Aduwa-Ogiegbaen, S. E., & Iyamu, E. O. S. (2005). Using Information and Communication Technology in Secondary
Schools in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects. Educational Technology & Society, 8 (1), 104-112.
Using Information and Communication Technology in Secondary Schools
in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects
Samuel Ereyi Aduwa-Ogiegbaen and Ede Okhion Sunday Iyamu
Department of Educatinal Psychology & Curriculum studies
Faculty of Education, University of Benin,
Benin City, Nigeria
Though it has been rightly said that what is wrong with education cannot be fixed with technology; there is
no doubt that modern life is dominated by technology. There is universal recognition of the need to use
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education as we enter the era of globalization where
the free flow of information via satellite and the internet hold sway in global information dissemination of
knowledge. Already, Nigeria is on he wrong side of the international digital divide, as it has not made
significant effort to integrate ICT into secondary school curriculum. A great deal of instructional and
administrative work in secondary school in Nigeria is still carried out manually. This paper, therefore,
examines the major obstacles militating against the use of ICT in secondary education in Nigeria. It
identifies he high cost of computer hardware and software; weak infrastructure; lack of human skills and
knowledge in ICT, and lack of relevant software appropriate and culturally suitable to Nigeria as the major
stumbling block o the adoption of ICT in secondary education in Nigeria. Also, secondary schools in
Nigeria are not given adequate funds to provide furniture, relevant textbooks and adequate classroom let
alone being given adequate fund for high-tech equipment. At present the cost of subscribing to the Internet
is too high for many of the impoverished secondary schools in Nigeria. In modern society, Nigeria needs
ICT to aid teaching and learning and educational management. ICT is an instrument for the economic and
technological development in the 21st century; therefore, Nigeria cannot afford to be on the wrong side of
the digital divide.
Information and Communication Technology, Cyber Education, Virtual Learning Environment, Internet
Gateway, Nigeria’s Telecommunication
The role of technology in teaching and learning is rapidly becoming one of the most important and widely
discussed issues in contemporary education policy (Rosen and Well, 1995; and Thierer, 2000). Most experts in
the field of education agreed that, when properly used, information and communication technology hold great
promise to improve teaching and learning in addition to shaping workforce opportunities. Poole (1996) has
indicated that computer illiteracy is now regarded as the new illiteracy. This has actually gingered a new and
strong desire to equip schools with computer facilities and qualified personal necessary to produce
technologically proficient and efficient students in developed countries of the world. There is no doubt that
computer can aid the instructional process and facilitate students’ learning. Many studies have found positive
effect associated with technology aided instruction (Burnett, 1994, and Fitzgerald and Warner, 1996).
In the more advanced industrialized nations, there has been a staggering amount of research and publication
related to ICT use for educational purposes during the past decade. Today, nearly everyone in the industrialized
nations gained access to ICT and the purchase of computers for school use in such nations as the United States
has been increasing in such a pace that is difficult to keep track of how many computer machines are now in
American schools (Harper, 1987). Becker (1986) reported a comprehensive survey of the instructional uses of
computers in United States public and non-public schools. The report suggested that over one million computers
were in American elementary and secondary schools and that more than fifteen million students used them
during 1985. The report also says half-a-million teacher used computers during he same period and that half of
U.S. secondary schools (about 16,500 schools) owned 15 or more computers. Also, over 7500 elementary
schools owned 15 or more computers. It has been almost two decade since the figures quoted above were
released. There is no doubt that those figures would have increased tremendously since then. Bergheim and Chin
(1984) reported that the US government made available $529 million to schools out of which 60 to70 percent
was spent on computer education. However, in the US administration’s fiscal 2001 budget, more than $900
million was earmarked for educational technologies (Hess & Leal, 2001)
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In Britain, the story is the same as the wider availability of computers in schools was made possible through
government funding largely through the Local Education Authorities (LEA). Visscher et al (2003) reported that
following the Education Reform Act in 1988, the central government made available $325 million, over time, to
promote the use of computers in school administration and management. Just as the United States and Britain
have been budgeting huge sum of money for cyber education, so have other developed nations been doing same.
Even many developing nations have embraced ICT. In Africa, concerted efforts have been made by many
governments to initiate Internet connectivity and technology training programs. Such programs link schools
around the world that in order to improve education, enhance cultural understanding and develop skills that
youths need for securing jobs in the 21st century. In Uganda, an interconnectivity programme known as “Uganda
School Net” is dedicated to extending educational technology throughout Uganda (Carlson & Firpo, 2001). In
Senegal, teachers and students are using computers extensively as information tools. These programs in African
countries mentioned are supported by their government through the ministries of Education.
In a rapidly changing world of global market competition, automation, and increasing democratization, basic
education is necessary for an individual to have the capacity and capability to access and apply information.
Such ability and capability must find bearing in information and communication technology in the global village.
The Economic Commission for Africa has indicated that the ability to access and effectively utilize information
is no longer a luxury but a necessity for development. Unfortunately, many developing countries, especially in
Africa, are already on the wrong side of the digital divide in the educational use of ICT.
Why does Nigeria need ICT?
The question of why Nigeria needs information and communication technology may appear too simplistic and
unnecessary. However, the political conditions in Nigeria for the past thirty years leave no room for continuity.
Over the years, political power in Nigeria has been used to entrench mediocrity, corruption in high places,
misplace priority, and consumer culture. The direct effect of these is a battered economy and an educational
system that is decaying by the day. In 1988, in an attempt to keep pace with development in computer education,
Nigeria enacted a Policy on Computer Education. According to Okebukola (1997).
The plan was to establish pilot schools and thereafter diffuse the innovation, first to all secondary
schools and then to the Primary schools. Unfortunately, beyond the distribution and installation of
computers in the Federal Government Colleges, the project did not really take off the ground
Okebukola (1997) concluded that computer is not part of classroom technology in over 90% of public schools in
Nigeria. Thus the chalkboard and textbooks continue to dominate classroom activities in most secondary schools
in Nigeria. If a country such as Uganda which has less than a-fifth of Nigeria’s resources, is now using
information and communication technology to help secondary schools students to become better information
users, why is Nigeria lagging behind? The answer is simply mismanagement of the huge resources of the country
and inability of political leaders to prioritize Nigeria’s developmental needs. There is no doubt that in the current
harsh economic competition, the private sector in Nigeria has embraced ICT to stay afloat. The banking sector,
insurance, manufacturing industries and multinational companies in the oil sector have embraced multimedia
technology to bring innovative solutions to their current challenges.
If Nigerian wants to be a major player in the global market place of ideas and prepare her citizens for the new
environment of today and the future, the country should embrace ICT for the following reasons: ICT as aids to
teaching and leaning; ICT as a tool for management; ICT as instrument for economic development; ICT as
instrument of high technological development, and ICT as a course of study.
ICT as aids to teaching and learning
The importance of ICT is quite evidence from the educational perspective. Though the chalkboard, textbooks,
radio/television and film have been used for educational purpose over the years, none has quite impacted on the
educational process like the computer. While television and film impact only on the audiovisual faculties of
users, the computer is capable of activating the senses of sight, hearing and touch of the users. ICT has the
capacity to provide higher interactive potential for users to develop their individual, intellectual and creative
ability. The main purpose of ICT “consists just in the development of human mental resources, which allow
people to both successfully apply the existing knowledge and produce new knowledge” (Shavinina, 2001,P.70).
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