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Computer Education in Nigerian Secondary Schools: Gaps Between Policy and Practice

Philip Olu Jegede and Josiah Abiodun Owolabi

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Research question 3: How available and competent are the teachers compared to policy expectations?

The policy dictates that three teachers be selected from each of the pilot schools to be trained as the computer teaching personnel. These teachers should preferably come from mathematics, physics or chemistry when specialists are not readily available. One of each team of three teachers should be trained as the lead teacher in each school. The government further directs that qualified graduates in computer education should be employed in the schools when possible. Table 3a indicates the teacher qualifications that were observed.

Table 3a: Computer Teachers’ Qualifications

Qualification Number Percentages
Private
Public
Total
Private
Public
Total
Computer Graduates
3
9
12
11
33
22
Computer with Education
Graduates
3
6
9
11
22
17
National Certificate in Education (N.C.E.)
3
2
5
11
8
9
Degrees in Allied Courses
14
10
24
42
37
44
Others (i.e. OND/HND)
4
0
4
15
0
7
Total
27
27
54
90
100
100


Twenty two percent (22%) of the teachers have no teaching qualifications. The Computer with Education Graduates are mainly those that have an education degree in other subject areas but a postgraduate diploma in Computer Science. They constituted 17% of the computer teaching force. Holders of a National Certificate in Education (N.C.E.) constituted the least while holders of degrees in allied courses such as mathematics, physics, physics education, mathematics education, economics and geography constituted the majority of the computer teachers. Around 17% of teachers observed were truly qualified computer education teachers.

Teachers of computer education are expected to be proficient in LOGO and BASIC as these are the programming languages stipulated by the policy. The number of teachers indicating proficiency in these languages is stated in Table 3b.

Table 3b: Computer Teachers’ Programming Language Proficiency

Programming Language Number Percentages
Private
Public
Total
Private
Public
Total
BASIC
26
24
51
96
83
89
LOGO
0
5
5
0
17
9
None
1
0
1
4
0
2
Total
27
30
57
100
100

100


The majority of the teachers, whether private or public, are proficient in BASIC programming. Very few teachers are proficient in LOGO programming.

Research Question 4: What type of teacher development and training is available as compared to policy provisions?

The policy views logistics for training from two perspectives. First, the initial basic training for teachers in pilot schools for the computer education take-off, which was held between October 25th and December16th 1988, at the National Teachers' Institute in Kaduna. The second is a refresher or improvement course for computer teachers in schools. Less than 30% of the observed teachers admitted having any in-service training. Around 75% of the observed teachers in public schools and 66% of the observed teachers in private schools expressed that they have had no in-service training in computer education. Also, the in-service training promised by the policy for all federal unity schools teachers on computer-aided instruction was never held.

Research Question 5: To what extent are hardware maintenance, educational software, and curriculum issues consistent with the policy?

The policy provides for routine minor repairs and maintenance to be carried out by a limited number of computer teachers on the computers. It further provides for maintenance work to be carried out by technicians, giving unity schools regular access to repair services. The policy directs that educational software centers should be used to collect educational software for review and evaluation and to develop educational software. No technical center within the country has been established for service or equipment repair and maintenance. Table 4 shows the regularity of computer maintenance and repair in all the schools.

Table 4: Computer Maintenance in Schools

Computer Maintenance Number Percentages
Private
Public
Total
Private
Public
Total

Regularly maintained
1
10
11
10
100
55
Seldom maintained
8
0
8
80
0
40
Never maintained
1
0
1
10
0
5
Total
10
10
20
100
100

100

Public school computers were hardly ever maintained while the observed private schools reported 100% regular maintenance. Results further show that in the few cases that maintenance was reported by public schools, that teachers were the ones who carried out these repairs the majority of the time (60%), however, sometimes computer firms were used (40%). Computer firms carried out all of the maintenance reported by private schools.

With regard to educational software, no software development or evaluation centre has been established. Computer aided instruction does not happen in any of the public schools but minimally exists in at least 10% of the private schools. Thus little need (if any) is felt to procure any educational software. Even if the need for educational software becomes apparent, inadequate funding becomes a major inhibition.

Up until now, the promised curriculum is yet to be made available to schoolteachers. What is available in schools is the new computer education syllabus for JSS1 to SSS3, which is being limitedly implemented in public schools. The content of the syllabus is however consistent with the policy aims and objectives.

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Meridian: A Middle School Computer Technologies Journal
a service of NC State University, Raleigh, NC
Volume 8, Issue 1, Winter 2005
ISSN 1097 9778
URL: http://www.ncsu.edu/meridian/sum2003/nigeria/3.html
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