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Keywords: EXTENT OF COMPUTERIZATION OF ACADEMIC RECORDS IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background of the Study
Human civilization has so far witnessed three stages of development in history. Firstly, there was agricultural revolution, then industrial revolution and now information and communication technology (ICT). The advent of information and communication technology otherwise called computerization is as a result of man’s early attempt to device easy means of solving practical problems. For instance, man started solving some calculations by using stones, ropes, knots, cowries, pebbles, sticks and marks until the introduction of abacus, 2500 years ago (Ehiamatalor, Osu-Nwufo, Yahaya and Oladunjoye, 2010).
According to them, abacus was the beginning of a good effort towards the production of mechanical instrument for calculation. Abacus is defined as a frame bearing parallel wires that was used for counting. With that development, Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher and mathematician invented and produced the first mechanical adding and subtracting machine. This was improved upon by Goffried Leibnitz, a German who improved the former to multiply and divide along with adding and subtracting capabilities.
In the course of that, Charles Babbage an English man advanced further the state of computation by inventing a machine for entering figures and doing calculation in an automatic sequence. Thereafter, an American statistician, Herman Hallerith used that invention of Babbage to produce statistical calculation and tabulation machine which helped the United State bureau of census to produce the census figures earlier than expected. His success motivated him to form the international business corporation (IBM) which is the leading companies in the world today in computer production and marketing (Ehiamatalor, Osu-Nwufor, Makari-Yahaya and Oladunjoye, 2011).
Graham (2010) defines computer as an electronic gadget that stores and process information under the control of a set of steps by step instructions called programs. Microsoft Encanta encyclopedia (2010) defines computer as an electronic device that can receive a set of instructions or program and carry out this program by performing calculation on numerical data or manipulation of the forms of information. A computer cannot carry out a task until it has been provided with appropriate program otherwise known as software, while the physical equipment is the hardware, the combination of software and hardware is the computer system. Computer era, as it is known today and began in 1939 when Atanasoff Bery computer ABC computer was manufactured by John U. Atanasott, a mathematics professor. When he required to perform some mathematical operation for 20 masters and doctorates students. Hence, the ABC computer was modified by a number of people to produce what we have today in revolutionarizing our economy.
According to O’Brien (2009) computerization is to furnish with a computer or computer system, that is to enter, process, or store (information) in a computer or system of computers. American Heritage Dictionary of English Language, fifth edition Copyright (2011) define computerization as the control processes by computer, that is the fact of implementing the control of equipment with advanced technology, usually involving electronic hardware, automation replaces human workers by machines.
Koontz (2010) defines computerization as involves the process of taking activities or tasks not previously done on the computer and shifting them to being done on the computer from the keeping of students academic records on paper to keeping of students academic records in the computer is an example of computerization.
Over the years, the official form of record keeping, storage, retrieval and utilization in schools were done manually. According to Ajaija (2009), Schools records are books and files containing information on pupils/students, school personnel, and programmes. Such records are usually kept in the school’s office with the head teacher, the class teacher, counselors or the administrative staff. However, it is the responsibility of the heads to ensure that vital school records are adequately kept.
Emanson (2010) defines records as the documents in whatever medium received or created by an organization in the course of business because of information contained. Folorunsho (2009) defines records as a collection of related items or data treated as a unit while data are facts or figure from which conclusion can be referred. O’Brian (2009) posits that records can be described as logical collection of data. UNESCO (2008) explains that such data could be statistics, or alpha-numeric quantities. These shows that records are important collection of facts from which inferences can be drawn. In any case, education institutions are general centers for data generation and by extension, records keeping (Nwankwo, 2008). Fabumi (2009) supports that secondary schools programme have become extremely complex to the past few years and it has become a recurrent issues for academic records to be irretrievable when requested. According to Fabumi (2009) the reason for this is seen from the point of manual methods of academic records keeping.
