Information needs and resources provision for secondary school teachers in Imo State, Nigeria: Male versus female teachers.

Author:Umunnakwe, G.C.


Information is the hub of human development around which knowledge revolves. Information is regarded as a vital resource with which an individual functions effectively in the society.

Information needs are at the centre of all areas of life because human wants are insatiable. Information needs, according to Balorinwa (2002), are desires or wants of needs to be transferred for use which prompt man to ask questions about happenings in the past, things to be done, sources and services available, things that will happen if certain things are done according to rules and regulations. Information needs are evidence of a knowledge gap which needs to be fulfilled. The identification of the gap creates room for information search and the satisfaction of the need. The teacher is the mover of learning. He facilitates learning. Like the saying that "one can only take a horse to the stream but cannot force it to drink, the child can be taken to school to learn but cannot be forced to learn except the teacher is well trained, knowledgeable of curriculum content and of child development and can apply appropriate methods and strategies to promote all-round development of the learners to enable them become countable to national development" (Chukwu, 2011).

A major variable as far as information needs and information-seeking is concerned is gender. In the area of information communication services, a gender gap in their use has reduced opportunities for women in the ICT workforce, and teachers are not left out. Researches carried out by Durndell and Thomson (1997),Whitely (1997), and Kadijevich, (2000) noted that females have less computer experience and hold less favourable attitudes towards computers than their male counterparts. Jackson et al. (2001) pointed out that the advent of the Internet for information retrieval and the widespread use of e-mail failed to have an impact on female attitude to computers, despite the fact that there are more female-friendly tasks such as communicating with others via e-mail and accessing information of all kinds. So there is a possibility of difference in the information seeking behaviour of males and females especially with the advent of electronic information resources and sources. Adeoye and Popoola (2011) stressed that teachers need various kinds of information for teaching and research for the purposes of imparting knowledge in students and for self-development-The information needs and information-seeking behavior of male and female secondary school teachers should be a matter of urgent concern, since the extent to which the teachers are informed determines to a large extent the knowledge to be imparted to the students. Moreover, the information needs and ways of seeking information may differ between males and females.-This led the researchers to investigate the information needs of secondary school teachers in Imo State, Nigeria, bearing in mind that the picture is very similar in most states of Nigeria.

Objectives of the study

This study was intended to ascertain the information needs and seeking behaviour of teachers in Nigerian secondary schools. The study specifically aimed to

Find out the information needs of male and female secondary school teachers in Imo State.

Find out the information sources utilized by the secondary school teachers in Imo State.

Determine the extent to which the information needs of male and female secondary school teachers are satisfied.

Research questions

What are the information needs of male and female secondary school teachers in Imo State?

What are the information sources utilized by the secondary school teachers in Imo State?

To what extent are the information needs of male and female secondary school teachers in Imo State being met?


The following hypothesis was considered for the study.

[H0.sub.1]: There is no significant difference (P > 0.05) between the mean satisfaction of information needs of male and female teachers in Imo State.

Literature review

Information needs and information seeking behaviour of teachers

Secondary school teachers need information on how to teach adolescents, who are a very sensitive group of people to handle. Another area where teachers need information is information literacy and skills. Olen (1995) pointed out that teachers should be role models for their pupils/ students with regard to information literacy development and to do this, teachers must become information literate and versatile in their initial teacher education; they-need to be competent, confident, reliant and proactive in order to effectively handle issues on information literacy. The most influential model proposed by Eisenberg and Berkovitz (1995) has six skills on the problem solving process which include task definition, information-seeking strategies, location and access, use of information, synthesis, evaporation, etc. should be strictly observed and noted in order to form a stronghold in information literacy and skills.

In this modern time that is filled with different kinds of innovation; teachers need additional information continually to help them in capacity building. UNESCO (2006) noted that capacity building is a key feature of education which needs to be reconstructed and renewed. The carrying capacity of teachers should be adequately addressed in order to meet their information needs in terms of their content, educational needs, technological needs, information skills, competencies and other challenges. Dike and Umunnakwe (2010) outlined the importance of seminars, workshops and conferences to academic development of the teacher which will be beneficial to the students as well as the teachers.

Teachers equally need information for generally overseeing other activities concerning their personal life and the society at large, including life skills like family life, education, health issues, good nutrition, healthy living, HIV/AIDS, drugs, immunization and interpersonal skills. The teachers themselves need information for their own personal interest on activities going around their environment, be it political, social, religious, health, educational, personal improvement, community services, agriculture, or retirement. The teachers, apart from having their students as their primary concern, cannot neglect their own personal needs and aspirations in the areas that have been mentioned above. These will make teachers to be more fulfilled and as well contribute meaningfully to the development of the society. Health information in the area of nutrition will equally help them to last long. Knowledge on diseases and their causes as well as their curative measures will be of importance to them. This becomes an advantage to the teachers and will help their personal lives.

According to Mansourian (2005) information-seeking behaviour includes a set of activities that people carryout to satisfy their needs. In another study, Aina (2004) asserted that information-seeking behaviour depends on a user's education, access to libraries and the length of time the user wishes to devote to information seeking.

Factors affecting satisfaction of information needs and information-seeking

Generally, Zauwa (1991) pointed out that only few teachers engage in active information-seeking, the reason being either that many teachers do not understand the concept of inquiry for information or lack the knowledge about the existence of information sources.

Accessibility and availability of information sources could equally be information barriers. Afolabi (2004) listed barriers as, high-handedness and selfishness of appropriate channels for disseminating information, ignorance of the existence of appropriate and relevant information, non-conducive working environment which hinders free access and flow of information, and monopoly of information by a few individuals close to the sources. These might be considered to be some of the barriers encountered by information-seekers, including teachers.

Gender restriction to knowledge is a big barrier to be considered. Oyesiku (2000) writing on gender restriction, noted that the female students especially in the...

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