Information and communication technologies (ICT) are electronic technologies used for information storage and retrieval. Development is partly determined by the ability to establish a synergistic interaction between technological innovation and human values. The rapid rate at which ICTs have evolved since the mid 20th century, the convergence and pervasiveness of ICTs, give them a strong role in development and globalization (Nwagwu, 2006). ICTs have a significant impact on all areas of human activity (Brakel and Chisenga, 2003).
The field of education has been affected by ICTs, which have undoubtedly affected teaching, learning, and research (Yusuf, 2005). A great deal of research has proven the benefits to the quality of education (Al-Ansari, 2006). ICTs have the potential to accelerate, enrich, and deepen skills, to motivate and engage students, to help relate school experience to work practices, create economic viability for tomorrow's workers, as well as strengthening teaching and helping schools change (Davis and Tearle, 1999; Lemke and Coughlin, 1998; cited by Yusuf, 2005).
In a rapidly changing world, basic education is essential for an individual be able to access and apply information. Such ability must find include ICTs in the global village. The Economic Commission for Africa has indicated that the ability to access and use information is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for development. Unfortunately, many developing counties, especially in Africa, are still low in ICT application and use (Aduwa-Ogiegbean and Iyamu, 2005).
This paper focuses on ICT application in Nigerian secondary schools. It particularly dwells on the importance of ICT and the causes of low levels of ICT application in Nigerian secondary schools. Recommendations for improvement are offered.
The Need for ICT Application in Nigerian Secondary Schools
Improved secondary education is essential to the creation of effective human capital in any country (Evoh, 2007). The need for ICT in Nigerian secondary schools cannot be overemphasized. In this technology-driven age, everyone requires ICT competence to survive. Organizations are finding it very necessary to train and re-train their employees to establish or increase their knowledge of computers and other ICT facilities (Adomi and Anie, 2006; Tyler, 1998). This calls for early acquisition of ICT skills by students.
The ability to use computers effectively has become an essential part of everyone's education. Skills such as bookkeeping, clerical and administrative work, stocktaking, and so forth, now constitute a set of computerized practices that form the core IT skills package: spreadsheets, word processors, and databases (Reffell and Whitworth, 2002).
The demand for computer/ICT literacy is increasing in Nigeria, because employees realize that computers 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 literate. With the high demand for computer literacy, the teaching and learning these skills is a concern among professionals (Oduroye, n.d.). This is also true of other ICT components.
New instructional techniques that use ICTs provide a different modality of instruments. For the student, ICT use allows for increased individualization of learning. In schools where new technologies are used, students have access to tools that adjust to their attention span and provide valuable and immediate feedback for literacy enhancement, which is currently not fully implemented in the Nigerian school system (Emuku and Emuku, 1999 & 2000).
ICT application and use will prove beneficial in improving Nigeria's educational system and giving students a better education. A technologically-advanced workforce will lead to ICT growth in Nigeria, with the potential to improve military technology and telecommunications, media communications, and skilled ICT professionals who will be well-equipped to solve IT problems in Nigeria and other parts of the world (Goshit, 2006).
ICT Application in Nigerian Secondary Schools.
There are developments in the Nigerian education sector which indicate some level of ICT 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 ICTs in the modern world, and has integrated ICTs into education in Nigeria. To actualize this goal, the document states that government will provide basic infrastructure and training at the primary school. At the junior secondary school, computer education has been made a pre-vocational elective, and is a vocational elective at the senior secondary school. It is also the intention of government to provide necessary infrastructure and training for the integration of ICTs in the secondary school system.
It should be noted that 2004 was not the first attempt the Nigerian government made to introduce computer education in schools. In 1988, the Nigerian government enacted a policy on computer education. The plan was to establish pilot schools and diffuse...