International Journal of Academic
Research in Education and Review Vol. 1(1), pp. 1–6,
2360-7866 2013 Academic Research
Nigerian schools as a system: information and communication
N. Eddy and 2M. E. Akpan
Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), No. 1
Blantyre street, Wuse II, P. M. B. 5074. FCT, Abuja, Nigeria.
of General Studies, Nasarawa Polytechnic, Nasarawa, Nasarawa State,
The components of a system and the Nigerian schools as a system have
been highlighted. Management of information and data using computers
in the Nigerian school, their importance and significant have been
identified. The adoption of integrated payroll system and primary
utilization of computer to store data are found to be the major
areas where computer function most in the Nigerian School system.
The authors viewed administrative imagination, lack of training
programmes and poor funding as the major problems militating against
the ultimate utilization of computer in the Nigerian schools.
Key words: Nigerian school system, computer, prospect and
The school as a system
The term system has multiple meanings, it is a collection of
organized things, as a solar system, a way of organizing or
planning, a whole composed of relationships among the members. Most
systems share the same common characteristics. These common
characteristics include the following,
i. Systems have a structure that is defined by its parts and
ii. Systems are generalizations of reality.
iii. Systems tend to function in the same way. This involves the
inputs and outputs of material (energy and/or matter) that is then
processed causing it to change in some way.
iv. The various parts of a system have functional as well as
structural relationships between each other.
In a system, every parts are related to another and the output from
one part of a system (which can include material, energy, or
information) can become the input to other parts. Such feedback can
serve to control what goes on in the system as a whole. Any system
is usually connected to other systems, both internally and
externally. Thus a system contains subsystems and may be regarded as
a sub-system of a larger system. Some portion of the output of a
system may be fed back to that system's input. Systems are defined
by placing boundaries around collections of interrelated things to
make them easier to study. Regardless of where the boundaries are
placed, a system still interacts with its surrounding environment.
Therefore, some components or parts of the school systems are:
principal, vice principal, administrative staff, teachers, students,
the building, buses, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria staff, media
specialists, guidance counselors, nurses, and books/supplies. If any
of these components is not functioning, the whole system suffers.
For example if there weren’t any teachers, the students wouldn’t
have guidance/supervision or be able to learn new things; confusion
would most likely result because the teachers wouldn’t be available
to direct the students. The non-teaching staff [e.g., principal,
media specialists and guidance counselors wouldn’t be able to manage
the large number of students, and they would be unable to perform
their own jobs. The books/supplies wouldn’t be used properly, if at
all. The building, itself, may also become damaged because of the
large number of students using the building unsupervised. Also, if a
nearby school closed down and all students had to join another
school, giving them many more students, then the administrative
staff would be overloaded with all of the tasks associated with
inputting new students into the computer system. The classrooms
would be overloaded, the teachers wouldn’t be able to teach as
effectively, and the students wouldn’t get as much attention from
the teachers and therefore would not learn as well. The building
would be overcrowded. The bus drivers would have to work longer
hours to be able to pick up all of the students, and the custodians
would have to deal with cleaning more trash and spend longer hours
maintaining the property. Figure 1 below shows the major components
of the Nigerian secondary school system. Each component is regarded
as a subsystem. The Figure 1 clearly indicates that the school can
not exist without the subsystem and the subsystem can not exist
without the school therefore all of them are interrelated.
Nigerian School system
Nigeria runs a 6-3-3-4 system of education. This translates to six
years of primary school for children whose ages ranged from 6 to 11
years. For the two levels of secondary education in Nigeria,
students range in age from 12 to 18 years. The last 4 in the
Nigerian system (6-3-3-4) refers to tertiary education offered in
three-year colleges of education that award National Certificates in
Education (NCE) as the minimum qualification for teaching in
Nigerian primary schools; in the two-year Polytechnics that award
the Ordinary National Diploma (OND); and in the two-year Higher
National Diploma for technical and vocational programs. The
universities, at the highest level of tertiary education, provide
opportunities for degrees of three or more years and postgraduate
degree (M.Ed. ,M.Sc., M.A., PhD., etc) programs.
Importance of computers in Nigerian school system
According to Olakulehin, (2007), the general ICT competencies
include the general understanding of the basic building blocks of
the computer systems, literacy in operating the computer and using
the windows interface called windows explorer and other similar
interfaces (e.g. Mackintosh or Apple). The understanding of word
processing activity, usage of PowerPoint slides to enunciate aspects
of their teaching activities, through to the application of basic
features of spreadsheet packages or excel sheets and using
facilities like Microsoft access to create databases for their
students’ records, would comprise the general skills and abilities
required of would-be teachers. Therfore, all teachers should be
equipped with the above ICT skills.
