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EXTENT OF UTILIZATION OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) IN COUNSELLING SERVICES BY COUNSELLORS

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Topic Description

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has been recognized to be a vital tool for solving communication problems the world over. Information involves knowledge acquired in any manner, ideas and facts that have been communicated or any data that can be stored and retrieved in machine which are readable (Ibrahim 2003).

Communication also is a process of passing information. It is simply an interpretative medium of self-expression (Hadiza, 1999). In the teaching and learning situation, communication goes on between two or more individuals for the purpose of giving and receiving information in line with stated objectives. Effective communication seeks to emphasize the human approach and the importance of the individual beliefs and perception (Iwuozor, 2003).

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Technology on the other hand refers to the new machines, equipment and ways of doing things that are based on modern knowledge about science and computers (Iwuozor, 2003). Technology is essential to because it provides instruments and techniques that enable observations of objects and phenomena that are otherwise unobservable owing to factors such as quantity, distance, location, size and speed. Information Technology provides tools for investigation, inquiry and analysis (Iwuozor, 2003).

Information and Communication Technology according to Offorma, Eze and Egbe, (2009) refers to the technologies that are used for collecting, storing, editing, and passing information in various forms. In its most broad usage, ICT according to Adebayo (2002) comprises the use of computers, radio, satellites, online safe-learning packages, telepresence systems interactive CDs, video, internet optical fibre technologies and all types of Information Technology (IT) hardware and software. Information Communication Technology (ICT) is the processing and maintenance of information and the use of all forms of computer, communication, network and mobile technologies to mediate information (Ndubuisi, Okafor and Nwachukwu, 2011). ICT includes all media employed in transmitting audio, video, data or multimedia such as cable and satellite among others.

In the context of this study, Information Communication Technology embraces all modern systems for processing Information and Communication in data, text, image and voice using computer as the central focus. Computer according to Udoh (2010) is an electronic device, which accepts information, applies information, applies prescribed processes and supplies information. He went on to say that “the world market has become homogenized due to Information Communication Technology (ICT) via computer. Information and Communication Technology has affected the world in so many ways. It has led to globalization. The entire world has been reduced to a small village where people can readily communicate with each other. Store information around the world can be located within a short time through the internet.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT), therefore, can be defined as the way of handling and processing information (texts, images, graphs, charts, pictures and  instructions among others) for use by means of electronic and communication devices such as computers, cameras, telephones among others (Ozoji, 2003).

Information and communication technology is daily giving rise to new concepts, new idea and making impact not only in the industries/business but also in education. ICT has simplified education through the application of electronics media, internet among others. According to Ndukwe (2006), the production of calculators and computers worldwide has helped in simplifying teaching and learning in schools.  Information Communication Technology according to Noll (2006) is a high technology which consists of the various means of obtaining and transferring information using computers, telecommunication and micro-electronics.

Learning with ICT in this sense provides students with a world of opportunity, global communication with peers, access to timely and relevant information, sources, engagement in rich, relevant task based on real situation and data. Information and communication technology also makes it possible to examine and analyse simultaneously different representations of the same content which can be presented in various formats on different multi-media  supports (texts, pictures, photos, diagrams, maps, statistics, videos, graphics, audio documents) (Ajewole 2003).

However, the digital imbalance of access to ICT is felt more in less developed nations than in developed nations. In Nigeria for example, many problems including underfunding, mismanagement of resources, lack of training and unavailability of technological equipment, low level of appreciation of the whole idea of information and communication technology among others, have prevented the adequate integration of  information Communication Technology into various professions in Nigeria, including counselling (Ali, 1999).

Information Communication Technologies are now vital ingredients in the competitiveness of business organizations. The impact of information communication Technologies upon organizations has become even more important (Burton, 2006). The impact of new Information Communication Technology, especially those of electronic network and digital storage and transfer have really increased the possibilities for information transfer and communication on both North-South and South-South axis (Cooke 2008). There is hardly any undertaking of people, be it academics, businesses, or entertainment that has not been greatly affected for better by these recent development in Information Communication Technology (Ivowi, 2002). The dynamic nature of information suggests that it is not static. Information keeps changing in consonance with emerging needs, changes and demands.

We live in a complex , busy and changing world. Counselling from a layman’s view deals with problem solving where there arises many different types of experiences that are difficult to cope with. Most times, we get on with life, but sometimes, we are stopped in our tracks by an event or situation that we do not at that moment have the resources to sort out. Most of the time, we find ways of dealing with such problems of living by talking to family, friends, neighbours, priest or our family doctors.  Counselling has however moved from this narrow and parochial nature to a more comprehensive level, where professionals are now being trained and equipped with relevant skills to handle the numerous problems in secondary schools.

