ASSESSMENT OF SIWES RELEVANCE TO BUSINESS EDUCATION PROGRAMME OBJECTIVES
Background to the Study
The level of development of a country is often considered to be an offshoot of the nature of her educational system and programme. This point is true to the extent that the technological objectives of a nation are usually rooted in the educational objectives and programmes of the country. Thus, education for development is a veritable instrument for socio-economic emancipation and economic self-reliance of every country. The level of technological development and skill acquisition has become the basis for determining social, economic and industrial development. Adequate skill acquisition training programmes through technical vocational education (TVE) holds the key to development and economic survival of a nation.
At the lower level business education can be described as a vocational course, an encompassing programme which equips its recipients with the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to succeed in whatever business endeavours they may engage in. In other words, business education goes beyond the acquisition of knowledge for scientific and technical qualification but equips recipients for their work in industry, commerce, central or local government (BEC 1975). Business education may also be referred to an educational process or content which has its primary aim of preparing individuals for roles in business enterprises; either as employees, entrepreneur/employer or simply as self-employed. (Anao, 1986).
Business education represents a broad spectrum of disciplines that are offered in elementary, secondary and post secondary. Specifically, business education is offered at three levels in tertiary institution in Nigeria namely; universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. These institutions have the aim of equipping the products of secondary education and developing them into middle and high level manpower for diverse areas of the economy. The general objective of business education as outlined in the pre-vocational curriculum volume 2 (Fed. Min. of Education, 1984) are as follows:
a. acquire basic knowledge of business studies
b. develop basic skill in office education
c. prepare for further training in business studies and
d. develop Orientation and basic skills for starting life for those who can not go beyond the junior secondary school.
Dambo (1987) adds that business education programmes are designed to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies of the learner in terms of:
developing the learner’s understanding of the contribution of business and office employees toward the economic development of the nation.
Improving the learner’s personal qualities and attitudes necessary to adjust into the work environment.
provide opportunities for skill training of the workers in order to make him/her reliant.
developing the learner’s to be a business educator.
The undergraduate Business education programmes are for students who wish to gain preparatory qualification in a particular field of study. Thus, the primary objective of all undergraduate of business education programmes is therefore to:
provide students with a solid business education along with additional knowledge and abilities to succeed in a particular area of business and worlds of work.
Prepare and developing in students a capacity for critical thinking, for integrating business knowledge across different business functions and disciplines and for utilizing current theory in approaching practical business problem.
Provide the necessary quantitative analytical, and communication skill while grounding students in applied theory and practice across the management disciplines.
Provide the student’s with an opportunity to focus in a particular area of study designed to meet the needs of highly diverse students body a wide range of career interests and priorities (Retrieved from http: www.bussinessprogramsinusa.com
The growing concern among our industrialists that graduates of our higher institutions of learning lack adequate practical background knowledge preparatory for employment in industry, led to the formation of Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in 1973/1974 session (Information and Guideline for SIWES 2002). ITF has as one of its key functions which is; to work as cooperative entity with industry and commerce where students in higher institutions of learning can undertake mid-career work experience attachment to industry different areas of which are compatible with their areas of study (Okorie, 2002 in Asikadi, 2003).
The bodies involved in the management of SIWES are; Federal Government, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), other supervising agencies are National University Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE). The function of these agencies aforementioned include among others to:
Ensure adequate funding of the scheme establish SIWES and accredit SIWES unit in the approved institution formulate policies and guidelines for participating bodies and institutions as well as appointing SIWES coordinators and supporting staff.
According to the law that established the SIWES, the objectives of SIWES among others include to:
provide an avenue for students in institutions of higher learning to acquire industrial skills and experience in their approved course of study.
Expose and prepare students for industrial work situation they are likely to meet after the graduation.
expose student to work methods and techniques in handling equipment and machinery that may not be available in the educational institution.
Provide students with opportunity to apply their knowledge in real work situation thereby bridging the gap between theory and practices.
