SECRETARIAL JOB-TASKS REQUIRED IN MODERN BUSINESS OFFICES AND IMPLICATION ON SECRETARIAL EDUCATION

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Keywords: SECRETARIAL JOB-TASKS REQUIRED IN MODERN BUSINESS OFFICES AND IMPLICATION ON SECRETARIAL EDUCATION


RESEARCH BODY

SECRETARIAL JOB-TASKS REQUIRED IN MODERN BUSINESS OFFICES AND IMPLICATION ON SECRETARIAL EDUCATION

ABSTRACT

The study was carried out to assess Secretarial Job-Tasks Required in Modern Business Offices and Implications in Secretarial Education Curriculum in the North-Central Nigeria.  Descriptive design was adopted for the study, and also four research questions and four null hypotheses were posited.  The population of the Executives and Secretaries in both public and private organizations stood at 2,960 and 4,040, respectively. Proportionate sampling techniques were used in selecting the samples of 148 Executives and 202 Secretaries. Questionnaire was used to collect data. The Bio-data collected were analyzed using simple statistical tools frequencies and percentages.  The null hypotheses 1 was tested using t-test and 2,3and 4 were tested with chi-square statistics at 0.05 level of significance.  Findings among others were: The views of Secretaries and Executives did not differ on the job-tasks required by the secretary, the performance of Secretarial Education Graduates was significantly dependent on the impact of Information Technology, the performance of job-tasks in modern business offices was significantly dependent on the competencies acquired by Secretarial Education Students. Performance of Secretarial Education Students depended on the correction of lapses in the curriculum. It concluded that for Secretarial Education Graduates to cope with the trend of Information Technology, the curriculum of Secretarial Education needed to be revisited to embrace what is required in modern business offices.   In view of the findings and conclusion, the following recommendations were made: there is need for the Federal and State Ministries of Education to provide facilities/equipment for development of

.Information Technology in Institutions of learning so that Secretarial Education Students can be trained and equipped to face the challenges of modern business offices. This can be implemented through the Alumni, and National bodies of Business Education and also through volunteers. Teachers can also improvise the materials needed.  The new nomenclature of Secretarial Education as Office Technology Management (OTM) with their course specification and course titles should be inculcated into the university system in order to have a uniform curriculum. This can be effective through the help of various commissions like National University Commission (NUC) and National Commission for Colleges of Education.

SECRETARIAL JOB-TASKS REQUIRED IN MODERN BUSINESS OFFICES AND IMPLICATION ON SECRETARIAL EDUCATION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

1.2     Statement of the Problem

1.3     Objectives of the Study

1.4     Research Questions-

1.5     Research Hypotheses

1.6     Significance of the Study

1.7Assumptions of the Study

1.8Delimitation of the Study

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

2.1 Theoretical Frame work

2.2 Concept of Business Education

2.3 Historical Development of Secretarial Education

2.4 Concept of Secretarial Education

2.5 Problems of Secretarial Education at all levels

2.6 Secretary: Origin, qualities and functions

2.7 Business Attribute and Functions of a Secretary

2.8 Resources in Secretarial Education

2.9 Funding and Resource Management

2.9.1 Instrumentation and Efficiency Reasons for Funding Secretarial Education

2.9.2Material Resources and Secretarial Education  Programme

2.9.3Specific Instructional Materials needed for effective Secretarial Education

2.10Secretarial Education Curriculum

2.11Innovations in Secretarial Education

2.12Job-tasks required by secretaries The Traditional and Modern Task

2.13Review of Empirical Studies

2.14Summary of the Review of Literature

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY

3.1Research Design

3.2Population of the Study

3.3Sample size and Sampling Procedure

3.4Instrument for Data Collection-

3.4.1.Validity of the Instrument

3.4.2.Pilot Study

3.4.3.Reliability of the Instrument

3.5Procedure for Data Collection

3.6Procedure for Data Analysis

CHAPTER FOUR

PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF DATA

4.1Analysis of Demographic Variables of Respondents

4.2     Analysis of Respondents Answers to  Research Questions

4.2.1Research Question One

4.2.2Research Question Two

4.2.3Research Question Three

4.2.4Research Question Four

4.3Test of Null Hypotheses

4.3.1Null Hypothesis 1

4.3.2Null Hypothesis 2

4.3.3Null Hypothesis 3

4.3.4Null Hypothesis 4

4.4     Summary of Major Findings

4.5     Discussion of Findings

CHAPTER FIVE

SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1     Summary of Major Findings

5.2     Conclusion

5.3     Recommendations

5.4     Limitation of the Study

5.5     Suggestions for Further Study

References

Appendices

SECRETARIAL JOB-TASKS REQUIRED IN MODERN BUSINESS OFFICES AND IMPLICATION ON SECRETARIAL EDUCATION

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1    Background to the Study

Secretarial Education is a tool for alleviating poverty.  This means that a secretarial graduate that is well traipsed, well equipped with technological knowledge could be employed and could also be on his/her own and as well be an employer of labour.  Secretarial Education is useful to modern business offices both private organization, governmental organization and Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) in terms of employment opportunity, job creation and self-reliance. Job-tasks can include many varied duties – like research, typing, producing flyers, filing, transcription, screening telephone calls, appointments, liaising with clients and other staff members, attending meetings, composing of letters, making travel arrangement, supervising, training staff etc.  The major role or tasks the secretary performs is to provide assistance to a manager or managers   (Amoor, 2009).

