The Empirical Study of the Challenges of Information and Communication Technology on Confidential Secretaries in Nigerian Universities: Lessons from Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Osun State.

 Omisope Bankole Oluwaseun

Abstract

Information and Communication Technology is fast becoming one of the main drivers of change in organizations all over the world. ICT is said to improve the standard of living and enhance business operations as well as organizational efficiency. It has also transformed and changed the way people work and communicate in organization. It is on this note that this paper examined the challenges of ICT on confidential secretaries in Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. This was necessitated by the need to ensure improved productivity and performance of confidential secretaries in Nigerian universities. Primary and secondary sources of data were utilized for the study. The primary data were collected through structured questionnaires. Respondents were selected from confidential secretaries on CONTISS 05 – 13 in departments, institutes, faculties, units and directorates of the university, thus 50 respondents were sampled from the university. The questionnaires were administered using random sampling technique and analyzed using simple statistical technique such as frequency distribution and percentage secondary sources of data were generated from journals, textbooks, projects, internet sources etc. on the field of ICT and secretarial administration. The study revealed that there are many challenges of ICT on confidential secretaries in Nigeria Universities why aptly explains why there is low productivity and poor performance by confidential secretaries in the discharge of their duties. The study concluded that management of Nigeria Universities should procure the latest model of ICT facilities to enhance secretarial functions and create opportunity for training and re-training of the confidential secretaries to be abreast with the new changes and advancement in ICT.

 

 

Introduction

The world is changing and all that exists in it are changing along with it. ICT is fast becoming one of the main drivers of change in organizations all over the world. (Adebambo and Toyin, 2011). ICT has revolutionized all professions worldwide including the secretarial practice.

Jaiyeola (2007) argues that ICT is like an engine that could be used in so many ways, the same engine that makes the aircraft to move, could make a conveyor to convey finished product from production line to the storage location, the same could be used for automobile, grinding machine etc. It is an implement in the hands of confidential secretaries but enhances and improves its performance.

Buseni (2013) opines that information and communication technology is providing the tools that are revolutionizing the role of secretarial professionals from that on information recorders to business strategist making them much more critical to the success of any organization.

According to Uzoka (2002), information and communication technology is the harnessing of electronic technology in its various forms to improve the operations and profitability of the business as a whole.

The advent information and communication technology has posed many challenges to confidential secretaries in Nigerian universities which has led to poor performance and low productivity in their work place. It is on this note that this paper examines the challenges of ICT on confidential secretaries in Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.

Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are to

  1. review the concept of Information and Communication technology in Nigeria.
  2. identify the secretaries roles and responsibilities in contemporary organization.
  • assess the challenges of ICT to confidential secretaries in Nigerian Universities.

Literature Review

Concept of Information and Communication Technology

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become within a very short time, one of the basic building blocks of modern society. Many countries now regard understanding of ICT and mastering the basic skills and concepts of ICT as part of the core education, alongside reading, writing and numeracy (Iwu and Nzeako, 2012). The rapid rate at which ICT has evolved since the mid-20th century, the convergence and pervasiveness of ICTs gave them a strong role in development and globalization (Nwagwu, 2006).

Iwu and Ike (2009) define ICT as the acquisition, processing storage and dissemination of vocals practice textual and numerical information by a micro-electronic based combination of computing and telecommunication. ICT simply means the use of computer process, store and transmit data. Asharafi and Murtaza (2008) describe ICT as any technology that enables communication and the electronic computing, processing and transmission of information. Herselman and Hay (2003) also refer to ICT as technologies that support the communication and cooperation of human beings and their organizations and the creation and exchange of knowledge. Yu (2010) considers ICT as a range of technologies that allow the gathering, exchange, retrieval, processing, analysis and transmission of information. In order words, ICT can be described as any tool that facilitates communication, process and transmit information and share knowledge through electronic means.

Okwuanaso and Obayi note that ICT has posed several challenges to secretaries in the execution of their duties. They stated further that any office staff of today that is lacking in ICT would find his/her unproductive.

The introduction of ICT has influenced the performance of confidential secretaries in delivery of information, accuracy and effectiveness at the work place. According to Buseni (2013), ICT is seen as a way to promote educational change, improve the skills of secretaries and prepare them for the global economy and information society. He states further that ICT tends to improve the understanding of the secretarial practice and functions, increase quality of secretaries work attitude thereby increase the impact of secretaries on the management of the office.

Confidential Secretaries Roles and Responsibilities in Contemporary Organization 

Scholars and researchers in the field of secretarial studies have identified roles and responsibilities of secretary. Ugiagbe (2009) refers to secretary as an assistant to an executive, possessing mastery of office skills and ability to assume responsibility without directly supervision, who displays initiative, exercises, judgment, and makes decisions within the scope of his/her authority.

