INVESTIGATION ON TEACHERS’ PERCEPTION ON THE INCLUSION OF COMPUTER SCIENCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOL CURRICULUM
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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Computer has a long history of existence. Today computer technology has undergone series of transformations. According to kremer (2005) computer is an electronic machine that operates with remarkable speed and reliability. Although initially, many believe it was impossible that computer could be a scientific field of study, in the late fifties it gradually became accepted among the greater academic population. Computer science which is the science that deals with the theory and method of processing information in digits. Computer has become a rapidly growing discipline as the technological age advances. Computer science could also be understood as the blending of principles, theories and applications of technologies that underlies the access of information. The information that the computer scientist uncovers, processes, stores and communicates is often encoded in a computer memory.
From the above explanations, it could be deduced that computer science is wholly referring to the science of computing which is the use of computer to processe data or perform calculations. Computers have virtually touched nearly every aspect of human endeavor. Computer is an electronic device which accepts data as an input processes, it stores and gives out information as output. It is a machine which can hold vast quantities of information and accurately stores information for future use.
Kremer (2008) defined computer as electronic machine that operate with remarkable speed and reliability. A micro processor “brain” and electronic memory work together to enable the computer processes data. Why was the computer invented should be the next question that comes to mind? Computers were invented to solve many mathematical problems in the early stage. But today, computers have gone beyond that and there is hardly any area of life where computer cannot be applied. In a rapidly changing world, basic education is essential for an individual to be able to access and apply information. Such ability must include the adequate use of computer. The Economic Commission for Africa has indicated that the ability to use computer in accessing information is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for development. Unfortunately, many developing countries especially in Africa are still low in computer application and use (Aduwa, 2005).
Evoh (2007) emphasized that secondary school or secondary education is essential for the creation of effective human capital in any country. The need for the inclusion of computer science in the education curriculum of the Nigerian secondary schools cannot be overemphasized. In this technology-driven age, every one requires ICT competence to survive (Adom & Anie 2006). This calls for early acquisition of computer skills by students.
Oduroye (2002) emphasized the increase in demand for computer literacy in Nigeria. This is because; employees realize that computer and other ICT facilities can enhance efficiency, on the other hand, employees have also realized that computers can be a threat to their jobs, and the only way to enhance job security is to become computer literacy. Teaching and learning these skills is a concern among professionals.
There are development in the Nigeria education sector, which indicates some level of computer application in the secondary schools. The Federal Government of Nigeria in the National Policy on Education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004) recognizes the prominent role of computers in the modern world, and has integrated computer science and science into education in Nigeria. To actualize this goal, the document states that government will provide basic infrastructure and training in the primary school, secondary schools, it is also the intention of government to provide necessary infrastructure and training for the integration of computer science in the secondary school system.
Education can be described as a process by which people are prepared and trained to live and function effectively, efficiently and productively in and around their environments (Ukeje In:Metiboba, 2006).
The growing stage of youngsters is that particular period of time that provides them with the opportunity to develop the principles of life, makes career decisions and begins the pursuit of one’s goals. Thus education is an important tools for the youths. Education should include that kind of training that will empower the youths for productivity and resourcefulness.
The main motto of education is to provide knowledge, make every one aware about of conduct and gain technical competency. Education helps in the development of an individual, physically, mentally and socially. The importance of education particularly secondary school education to youths is that it helps prepare them for greater responsibility. Thus secondary school education should help the youngsters to define their career objectives, make them capable of deciding as to what they want from life, and enable them make progress in their fields of interest; computer education will go a long way in helping them realize this dream.
Furthermore, the Nigeria secondary school education should be geared up with ample amount of training that should allow beneficiaries to aim at a particular skills acquisition; this emphasizes the teachers’ perception on the inclusion of computer science in secondary school curriculum. Computer technology has gain recognition world wide whether it is being used for financing, chatting, emailing etc; that is why it is always said that computer education is a must since almost every activity is computer driven and one cannot make progress as far as one’s career options are concerned except it is matched with the knowledge of computer and/or computing technology. Thus the study of computer as a subject in secondary schools is crucial because at this stage, education is central and critical to the child’s future development.