Emerson (2010) opines that academic records keeping is the art of storing information which by educational law must be kept by every educational institutions at all levels for effective and smooth running of the school administration Shehu (2009), indentifies manual academic records keeping methods to introduce paper, files/ shelves/cupboards cabinets/drawers. Ajaiji (2009) stated that academic records gives details about students, staff and events in the schools, Such academic records if made available and put to use at the appropriate time will enable both principals of secondary schools and teaching staff to know something about the students and through this, will be in a better position to assist the students academically, morally and socially. Also, with appropriate record in place, the school managers will be able to present the information to whoever may need it. As observed by Ikem and Ajala in Nwanawezi and Isifeh-Okpokwu (2009), it is very obvious that in secondary schools manual academic records management has been characterized by a lot of problems such as lack of skills in keeping academic records and interpretation of scores from assessments instrument by the teachers, lack of skills in recording and preparation of academic reports by database administrators and lack of proper academic records keeping and easy retrieval on time by the database administrator.
In the light of these principals, Omenyi (2010) observed that teaching personnel’s, administrative officers and school cashiers are faced with the tedious task of keeping the statutory school academic records such as: Admission records, Continuous Assessment records, annual reports, lesson notes/dairies, scheme of works and attendance records.
Saylor and Alexander in Onwuka (2009) defined academic records as a record that is responsible for determining students’ eligibility for admission to and graduation from the school. This records help in student registration and is dedicated to providing services to prospective, new, current and former students in the areas of admission, registration, graduation, transcripts and record maintenance. Admission record according to them is statutory record that contains the details information about every child admitted in the school.
Continuous Assessment is the art of appraisal (Houghton, 2008). It is also defined by Agbulu (2010), as a record that indicate how students are examined continuously over most of the duration of their education, the results of which are taken into account after leaving school. It is often proposed or used as alternative to a final examination system. Continuous assessment is used for the calculation of marks in school, example test marks, home work, term paper, marks. In other words you will be assessed right through your learning process and not only after the learning process. By doing continuous assessment you even track the improvement (if any) of the learner, you will be able to give more support and guidance, and the learner will have more opportunities to improve.
Akudolu (2008) defined annual report as a summary of the happenings, results and plans for the year past. All public schools must produce an Annual Report’s, Principals are required to certify that information in the report is the result of a rigorous school self-evaluation process and is a balance and genuine account of the school’s achievements and area for development. The Report is mailed to all parents/guidance of students in the school.
According to Universal Primary Education Board (2008) Lesson Note is step by step guide into a specific lesson made by the teacher before the lesson. It can also contain important information about the expected outcome of the lesson, the sources of information and student’s data. A well written lesson note defines the context of the topics in a particular subject and helps the teacher to focus on the subject curriculum. It is important also for the student because the teacher through his or her lesson notes can be supervise by the school authority or special education authority that oversees the standard of learning in every school.
Akubue (2009) defined Scheme of Work as a guideline that defines the structure and content of a course. It maps out clearly how resources (e.g. books, equipment, time) and class activities (e.g. teacher-task, group work, practical discussions) and assessment strategies (e.g. test, quizzes, and homework) will be used to ensure that the learning aims and objectives of the course are met, successfully. It will normally include times and date. The scheme of work is usually an interpretation of a specification or syllabus and can be used as a guide throughout the course to monitor progress against the original plan. Schemes of work can be shared with students so that they have an overview of their course.
According to Popoola (2009) attendance records is the records that checks student’s regularities to classes, and records tardies, unexcused absences etc. A student is considered to be in attendance at school when involved in an offsite curriculum program or other activities organized by the school (for example an excursion or camp), or when the student is engaged in a re-engagement program or another school part time to make up full time attendance and the school or setting have agreed the time fractions.
It is imperative for them to adopts computerized system of record keeping to keep improve academic performance when needed using information and communication technology (ICT) facilities.
According to O’Brian (2009) information and communication technology has revolutionalized the way academic records are kept nowadays, most institutions now prefer to store their academic records electronically in computers from where hard copies of reports can be generated and printed whenever it is needed. Most schools in Europe and the United States have adopted the system of computerizing school academic records, but in Africa, only very few schools have partially computerized their records. Records stored includes standardized test scores, high school transcript, report cards, recommendations from principals, counselors and teachers, extra-curricular involvement and detention records. The platform for this innovation in academic record-keeping is ICT. ICT is a general term referring to technologies that are used for collecting, storing, editing and passing on information in various electronic form. ICT is the product of the marriage between computer technology (essentially for information acquisition, storage and processing) and telecommunication technology (for information distribution electronically). Hence computer + Telecommunication = Information Communication Technology (ICT), (Olakulehim, 2009). ICTs evolved as components of computing technology which also comprises of computer science, electronic technology and information system (Bangkok, 2008).