Oyeyiola (2005) views a secretary as someone who has a sound general education and has passed through a prescribed programme of training with appropriate skills, attitudes and competencies required for assuming roles in an office.

He points out further that a secretary is an indispensable office worker whose services are essential to the success of a manager or a chief executive officer’s job. The job description may be both primary and secondary in nature. The primary aspect has to do with the general secretarial duties while the secondary aspect is usually to delegate functions and differ within the same job description or even for different job portfolios.

According to Association of Secretaries (1990), a secretary is a clerical worker, who takes and transcribes dictations, make appointment for the employer, meeting people employer, meeting people who call to see him and he is responsible for minor executive or supervisory duties.

A secretary thus, is someone who has a sound general education and has passed through a prescribed programme of training in secretaryship possessing demonstrable personal and business attributes; employable skill in shorthand, keyboarding, document processing, and has been actually employed as such in an organization or is in practice providing information and communication support services needed by clients.

Onifade (2009) opines that a secretary is on assistant to a manager. Apart from the traditional responsibilities, he comes out research, prepares the manager’s itinerary, makes travel bookings and hotel reservations, supervises the junior workers and makes some decisions using his initiatives.

Igbinedion (2010) identifies the secretary’s responsibilities to include; taking dictation and transcribing it into correspondence which is at once dispatched to its business destination. He highlights some forms of these correspondences to include: letters, memos, circulators, orders, quotations, acceptances, contractual terms and conditions, invitation etc.

Each of these items he claims will invoke a response from the addresses, who will perhaps order materials, proceed to manufacture, insure cargoes, book hotels or engage in some other expensive activity which forms part of the intricate network of business life.

Abolade (1999) lists some of the roles of a confidential secretary in either college of education or a university. They are:

  • Taking notes from the head of department;
  • Taking minutes of meetings;
  • Preparing the LPO;
  • Keeping accurate and up-to-date records of students;
  • Organizing current departmental information to make it easily retrievable;
  • Keeping secret departmental information;
  • Typing with accuracy;
  • Making and receiving telephone calls; and
  • Performing other duties as may be assigned by the head of the department.

Some of these functions may be delegated to her clerical staff working with the confidential secretaries in the educational institutions. The entire efficiency and success of the department rest on the organizational ability of the confidential secretary.

Challenges of ICT on confidential secretaries in Nigerian University

Adedire (2014) identifies the challenges of ICT on confidential secretaries. They include:

  1. Poor maintenance and repair culture
  2. Ignorance
  • Lack of support from management of institutions
  1. Illiteracy; and
  2. Lack of science and technology policy

Adegbenjo (2015) also identifies the problems of ICT on confidential secretaries. They are:

  1. It is time consuming
  2. Inadequate knowledge of computer

Francis (2012) states that to be able to cope with the challenges of ICT, every progressive confidential secretary must face the future while living the present fully. Some people wait for others to develop them and wait for years without having some opportunities. Confidential secretaries should no wait for other to move on a life (Ihionkhan, 2009).

Research Methodology

A total of 50 questionnaires were distributed to confidential secretaries on CONTISS 05 – 13 in departments, faculties units, Institutes and directorate of Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife.

All hands were on deck to ensure that the accurate number distributed to respondents were collected accordingly.

Research Instruments

The research instrument used in this study was the “Licat” written scale type of questionnaires with its rating responses statement.

Method of Data Analysis

Data gathered through the questionnaires were interpreted through the use of descriptive statistical techniques such as simple percentage method and frequency distribution to determine the challenges of ICT on confidential secretaries in Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife of Osun State, Nigeria.


Table 1 above showed that 6% of the respondents were for the ages between 25 – 35, 34% of the respondents were for the ages between 36-45, 40% of the respondents were for the ages between 46-55 and 20% of the respondents were for the ages between 56-65. This shows that the highest respondent were from the ages between 46 – 55 while the least respondents were from the ages between 25-35.

Moreover, it was evident from the result of analysis on educational qualification that the highest respondents were secondary school certificate / RSA holders while the least respondents were the OND / NCE holders.

Furthermore, the result of the analysis on sex revealed that 44% were male while 56% were females. It is evident that the highest respondents were females while the lowest while lowest were males.

In addition, 10% of the respondents were single, 76% were married, 10% were divorced and 4% were widows / widowers. This implies that the highest were married while the least respondents were widow or widowers.

According to the results of the analysis on sections in the university showed that 44% were from departments, 20% were from faculties, 20% were from units, 6% were from institutes and 10% from directorates. The results indicate the staff of departments had to highest of respondents while staff of institutes had the least respondents.

