1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Postgraduate studies is taking a new and more focused dimension because of the utilization of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) by postgraduate students in different facets of their academic programme. The application of ICT in postgraduate studies has broadened the sc
ope of information available to postgraduate students thereby making knowledge available to students through non traditional sources other than the library and documentation centers. Nworgu (2006) remarks that utilization of ICT in education and research gathered momentum in the 19th century when scientific investigation are taking course and since then, research through ICT tools continued to grow in complexity and sophistication from simple experimental design, complex factorial designs, moute carlo designs, simple correlation extension, to regression of analysis to complex structural equation modeling involving soplusticated analytical procedures provided by ICTS technology in the 21st century. To this end ICTS become a major means of facilitating post graduate studies globally.
ICT refers to hard wares and soft wares that can be used in generating, storing and retrieving information for effective communication. Milken (1999) defined ICT as computer based tools used by people to work on their information and processing needs in an establishment. According to him, to encompasses the computer hard wares, the network and several other devices that convert information, images sound and motion into common digital form. The economic and social commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) (2000) saw ICT as all technologies people use to shave, distribute and gather information and to communicate through computers and computer network. In the context of this study ICT refers to all hard wares and soft wares utilized by pos graduate students during their academic pursuit.
The technological demands of the time has made it inevitable that post-graduate students must utilize ICT in their studies Utilization of applying ICT to effectively and efficiently enhance post-graduate studies. It is the adoption and integration of ICT into academic studies of post-graduate students.
As a means of achieving the goals of tertiary education in Nigeria, the NUC and policy makers advocated the integration of ICT into institutions to pursue the goals of research and development as well as general and disseminate knowledge (FRN 2004). Aiyepeke et al also noted that international development agencies and donor countries have exerted significant pressure upon many governments, institutions of higher learning and other recipients of their aid, covertly and overtly, in developing countries to adapt the extensive use of ICT to improve student and workforce performance. To fulfill the above purpose, tertiary institutions in Nigeria and the government saw the need to provide ICT facilities for students. The institutions and government have made concerted efforts towards students. ICT policies have been put in place to make ICT facilities available to students. Various higher institutions have made ICTs available and accessible to students through AfriHub and MIS projects. Some universities have instituted mandatory ICT training programmes for their students so that no student leaves the university without the needed skills for ICT. In some cases, computers have been installed and internet access granted to postgraduate students although not without some problems. These problems include lack of management, maintenance and control and inability to replace vital parts.
It is obvious that for a postgraduate student to excel and keep abreast with developments globally he/she must integrate ICT into his/her work. In other words, ICT plays a pivotal role in postgraduate studies. It broadens the knowledge horizon of students by widening their access to information. Current postgraduate student are more amenable to quicker and faster sources of knowledge and data for their research, hence Bandyopadhyay and Chu (1999) observed that the traditional print sources nowadays face challenges from their electronic counterparts in faster and timely delivery of information as well as in improved access. It would also appear that the rate of production of electronic materials has exceeded that of print based publications (Dalgeish & Hall 2000). With access to the internet, PG students can download endless volumes of literature and data for their research.
Furthermore, ICT provides the basis for assisting students to acquire important language skills they require for communicating their research and academic findings. It promotes collaborative learning, enhances students’ motivation through diverse activities and updated information as well as increasing students’ achievement due to reinforcement and various practices provided on the internet (Downes, Arthur & Beecher 2001). It is clear from the above that ICT is inevitable is clear postgraduate studies and the success and excellence of postgraduate students depend significantly on their ability to utilize ICT for graduate purposes.
On the other hand, non utilization of ICT by postgraduate students has serious negative implications for excellence. It is evident that despite the growing utilization of ICT in postgraduate studies, ICT has not revolutionalised postgraduate studies in the way and manner anticipated. This is why Kirkup and Kirkwood (2005) observed that the wide spread adoption of ICT in higher education since 1990s has failed to produce the radical changes in teaching and learning as many anticipated.
This is a result of non utilization of ICT by some students despite its obvious advantages. Non utilization of ICT by postgraduate students heavily narrows down their access to information and knowledge.
Adult education as a field of study must grow like other disciplines. One of the ways of achieving this growth, is through extensive research in the area. As a discipline in universities, postgraduate students of adult education require ICT to facilitate their postgraduate studies and conduct worthwhile researches. Utilization of ICT into Adult education postgraduate studies will facilitate communication across student body and between students and their tutors. It will enable postgraduates students in adult education discipline to network effectively through sharing of information and collaborative research. Utilization of ICT in adult education will enable postgraduate students have unlimited access to adult education resources via the internet.
Research evidence shows low utilization of ICT by postgraduate students. Obuh (2009) reported low skill in the use of ICT among postgraduate students of Delta State University, Abraka, Daniel (2005) also reported a low level of utilization of ICT facilities by Postgraduate students.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
A cursory look at the background of the study shows that utilization of ICT by postgraduate students positively impacts on their programme. It places endless volume of information at the disposal of the students and increases collaboration and thinking skills of the students. Despite these obvious advantages, studies in the background show low level of skill in the utilization of ICT by postgraduate students. This has negative implications for postgraduate students. Non utilization of ICT by postgraduate students leads to limited research potentials, limited access to global resources for teaching and learning, reduced learner support, limited collaboration among colleagues, limited access to academics materials for research and delayed access to knowledge required for effective research.
Although it has been established in the background that non utilization of ICT is detrimental to the progress of postgraduate students, there is seemingly lack of evidence or information on the extent to which adult education postgraduate students in Enugu and Anambra states utilize ICT in their studies. Therefore the problem of this study put in question form is “what is the extent of utilization of ICT among adult education postgraduate students of universities in Enugu and Anambra states?”
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of the study was to assess the extent of utilization of ICT among adult education postgraduate students. Specifically, the purposes are to assess the extent to which adult education postgraduate students utilize ICT for:
- Research work
- Class work
- Private purpose
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of this study will benefit postgraduate adult education students because it will create awareness in them on the extent to which they utilize ICT in their studies. This will enable them determine what further steps to take.
It will also be useful to universities and the government because knowledge on the level of utilization of ICT in postgraduate works will enable them put strategies in place that will enable greater utilization of ICT.
The finding will further be useful to adult education experts because it will form the basic for them to take future decision on ICT utilization so as to facilitate the growth of adult education as a field of study.
It will be beneficial to policy makers because it will enable them develop policies that will facilitate the extensive utilization of ICT by postgraduate students of adult education.
Finally the study will be useful to adult education students in general because it will add to the body of existing knowledge on the extent of utilization of ICT by postgraduate students of adult education in the areas of research, conferences, class work and private purposes.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTION
The following research questions guided the study.
- To what extent do postgraduate students of adult education in the universities in Enugu and Anambra states utilize ICT for research purpose?
- To what extent do postgraduate students of adult education in the universities in Enugu and Anambra states utilize ICT for conference purpose?
- To what extent do adult education postgraduate students in the universities in Enugu and Anambra states utilize ICT in their class work?
- To what extent do adult education postgraduate students in the universities in Enugu and Anambra states utilize ICT for private purposes?
The following hypotheses will be tested at 0.05 level of significance. The will be no significant difference in the mean ratings of male and female postgraduate adult education students in the universities in Enugu and Anambra states on the extent of utilization of ICT in:
Ho3 Class work
Ho4 Private Purposes
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope covers the extent of utilization of ICT by adult education postgraduate students in the universities in Enugu and Anambra states. The variables under study are limited to research, conferences, class work and private purposes.