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THE IMPACT OF ICT ON BUSINESS STUDIES PERFORMANCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN UYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
1.1 Background of the Study
Business studies is one of the important fields of studies in the Junior secondary school curriculum in Nigeria. It is an academic field that cut-across various branches of human endeavours such as accounting, banking and finance, insurance, marketing, business management and administration. As a multi-disciplinary field, business studies also relates to other subjects or disciplines such as economics, geography, government/political science, philosophy, psychology, sociology, mathematics, agriculture, and others. The importance of business studies cannot be over-emphasized because it provides the foundation on which the private sector, which is regarded as the engine room of modern economies thrives. Thus business studies offers the platform necessary for the development of important skills needed in all occupations and careers intended to promote an effective and efficient citizenry for economic growth and development of the country.
Akpan & Ekong (2009) observes that the socio-economic growth and development of a country depends on the quality of its youth and human capital training and development. This assertion therefore calls for students to be properly equipped with the rudimentary knowledge and skills from the junior secondary level so as to become active participants in nation building. In pursuance of this goal, the National Policy on Education (2004) section (1) set out the broad goals of secondary school education as follows:
“to prepare the individuals for:
(a) useful living within the society; and
(b) higher education…”
In order to actualize these goals, the National Policy on Education (FGN, 2004) in collaboration with the National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policy of 2004 part 100 (F) in section II of the National Policy on Education, specifically require the development and promotion of effective use of innovative materials in schools. Innovation according to Chambers 20th Century Dictionary simply means “to introduce novelties or to make changes”. It also involves using new techniques, new methods or approaches which have been effectively designed and developed to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in a given setting (Ibid, 7th edition).
In the near past, researchers have identified defective teaching strategies as one of the reasons of the poor academic performance of students especially at the junior secondary ad senior secondary school examinations (Onasanya, Daramola and Asuquo, 2006). Also, Etiubon (2009) observed that poor performance of students in Science-related and business studies has denied the students the opportunity of competing for career choices in tertiary institutions, and therefore identifies inability of teachers to effectively handle and utilize scientific and business-based models in the teaching-learning process in classrooms.
In the same vein, Udosen (2009) lamented about the general poor performance of students in core subjects in public examinations such as the junior and senior secondary school certificate Examinations. He attributed the dismal performances to the use of poor teaching/learning aids and methods. Udosen (2009) went further to suggest that teachers ought to access information from community resources and update their students’ knowledge base on current issues.
Computer Aided Instruction (CAI) which is the pivot of modern Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is one of the innovative instructional communication techniques. The emergence of computerized information and communication technology offers a wide array of resources which supports teaching and learning. As an innovative instructional delivery system in modern education, it has a learner-paced learning activity that is characterized by a logical sequence of steps, active response by the learner, immediate knowledge of accuracy or correctness of learners’ responses and constant evaluation of learning process through constant monitoring of the program success and the learners’ process (Allesi and Trollip, 1991).
Several scholars have proffered various definitions to Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) in education. For instance, Frenzel (1980) describes CAI as the process by which written and visual information is presented in a logical sequence to a student by a computer. Chauhan (1994) describes CAI as a system in terms of its hardware (the machine), its software (the program), its communication link (the device which allows the learner to use the hardware and software), and the curriculum (teaching material stored in the computer). To Munden (1996), Computer Assisted Instruction is an educational medium in which instruction is an educational medium in which instructional content of activities is delivered by a computer. Bucholtz (1998) extends the definition of Computer Assisted Instruction to include internet-based instruction through the use of web pages, web bulleting boards and real radio, graphics and hands-on-applications.
However, the most important characteristic of Computer Assisted Instruction to learning is that the learner is made to take active part in the learning process which marks a departure from the passive learning chalk-talk approach found in conventional mode of instruction in schools. Whereas, traditional classroom instruction is a teacher-centered instruction which requires the physical presence of both the teacher and the students in the same classroom. It emphasizes direct instruction and lecture to the whole class with the students learning through listening, observing, asking and answering questions (Okonna, 2011).
Computerized information and communications technology can be used to learn effectively using any or a combination of the following strategies, individualized Computer Assisted Instruction, Co-operative Assisted Instruction, Comparative Computer Assisted Instruction, and Collaborative Computer Assisted Instruction, etc. Yet, some limitations have also been recorded against the application of ICT in education. These include; constraints regarding hardware and software development, absence of warmth and emotional climate as created by indirect classroom interaction; the need to own or have access to a computer; lack of computer skills; high cost of educational softwares, irregular power supply, to mention but a few.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Nigeria’s drive towards a dynamic and self-reliant economy driven by the private sector with highly skilled and competent entrepreneurs cannot be achieved without a good background training of the citizenry on business studies. A preliminary survey of students academic performances in Junior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (JSSCE) in business studies over two different periods of time (before and after the introduction of computers in the school) shows contradictory results that calls for investigation. For instance, before the introduction of ICT-based Computer Assisted Instruction in the selected schools within the Uyo metropolis, preliminary investigation shows that the percentage of students that obtained credit pass and above was consistently lower than the percentage of students that fail in business studies every year. However, in the periods after the introduction of computer studies and Computer Assisted Instruction in these schools; there has been a very remarkable and upward improvements in the performances of the students in business studies and other subjects. The sudden turn-around in the fortunes of the students has been variously attributed to the introduction of modern Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and a consequent abandon of the traditional and conventional black-board and chalk method of teaching. In amidst of this claim, this study is set-out to inquire into the impact of ICT on Business Studies performance in JSSCE in Junior Secondary Schools in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. In doing this, the study aimed to look at the effect of ICT-based Computer Assisted Instruction facilities on the academic performance of both male and female students in JSSCE