1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Information technology as defined by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) is the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware”. It deals with the use of electronic computer software to convert, store, protect process, transmits and securely retrieved information.
It has been observed that the term Information technology has been broaden explicitly to cover the field of electronic communication and therefore it is abbreviated as ICT (Information and Communication Technology), and it can also be referred to as IT and standing for Information Technology. Consequently, whether it is Information Technology or Information and Communication Technology, we are simply refereeing to one which preferably the researcher calls the Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Information and Communication Technologies has today virtually become synonymous with the computer. It is the technology that supports activities involving the storage, manipulation and communication of information, which has been integrated into one easy to use system of data processing, delivery and management. Muhammad,(2007).
Ngurukwem, (2005) observed that ICT is a convergence of technologies that include the computer and microprocessor technology, communication satellite technologies and networking technology.
However, there are some problems associated with the ICT which include; introduction of malicious code, acts of terrorism, system hardware and software failure and natural or environmental disaster, attacks on the system by external networks or hacker, users initiated issues either through error or malicious act, et cetera. Therefore, strategies have to be employed in order to prevent this danger for suitable development.
There is no doubt that the Secretary remains the life-wire of any organization. Contributions and effectiveness of a secretary depends on how he/she can cope with the modern technologies. However, with the development of new technology, secretarial profession is becoming increasingly challenging and more sophisticated compared with the common traditional role of Secretaries.
The science of computing has developed quickly and large, therefore, the researcher feels it is important to understand the problem associated with ICT applications on the secretary’s profession, recognizing the vital roles secretaries play in organizations.
1.2 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE CASE STUDY
The Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa was established in 1983 by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The intention of the Federal government in establishing polytechnics was predicated by the Government’s drive to revolutionize the society technologically. This is spelt out in the objectives of the polytechnics contained in the Federal Polytechnic decree No.28 of 1987. Among the objectives is:
· To train people to acquire technical Vocational skills which are needed for the economic and social development of Nigeria especially in the fields of agriculture, commerce and industry.
At the Federal polytechnic Nasarawa, academic work commenced in January 1984 at the central primary school temporary site with an initial intake of 220 students in two schools: schools of Environmental and Business Studies. A department of Liberal Studies courses with the responsibility of General Study’s courses and administration of pre-National Diploma programs. An important land mark in the development of the polytechnic was the initial accreditation of all the programs in 1985 and commencement of all the programs in Business Administration and Management, Accountancy. Secretarial studies Town and Regional Planning in the year 1986. The then Minister of Education, Professor Jibril Aminu cut the sod to begin the physical development at the permanent site.
The rapid academic development continued in 1992/1993 session with commencement of ND programs in electrical Electronics Engineering technology, Science Laboratory Technology and Statistics. These programs had associated with them requisite laboratories and workshops fully equipped to meet the requirements for accreditation. Indeed with these developments, the Polytechnic can now be said to be a full-fledged Technical institution offering programs in core Engineering, Applied Science, Environmental and Business Studies.
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The arrival of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has assisted Secretaries in no small measure in the effective and efficient performance of Secretarial duties. In today’s office, traditional job like filing, keyboarding reprography, treatment of incoming and outgoing mail and other clerical activities have now lent themselves to automation. Attention is now shifting from the usual traditional secretarial skill to a more modernized practice. The central focus of this study is to examine the problems associated with Information and Communication Technology and its effects on Secretaries.
However, the specific problems to ICT operation are fraudulent misuse, viruses, hackers, unauthorized users activity, unprotected downloaded files.
Information and Communication Technology in recent years has created a great deal of opportunities to Professional Secretaries, considering the current rapidity in the growth and use of ICT, there is a reasonable prospect that Information and Communication Technology will drive all duties/ tasks of the Secretaries in every organization in the sense that in no distant time, every office work will done using one ICT equipment or the other and that implies that the service of a Secretary who has no expertise in using or operating the Information and Communication technologies will not be useful.
Again these advancements in communication technologies have led to the need for secretaries to reposition themselves in order to continue to be relevant in their performance of office functions as well as cope with the trend of technological changes in today’s modern offices.
1.4 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to examine some of the problems and prospects of ICT to the secretary. Specifically, the study intends to:
1. Identify the problems of Information and Communication Technology.
2. Examine the effects of ICT on Secretary’s performances
3. Determine the prospects/opportunities offered by ICT to Secretaries.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the problems associated with ICT?
2. What are the effects of ICT on Secretary’s performances
3. What are the opportunities offered by ICT to Secretaries?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research work will be of great benefits to Secretaries, ICT end users and researchers. ICT end-users those who make use of the equipments or applications to help them in their work. They make use of ICT in their day-to-day activites in their homes and offices for the efficiency of the service. To the Secretaries, the study will enlighten them on the problems that are associated with ICT, review to them the effects of those problems on their works as they carry out their duties and how to avoid them. The study will also be of great importance to professional Secretaries, staff and other workers in Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa (FPN) who make use of ICT equipments in their offices as it will enlighten them on problems that they are likely to face with Information and Communication Technologies as they carry out their duties and how to handle it. The study is important to researchers because it gives the direction to research with similar area or problem.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of ICT is a very wide one that covers office automation, transaction processing, and management information system etcetera. This study however, restricts itself to the problems of ICT and its effect on Secretary’s performance, ways of handling the problems, prospects/opportunities offered by ICT to Secretaries (professional secretaries) with the Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa in focus. This restriction is to ensure proper observation on the population sampling.
In this chapter the researcher reviewed literature relating to information and communication Technology which includes internet, books, journals, reports, articles, seminar papers and other works on similar topics. The review was discussed under the following headings:
· Meaning of Information and Communication Technology as given by different authors.
· Some latest Information and Communication Technology equipment
· Importance of Information and Communication Technology To Secretaries
· Problems of Information and Communication Technology and their effects on Secretaries.
· Ways to curb the problems of ICT
· Prospects of Information and Communication Technology.