The computer has been used in a variety of ways in instructional
processes and in administration. In the instructional process,
through computer-assisted instruction, integrated learning systems,
and collaborative networked technologies, among others, computer
information and messages are presented to learners through
interactive process involving drill, practice, tutorials, dialogue,
practical hands-on-experience, simulation, and software that teaches
high order thinking. Computers present materials or problem
situations to students, guide their thinking, respond to their
questions, and manage their performance. That is, the computer is
used to instruct so as to achieve the desired level of proficiency
(Jenkins and Springer, 2002; Milner and Anderson, 1984; Schacter,
1999). A review of several empirical studies in the United States
indicated that computers generally have positive effects on student
achievement as students show gains in achievement on
researcher-constructed tests, standardized tests, and national tests
(Schacter, 1999). However, according to Kmitta and Davis (2004),
computer technologies have both positive and negative impact on
student achievement, and thus computers, in and of themselves, are
not panaceas for improving student achievement.
Through Computer Managed Instruction (CMI), school administrators
can administer and guide the instructional process by scheduling
classes, budgeting, and so on. CMI involves learning support systems
that includes information organization and retrieval by students as
well as teachers and generation of materials through the computer
(Milner and Anderson, 1984).In addition, the computer has had
significant impact on the school social system. It has engendered
more constructivist approaches to teaching, improved overall student
motivation to learn, to stay and behave better in school, and it has
radically changed adminstrators' professional development through
constant update of their knowledge on the latest technologies and
the use of computers in content areas. Also, computers have been
useful as tools in ensuring a safe school environment as improved
communication is facilitated among parents,teachers, students, and
administrators’ (Kmitta and Davis, 2004).
Computer education in Nigeria school system
Computer education was introduced into the Nigerian education system
in the late 1980s specifically based on the recommendation of the
32nd ministerial council meeting of the National Council on
Education in 1987. The pilot scheme for the program started with the
Federal Government Colleges (Unity Schools) and the armed forces
secondary schools in 1988. Training programs were also conducted for
197 teachers from the schools in the pilot (Yoloye, 1990). Computer
education was introduced to bring Nigerian children into contact
with the computer so that they could use it, appreciate its
potential, understand how it works, and learn to apply the knowledge
and skills to solve emerging problems (Aminu, 1988). The computer
systems were introduced into the Federal Unity Schools throughout
the federation in 1989. The revised national policy on education (FRN,
1998; 2004) gave prominence to computer education. For instance, in
the 2004 edition, computer education was made pre-vocational and
vocational elective at the junior and senior secondary school
levels, respectively. However, the objectives of introducing
computer education in the Nigerian schools can only be successful if
and only if the teachers are equipped with the needed ICT tools.
School administrators and data utilization
School leaders (teachers and administrators) need tools and
resources that can help them see better and that provide meaningful
information quickly and reliably for themselves and to their
teachers. The strong desire by most school leaders to understand and
manage data is often matched by frustration which may be due to lack
of training opportunities. When educators can draw inferences from
data, they cannot only see the need for change, but can identify the
direction of change needed, pinpoint the students needing
intervention and identify approaches offering promising solutions to
help students succeed. The use of multiple, and sometimes creative,
sources of data enables school leaders to make mid-course
corrections and continuous improvement toward academic success by
their students. Integrated, interoperable data systems are the key
to better allocation of resources, greater management efficiency,
and online assessments of student performance that empower educators
to truly transform teaching and personalize instruction. Computer
has greatly enhanced the management of data in the Nigerian Schools.
The effective use of data plays a major role in the development of
school, improvement of plans and making of daily decision. The use
of data can be a powerful and positive educational tool. School that
engage in data-driven decision making have the information that not
only measures students' progress in meeting standards, but also
enables them to assess current and future needs of students,
parents, staff and the community; determine if goals are being met;
ensure that students are not falling through the cracks; improve
instruction; identify the root causes of problems; and engage in
continuous school improvement. There are numerous ICT packages that
can aids in the management of data. This extends from Microsoft
office (for typing and storing data), power point (for
presentation), Microsoft excel (for calculation and presentation of
Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS)
An agreement signing ceremony between the Federal Government of
Nigeria through the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), a World
Bank sponsored $4.9 million contract with SystemSpecs Consortium
comprising Impact, Interglobal and Telnet for the provision of an
Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) for the
public sector noted that ghost workers operating in government
agencies will no longer outwit the long arm of the law with the
introduction of the new technology. On this note, the Integrated
Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) were introduced. In
these payroll systems, names of staff, their rank, grade level,
school name, salary, expected year of promotion/retirements,
incremental period and other relevant information about the staff
are fed into the computer and the payment are made on these basis.
Thus, information on the identity of the staff constitutes the input
data. In some schools, students name, class, personal data and other
useful information are fed into a computer hence computation of
their results are made easy. From the above, it can be stated that
ICT can enhanced the reduction in fraud and efficient management of
the school system.
