INVESTIGATION INTO THE CONSEQUENCES OF OFFICE TECHNOLOGIES IN SECRETARIAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM IN NIGERIAN POLYTECHNICS
This study was carried out to discover the possible consequences posed by the office technologies in secretarial education curriculum in Nigeria Polytechnics. This study was conducted using the Institute of Management and Technology (I.M.T) Enugu as a case study. The instrument used for data collection was the questionnaire and literature review, while a total of four research question were also posed. The information collected from the respondents were analyzed using simple percentage method and they were used in answering the research question.The data collected and analyzed showed that enormous consequences were imposed on secretarial education curriculum by constant change in office technologies. The consequences entails the re-training and attending of seminars, conferences and workshop by the teachers/lecturers on the uses and operations of the new office equipment/machines, this is with a view to imparting such knowledge on the student secretaries together with the introduction of some new relevant courses to enable them face squarely the consequences of incessant office technological changes now rampant in the business environment. The finding upheld the need for easy introduction of accepted new courses. It was revealed that the staff of the department should be coped by the Polytechnics regulation body, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) in the curriculum planning. Based on these, recommendations were drawn which the researcher feels if followed and adhered strictly to, will always give a good answer to any future consequences imposed on secretarial education curriculum by change in office technologies. Since no research work is ever completely concluded because of some certain constraints, some suggested areas for further research were also given.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
As life is becoming more dynamic, more complex in educational, socio-cultural, industrial and commercial developments due to the increasing technological advancements, the secretarial profession is not left in the loaves and the jobs of secretaries appear at first sight among those threatened. This is because new machines, are threatening to take over the jobs performed by secretaries thereby making them face job hazard of redundancy, retirement and retrenchments and mass unemployment. Presently, Nigeria is undergoing technological revolutions just like any other developing country of the world. This technological advancement has actually revolutionized most office activities and procedures. Until recently, the study of secretarial educations programme in our polytechnics especially in Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu was based mainly on shorthand, typewriting and office practice. But the activities had greatly changed since supervision of the polytechnics by the NBTE.
The task and activities these categories of workers in most offices and business circles have also increased tremendously because of the high office responsibilities expected of the secretary to now handle with little or not supervisions, the scope of the course they now cover before qualification, has also greatly increased. They now have to be trained and educated in too many courses and have to acquire more technical skills to be able to handle and manipulate the very modern office automated machines now inherent in most business offices. This will make them to be marketable and employable.
Secretarial profession now has to battle with the skills of handling the electric typewriters, scanners, word processors, the facsimile (Fax) machines, the computer etc. Will enable her meet up with the increasing demand of collecting, processing, storing and disseminating information as and when urgently required unlike the era of manual typewriters and filing cabinets that waste time. It should be noted that these automatic high-technological machines cannot do everything or operate themselves without human aid, thus making the needs and quests for the professionals in the secretarial field necessary.
The most current and implicating question in the minds of the present day secretarial studies educators and curriculum planners is what to do in order to keep pace with the new technological changes in secretarial office automated equipment. This is because the more knowledgeable the secretaries are in the use of these office automated equipment, the better prepared our country will be to develop technologically. Hence in the opinion of Kanu (1987), there must be positive attitude towards continuous up-dating of knowledge for everyone, especially the secretaries, if this age of technological advancement is to be acquired and improved advancement and inter-personnel skills developed.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
The incessant changes and advancements in office automation has given rise to an urgent and constant training of the employees who handle and operated these new machines. It should be realized that most of these new high technological equipment like the computers, which stole into the business offices throughout the world unnoticed are very expensive to acquire and maintain and no organization would like these all cost effective equipment to lie idle, waste or become obsolete within a short period simply because there is no capable hands or professional to handle them. Therefore, these technological changes therefore represent a very demanding implication on the secretarial education curriculum.
Since a lot of office work is based on the basic knowledge of keyboarding and clerical skills, it becomes apparent that if secretarial education curriculum in out polytechnics is not reviewed, revisited and updated from time to time, to adequately take care of these technological changes, the products turned out with this curriculum might not be able to face challenges they are bound to meet when they are finally employed. If therefore, becomes apparent that those concerned with the training and education of secretaries in out polytechnics and other institutions of higher learning should always adjust their curriculum so as to catch up and stay afloat with the incessant technological changes and advancements. The problem then is how far have Polytechnic especially Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu been able to adjust its curriculum to reflect the current development? How far have they been able to purchase the required equipment necessary for the training of Secretaries? Do they have qualified personnel to handle these equipment? Are the students being adequately prepared for the business world/ These and many more are what they research is out to answer.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this research work is to:
i. To find out the consequences of office technologies in secretarial education curriculum in I.M.T., Enugu.
ii. Find out cause of frequent changes in educational curriculum especially that of secretarial education programme performance.
iii. To ascertain whether these office technologies that are used in different offices today are available in the department of Secretarial Studies of Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu which is actively involved in the training of secretaries.
iv. Identify whether the curriculum planners recognized these consequences before going on the drawing board, especially as it concerns Secretarial Duties.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Technological development has taken a rather tremendous new dimension since the middle of this century. According to Ndubuisi (1981), since there is need to promote interest in more and advanced technology, provision should also be made for institution and Nation as a whole, curriculum planners and business world. By finding out the effects of consequences of office technology on the secretarial educations curriculum in our polytechnics especially the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu all that are involved in the training of these category of professionals and the curriculum planners, will be able to adjust their curricula and course contents to suit the needs of the expanding technological business world. Their products, the students secretaries would then be prepared well enough to enter the new world of automated offices and still face squarely the challenges inherent in high technological environments without fear of retrenchment.
The study will among other things, serve as a guide to the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) in determining these new trends that are destined to become an integral part of business studies and include same in the program/school syllabus. Finally, the country and the business parastatals will also benefit from this study since the school of business has been producing very proficient and marketable personnel that will stand the vigorous test of time through updated planned curricula, especially in this era of technological advancement.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In order to obtain more purposeful and significant results from the data analysis, the following questions will be tested in the course of the study.
a. What are the consequences of office technologies in the Secretarial Education Curriculum in Institute of Management and Technology (I.M.T), Enugu?
b. Is the Institute prepared to meet up with the consequences in training students for today’s and future sophisticated technological office environment?
c. What effect have the frequent changes in curriculum brought to the secretarial Studies Department?
d. Being aware of the technological changes in the country do you think the frequent changes will have any effect in your career as secretaries?
1.6 SCOPE/DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
As a result of the broad nature of secretarial education curriculum, the researcher limited this work to office technology aspect of the curriculum. However, the research will concentrate his research work on the Institute of Management and technology Enugu. It is within this precinct that this study is delimited.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Breeding unemployment Graduates: Training and turning-out of graduates who cannot be employed because they lack the required skills for handling and manipulating modern office machines and equipment.
Curriculum: Subject/courses included in course of study like secretarial studies or taught in a particular school or college.
Office Technologies: The application of the use of modern office machines and equipment in performing office tasks for quicker and greater productivity.
Computer Literacy: Being educated or enlightened on the uses, functions an operations of the electronic data processing machine called the computer which is capable of handling, processing, storing and retrieving information at the shortest possible time.
Office Automation: The use of different types/kinds of machines aided devices to work in an office in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the employed manpower.
Technological Revolution: Drastic change/shift from the use of old fashioned machine and equipment to the recently manufactured (modern) ones.
Techniques: Methods of getting things done.
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