1.1 Background of the Study
Over the years Nigeria as a nation has been making effort to be advanced and industrialized like other nations in the world, in terms of robust economy, science and technology as well as high standard of living. In countries like United States of America, Great Britain, China and Germany, there are massive industrialization, advanced science and technology, massive employment and high income per capital as well as reduction in poverty rate among the populace. Against this background, Nigeria in 1987 decided to introduce vocational and technical education into the National Policy on education as a road map to socio economic greatness.
Vocational and technical education is an educational training which encompasses knowledge, skills competencies, structural, activities, abilities, capabilities and all other experiences acquired through formal, on the job or off the job which are capable of enhancing recipients and creating opportunity for securing job (Okolocha, 2006). The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) outlined the goals of Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) in the National Policy on Education document as follows:
a. Provide trained manpower in the applied sciences, technology and business particularly at craft, and technical levels.
b. Provide the technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agriculture, commerce and economic development.
c. Give training and impart the necessary skills to individuals who shall be self-reliant economically while at the post- secondary (tertiary) technical institute such as Polytechnics or colleges of education (technical) and universities.
To be able to achieve this goal of vocational technical education, there must be adequate instructional facilities such as laboratories and equipment for the teachings and learning of vocational and technical education skills, knowledge and competencies at the tertiary level. Vocational and technical education include training in engineering such as Electrical, Mechanical, Welding and Fabrication, Agricultural, science laboratory, computer science, other courses include office technology, food technology hospitality, business administration, accountancy etc. These courses are taught at colleges of education, polytechnic and the universities. Since these courses require high level of practical skills acquisition, there is need for functional workshops or laboratories. Laboratories in VTE may not be properly financed or funded, but there is need for appropriate maintenance culture to be practiced in the laboratory for sustainable acquisition of practical skills. This study therefore intends to identify the strategies for improving maintenance of laboratories and equipment of vocational and technical education for effective service delivery in tertiary institutions.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
One of the principal roles of vocational technical education institutions is to promote skill acquisition among the youth through training. This is a sure step towards achieving the goals of vocational technical education. Skill acquisition leads to self-reliance and self-employment among graduates of vocational technical education. Uzoagulu (1993) opined that manipulative skills cannot be effectively impacted theoretically and that laboratories, equipment and tools are very much required in the training for practical skill acquisition. Ogbuanya (2004) observed that government in realization of the importance of tools, equipment and laboratories in skill training and scientific knowledge has provided funds for tools, equipment and laboratories at the secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
In spite of the huge financial commitment of government in the provision of laboratories, tools and equipment, Anyakoha (1992) stated that these equipment, tools and laboratories lack maintenance. The unfortunate and regrettable state of equipment tools and laboratories have been attributed to inability of the operators to apply preventive and total maintenance culture as at when due, on the equipment tools and laboratories. This paper intends to address the problem of poor maintenance culture in vocational technical education institutions at the tertiary level. The problem of this study is therefore to identify the required strategies that will enhance and promote high maintenance culture of laboratories, workshops and equipment in vocational technical education at tertiary level.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to determine the strategies of improving maintenance culture for workshop and equipment in VTE in tertiary institutions in Delta State. Specifically, the study intends to:
1. Determine the purpose of workshop and equipment maintenance in VTE in tertiary institutions.
2. Identify the strategies for improving maintenance practices of workshop laboratory and equipment in VTE in tertiary institutions.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were raised in this study:
1. What is the purpose of maintenance problem of laboratory / workshop of vocational and technical education tertiary institutions?
2. What ways can the maintenance of laboratory and workshop equipment be improved in vocational and technical education tertiary institutions in Delta State.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
H0: There is no significant difference between the mean perception of lecturers and technologists on strategies that would improve maintenance of laboratory / workshop and equipment in vocational and technical education in tertiary institutions.
H1: There is significant difference between the mean perception of lecturers and technologists on strategies that would improve maintenance of laboratory / workshop and equipment in vocational and technical education in tertiary institutions.
H0: There is no significant difference between the mean perception of lectures and technologists on the purpose of maintenance problem in vocational and technical education tertiary institutions.
H1: There is significant difference between the mean perception of lectures and technologists on the purpose of maintenance problem in vocational and technical education tertiary institutions.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study is of paramount importance to ensure good maintenance culture of laboratories and equipment in vocational and technical education tertiary institutions in Delta State. It will ensure that investment of laboratories and equipment are optimally used for teaching and learning of vocational technical education centers. The findings will expose student teachers and administrators strategies of maintaining laboratories and equipment in vocational technical education programme.
The study will improve the performance of students in terms of access to functional laboratories and equipment for teaching and learning of vocational and technical education programme. Finally, the study will also assist managerial and teachers in minimizing cost of maintenance.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is on the strategies for improving maintenance of laboratories and equipment of vocational and technical education for effective service delivery of business education programme in tertiary institutions in Delta State. Therefore, business educators in tertiary institution in Delta State that offer business education programme are involved in the study. The institutions are Universities and Colleges of Education. It will determine the extent of maintenance of laboratories and equipment of vocational and technical education, in tertiary business education, and constraints in teaching and learning of business education programme in Delta State tertiary institutions.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
1. Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
2. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Laboratory: Is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific or technological research, experiments, and measurement may be performed.
Vocational Education: Is education that prepares people to work in a trade, in a craft, as a technician, or in support roles in professions such as engineering, accountancy, nursing, medicine, architecture, or law.
Technical Education: Is a term applied to schools, institutions, and educational programs that specialize in the skilled trades, applied sciences, modern technologies, and career preparation
Tertiary Institution: The World Bank, for example, defines tertiary education as including universities as well as institutions that teach specific capacities of higher learning such as colleges, technical training institutes, community colleges, nursing schools, research laboratories, centers of excellence, and distance learning centers.
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