The problem: The Administrators imagination
The introduction of computer education into schools has consisted
mainly of buying a few computers and some software. These are added
to existing educational technology facilities in schools with little
in the traditional operation of the school being affected by the
presence of computers. Consequently, the full potential of computers
is yet to be exploited within the Nigerian school system.
School administrators are indispensable to successful computer
education. The ultimate decision to use or not to use the computer
is dependent on the individual administrator. Successful
implementation of computer education can only be assured through
administrators who have acquired necessary knowledge and skills. If
computer education is to succeed in Nigerian schools, school
administrators/teachers must be competent in the use of computers.
Albion, (1999) stated that teachers' self-efficacy or belief in
their capacity to work effectively with computers is a significant
factor in determining their patterns of computer usage. He also
noted that decisions to use computers in classrooms or in schools
are likely to be influenced by administrator/teacher beliefs. That
is, administrator/teachers' beliefs about their capacity to work
effectively with computers are a significant factor in determining
patterns of classroom usage. Bandura (1986) defined self-efficacy as
"peoples' judgments of their capabilities to organize and execute
courses of action required to attain designated types of
performances. It is concerned not with the skills one has but with
judgments of what one can do with whatever skills one possesses.
Bandura (1986) also affirmed that self-efficacy/beliefs develop in
response to four sources of information. These are enactive
experience, vicarious experience, verbal persuasion, and
physiological and affective states. Enactive experience implies that
success in the performance of a given task will increase the
self-efficacy of the person who has successfully performed the task.
The vicarious involves experiences where other people are seen to
succeed or fail and how that can affect one's own self-efficacy.
Verbal persuasion, if realistic, can encourage efforts that are more
likely to increase efficacy through success, while physiological and
affective conditions such as stress can also affect self-efficacy.
Compeau and Higgins (1995) also stated that the computer
self-efficacy is the "judgment of one's capability to use a
computer. Computer self-efficacy is positively correlated with a
willingness to choose and participate in computer activities, an
expectation of success, the ability to persevere when faced with
computer-related difficulties, and one's computer -related
performance (Holcomb, Brown, Kulikowich and Zheng, 2003). Computer
self-efficacy increases performance and technological innovation of
employees, reduces computer-induced anxiety, and promotes higher
occupational positions (Compeau and Higgins, 1995).
In the context of this paper, self-efficacy refers to school
administrators/teachers' belief in their competence to make use of
computer hardware and software. Some empirical studies (Busch, 1995;
Chen, 1986; Koohang, 1987) have concluded that acquisition of ICT
skills is related to the attitude of the person toward computers.
According to Milner (1980) educational opportunities are being
missed because most administrators/teachers do not know how to use
the computer neither can they teach students about the impact of
computers on the society. One of the greatest barriers to proper
computer education in several parts of the world is the shortage of
trained administrator/teachers. The vast majority of teachers simply
do not know how to use computers to promote educational efficiency,
and they are not adequately trained to use modern information media
(Kirschner, and Selinger, 2003, Summers, 1990). In order for
teachers to implement computer education, they will need to become
proficient in basic computer operations, basic applications of
software like word processing, databases, spreadsheets, graphic
software, and so forth, and the integration of computers in teaching
(Collis, 1987, Kirschner and Davis, 2003). It should be pointed out
that school adminstrtaors/teachers need to become sufficiently
competent to make personal use of computers, to make use of
information and communication technology as a mind tool, to become
masters of a range of educational paradigms that use ICT, and also
to become sufficiently competent to make use of ICT as a tool for
teaching (Krischner & Davis, 2003).
School adminstrtaors competence is of particular concern when new
subjects or media are introduced into the school system. This is
because their experience and competence will form the foundation of
their ability to implement computer education in schools.
The problem: Poor training and poor funding
According to Olakulehin, (2007), The initial teacher training
process and the continuing professional development of Nigerian
teachers is currently besotted by a number of challenges. These are
directly connected with the incessant modification of the planning
policies several times before such policies have been appropriately
implemented in its original form. These problems have been further
accentuated by the parlous state of economic development, which has
made ‘teaching’ a less desirable profession for many youth.
According to the NPE (1977, revised 1998, 2005), the objectives of
teacher education in Nigeria are as follows:
(i) to provide highly motivated, conscientious and efficient
(ii) to encourage further the spirit of enquiry and creativity in
(iii) to help teachers to fit into the social life of the community
and society at large;
(iv) to enhance teachers commitment to the teaching profession.
The above objectives are never made due to a numbers of factors in
which the major ones includes poor funding, recruitment of
unqualified teachers and political initiatives (Eddy and Akpan,
The Nigerian Schools operates as a system. Information is the key to
holding schools accountable for improved performance Processing of
data using computers and the adoption of integrated payroll systems
are the major application of computer in the Nigerian School system.
The administrator imagination significantly affects the successful
utilization of computers in the Nigerian school system.
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