According to Achuonye (2005), computerization of school academic records has the potentials to radically change and improve the educational process in our schools because education is primarily about information and communication. An also the use of ICTs in academic record-keeping could be more efficient, less labouring and more accurate way of doing same old job.
The national policy for information technology (2010) defines information technology as computer, auxiliary equipment, software and firm ware (Hardware), procedures, services and related resources. The document further described information and communication technology as any equipment or interconnected system of equipment that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, control display, switching and transmission of information. While Olurundare (2008) conceptualizes information and communication technology as communication in whatever forms used, accessed, relayed and transmitted communication or sent and received information. Information and communication technology because of its relevance to teachers in the implementation of school curriculum and administrative tasks, Comu (2008), Joessen and Reeves (2009), Olorundare (2008) argue that teachers should be adequately prepared, trained and equipped with relevant information and communication technology tools/skills such as computer mediated communication, internet, electronic publishing, video conferencing, multi-media and many others.
School Management Information System (SMIS) is a computerized database generated from and used to manage an enterprise. MIS was first developed for use in businesses but over the years has been acceptable in other areas such as the educational system. MIS can be used at different levels of operation in an organization to collect, process and store data. Large quantities of data can be processed quickly with the aid of computer converting data to information. Raw data entered into the computer can be translated into an output in form of information to help administrators in decision making (O’Brien, 2005).
O’Brien (2008) present that most SMIS are designed for specific aspects of enterprise and they are designed to produce scheduled academic reports based on data from the database. Due to the availability of employee and other academic records the school can keep track of their student’s performance and know where improvement is required. According to him SMIS can be applied in the education/school system as Education Management Information System (EMIS) or School Management Information System (SMIS). This is a tool for schools management and administration and can include teaching and learning. School Management Information System involves creating large database which is used for running the day to day activities of the school. All information about the school including student records, personnel records, financial record, teaching and learning materials, infrastructure which has been mentioned earlier are stored electronically in such a way that different authorized users have access to the information. Thus it easy to exchange information within the school, generate reports to be sent outside the school and facilitate decision making. Tanner (2009) confirm that SMIS can be configured to serve the individual schools using Local Area Network (LAN) or connected to a pubic server so that it can be accessed from outside the schools where it is made public any staff with internet can connect to SMIS and do their work from any location. Parents and students can check students’ results as well as newsletters and updates. Automated emails and text messages can be sent to parent and guardians when the need arises. Student attendance can be taken and recorded using the school MIS. Other students’ information ranging from the admission status, personal academic records, parent address, phone number and email, continuous assessment records can be recorded and updated electronically. At each point in time finding any student information can be assessed at very short notice and within few minutes rather than hours or days. At the end of the term preparing and producing students’ results also become very easy. Schools can also access books, journals, pictures, videos and other academic materials which are used to enrich students’ learning (Anderson, 2008).
Statement of the Problem
The Government of Akwa Ibom State has made some effort to enhance application of ICT in teaching and learning in Public Secondary Schools especially in Uyo education zone in the State. The state governments also offer training for teachers to enable them effectively use the facilities to familiarize students with the use of computers. However, some of these ICT facilities are provided but the extent of computerization is not known. This has given a lot of concern among the policy makers and experts and has become a bane to National development especially in the education sector of the country
Over the years public Secondary Schools in Akwa Ibom State particularly the Uyo Education zone had been utilizing manual system in keeping academic record of students.
This manual system according to Skyrme (2005) may, however, pose some problems in schools system against school administrative flow for example in record keeping destruction of poorly kept academic records by termite, rain, flood, or storm, corruption of data by human interference, undue access to confidential information, inability or untimely supply of school information to mention but a few
Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of the study is to assess the extent of computerization of academic records in public secondary schools in Uyo education zone specifically, the study will assess the computerization of:
- student admission records in secondary schools.
- students’ continuous assessment records in Secondary Schools.
