1.1 Background to the study

Computer skills have become increasingly important as companies have started to depend upon computerized technology to get work done. Computer skills can mean that you can perform tasks that others in the work force aren’t able to, and you are familiar with and able to work with programs that businesses use. You will have a better chance of being successful in a workplace if you are able to navigate computers and use common or specialized computer programs.

“Computer literacy” is a commonly used term in the business world, but it is not precisely defined. Computer literacy, in general, is being knowledgeable about the computer and its applications (Rochester & Rochester, 2011). Such knowledge appears to have two dimensions: conceptual, and operational (Winter, Chudoba, & Gutek,2007). The conceptual dimension includes an understanding of the inner workings of a computer or general computer terminology. Without such knowledge a user would find it difficult to figure out any system problems, or to learn to adapt quickly to new systems or software. The operational dimension refers to the necessary skills a user acquires, through training and practice, in order to operate specific systems to complete specific tasks.

Winter, Chudoba, and Gutek (2007) use the notion of “functional computer literacy” to argue that a user needs both the conceptual and operational knowledge to perform effectively and productively in various white-collar work settings. A truly “computer fluent” user, they contend, does not simply memorize the correct sequence of keystrokes or mouse clicks. Rather, the user must form an internal representation of the system’s structure and functions. Indeed, there is consistent research evidence that links a user’s valid mental models of a system to better task performance (Lan, & Rooze, 2005). Within the context of computer literacy training, we would therefore expect employees to form useful mental models of a computer system based on their conceptual knowledge of the system, and to be able to transfer that knowledge to tasks in an unfamiliar hardware/software environment.

Computer literacy emphasizes technical skill with specific hardware and software applications; the technical skills necessary to use computing technology are requisite for and support information literacy which is considered a higher order skill. Information literacy is ―a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information‖ (Association of College and Research Libraries, 2000, p. 2). Researchers have examined computer or information literacy skills of learners, but only five studies identified for the review directly measured technology skills of learners. Within those five reports, researchers found a great deal of variance in learner performance, but all found results that suggest learners do not possess adequate computer literacy skills.

Researchers have examined learner self-assessment of computer literacy skill and assessed the accuracy of learner self-assessment in comparison to learner actual skill level observed via skill exams. One researcher observed no relationship between learner self-assessed skill level and learner score on a diagnostic exam (Sieber, 2009), but the balance of studies included in this review concluded that learners overestimate personal computer literacy skill (Ballantine, McCourt Larres, & Oyelere, 2007).

The foregoing arguments suggest that the performance impact of business education graduates on computer literacy depends on the nature of the task. More specifically, it depends on whether the task involves the transfer and application of the conceptual and operational knowledge obtained from their computer literacy training and practice. Being computer literate is important as it opens up more job opportunities, helps in staying up to date, it is a cheap way to communicate, it enhances professionalism, helps in better record keeping and makes transactions more convenient. Almost all workplaces and businesses have embraced the use of computers in one way or another meaning it is almost impossible not to encounter a computer in everyday life.

Business education is that program of study which encompasses education for office occupations business teaching administration and economic understanding. One remarkable and important characteristic of business education program is that its products can function independently as self employed and employers of labour (Aquah 1998, Abdulkadir 2011). Consequent upon these, there exists a broad spectrum of job prospects for products of business education even from the junior secondary level to the graduate level. Included in this spectrum are: teaching careers, entrepreneurship, office environment, vocational practices.  Emama, Ewane, and Fontem (1995) stated that Nigeria has witnessed a lot of development which have great impact on business education. These development they stated, are in the areas of curriculum trends, rapid industrialization, and urbanization, economic forces-both national and international, new methodologies in the classrooms and offices, and government influences. In spite of these developments, many advocates call for better ways of handling the teaching and learning of business education. This situation tends to connote ineffectiveness either in the curriculum, the delivery process or the technologies applied in the delivery system.

The world has gone digital. It has been reduced to a “global village” where jobs abound and are accessible to any and all posses the requisite skills for the 21st century labour market. If business education graduates in Nigeria must avail themselves of these job opportunities, it is imperative to, as matter of urgency, enrich the business education curriculum and improve the delivery system.

Many studies investigated the relationship between people perceptions toward computer skills in business education and their attitudes and some other variables such as gender or prior experience in using computer. Gender differences have been reported in literature as affecting perceptions in general (Hackett et al., 1991). Consequently, gender was included as a matter of understanding if differences of perceptions toward using technology occurred between male and female respondents. Experience with the computer skills was included because research has documented the relationship between experience and user acceptance of technology in general (Koohang, 1989). The more experience a user has with technology the more he or she tends to accept it. Therefore, user’s acceptance may in turn promote learning.

A great deal of rhetoric scattered throughout contemporary educational literature, publications, and news stories describes today‘s younger learners as inherently computer literate, with fundamentally different attitudes toward and habits when using computer technology than the previous generation. The younger generation (often defined as those who were born after 1980) has been categorized and labeled, at various times, as the Net Generation, millennials, and digital natives (Howe & Strauss, 2000; Prensky, 2001b; Tapscott, 2008). According to proponents, Net Generation Learners (NGLs) have grown up with access to computer technology, and they ―all have the skills to use those technologies‖ (Palfrey & Gasser, 2008). NGLs‘ exposure to and ability to use technology has shaped their minds differently from preceding generations; this younger generation possesses a distinctly different learning style from their predecessors (Brown, 2005; Frand, 2000; Prensky, 2001a; Tapscott, 2008).

