This paper assess the poor attitude of students towards the study of secretarial administration in tertiary institutions in Edo State of Nigeria. The factors investigated included Availability of instructional material, parental influence, peer group influence, career guidance, societal influence, teacher competence, and interest. This is informed by the low enrolment into secretarial administration programs across the universities and college of education and the poor attitude of students with regard to their self worth in spite of the many job opportunities and career satisfaction offered by this all pervasive skill oriented vocational academic programme. The design of the study was descriptive with a stratified sample of 90 subjects randomly selected from a population of 135 students enrolled in secretarial administration programmes in public tertiary institutions in Edo State during the 2013/2014 academic session. A questionnaire was the instrument used to gather data from the field for analysis. Seven research questions were raised and answered; while there are no hypotheses formulated and tested. The results showed that there were variations in the perceived factors that influence students’ choice of studying secretarial administration between male and female students; and also students from the universities and college of education differed significantly with regard to some of the factors that influence their choice. Based on this conclusions were drawn and recommendation made.
Background to the study
This study is based on the student poor attitude towards the study of secretarial administration, it is necessary to begin this study with the examination of secretarial administration. Secretarial administration, simply put is the education for secretary-ship which includes the training necessary to develop secretarial skills in an individual. These skills include human relation skills e.g. writing and translating shorthand, typewriting i.e. knowing how to operate typewriter both manual and electric and finally being a computer literate. All these sub-skills prepare one for the secretarial functions for which a good secretary must possess. Secretarial administration is also a part of the business education which many scholars have written on the subject, all have seen it as education that equips the learner with the skills which they require for use in business office.
Secretarial administration is one of the most literate courses one can offer among other related courses in business education. Those who successfully graduated from this course of study are fortunate in terms of jobs opportunities, this is because as a trained secretary other than individual who is just a roadside learner has a good knowledge of secretarial skills and a good business training, which enable him/her to have a better job opportunity in different organizations or institutions. Some of the secretarial skills include:
1 Standards of stenographic work, which include:
- Inserting carbon withdrawing paper
- Underscoring dictations
- Arranging list in order, checking lists
- Method of handling laboratory equipment
- Motion study in office work, which include:
- The elimination of fatigue
- Necessary concentration
- Making the business letter attractive such as Tittle of Address, Salutation and Signature.
- Handling of dictation effectively.
- The technique of telephoning, which include: Handling calls for others.
These various skills among many others give a well-trained secretary to be fortunate in terms of jobs opportunity. Yet students still have a poor attitude towards studying secretarial administration as a course due to so many reasons known to them which few of them will be mentioned in this study. Some of the reasons students have poor attitude towards this courses are:
- Individual fear that there no enough instructional materials made available or affordable to enable them learn effectively and also acquire the adequate skills needed to be an efficient secretary.
- Another reason is that peer group influences the kind of occupation an individual will want to choose, in this case it will be hard for an individual to want to study secretarial administration when every other of his peers are studying professional courses such as Medicine, Engineering among all other courses.
- Teachers competency also dictates student attitude towards studying secretarial administration as a course of study in tertiary institutions
- Most students are not properly guided by a counselor and are not even aware at the secondary level of education that such a course exist in tertiary institutions, this is also reason why students find it difficult in studying the course.
- More importantly, most parents will not allow their wards/children to study secretarial administration when there are other professional courses to be studied in tertiary Institutions.
This study will help us carry out assessment on the causes of student’s poor attitude towards studying secretarial administration in tertiary institution in Edo State and also give possible recommendations to solve this problem.
In Nigeria, for example, the demand for secretary by various business organization are exhaustible i.e., used up completely. In the recent past, the secretary by virtue of the training, specialization and responsibility of a secretary varies from one business concern to another and that is aspiring to the managerial past. All these are dependent on hard work, further training and experience.
Even with the technology revolution in the office, the place of the secretary remains unthreatened. The secretary has unlimited career disapproval, the secretary is sometimes referred to as the live-wire of the organization or the office. Secretaries receive adequate training to cope with versatility in an increasingly complex and automated modern office.
But amidst all these available opportunities for the secretary, there has been a negative attitude among the present day students in studying the course in the tertiary institutions especially among the males. The shortage of proficient secretaries has been remarkable in our developing economy.
Over the years, the secretary has been misrepresented and misinterpreted as well as decreasing the interest of students aspiring to professionalize on the ever increasing demand of secretaries in our fast developing economy. Hence, the need for studying the “causes of students poor attitude towards the study of secretarial administration or studies in tertiary institutions” with a view of finding out the problems and then solving them.
Perhaps, the most crucial and challenging questions in the midst of secretarial administration educators is what to do in order to keep pace with technologies change in the secretarial office equipment and not poor enrolment into the course.
Statement of the Problem
For quite sometimes now, there has been a decline on the number of prospective school learners who offer secretarial administration in tertiary institutions. Moreover, a higher percentage of those who apply to study the course nowadays has been recorded and observed to be more of females. Some students offering the course claimed that it was their inability to fit into other various prestigious discipline of their choice that made them to settle for the secretarial profession. This ugly development has continued as a matter of fact to be a source of worry to business educators and management of tertiary institutions that offer this course.
It is however envisaged that if this situation continues unchecked, there will be a serious scarcity of efficient and proficient secretaries to man the various business offices or organizations which spans up in every part f the country. Moreover, some secretaries positions demand a masculine handling equally avoid all those feminine prominent among the female secretaries.
It is in view of these enormous dispensable and challenging studies of the present day secretary that the researcher delved into the study in order to investigate, analyses the cause of students poor attitude towards the study of secretarial administration in tertiary institutions in Edo State and thus recommend valuable and lasting solutions too.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to assess the following:
- To investigate whether the necessary instructional materials are made available and affordable for effective teaching and learning of the course?
- To assess the influence of peer group on an individual poor attitude towards the study of secretarial administration?
- To assess whether the teachers available in teaching secretarial administration are competent enough to pass on necessary skills needed?
- To find out whether the students are properly guided by a counselor or a guardian before choosing the course?
- To find out how family or student background influences students poor attitude towards studying secretarial administration?
- To find out whether individuals themselves develop interest in studying the course or are force to do so?
The following research questions will guide the study:
- Is the secretarial department adequately equipped with the necessary instructional materials and properly funded to enable the students to acquire the necessary skills needed?
- Do peer group influence the student poor attitude towards studying secretarial administration?
- Are the teacher in secretarial administration department competent enough in impacting effective knowledge about the necessary skills to be learned by the students?
- Do the students who enroll In studying secretarial administration have proper career guidance before admitting to study the course?
- Do parents or family background have their influence on children in regard to choosing secretarial studies as a course of study?
- Do the students on their own develop interest In studying the course?
Significance of the Study
In the end of this research work, it is hope that useful ideas will be proffered to the students who want to study secretarial administration in Edo State and Nigeria as a whole. The study will also help to correct the idea that secretarial administration is a course for people with low mentality or academically handicapped.
This study will equally help to enlighten the prospective students to know there is no gender discrimination in the course. This study will as well help to correct some negative attitude and encourage students towards reading the course.
The study and the recommendations will encourage the students to have interest in secretarial administration as a course, this will provide qualified personnel to meet high of department and industries in our changing society.
Scope of the Study
This research work is designed to cover only the causes of student’s poor attitude towards the study of secretarial administration in tertiary institutions in Edo State.