- students’ annual report in Secondary School.
- lesson notes in Secondary Schools.
- scheme of works in Secondary Schools.
- attendance records in Secondary schools, and
- determine the constrains to the computerization of academic records in Secondary Schools.
Significance of the Study
The study is designed to make information available on the computerization of academic records keeping in public secondary schools.
Therefore, the findings of this study if implemented will be of immense benefit to the students, ex-students, teachers, schools counselors, schools heads, industries, curriculum planner and educational stakeholders. The study will be beneficial to students who will use the information that will be provided. The information will expose them to the concepts of information and communication technology, improve their knowledge of proper personal academic records keeping and student will be able to know their progress report on time. More so, electronic academic records keeping will help ex-students to get reference reports and school’s recommendation for jobs or future studies when need arises.
The findings will be beneficial to teachers as a guide for effective academic records keeping of examination scores and periodic assessment of students, assist in rapid processing of large academic data and information, and storing annual reports. As a result of computerized academic records keeping, teachers and student will be able to assess the internet and download information for academic purposes or research work. To schools counselors the knowledge of academic records keeping will help them to have better knowledge of progress reports and information of each student to enhance counseling and decision making. Knowledge of academic records keeping will guide them in handling large quantity of data and also retrieve them on time when need arises. The study will be beneficial to school heads. For instance, the principal and vice principal will assuage the problems of document being destroyed by flood, termites or improper filing. Using computerized system of academic records keeping, the incidence of corruption of data and assaults by human interference on paper will be over because of security code. The school heads will be able to supervise the school academic records. Industries, associations and other organizations will have online access to stored information as a result of the new technology in academic records keeping. School administrative tasks will be made simple while statutory academic records in schools will be properly handled by qualify capable and experienced personnel. The findings of the study will benefits the curriculum planners and evaluators to up-date and make innovations using the internet facilities as to meet up with global standard. The study will also be beneficial to parent. They will access their student academic report without them being in the school or going to the school. Lastly, educational stakeholders, business partners and organizations will also benefit from the study through the knowledge of the new technology to improve on their academic records keeping facilities which can ensure proper storage of academic records and easy mode of retrieval.
The following research questions based on the specific purpose will help to address the problems:
- To what extent is students’ admission records in Secondary Schools computerized?
- To what extent is students’ continuous assessment records in Secondary Schools computerized?
- To what extent is student annual report in Secondary Schools computerized?
- To what extent is preparation of lesson Notes in Secondary Schools computerized?
- To what extent is preparation of Scheme of work in Secondary schools computerized?
- To what extent is attendance records in Secondary schools computerized?
- What are the constraints to the computerization of academic records of students in Secondary schools?
The following null hypothesis were formulated to guides the study and will be tested at 0.05 level of significance.
HO1: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of teachers in rural and urban public Secondary Schools in Uyo on the extent of computerization of student’s admission records in Secondary Schools.
HO2: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of teachers in rural and urban public Secondary Schools in Uyo on the extent of computerization of student continuous assessment records in Secondary Schools.
HO3: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of teachers in rural and urban public Secondary Schools in Uyo on the extent of computerization of student annual report in Secondary Schools.
HO4: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of teachers in rural and urban public Secondary Schools in Uyo on the extent of computerization of lesson notes preparation in Secondary Schools.
. HO5: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of teachers in rural and urban public Secondary Schools in Uyo on the extent of computerization of scheme of work preparation in Secondary Schools..
HO6: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of teachers in rural and urban public Secondary Schools in Uyo on the extent of computerization of attendance records in Secondary Schools.
HO7: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of teachers in rural and urban public Secondary Schools in Uyo on the extent of computerization of academic records of students in Secondary Schools.
Scope of the Study
The study will be restricted to the 13 public secondary schools in Uyo education zone in Akwa Ibom State. Both male and female teachers and ICT personnel in the 13 public secondary schools in Uyo education zone will be studied. Also, the study will be restricted to the computerization of students academic records such as admission records, continuous assessment records, annual report, preparation of lesson note, preparation of scheme of work, attendance records and their constrains.
Keywords: EXTENT OF COMPUTERIZATION OF ACADEMIC RECORDS IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS
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