The Modern Business Office is the office gazetted with information and communication technology devoid of the traditional way or manual way of performing tasks.  In modern world, no business or office can succeed without the Information and Communication Technology.  It makes work to be done faster, clearer, and more accurate than the traditional method of using typewriters, duplicating machine, cutting of stencil, delay in transmission of message, filing in cabinets in terms of storing information etc.  but in modern business office Information and communication Technology had taken over every burden. Changes as a result of offices automation, has brought about new methods in carrying out functions performed by Secretaries in organizations.  At the centre of the new trends in the office are the office information systems and these new trends in technological innovations place greater responsibilities on business educators and secretarial education students.  Secretaries in the organizations of yesterday dealt with papers, worked with manual machines, relied on postal services for external communications and kept the office records in files and cabinets.  Nowadays, secretaries do not deal with papers or carry out their duties manually because all office tasks are handled with electronic and telecommunication gadgets (Ntukidem, 2000).

The aim of educating someone is to develop the desirable qualities in him or her.  Education is a process of enabling individuals to live as useful and acceptable members of the society.  This is why Denga (2001) describes an educated man as a refined gentleman or gentlewoman, socially, morally, intellectually, physically and aesthetically.  For a person to be seen as refined, one needs to demonstrate some basic competencies that would enable him/her function effectively as a producer and consumer of goods and services.  There is no doubt some fundamental societal norms and values are basic requirements for a person to survive in the society.

Therefore, the skills, attitudes and knowledge required to prepare such persons for effective performance in chosen career is education.

A Business Educator has the sole responsibility of producing learning experiences that could be acquired through a sound Business Education Curriculum.  In line with this, Agumuo (1997) says, there is generally increase in complexity and world wide interaction of business, industry and numerous technologies and the changes they have brought have affected the way things are done in the office.  These technologies include the facsimile machines, interactive technologies, Internet, Electronic Mail (e-mail), Voice mail, teleconferencing and other new information systems.  These innovations in office technology have almost completely altered the nature, environment, content, tasks and competencies in Secretarial Education all over the world.

Increasing number of business executives expect their secretaries to function as administrative assistance who can relief them of their numerous routine and specialized tasks.  The secretary has always been a vital link between those who make management– level decisions and those who react and implement the decisions.  Agumuo (1997) also adds that due to the dynamic nature of the office, task of the secretaries has continued to assume added dimension.  Agumuo (1997) observes that for large organization today, the secretary can lend administrative support to Executive by handling long time consuming tasks such as compiling and organizing information for report and long memorandum, maintaining confidentialities, disseminating information relating to administrative policies, researching data for presentation to be given by the executive, composing and dictating certain letters and performing any other duties delegated by management.

Osuala (1998) adds that, most of the activities of the office such as accounting, mail handling, and filing, telephone switching systems, reprographics and others are now performed by self regulating machines.  The secretary controls most of these

machines.  Brussels (2007), states that secretarial task is interesting, challenging and undergoing many changes and the changes have made the secretarial profession even more appealing.  The biggest change of all has been to the name `Secretary’ that secretaries are now becoming more known as “Office Professionals” and this title indicates that the secretary’s role can be expected to include some managerial duties.  These include supervising other office workers or administrative staff or even training staff.

Oyeyiola (2005) points out some of the tasks of a Secretary as : Typing of memorandum, business letters and correspondence of various kind, Handle computer/word processing related activities, Transcribe dictated material into mail-able document, Arrange files and various information into appropriate headings, Manage the boss appointment diary and Act behalf of the boss.

From the above points, it is noted that the traditional tasks performed by the secretaries in the North-Central Nigeria differ from the modern tasks in the same geo political zone.  This therefore, gives the background information in the context of which this study was conducted.

1.2    Statement of the Problem

Office technology and innovation have affected the way things are done in the office.  This means great transformation in the tasks performed by Secretaries in the modern business offices such as:

Communication services, Computer operation, word processing, Database, Excel etc.  There is great concern by Business Educators that the current National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) curriculum and course specifications for Secretarial Education published in 1998 no long meet the needs of the modern business office.  Nwosu (1997) views that within the period of 1990 – 1999, the world has witnessed unprecedented innovations especially in computer, telecommunication and micro graphic.

From observation and interaction of the researcher with some of the Secretaries, it was observed that some of the equipment and machines used in producing documents are obsolete and cumbersome and also not able to meet up with the current challenges in the offices with the global Technology of the 21st Century. Incompetence on the part of Secretarial Education graduates in terms of interview into white collar job.  A Secretarial Education graduates went for an interview at National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT) and could not perform better than students from other institutions because they were practically oriented and more acquainted with the new technologies than those from Business Education in the North Central Nigeria.  Secretarial Education graduates are not conversant with the operation of Internet that is; how to go online and offline and even to send e-mail through their e-mail is difficult except with the help of an expert or operator.

