THE ROLE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) AS A CHANGE AGENT FOR QUALITY EDUCATION IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN NIGERIA


 


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study                             

 Education is the engine of social and economic change. It is a continuous process of formation and modification of an individual's behaviors for adequate adjustments in society. According to Akubue and Okolo, (2008), education is a process of acculturation through which the individual is helped to support the development of his potentialities, and maximum activation when necessary, thus achieving self-fulfillment. The importance of education is undeniable for every person, as it is a self-enlightening process, which provides us with knowledge about the world, paves the way for a good career, helps build character, lays the foundation for a stronger nation and crucial for the overall development of an individual and society in general (Itedjere, 1997; Whawo, 1997).

Quality assurance in the education system is a concept consisting of many activities that are designed to improve the quality of inputs, processes and results of the education system (Okebukola, 2012), quality assurance in the education system involves the process of monitoring, evaluation and evaluation of all aspects of educational activities and quality assurance in education addresses certain issues that improve the quality of education delivery. Yawa cited in Emeruo, 2012 notes quality assurance in education as all proactive measures taken by a country to ensure that the standard of the system remains high enough to produce results set for it. Thus, the quality standard in education is the benchmark that should guide the performance of the education system. Quality assurance in education is actually a process of continuous improvement of the quality of teaching and learning activities.

The Federal Ministry of Education FME, (2009) noted that quality standards in the education system are goals or targets that learners, teachers, staff and school administration aspire to achieve. Quality assurance in the education system is therefore a multidimensional concept involving the different functions and activities of the education system. These functions and activities include research teaching, staff, students, buildings, facilities, ICT equipment and services to the community and the university environment. This is to ensure that at least the minimum academic standard is met and maintained.

However, today in Ondo State, there is general disenchantment and general factors in the quality of the education system as well as in the quality of educational production, similarly Elele, (1983) quoted in Yusuf, (2012) noted that quantitatively, Ondo's public education scene is quite impressive but qualitatively deficient. The challenges facing our education system in the centers of higher education institution on the quality of the delivery of education, almost everything related to education in the higher education institution is in short supply. Quality teachers are in short supply, quality buildings, quality equipment, quality laboratories, good experimental farms and other resources that can lead to quality education are insufficiently provided.

The quality of education is the main factor that determines the value and importance of the system for beneficiaries and society in general. Thus, Igwe, (2009) notes that the promises of information and communication technologies (ICTs) have driven e-learning into the transformation of education delivery and thus into the development of the knowledge economy.

The knowledge economy, for example, opens a new stage for education and new challenges and opportunities for education are a prerequisite for the knowledge economy and the production and use of new knowledge requires a more educated population and workforce (Arikewuyo, 2004). ICTs are a very powerful tool for disseminating knowledge and information that are fundamental aspects of the educational process.

ICTs play an educational role that could in principle complement traditional practices in the education sector (Igwe, 2009). Undoubtedly, e-learning fueled by the use of ICT in higher education institutions could contribute to expanding and expanding access to higher education and learning, improving the quality of education and reducing the cost of education. This means that the effective use of ICT in Ondo's public tertiary institutions could contribute to achieving positive results by improving the overall learning and teaching experience as well as improving the quality of the system.

The pervasive influence of ICTs has led to rapid technological, social, political and economic transformation, which has paved the way for a networked society organized around ICTs. The field of education was affected by the penetrating influence of information and communication technologies. However, ICTs have greatly contributed to the quality and quantity of teaching, learning and research in traditional and distance education. ICTs improve teaching and learning through their dynamic, interactive and engaging content and offer real opportunities for individualization of teaching. Information and communication technologies have the potential to accelerate, enrich and deepen skills, motivate and engage students ' learning, help connect school experience with professional practice, help create economic viability for tomorrow's workers; contribute to the total development of the institution and its workforce.; strengthen teaching and learning and provide opportunities for connection between school and the world (Davis and Tearle, 2009).

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become, in a very short time, one of the fundamental elements of modern society. ICTs have succeeded in changing social, economic and political spaces globally. Thanks to globalization, ICTs have reduced the world to a global village. Globalization has assumed a cyclopean force leading human civilization through the skin. In this case, mobile phones, laptops, tablets, iPads, Internet services and other ICT tools/services are no longer high-end goods affordable only by the elite of society. In Ondo State and other African countries, mobile phones and new technologies such as iPads, laptops and tablets are now being used by low-income people, even street beggars clutching their mobile phones (Imhonopi and Urim, 2013).