Counselling is that professional assistance according to Unachukwu (2006) which takes place in a one-to-one relationship between an individual troubled by problems with which he cannot cope alone and a professional worker whose training and experience have qualified him to help others reach solutions to various types of personal difficulties. It is a personalized interaction between the client experiencing a problem and the counsellor who tries to help him. According to Ezeji (2001), counselling service is defined as a process of direct contacts with the individual  aids to offer assistance in changing attitudes and behaviours. He further maintains that counselling consist of definitely structured, permissive relationship which allows the students to gain an understanding of himself to a degree which enables him to take positive steps in the light of new orientation.

Counselling service aims at an encounter that is reassuring, stimulating, restructuring, adjusting and developing for the individual. Counselling services as noted by Iwunna (1991) is a learning process designed to increase adaptive behaviour and to decrease maladaptive behaviour. It is an attempt or help given to an individual to bring out those qualities in him that conform with the norms of the society. Continuing, he maintains that, it is a learning process in which individuals learn about themselves, their interpersonal relations and behaviours that advance their personal development in educational counseling, vocational counseling and personal-socio counselling aspects.

Educational counselling according to Ifelunni (2003) is aimed at assisting both youths and their parents to develop educational plans that will help them plan their school work. The planning is such that they benefit from their school work and hence able to progress to the next level of schooling. Vocational counselling aims at assisting a person match his personal attributes and his background with suitable jobs and employment opportunities (Ifelunni, 2003).

Personal socio-counselling according to the author takes care of the problems of students that may not be educational or vocational. They include such problems as Boy-girl relationship, manner and etiquettes among others. In the context of this study, therefore, counselling is a relationship between two individuals, one a professional helper and the other a seeker of assistance for better self-understanding and understanding of his/her daily life problems.

The importance of the ICT to the world of counselling, teaching and learning cannot be overemphasized. As Onuigbo and Onuigbo (2006) put it, “… the world is moving through the information superhighway with a network of computers that enables one to obtain relevant information for specific purposes”. With ICT, counselors, teachers and students alike have access to unprecedented amount of quality and authentic information in all areas of study. However, locating the information that counselors needs requires some degree of computer literacy skills. Also utilizing ICT requires some degree of computer literacy skills without which, counseling services may not be possible.

Besides, the possession of adequate knowledge of computer skills opens for both the counselors and the learners a wide range of opportunities and possibilities. Computer programmes such as computer Appreciation, Microsoft word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint and Internet provide almost everything that anybody would need for successful

learning. Computer appreciation according Onuigbo and Onuigbo (2006) brings to one’s awareness the basic knowledge of computer while the Microsoft word equips a person with the necessary skills of manipulating words to suit his purpose. The Microsoft Excel represents one of the finest calculation devices available today. With the aid of the Microsoft like powerpoint, the counsellor is presented with a very reliable and dependable counselling services which makes it possible for him to get to any stage of the counselling at any time with great care. Perhaps the internet is the most valuable research resource available to all at the moment. It makes it possible for computer users to easily communicate and exchange information with other computers and computer users all over the world, and thus have access to a vast and inexhaustible collection of research material in every field of human endeavour. The process of categorizing human in terms of gender has become habitual and almost automatic that the idea of equality in terms of male and female performances is questionable. Previous research suggested that male and female counsellors are likely to differ in the attitude towards ICT. For example, while Njoku (1995) showed that males exhibit superior interest in ICT than females, Okoye (1996) showed the opposite. Also while Essuman (1991), showed males’ superior interest in ICT to females, Ukwungwu and Ochepa (2001), showed the reverse.

School location is another likely a factor that would affect ICT service in schools. School location refers to the place where a school is sited. It is called the geographic location of the school (Jones, 2002). Some secondary schools in Nsukka Education zone are located in urban area while some are located in the rural areas. Here, urban area means township or metropolitan part of Nsukka Education zone. Urban schools in Nsukka Education zone seems to have more facilities and access to ICT more than those in rural. This perhaps, because in the rural, electricity facilities are lacking and thereby creating disparities between urban areas and rural areas in terms of ICT facilities. Rural area here means local area or an underdeveloped part of Nsukka Education zone.