There is clear and widespread agreement among the public and educators that all students need to be proficient computer users or “computer literate.” However, while districts are spending a great deal of money on technology, there seems to be only a vague notion of what computer literacy really means. For instance, can the student who operates a computer well enough to play a game, send e-mail or surf the Web be considered computer literate? Or will a student who uses computers in school only for running tutorials or an integrated learning system have the skills necessary to survive in our society? Will the ability to do basic word processing be sufficient for students entering the workplace or post-secondary education? Clearly not. In too many schools, teachers and students still use computers only as the equivalent of expensive flash cards, electronic worksheets, or as little more than a typewriter. The productivity side of computer use in the general content area curriculum is neglected or grossly underdeveloped (Moursund, 1995;Eisenberg and Johnson, 2006).
Computer literacy does not only imply ability to operate computers, but also use it as a tool for organization, communication, research, and problem solving. This suggests a quick shift from approach and emphasis on theory to practice. Today in numerous educational and training sessions, interactive computer programmes are used to teach young students and adults computer literacy skills (Ogunkola, 2008).
Computer science as a subject in secondary school education curriculum is to familiarize learners with the use of computer system, and related social and ethical issues. It gives users the opportunity to handle texts, images, figure, music, sound, video etc, to process data by analyzing, organizing, storing, retrieving, presenting and communicating. Many countries are reevaluating their education systems in order to incorporate ICT to bring the next generation up in international standard. Kozma (Kozma, 2011) pointed out that application of computer is making dramatic changes in economic and social development around the world.
Technology has changed teaching and learning in many ways and will continue to change the education systems throughout the world. Countries around the globe have established groups in computer education in order to catch up with the increasing pace in technological advancement. According to IFIP-UNESCO (IFIP-Unesco, 2006), computer science is such an important subject that helps the industrial and commercial growth of a country. ICT can improve the process of designing, delivering, marking, and grading of examination results. Therefore, investment in the equipment, teacher training, and support services should rank higher in government priorities. For Nigeria, a developing country to meet up with this increasing pace, computer education should gain its ground in secondary school curriculum. This will enable the next generation to catch up with the pace. One of the objectives of National Computer Policy (NCCE, 1988) is to use IT for education and that education starts at secondary school level where students are able to understand the needs to acquire such knowledge. It is unfortunate that the policy formulated since 1988 has still not taken full effect. Looking at the present education curriculum would reveal some problems associated with the implementation of ICT in the curriculum.
Computer education was introduced into the Nigerian education system in the late 1980’s, specifically based on the recommendations of the 32nd ministerial council meeting of the National Council on Education in 1987. The pilot scheme for the programme started with federal government colleges (Unity schools) and the Armed Forces Secondary Schools in 1988. Training programmes were also conducted for 197 teachers from the schools in a pilot study (Yoloye, 1990)
Computer education was introduced to bring Nigerian Children in contact with computer, so that they could use it, appreciate its potentials, understand how it works and learn to apply the knowledge and skills to solve emerging problems (Aminu, 2002).
The main purpose of teaching and learning is to develop the ability to solve a wide variety of complex human problems. Problem solving is therefore one of the characteristics of human being and an important way of developing knowledge (Reed & Philips, 2002). However, the process of problem solving in school subject has not been given the proper recognition, probably due to the fact that teachers themselves are not comfortable with problem solving. As a result, teachers do not teach the process and technique of problem solving as an integral part of school subjects (Rosen, 1999).
Inclusion of computer science into the secondary school programmes can help students to access, select and interpret information, recognize patterns, relationships and behavior model and hypothesize.
Computer science also enables students to test reliability and accuracy, review and modify their work to improve the quality; communicate with others and improve efficiency, be creative and take risks and gain confidence and independence (Dreyfus, 2001).
The inclusion of computer science would also have impact on how students learn school subjects because it can enable students to experiment and learn from feedback, think logically and develop problem-solving skills; observe, explore and explain patterns in number, shape and data, make and test hypotheses and predictions which can be based on large amounts of data. The influence of computer machines on the teaching and learning of school subjects would also enable students to make generalizations that can be based on experimental evidence and develop vocabulary and Language (Briggs 2002).