Moreso, from researcher’s interaction with Secretarial Education graduates working in an organization it was found that some of them were not able to operate computer because they were adaptive to the use of typewriter which rendered their service in an organization useless and these made their employer to look for someone who is computer literate and acquainted with the new technologies.  Another problem observed was that Secretarial Education teachers that is, those that found themselves in teaching line were not able to teach computer courses effectively even to operate computer was difficult instead they hired the services of people from other department to take the course or that particular subject.  Browsing on the Internet is part of the new technology or the modern things that is been done in the office today.  A number of educators cannot browse except to go to the Café and look for assistance of the operators there.  Hence there is this problem of incompetence in using and teaching computer courses or subject.  And one of the major problems militating against the Secretarial Education at all levels in the North-Central Nigeria is inadequate manpower.

In line with the stated problems, the researcher deemed it necessary to carry out this study in order to know the actual job tasks the Secretarial Education Students are required to perform in modern business offices.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

The major objective of this study is to investigate/examine the secretarial job-tasks required in modern business offices and implication on Secretarial Education Curriculum in the North-Central

Nigeria

The specific objectives are to:

  1. investigate the job-tasks which are required by the Secretaries in modern business offices in the North-Central Nigeria.
  2. examine the impact of Information Technology on the

performance of Secretarial Education graduates.

  1. examine the competencies required by Secretarial Education graduates in performing job-tasks in modern business offices in the North-Central Nigeria.
  2. investigate the lapses in the current curriculum used in the preparation of Secretarial Education graduates for the job-tasks in modern business offices in the North-Central Nigeria.

1.4     Research Questions

The following research questions were posed for answers with reference to the North-Central Nigeria:

  1. What are the job tasks required by the Secretaries in modern business offices?
  2. To what extent does Information Technology have impacts on the performance of Secretarial Education graduates?
  3. What are the competencies required by Secretarial Education graduates in performing job-tasks in modern business offices?
  4. To what extent do the lapses in the current curriculum used in the preparation of Secretarial Education graduates affect their job performance in modern business offices?

1.5     Research Hypotheses:

In view of the research questions above, the following null hypotheses were also formulated based on the North-Central

Nigeria:

  1. There is no significant difference between the modern job-tasks performed by the Secretaries and the traditional tasks
  2. There is no significant impact of Information Technology on the performance of Secretarial Education graduates.
  3. There is no significant relationship between the competencies required by the Secretarial Education graduates and the performance of job-tasks in modern business offices.
  4. There is no significant relationship between the lapses in the current curriculum and the preparation of Secretarial Education graduates for the job-tasks in modern business office.

1.6     Significance of the Study

This study, secretarial job-tasks required in modern business offices and their implication on Secretarial Education Curriculum in the North Central Zone of Nigeria will be very significant because with the advent of word processing, computerization, changing office structure and the resulting effects, it becomes necessary because some of the needs for secretarial employment that had been

identified in the past may not be applicable to the present need of the modern business offices.

The curriculum of Secretarial Education is inadequate and therefore, there is need for adjustment.  It will also enable the secretarial education teachers, the curriculum planners, and education policy-makers to look beyond the walls of school and examine the impact of Information Technology on the modern business offices.  It will also help to identify the lapses in the curriculum contents of secretarial education and course specification before a student is qualified to graduate in order not to have a half baked graduate.  This will also help the secretarial students to be more dedicated and competent enough before finding themselves in the labour world.

The study will also be significant to the students of Secretarial Education because it will open their eyes to see that there are some basic skills they suppose to acquire before going to the labour market and they suppose to be practically-oriented.  In the absence of facilities/equipment the students should enroll themselves during holidays to equipment themselves.

The study will also help the Secretarial Education teacher to acquaint himself with the studies of computer both theoretically and practically because you cannot give what you don’t have.  It will also be of significant to the future researcher who will plan to carry out a research work on this same study to dig more into the problems in Secretarial Education.

1.7     Basic Assumptions of the Study

For the purpose of this study, the following assumptions were made

that::

  1. People valued Secretarial Students from Polytechnic than those from the University.
  2. Secretarial education teachers are not also well trained and thereby producing a `half baked’ teachers and employees
  3. Secretarial Education graduates have delight in working in Polytechnic, Colleges of Education than in the University.
  4. Because of inadequate facilities in Secretarial Education, it makes students lose interest in choosing the career

1.8     Delimitation of the Study

This study was delimited to the secretarial job-tasks required in modern business offices and implications on Secretarial Education Curriculum of Colleges of Education and University in the NorthCentral Nigeria.  It was delimited to only the state capitals in the

North-Central Nigeria. The six states are Benue, Kogi, Kwara,

Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau and in such offices as: Computer Services, Manufacturing companies, Institutions of learning and Government Agencies. It was also delimited to public and private sectors in the North-Central Nigeria, also delimited to Executives and Secretaries because they work together

Keywords: SECRETARIAL JOB-TASKS REQUIRED IN MODERN BUSINESS OFFICES AND IMPLICATION ON SECRETARIAL EDUCATION



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