- Background of the study
One of the fundamental rights for every human being is education. Education prepares the individual for challenges in life. Consequently, Gujjar, Khan, Baig, Ramzan and Saifi (2010) opined that education does not only deliver information, but for developing complete personality of a child. In Nigeria there are three levels of education: primary, secondary and tertiary level. Secondary education is the level between primary and tertiary education. It equally prepares students to be productive members of the society (Jegede and Owolabi, 2003). In developed countries, secondary school is seen as the gateway to providing not only an educated citizenry but also a capable workforce. According to World Bank in Etim (2006), secondary education is now being recognized as the cornerstone of educational system in the 21st century. It therefore means that quality secondary education is indispensable in creating a bright future for individuals and nations alike.
Inline with the above statements, Jacob and Tomoko (2001) stated that secondary education is crucial for economic growth. Jacob and Tomoko (2001) maintained that globalization, the increasing importance of ICT in the twenty-five century and rapid technological changes have made knowledge essential for competing in the world economy. Secondary education therefore provides countries with the skills and knowledge needed for economic growth, including furthering learning and training of professionals such as technicians scientists and entrepreneurs. Secondary education can also be decisive in fostering positive social and civic values and yields considerable
private returns, offering young people the chance to acquire skills that were unlikely to be developed in the primary grades. This in turn enables youth to develop job-oriented skills, participate fully in society, take control of their own lives, and continue learning. Educational system is gradually becoming a system of technology especially in the present information driven economy. Owing to advances in science and technology which continues to revolutionize the global world, the Federal Ministry of Education introduced computer studies at all levels of education in Nigeria (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004).
The term computer studies have been used interchangeably. In come cases it has been referred to as computer education while in other cases it is called computer literacy. In whatever way, it means the same thing. Computer education is the effort or the ability to make the generality of the people computer literate. They went further to state that computer education (literacy) means ability to tell the computer what you want it to do and understand what the computer says. Computer literacy as the ability to be able to read, write and speak the language of the computer. It can also be looked at as a process of educating the people on how to use a computer to run a program and diverse application including business, industry and commerce (Okorie, 2001) Computer studies according to Edhuze (2003) involve teaching and inculcating in the learner the basic skills required to independently manipulate the computer to achieve educational goals. He further stated that, computer studies as a subject is aimed at making students acquire skills and competencies required in this digital word of competitiveness. Such basic skills and competencies upon graduation make them conversant with term and practices embedded in the world of computer.
Computer studies is therefore a subject organized to enable people understand the function, uses and limitations of the computer and to provide an opportunity for the study of the modern methods of information processing. The intention of Nigeria to include computer studies into the secondary school curriculum dates back to 1988 when the National Policy on Computer Education was enacted and launched (Abimbade, 1999). The policy on computer education suggested the following as some of the computer curriculum context at the secondary school level: A basic appreciation of how the computer works, an understanding of the basic principle of operating the computer, hands-on experience using the pre-programmed packages which are relevant to the interest of the students as teacher aids in different subjects. According to the National Policy on Computer Education (1988), it is expected that by the end of secondary education, the child has acquired reasonable competence in software such as word processing, spreadsheet, database analyzing programs that allow learners interact with the computer the way they desire (Ayogu, 2008). It therefore means that to achieve these objectives as stated in the National Policy on Education, strategies are needed. According to Zahra (1993), strategies offer a framework within which an organization defines possible means of achieving its goals and objectives. The objective of every strategy is to put the organization in a position to carryout its mission effectively and efficiently. Educational program facing difficulties needs to develop and implement strategies to improve its fortunes. Inline with this, the Federal Government adopted a strategy: The introduction of a scholarship award scheme known as Technical Teacher Training Program (TTTP). This scheme took off in the month of January, 1992. One of their aims is the training of serving science and technical teachers in computer studies throughout the country. The experience in several countries that had introduced computer literacy program, shows that the most appropriate place to start computer awareness program is at the school level and the most appropriate level is the secondary school.
Therefore the decision in 1988 by the Federal Government of Nigeria to start its pilot program in the Federal Government Colleges was keeping with what had proved successful in other countries and inline with the recommendations of the committee on National Policy for Computer Education in Nigeria. This committee was mandated amongst others, to advise government on the curricular contests and procedures best suitable to the needs of the country and for the various levels of education. This committee was also mandated to come up with consideration and advice on the ways and means of ensuring a smooth transition of computer courses between and among the various types and levels of education. In carrying out its assignment, it was noted that the major objective of introducing computer literacy program at the secondary school level is to enable students acquire a level of knowledge about computers which would fit them directly into the employment market or enable these students to pursue courses in computer science at higher levels. One of the major merits of the National Policy on Computer Education, therefore, is that it recommended the introduction of computer studies at all secondary schools in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, the committee recommended a total lifting of restriction on computer studies in a way that computer literacy program can begin right from primary school.
According to the committee, computer studies should be introduced at any level provided 16 the necessary facilities and resources are adequately provided for effective implementation. Since then, effort has been made to include computer studies in the primary and secondary school. According to Batubo, Digitemie and Nelly (2008), no educational program for primary and secondary school over the world that is devoid of computer studies, is complete. With the introduction of computer studies, in Nigerian secondary school, its implementation has been faced with so many difficulties ranging from resources (computer experts, computers and computer systems) to equipment necessary for teaching computer studies. With the launching of the National Policy on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in 2001, the Federal Government began a spirited campaign to make computers available to different strata of the society, beginning from the federal and state owned schools. Obioma (2009) however declared that the greatest challenge facing the improvement of the new program was to train pre-service teachers or to re-tool the skills of adequate number of serving teachers. Improvement according to Robbinson (2000) is the development of circumstances in which something is lacking to better standard or quality. Inline with this, there is need for qualified computer teachers since according to Kersh in Bada (2009), the classroom teacher will never be replaced by programme of self-instruction. Rather, he will be free to guide the learning of his students in ways that only a human being can. They went further to assert that in using computer for instruction, the teacher’s role is hypothesized as changed basically from that of informer to learning facilitator. His duty of delivering lectures changes to that of guide and problem solver. On the other hand, there is need for computer literate teachers.
According to Sloan in Edhuze (2003), the need for computer literate teachers can lead to improved students performance in thinking logically, formulating problem, solving procedures and understanding relationships (Sloan, 1995). With computer literate teachers, the supervision of computer studies is possible as pointed out by Hall in Edhuze (2003) when he stated that when supervised, virtually all homework, can be done on computer, essay can be written since computer take the drudgery out of doing calculation or writing and tackling of more complex mathematical problems. It also enables children to concentrate on the task ahead. It therefore implies that every one stands to gain from the inclusion of computer studies in secondary schools. Schwedt in Edhuze (2003), however noted that in a well equipped computer classroom and with properly trained computer literate teachers, both difficult and impossible task could be accomplished. Such task like allowing for shared screen work, local network servers, which facilitate paperless transfer of file on-line (access to the internet can turn each seat into a binary) and on-line conferencing can stimulate active writing participation by every student. With this advantage, teachers are the most important force in the improvement of the program and their efforts at providing quality education for students and raising students’ achievement cannot be underestimated. It therefore means that the single most important determinant of what students learn is what their teachers know: teacher qualifications, teacher knowledge and skills, make more difference in students learning than any other single factor. Hence improving students learning includes investing in teachers learning. There is also need for the principals and vice principals to provide an enabling environment and resources to ensure a successful improvement of computer studies.