The major purpose of this study was to determine the assessment of competencies required by secretaries in secondary schools in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. The population of the study comprises of 30 secretaries in 21 secondary schools in Aguata Local Government area. Two research questions were formulated which guided the study. A structured questionnaire was formulated which guided the study. A structured questionnaire was developed and validated percentage were used to answer the research questions. The major findings of the study were (1) Oral communication skills is important for secretaries to carry out their works effectively. (2) Written communication skill is essential for a secretary requiring a broad vocabulary, proper grammar and good spelling (3) Interpersonal communication skill will help secretaries to build a good relationship with people. It was concluded that (i) Preparing presentation and creating spreadsheet is important to secretaries (ii) Word processing and transcription is essential to secretaries employed in secondary schools (iii) Secretaries employed in Secondary schools must master document management for the effectiveness of their job.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Secretary has always been a vital link between those who make management level decisions and those who react to and implement the decisions. In the present role of administrative assistant, however, a competent and responsible secretary serve not only as a link between management and staff but also a key support person for the executives.
The word secretary has been understood in different ways by different people. Some see if as a typist or a receptionist or even as an office clerk.
According to Azuka and Agomuo (1993) secretary is a person employed by another person, society or corporation for the purpose of conducting correspondence, keeping business records and transacting other business. He acts as an aide and the close assistant to the boss. He is the vehicle through which his boss or organization’s actions are conveyed to the public in readable and discernable form.
A secretary is therefore a person overseeing business confidentially, usually for powerful individuals. A secretary can also be seen as a person, whose work consists of supporting management, including executives using a variety of project management, communication and organizational skills. These functions may be entirely carried out to assist one other employee or may be for the benefit of more than one.
In other hand, a secretary is an officers of an organization who deals with correspondence admits new members and organizes official meetings and events. According to Merrian Webster secretarial Handbook (1993) the administrative expansion of the secretaries function is reflected in the definition of a secretary provided by professional secretaries international. A secretary was defined as an executive assistant who demonstrates the ability to assume responsibility without direct supervision who exercises imitative and judgment and who makes decisions within the scope of assigned authority. From the definition the real secretary is an assistant to the executive. A secretary as a result of training process mastery of office skills, discharges his duties unsupervised and displays initiative resulting from a good knowledge of his organization.
Whitehead (1977) in Elendu (2001) observed that “behind every successful executive, there is a first class private secretary who acts as an alter ego or other self”. For this reason, secretaries should possess some qualities and skills to enable them act as alter ego to their executives. These requirements include: business knowledge, secretarial skills, language skills and so on. The duties of secretaries have contributed to the growth and fast changing of the organizations. The quality of secretaries in this modern era has made it easy to meet social, political, economic and educational needs of the society, Onwuka (2005).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In many organizations, secretaries are seen as disposable employee who should be hired and fired at will (Azuka and Agomuo 1993). This is as a result of poor skills acquisition and poor attitude of these secretaries. In the past, many secretaries were placed in positions of responsibility but lacked enough authority to carry out their responsibility. The current foster pace of business and the resulting functions and more advanced skills available help to delegate both more responsibility and more authority to the secretaries. While the qualifications for different job slots, vary with the nature of the particular job and the requirement of each executive, the trend today is towards better educated secretaries who are willing and qualified to perform as many tasks as can be delegated to them (Webster’s secretarial Handbook).
Therefore, the problem of this study posed as a question to identify the knowledge, skills and attitude of secretaries that work in secondary schools to enable them face the current roles and responsibilities of secretaries in this modern era.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study was to determine the competencies required of secretaries employed in secondary schools in Aguata local government area of Anambra state.
Specifically the study was to:
1. Identify the communication skills required of secretaries employed in secondary schools.
2. Find out computer skills required of secretaries in secondary schools.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will contribute to the re-examination of the skills of school secretaries, the expansion of their work in this contemporary era. It will also help the executive of secondary schools to understand the importance of secretaries should possess to enable them perform their duties.
The findings of this study will help secondary school administrators to have a better administration. In allocation of duties the findings of the study will help them to know the necessary skills and attributes the secretaries should possess to enable them serve their organization well. It will also help the secretaries in secondary schools to realize themselves as the image maker of the school.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study sought answers to the following research questions:
1. What are the communication skills required of secretaries employed in secondary schools?
2. What are the computer skills required of secretaries in secondary schools?
1.6 DELIMITATION OF STUDY
This study is delimited to the knowledge and skills required of secretaries employed in secondary schools. It focused on the communication skills and computer skills of secretaries employed in secondary schools.
1.7 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
ASSESSMENT: The evaluation or estimation of the nature quality or ability of someone or something.
COMPETENCIES: Having the necessary skill or knowledge of doing something.
SECRETARY: A person employed by another person, society or corporation for the purpose of conducting correspondence.
MANAGEMENT: Is the act of managing or able to cope.
ADMINISTRATIVE: Of or relating to administering or administration.
ASSISTANCE: A person who assists or helps someone else.
RESPONSIBILITY: A duty, obligation or liability for which someone is held accountable.
ORGANIZATIONS: An organized body of people with a particular purpose, especially a business, society, association e.t.c.