From the foregoing, it can be deduced that ICT facilities are very useful tools in equipping the counsellors, with desirable techniques for effective counselling especially in the developed countries. ICT facilities enable counsellors to analyse, organize, and creatively represent real information in constructing knowledge. Use of ICT enhances significant improvement in counsellor knowledge and use of problem-solving strategies. It also enhances significant improvement in counsellor preparation to use cooperative learning group (Aggeman, 2007).

With all these benefits of ICT in mind, it is expected that computer education should occupy a significant position in counselling programme. However, the extent of utilization of ICT in this regard calls for concern. Despite the fact that computer centres and cybercafés are common in the society today and computers are becoming common and indispensable tools in almost all careers, occupations and professions, a casual observation shows that many secondary school counsellors know little about computer. This may be because the counselors and teachers who are supposed to implement the computer education programme do not have the requisite computer literacy skills that are needed for them to perform the task. This study, therefore, ask question, what is the extent of utilization of Information Communication Technology (ICT) by counselors in counselling service in Nsukka Education zone of Enugu state

Statement of the Problem

Using Information Communication Technology in counselling services provides counsellors with a world of opportunity, global communication, access to timely and relevant information sources, engagement in rich, relevant task based on real situation and data. ICT also makes it possible to examine and analyse simultaneously different representations of the same content which can be presented in various formats on different multi-media supports. It provides counsellors with necessary tools for investigation, inquiry and analysis.

However, the digital imbalance of access to ICT have left many in doubt whether counsellors utilize ICT in counselling services in secondary schools in Nsukka Education zone. It is against this background therefore, that the study asks question on what is the extent of utilization of ICT by counsellors in counselling service in secondary schools in Nsukka Education zone of Enugu state.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the extent of utilization of ICT by counsellors in counselling services in Nsukka Education zone.

Specifically, this study sought to:

  1. Find out the availability of ICT in secondary schools in Nsukka Education zone are connected to ICT.
  2. Find out the extent secondary school counsellors possess ICT skills.
  3. Find out the extent counselors utilize ICT in counselling services in secondary schools.
  4. Identify the factors that militate against utilization of ICT by counsellors in counselling service in secondary schools.

 

Significance of the Study

Theoretically, in the area of counselling, the findings of this study will provide data that may be useful for utilization of ICT by counsellors in counselling service in secondary schools. Practically, the result of this study will benefit school counsellors, would be counsellors, teachers, parents and the society at large. The guidance counsellors will benefit from the study because it will reveal the place of ICT service in enhancing performance. When this is revealed, the counsellors will integrate ICT in counselling students in schools.

The would be counsellors will benefit from the findings of this study because when counsellors start making use of ICT in counselling service, they will take steps from the outcome. When this is done, it could result in the achievement of effective counselling programme. It will also benefit the classroom teachers as it gives them an insight into a significant expansion of the availability of a wide range of technologies with the potential for improving the quality of teaching and learning. Apart from the more popular technologies such as print, broadcast, television and radio, these new technologies provide opportunities for improving quality of teaching.

The study will also benefit parents and the entire society. This is because ICT revolution has had a tremendous impact for education. This is because education includes the medium and message of the communicative process. The chosen medium of ICT influences the distribution of knowledge over time and space. It will help them to know that the technology linked to learning throughout history from clay tablets to paper and pen chalkboard to books, pictures, radio and tape to television and films. The new education technologies use the most sophisticated microeconomics and communication media. The range of new information and communication technologies is diverse. It includes the computers, the satellite, fax machines, the internet, and audio-teleconferencing, e-learning technologies among others.

The findings of this study will be of immense benefit to the society at large. The youths are the future leaders: When they are informed through seminars and workshops about the new ICT and adaptive ways of reacting to it, the society will become sanitized and free from most anti-social activities of the youths thereby improving the economic, social and moral tone of the society which will result in an increase in the numbers of happier and more productive citizens.

Finally, the findings of this study when documented and published will add to the stock of existing knowledge in the area of ICT in counselling students in secondary schools which will be disseminated through workshops, learned journals, conferences and internet postings.

 

Scope of the Study

The present study focused on secondary school students in Nsukka Education zone of Enugu state. The Education zone comprises Nsukka, Igbo-Etiti and Uzo-Uwani Local Government Areas.

In terms of content scope, the study  focused on the extent of utilization of Information Communication Technology in counselling service by counsellors for secondary school students.

Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. To what extent are secondary schools in Nsukka education zone connected with ICT?
  2. To what extent do secondary school counsellors possess ICT skills?
  3. To what extent do counsellors utilize ICT in counselling secondary school students?
  4. What are the factors that militate against the utilization of ICT by counsellors in counselling service?

 

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