In addition to this, the rhetoric may be reinforcing assumptions learners and faculty make regarding learners‘ actual computer literacy skill levels. the mismatch between learners‘ expectations with their actual skill levels may put learners behind the expected learning curve regarding the technology used for a course. Hilberg and Meiselwitz (2008) found significant discrepancies between learner perceptions and learner actual skill level; most students (73%) overestimated their computer literacy skill. It is important for academia and learners to better understand learners‘ actual computer literacy skill level.

Effective performance therefore, depicts producing the result that is wanted or desired in the course of doing something. Effective performance therefore, is the possession of the competence to perform. Thus, effective performance competencies comprise of integrated performance oriented capabilities, which consist of clusters of knowledge, or intelligence including the necessary psychomotor capabilities and attitudes (Burke, 1989). All these are required for carrying out tasks, solving problems and more generally, for effective functioning in a certain profession, position or role (Burke, 1989). Curtain, (2000) also noted that effective performance competence depicts aptitude, dexterity, expertise, talents and intelligence required by an individual to practice in a given discipline or discharge a given task or activity. Effective performance competency therefore describes the possession of those essential work traits or characteristics which need to be acquired by job seekers to enable one secure initial employment, maintain such employment, and function effectively.

1.2 Statement of problems

These day graduates of all discipline roam the major streets of urban cities looking for non-existence white collar jobs. Often, they are equally seen in clusters parading the rural areas with extreme bitterness in search of jobs. Graduates and in fact all well meaning Nigerians are filled with extreme regrets considering the rate of unemployment situation today in our country. On the other hand, the educational system has continued to churn out graduates whose performance ability in employment is in heavy doubt. Experiences show that employers of labour have continued to prove this by rejecting most graduate job applicants during recruitment. Specifically, the employability competences of most Nigerian business education graduates are relatively very low. Most graduates do not possess the requisite occupational skills or competences needed for effective performance in office occupations like a good computer literacy skill. Chigunta (2001) earlier noted in this regard that the Nigeria business education system has failed to cope with the current trend and changes in equipping her graduates with the requisite competences needed for effective job performance virtually in all fields with the aid of digital world. Most of the competences possessed by Nigerian graduates are parallel to the desires of employers of labour, hence, the need to be literate in computer and its usage is to have a good work life. Thus, the Nigerian education system has over flooded the labour market with graduates who cannot face the competition in the labour market. In this realization, this study is wants to look at the effect of computer literacy on employment opportunity for NCE business education graduates in Lagos State economy.

1.3 Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study was to identify the effect of computer literacy on employment opportunity for NCE business education graduates in Lagos State economy. Specifically, the study sought to identify the core office computer competences and the electronic office occupation competences needed by business education graduates for effective job performance in modern office employment in Lagos state.

1.4 Research questions

  1. What are the core office computer competences needed by business education graduate for effective job performance in offices?
  2. What are the E-office employability competences needed by business education graduates for effective job performance?

1.5 Research hypotheses

  1. There is no significant relationship between core office computer competences and business education graduate effective job performance in offices.
  2. There is no significant relationship between E-office employability competences needed by business education graduates and effective job performance.

1.6 Significance of the study

There are always openings for topflight secretaries in both the public and private sectors. This study will help sectors rely on the nation’s higher institutions of learning to supply them with this indispensable category of manpower with effective computer skill level. It will help understand why office environment has metamorphosed into a very modern one from the traditional office known, which is towards a paperless office.

Secondly, the outcome of this study would serve as an input for legislation on policies relating to computer literacy build ups in tertiary institutions. It is expected that the study recommendations will assist the nation’s lawmakers to have a deeper horizon of employable and on the need to act fast because of its consequences on the nation.

This study will specially find out whether the computer literacy skills of graduates in Business Education department will be significantly different from those from other departments; find out the influence of gender, and religion on the academic achievements of the Business Education students in Computer acquisition skills.

1.7 Scope of the study

The purpose of this study is to identify the effect of computer literacy on employment opportunity for NCE business education graduates in Lagos State economy. This study is limited Ojo local government area of Lagos State.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Adoption the decision to make full or continued use of an innovation.

Accessthe right to obtain or make use of or take advantage of something

Computer literacy– consists of two components: an awareness component that requires an individual to have knowledge of how computers affect his/her daily life or society as a whole, and a competence component that requires an individual to demonstrate hands on proficiency with a software application.

Educational technology the use of technology in education to improve learning and teaching. Educational technology is also known as instructional technology or learning technology.

Innovation any idea or technology that is new to the individual (Rogers, 1962).

Innovativeness the degree to which an individual is relatively earlier in adopting new ideas than other members of his social system.

Laggards this characteristic describes people who are likely to never adapt to the use of information technology in their classroom teachings

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