The Inclusion of Computer science in Secondary School among other things will expose its usefulness in many areas like computer awareness, computer appreciation, basic computer operations and concepts, computer application, computer ethics and human issues, information age, information communication technology, computer problem solving skills, computer application package and many more (Simonsori 1998).
Adenike (1996) states that the inclusion of computer science in secondary school curriculum will make the youth to be exposed to I.T Education early in life and also position the children for this Information Technology (I.T) era. I.T experts were worried by the low rate of computer education diffusion among children in Secondary Schools, saying that something has to be done immediately to save the system from eventual collapse. The initiative, which is similar to Computer – In – School Initiative (CISI) propagated by Chris Uwaye which was the former President of Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), when fully implemented, would make I.T education a compulsory subject like English and Mathematics as obtained in other developed economics of the world.
According to Adeyemi (1994) we are living in the age of automation and application of the automated technology. The introduction of computer to all aspect of life has made literacy about computer essential for all secondary school levels.
Eskert (1992) affirmed that if computer should be used in Nigerian Schools as they would eventually be, teachers must become computer literate before they can use computer(s) in their instruction.
Computer literate teacher must possess the following knowledge and skills;
1. They must know the use and limitation of computer in the classroom.
2. The teacher should know the basic operational scheme of a computer.
3. The teacher should be able to read and write simple programme.
4. The teacher must be able to operate at least a micro-computer.
5. The teacher should be able to discuss the importance of computer, citing its use(s) in the homes, in business and in Education.
1. 2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Despite the importance of computer in our education system and nation in general, many factors however has hindered the growth and adoption of computer science in Nigerian secondary schools. Such factors range from lack of interest in computer science on the part of the students to lack of dedication on the part of the teachers. The task we have today in a developing country like ours (Nigeria) is to find a way of tackling the present factors that hinder the full implementation of teaching computer science. It is also noted that inclusion of computer science in secondary school curriculums impact wrong knowledge to the students in many ways, an example is students watching porn movies with the computer system. All these prompted the need to investigate teachers’ perception on the inclusion of computer science in Secondary school Curriculum
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this research is to critically investigate teachers’ perception on the inclusion of computer science in Secondary school Curriculum, in Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State, Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions are answered in the research study:
1. Is there any significant difference between the perception of (male and female) teachers’ on the inclusion of computer science in the secondary school curriculum?
2. Is there any significant difference between the perception of science based and non-science based teachers on the inclusion of computer science in Secondary School Curriculum?
3. Is there any significant relationship between the allocated period and effective teaching and learning of computer science in Secondary Schools?
4. Is there any significant relationship between availability of computers and effective teaching and learning of computer science in Secondary Schools?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study shall expand the existing body of knowledge on teachers. Perception of the Inclusion of Computer science in Secondary School Curriculum. Teachers and Administrators shall be further exposed to the impact of Computer science in (Nigerian) Secondary Schools.
Government, Ministries, Publishers and other Curriculum developers shall be briefed on teachers’ perception on the Inclusion of Computer science in Secondary Schools. Students’ understanding of the concept, history and relevance of Computers is enhanced in the study. Furthermore, the research study shall provide a useful guide to researchers who would investigate into related study.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research study investigates into teachers’ perception on the Inclusion of Computer science in the Secondary School Curriculum.
The study is limited to the stated research hypothesis, male and female secondary school teachers in Ijebu North Local Government Area. One hundred teachers of different age, sex religious, qualification and specialization are considered for the study.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Computer: A computer is an electronic machine that accepts information, stores it until the information is needed, processes the information according to the instructions provided by the user, and finally returns the results to the user.
Computer science: Teaching and Learning of the usage, application and maintenance of computer.
Inclusion: integration of computer science into school time table as teaching subject.
Teachers’ Perception: The opinion or view of Secondary School teachers towards the inclusion of Computer science in school curriculum.
Curriculum: program of study in the school system (which is channeled to guide the students learning outcome). Such as teaching subjects.
Hardware: This refers to the physical units on machines (computer) which make up the computer configuration.
Software: This is the term used for all sorts of program that run on the hardware system of a computer.
Secondary School:- is a school which provide secondary education, for students between the ages of 11 and 16 or 11 and 19, after primary school and before higher education.
Education:- The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.