ICT as an agent of change has practically spread across all sectors, forcing technological change and creating a culture of dependence on technology. The presence of ICTs has become ubiquitous and its knowledge has deepened. Many countries now see understanding ICT and mastering their basic skills and concepts as part of the core of education, alongside reading, writing and numeracy. ICTs have also permeated the business environment, supported the success of modern enterprises, strengthened value chains and provided governments with an effective infrastructure for e-governance and the e-citizen interface. In addition, ICT must add value to learning processes and organize and manage educational institutions in all areas. ICT would have played a big role in redefining education across the continuum (from the core to the periphery). It has brought massive regeneration and revitalization to teaching, research and learning and improved the teacher-student interface by creating multiple channels of interaction (UNESCO, 2002).

This research would therefore help to explore how information and communication technologies (ICTs) serve as an agent of change for quality education in tertiary institutions of the state.

Statement of the Problem

As Ondo State higher institution is striving hard to play a leadership role in Nigeria, particularly in the period of practical and competitive science and technology; there is avital need to pay more prominent attention to the improvement of teaching and learning particularly in Ondo State tertiary institutions. This entails the embracing of information, communication technology (ICT) in the institutions. The ICT is an invaluable intervention of this modern time. Its inherent attributes such as accuracy, high speed performance, dependability and capability to store very large amount of data have made it possible for its applicability to all human endeavours including teaching, learning and research in educational institutions.

However, ICT plays a scholastic role that could in principle complement the traditional practices of the education sector, which has not been effectively use as a change agent for quality education in Ondo State due to some constraints. The problem is with the quality education in tertiary institutions inOndo State, the researcher want to use ICTs as a change agent to facilitate the problem by causing a change.

          Despite the aforementioned role and benefits accrued to learners and the concerted efforts made by the Government to provide training for lecturers on the utilization of ICT related resources in teaching, the researcher, through observation and personal interaction with lecturers of tertiary institution inOndo State has noted with disappointment that ICT resources are still grossly underutilized in tertiary institutions inOndo State. This has no doubt deprived students of the benefits of learning with ICT resources, as experienced in other parts of the world. The foregoing problems prompted the researcher to carry out this research in order to identify the missing link with the aim of proffering possible ICT solutions as a change agent for quality education in tertiary institutions in Ondo State.

Purpose of the Study

The study has the following objectives, to:

(i)          Identify Information, Communication Technology in performing its lofty role as a change agent for quality education in tertiary institutions in Ondo State.

(ii)       Examine the constraints to effective utilization of Information, Communication Technology as a change agent for quality education in tertiary institutionsin Ondo State.

(iii)     Examine the solution to the constraints of ineffective use of Information, Communication Technology as a change agent for quality education in tertiary institutions inOndo State.

 


Research Questions

Three research questions are set to answer in this study, they are:

1.                 Will ICT serve any role in ensuring a change in the quality of education in Ondo State tertiary institutions?

2.                 What are the constraints to effective utilization of Information, Communication Technology as a change agent for quality education in tertiary institutions inOndo State?

3.                 What are the solutions to the constraints of ineffective utilization of Information, Communication Technology as a change agent for quality education in tertiary institutions inOndo State

 

Scope of the Study

This study is to determine how Information, Communication Technology serves as a change agent for quality education in tertiary institutions in OndoState;three tertiary institutions are selected for this study; AdekunleAjasin University, AkungbaAkoko, Ondo State. Adeyemi College of EducationOndo Town,Ondo State.Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo,Ondo State.

Significance of the Study

The outcome of this study would help the students and lecturers, of the tertiary institutions to acknowledge how Information, Communication Technology can be utilized to enhance various changes in the contents, methods and overall quality of teaching and learning thereby ensuring constructivist inquiry-oriented classroom

                 The outcome of the study would also help tertiary institutions management and lecturers to see the benefits of utilizing ICT resources in teaching and learning, and its impact on learner’s achievement so that they can be effectively committed to its usage.

Furthermore, it will enlighten the government and institutions on the importance of frequently organizing ICT training workshops and seminars for teaching staff so as to increase their mastery level, update their skills and boost their confidence. This study is also set to critically examine the role of ICT as a change agent for quality education in tertiary institutions development inOndo State.

Definition of Terms

ICT: acronym for Information Communication Technology is a technological device used in passing and receiving information and used to enhance communication. This devices include; computer, radio, telephone, television etc.

Tertiary Education: this refers to any type of education pursued beyond the high school level. This includes diplomas, undergraduate and graduate certificate, and associates, masters and doctoral degrees.

Quality Education: this is one that provides all learners with capabilities they require to become economically productive, develop sustainable livelihoods, contribute to peaceful and democratic societies and enhance individual well-being.

Teaching and Learning: this is the process of attending to people’s needs and experiences and feelings and making specific interventions to help them learn particular things.

Change Agent: is a person or something that helps the effectiveness, improvement, or development in the way things are done.

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