THE EFFECT OF COMPUTER LITERACY POSSESSED BY SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN BWARI AREA COUNCIL FCT

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ABSTRACT

In recent times, public schools in Nigeria have enjoyed some benefits in terms of deployment of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The study examined the impact of computer literacy on students’ academic performance in Bwari Area Council FCT, Nigeria. To guide the study, four (4) questions were raised and answered. This is to determine the impact of computer literacy in the academic performance of students in the senior secondary schools in Bwari Area Council FCT. The findings revealed that: computer literate students perform better than non-computer literate; computer literate female students perform better than male students who are also computer literate; computer literate students who are not addicted to the use of computer facilities perform better than those who are addicted; computer literate students in co-educational secondary schools perform slightly better than those in single sex schools. Based on the findings, one of the recommendations was that, all the students in Bwari Area Council FCT should be taught how to use computer facilities to search for valid information related to their academic activities.

INTRODUCTION

In a global economy that is driven by Information and Communication Technology (ICT), knowledge of ICT has become an important aspect of information literacy campaign, Moreover, ICT application in the education sector has revolutionized the methods of teaching and learning. Teaching and learning in the ICT driven environment is no longer restricted to the four wall of classroom as students and teachers can now communicate and interact in the virtual classroom. This advancement in technology has equally bridged the digital divide between information rich and poor society. According to Tinio (2002) ICT has the potentials of increasing relevance and quality of education in developing countries and the field of education has been affected by ICTs, which have indisputably affected teaching, learning, and research. A lot of research works have proven the benefits of ICTs to the quality of education (Yusuf, 2005), and as noted by Yuen and Tsui (2010), “the speed at which information can travel using vehicles provided by ICT and the vast storage space available, makes possible the free flow of information and knowledge”. Any institution of learning that fails to embrace the evolution of ICT for teaching and learning will find it difficult to operate and compete favorably with their peers in the age of e-learning.

The usefulness of microcomputers is no longer in contention; they provide a range of functions that, otherwise, would be generally more time consuming and inefficient (Whitrow, 1999). They are able to store, retrieve, alter and present large volumes of information easily (Jong, 1994). Furthermore, computers are ever-increasingly taking on important roles within the workforce. They are used as a source of information, for storage of data, for word processing, for communication and for data analysis. As a result, the public demands that school-leavers be skilled in the use of computers for their future employment. Whitrow (1999) posited that the efficiency and cost cutting measures that microcomputers provide makes competence in using them to become not only an advantage but more often a necessity.

Computer literacy has been described as a basic skill required for success in many academic areas and career fields (Campbell 1990).

Winkle and Mathews (1982) defined computer literacy as a basic survival skill involving the things the individual needs to know about and needs to do with computers in order to function completely and effectively in the society. This account for society’s attitude that microcomputers are now fundamental elements in the education of students (LaMont Johnson, 1997) and that student should learn how to competently and applicably use them. In Nigeria, just like Cambell (1988) predicted, the knowledge of computer has joined (or even surpassed) the knowledge of mathematics as a critical filter for employment opportunities in many opportunities most individuals may wish to pursue as careers. Also Compton, Burkett and Burkett (2002) predicted that the computer revolution will continue to have more ubiquitous impact on the lives of the individuals through economic, cultural and social institutions that impact society.

Meanwhile, an average Nigerian student is assumed to possess enough computer knowledge to enable him/her access the Internet while registering for their certification and placement examinations like Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE)(conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO)), and University Matriculation Examinations (UME) and Polytechnic and College of Education Entrance Examinations (PCE) (conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB)) respectively. This precludes any attempt at examining how much knowledge or understanding of the computer, or even the internet application the individual possesses.

Perhaps computer literacy may improve the knowledge and ability of students for higher academic performance. Computer literacy is the knowledge and ability to use computer and technology efficiently. Computer literacy can also be referred to the comfort level someone has by using computer programmes and other application that are related to computers. The occurrence of computer literacy continues to grow at an outstanding rate.

A computer is an electronic device that has the ability to accept data, store data, process data by following a set of instructions (programme) to produce result. Computer always change; they become smaller, faster and more powerful. These changes have motivated the modern society to become comfortable with basic computer related skills. Computers are like common pen and paper for writing especially primary, and post primary school students.

Many applications especially communicating computers are preferred over pen, paper type writers because of their ability to retain information and make editing easy. It is also a fact that computer is becoming common place and powerful.Mbaeze, Ukwandu and Anugu (2010), posited that there is influence of information and communication technology (ICT) on students’ academic performance. Students ought to have been exposed to technology in the class room daily to have computer knowledge. It is the job of all educators to facilitate computer literacy for no society can grow to its fullest without computer literacy in the whole world today.

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