefits that have been mentioned already.

Statement of the Problem

       State government has now accorded computer studies at secondary school level full recognition following the restructuring of secondary school system into a six-year duration course (FRN, 2004:61). The National Committee on Education in Nigeria and the State Government Secondary Education Board (1988) has equally acknowledged this fact.

       The committee was changed with the responsibility of planning for a dynamic policy on computer science and literacy in Nigeria as well as devising clear strategies to be used by the State, Federal government and other relevant organizations to improve the computer education programme in the institutions of learning especially at the secondary schools and most importantly in Ebonyi State.

       Since computer education programme is newly introduced in secondary schools. There are likelihood of lack of several things to teach and lean computer such as computers, trained teachers, computer laboratory, textbooks, maintenance culture, power, accessories, computer media resources center and funding. There is the need to explore ways of improving its teaching and learning in the face of lack of the above essential needs for computer programme. The problem of the study when put in question form could be: What are the strategies to be adopted in improving computer education programme?

Purpose of the Study

       The main purpose of this study was to determine the strategies to improve computer science education programme in Ebonyi State. Specifically, the study tended to:

  1. find out if teacher strategies do improve computer education programme

ii     ascertain whether school strategies do improve computer education programme

iii     find out if parents strategies do improve computer education programme

iv     ascertain whether facilities/equipment available do improve computer education programme

Significance of the Study

The study is considered necessary because computer studies require a great deal of financial out lay for the computer scientists and technologists. It is therefore necessary to identify some factors that with help improve computer education progranmme in Ebonyi state secondary schools.

       Obviously the results from the study will be of numerous help to the school administrator, computer science teachers and the government in general.

It would enable the principals to know what strategies to employ in tackling school administration in the secondary schools. This would improve students’ learning.

       The findings of the study would enlighten the teacher, principals, examination bodies, curriculum planners, psychologists, academic advisers, religions leaders and the government on their individual roles for strategizing the activities of the school for the betterment of the students. This would also help them to map out more strategies and lasting solutions to the problem of school maintenance in Nigeria.

       The results of the study would assist teachers to examine the teaching methodology and method of supervision and invigilation of examinations as to create conducive atmosphere for academic work as necessary strategies have been applied and put in place.

       The study would also assist government and Nigerians to be alive to their responsibility of adequate funding of schools. This is important because without money, it is not easy to run an educational enterprise.

To other researchers, these results of this study might ginger their interest to investigate further and find out more ways of improving the computer programme in our schools.

Scope of the Study

       The study was delimited to one local government area in Ebonyi state, that is Ezza North Local Government Area.

        The study focused on the strategies to improve computer science education programme in Ebonyi State secondary schools. The study made of computer science teachers in its investigation.

Research Questions

  1. What are the strategies teachers adopt in improving computer education programme?
  2. What are the strategies schools adopt in improving computer education programme?
  3. What are the strategies parents adopt in improving computer education programme?
  4. What are the facilities/equipment available for improving the programme of computer education?
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