THE EFFECT OF IN-ADEQUATE COMPUTERS IN SECRETARIAL TRAINING IN NIGERIA
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The importance and sensitive position of a secretary in an organization can never be over-emphasized. In fact, the availability of computers has a great positive effect on secretarial training. Lack of it usually affects them vehemently. They play major roles in both private and government establishments.Most of these secretaries are trained in the tertiary institutions of learning in Nigeria, especially in polytechnics. The history of the polytechnics in training secretaries has assumed greater roles in recent time.
Considering the special nature of secretarial courses, peculiar equipment such as computers and word processors are normally used in secretarial training. Lack of exposure to these special equipment makes a graduate of secretarial studies uncomfortable and unprepared to face squarely the challenges of the job and office automation as a result of technological advancement. A secretary has to grow with the technology in order not to be displaced from her job. These modern machines, for examples, computer word processor, accounting machines, dictating machines, duplicating machines, etc are supposed to be taught in detail, in secretarial department of Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro to enable the secretarial student be fit in the modern offices.
Invariably, these equipment are much desired to give proper orientation to the secretarial students in the acquisition of their manipulation skill that will go along side to help them perform their duties in any office, no matter the type of equipment in use there. Availability of these equipment is one of the criteria normally considered by the National Board of Technical Education (NBTE) for the accreditation of tertiary institution to run courses in secretarial administration and the department can be discredited if it fails to provide these required equipment needed for effective training of secretaries.
Now, the fact is, most of the tertiary institutions today are consequently left with incredible poor financial base to the extent that they found it difficult to meet the cost of providing the required instructional equipment for their students. The undoubtedly result is that students of this department will graduate with little or no knowledge for operational skill of these equipment, thereby presenting poor image and embarrassment to self and institution from where he/she graduated. In line with this, Nolen (1964) observed that schools lack adequate equipment when he said:
In spite of new or improved office appliance which have appeared in the market in recent years, many schools lack office equipment. Adequate and proper maintenance of equipment is a necessity for an effective training for instance, it is possible to teach a student to operate a key punch machine. It will be better to allow students operate the machines rather than merely studying about them from textbook. Therefore, shortage of fund should not stop school from providing equipment needed, as project could be sponsored to raise funds or taking students to business home, familiarizes them with appliances. In view of this, no availability of adequate equipment hinders secretarial services and production of experienced secretaries as the manipulative skill required would be lacking due to inadequate training of the secretarial students on the actual equipment.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There is the notion that with the incessant technological advancement in our business environment, the functions of secretaries are prone to changes too. Technological advancement could have an adverse or positive effect on the secretaries. Secretarial services and occupational requirements are changing because of inventions in secretarial equipment.Employers now require ability to operate some office equipment as or pre-requisite for employment. The lack of specific skills in manipulation of office equipment by secretarial graduates creates employment difficulty to them.
Inadequacy in the provision of enough and modern equipment in Secretarial Department in Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro and Isoko North Local Government Council, constitute a great problem and hindrance in the training, as students would not be opportune to manipulate the required equipment necessary for their programme thereby making them not conversant with the equipment. And at the office, it leads to low production due to lack of modern machines. Secretarial services also hampered as a result of lack of knowledge of manipulation of equipment by the students of this course (secretarial studies or administration) on graduation. This project work will however, attempts to examine the inherent effect of inadequate modern equipment on the performance of students on their academic, opportunity for securing a job and level of productivity in office.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The reasons for embarking on this project is to investigate the problem of inadequate computers in the performance of students of secretarial studies in Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro and Isoko North Local Government Council, itâ€™s effects on students and workers performance and the possible solution of solving them. The study would further identify the impact of technological advancement of the secretarial performance to practitioners of the profession, secretarial students and prospective students of secretarial administration. In the course of this study certain variables which were believed to constitute the problem of inadequate equipment were identified and analyzed as follow:
To identify whether the secretarial department is lacking the necessary equipment that enhance secretarial functions.
To examine if the non availability of adequate equipment affects students and workers performance.
To determine the effort made between the department, institution and government in ensuring adequate provision of equipment in the training of students.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research work, just like every other worthwhile study is significant to the extent that it will enable the tertiary institutions in Delta State to examine whether what it has in secretarial department is able to satisfy the needs of the organizations, where students are expected to work on graduation. From this study, the department and school authority will know about some of the technological advancement equipment commonly used in offices and make effort to purchase them where they are not available.Â It will also strengthen the link existing between the employers of labour and the school for effective implementation of secretarial services. Finally, it will be of significance, as students secretaries would be conversant with the most relevant and modern equipment, if adequately provided.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The main objective of providing adequate computers and modern equipment in tertiary institutions is to train competent secretaries who will perfectly fit in their job and be able to face the challenges of advance technology in terms of modern equipment commonly used in most offices today. Therefore, the research will focus on the extent to which inadequate equipment in secretarial department affect the performance of students secretaries. As a result, the following questions would be addressed:
Is the secretarial department lacking the necessary machines that enhance secretarial functions?
Does non availability of the adequate machines affect students performance?
What is the relationship between the department, tertiary institution and the government in ensuring adequate provision of computers/modern machines in training of students?
1.6 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research work will be limited to Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro and Isoko North Local Government Council, Ozoro, owing to some militating factors encountered by the researcher such as:
Time Constraints: The time in which this study would be completed for submission is quite short and as such, time is not in the favour of the researchers.
Finance: Due to the prevailing economic situation in Nigeria, the researcher face some financial problems in carrying out the research work.
The scope of this project is based on the tertiary institutions in Delta State, particularly in the following places:
Delta State Polytechnic, Ozoro. Isoko North Local Government Council
1.8 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
For the purpose of this research, the following are some of the frequently occurring words defined in the sense in which the researcher intend the reader to understand their usage in this research work:
Office: Office is a nerve centre of every organization. It is a place where clerical work is carried out. It could be a position filled by somebody. However, Neuner and Keeling defined office as â€œthe focal point for correlating the services and profit making activities of a business enterpriseâ€.
Office Equipment: These are equipment which are used in business office to facilitate operation and procedures.Briefly, these include all the labour saving devices used in an office which go by various names such as office appliance, office machines, etc.
Secretarial Training: This is a programme designed by a school to acquaint the students with both practical and theoretical aspects of their studies in the offices where they are expected to work after graduation.
Computer: computer is any device that can receive, store a set of instructions and then act upon those instructions in a predetermined and predictable fashion. This definition implies that both the instructions and the data upon which the instruction act can be changed, a device whose instructions cannot be changed is not a computer.Â When the output is used to make decision, it is called information. Itâ€™s main functions are storage and reproduction of text.
Word Processor: This is a configuration of machines or equipment made up of software and hardware. The main functions of word processor are storage of information and retrieval of such information. Subsequently, it helps in the edition of documents or texts. It has an in-built dictionary of varying sizes which will highlight any error in a word included in the dictionary. It has the ability to print out more copies of documents at the same time.
Dictating Machines: These are a recording machines, which vary in nature. They could be battery or electrically operated. The secretary is expected to be familiar with their mechanisms. Some of them are portable cassettes for travelers, desk-tape or central system dictating machines and some have remote control and auto transmission facilities.
Duplicating Machine: this is a machine that is used to make copies of written, printed or drawing materials. Duplicating machines is associated with making copies from the masters, which may be, paper or metals. It is therefore necessary for all secretaries or secretarial staff to know how to produce copies from the masters paper or sheet by operating the machines.
There are different processes of duplicating, some of which are spirit process, offset litho process, and stencil process.
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