Results from Table 2 shows that more than 65% of the respondents attest to the fact that challenges of ICT on confidential secretaries in Nigerian Universities include poor infrastructural facilities, lack of government policies, low level of education, cultural factors and corruption, ignorance about the importance of ICT, lack of proper guidance and training, sophistication and rapid changes in ICT etc.

Conclusion

The study assessed the challenges of ICT on confidential secretaries in Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. It reviewed literature on concept of ICT and roles and responsibilities of secretaries in contemporary organization.

It discovered that challenges of ICT on confidential secretaries Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria include poor infrastructural facilities, lack of government policies, low level of education, cultural factors and corruption, ignorance about the importance of ICT lack of proper guidance and training, sophistication and rapid changes in ICT among others where more than 65% of the respondent supported the assertion.

The study concluded that management of Nigeria Universities should procure the latest model of ICT facilities to enhance secretarial functions and create opportunity for training and re-training of the confidential secretaries to be abreast with the new changes and advancement in ICT

Recommendations

Having highlighted the challenges of ICT on confidential secretaries in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria, this paper recommends as follows:

  • University authorities should make computers available to confidential secretaries in order for them to contribute to the growth and development of university.
  • University authorities should endeavor to organize training and development programmes that will further enhance the effective performance of confidential secretaries through acquisition of additional skills in ICT in order to achieve maximum output.
  • Confidential secretaries should always be ready and open-minded to acquire additional training /skills development, bearing in mind that changes occur frequently in the line of their chosen career.
  • Adequate funding should be provided by government in the ICT and infrastructural facilities such as electricity in order to ICT adoption by confidential secretaries in Nigerian Universities.

References

[1] Abolade, A. O. (1999) Computer Literacy in Secretary Practice in Nigeria: A Dipstick paper. Ilorin Journal of Education (IJE), Vol., 19, pp. 81-83.

[2]Adebambo, S. and Toyin, A. (2011) Analysis of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Usage on Logistics Activities of Manufacturing Companies in South Western Nigeria. Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences (JETEMS), 2(1), pp. 66-72.

[3] Adedire, F. B. (2014) The Influence of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the Office Technology and Management Profession: Unpublished Diploma Project submitted to Institute of Entrepreneurship and Development Studies Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.

[4]Ashrafi, R. and Murtaza M. (2008) Use and Impact of ICT on SMEs in Oman, Electronic Journal Information Systems Evaluation, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 125-138.

[5] Buseni, J. (2013) Effects of Information and Communication Technology on Secretaries’ performance in Contemporary organisations in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. Information and Knowledge Management Vol. 3, No. 5, pp. 87 – 93.

[6] Igbinedion, V. I. (2010). Knowing the Graduate Office Secretary. Ozean Journal of Social Sciences, No 3, pp. 116-120.

[7]Ihionkhan, C. E. (2009) Technological Skills Acquired in Secretarial Profession: Implications and Challenges for Business Educators and Secretaries. Journal for the Promotion and Advertisement of Office Management / Secretarial Profession. Vol. 4, pp. 149-153.

[8]Iwu, A. O. and Nzeako, R. C. (2012) ICT as a Viable Tool for Entrepreneurship Education. Journal of Educational and Social Research, Vol. 2, No 9, pp. 125-131.

[9]Iwu, A. O. and Ike G. A. (2009). Information and Communication Technology and Programme Instruction for the Attainment of Educational Goals in Nigeria’s Secondary Schools. Journal of the Nigeria Association for Educational Media and Technology 1, No. 1, pp. 10-18.

[10]Jaiyeola, R. (2007) Information Communication Technology as a Tool for Effective performance of Chartered. The Nigerian Accountant, Vol. 40, No.1, pp. 48-49.

[11]Okwuanaso, S. L. and Obayi, T. (2003) Element of Office Automation. Enugu: JTC Publishers.

[12]Onifade, A. (2009) The Third Millennium Secretary and Information and Communication Technology: Nigeria Experience. International Journal of Management and Information System, 13, No 2, pp. 39-48.

[13] Oyeyiola, O. A. (2005) Secretarial Duties and Human Relations. Journal of Secretarial Forum Vol. 4, No 1, pp. 141-150.

[14] Ugiagbe, F. E. S. (2002) An Analysis of Secretarial Office Automation and Word Ethics in National Development Akoka: DIC Company.

[15]Uzoka, F. M. (2002). Effect of Information Technology on Customers’ Satisfaction in Nigeria Financial Institutions. The Nigerian Accountant, Vol. 35, No 4, pp. 5 – 8.

[16] Yu, E. (2010) Information and Communication Technology in Food Assistance (online) Available http: /home.wfp.org / stellent / groups / public / documents/ newsroom / wfp 225972.pdf (July 26. 2013).

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