Enlist and strengthen employer’s involvement in the entire educational process of preparing students for employment in industry and;
prepare the student for a business career by merging their analytical power with self-reliance. (Information and Guideline for SIWES, 2002).
SIWES is a skill training programme designed to expose and prepare students of agriculture, engineering, technology, environmental science, medical science, education including technical vocational education (TVE), pure and applied sciences for the industrial work situation which they likely to meet after graduation. It is required of all students of aforementioned disciplines to participate in the programmes Credit units are assigned to SIWES which is incorporated into the calculation of Gross Point Average and cumulative point average.
SIWES programme, provides students the opportunity to work in one or more areas of industry and this enables them to relate their theoretical knowledge to the practical work situation, which is a realistic way of determining the relevance of theory to practice. The duration of SIWES for relevant categories of students is four months in polytechnic at the end of NDI, four months in colleges of education at the end of NCE II and six months in the universities at the end of 300 or 400 or 500 levels depending on the discipline.
SIWES as a training requirement needs to be assessed from time to time in order to determine whether it is meeting its stated objectives.
Statement of the problems
The key objective of SIWES is to relate theory to practice, thus before a student graduates, he or she should be able to marry theory and practice. Business education is a programme in which a graduate is required to demonstrate through practical and mental skills his or her ability with little employers’ preparation. Thus, his or her training should approximate situations in the world of work especially with the compulsory industrial training requirement of the programme. It is however observed that some business education products perform dismally at employment interviews and are unable to apply themselves to simple office skills, procedures and practices. Could this be as a result of lack of adequate SIWES programme exposure or failure in the impartation of the appropriate skills by institution offering business education programme? In a cross sectional study conducted in some selected industries, universities and research institutes in 1985, Ukaegbu found that graduates apply their intellectual skills and knowledge well enough in industries, he added that students on the other hand are faced with the challenge of handling some electronic gadgets and facilities during their Industrial Training period which the school environment may not have sufficiently exposed them to at the time of undertaking the industrial training. It is on this basis therefore, that this study seeks to assess the SIWES relevance to business education programme objectives.
Purpose of the study
The main purpose of the study is to assess the relevance of SIWES to business education programme objectives.
Specifically, the study seeks to determine:
The level of awareness of business education students on the relevance of SIWES to their programme.
Whether business education students placed in workplaces relevance to their programme during SIWES
Whether students experience the needed practical experience during their SIWES programme.
Whether the students are adequately supervised during their SIWES programme.
Whether the industries allow the students access into their mainstream.
In undertaking this study, the following research questions will be asked to guide the study.
What is the perception of business education students on the relevance of SIWES to their programme?
Are business education students placed in work places relevant to their programme during SIWES?
Are business education students exposed to the practical aspects of their programme during SIWES?
Are business education students in SIWES adequately supervised?
Do the industries where the business education students do their SIWES accept them into their mainstream?
Significance of the study
The result of this research will be beneficial to a number of groups and individuals. The study finding will provide vocational students, employers of labour, administrator, policy maker and researchers with relevant baseline data. The study finding will provide vocational students an avenue to appreciate the integration of theoretical and practical component that will prepare these students for the “real world” and provide them basic job skill to function in the labour market.
Also, the finding may bring a useful contribution to employer of labour who are faced with the task of relating educational target will gainful employment objectives and the need of the national economic as well as help in determine whether skill acquire by graduate will contributing to the organization.
In addition, the finding will create awareness to administrator on how to improve the quality of programmes and built on current facilities and services offer to students such as laboratory, library resources, computer/IT availability and other facilities.
Moreover, the finding will provide encouragement for government to give adequate support to the Business education programme in tertiary institution in term of finance and monitoring for effective realization of Business education programme objectives.
Finally, future researchers on similar and other related fields will find it handy as a reference material to assist them in their research endeavours.
Scope of the study
The scope of the study cover SIWES relevance to business education programme objectives in the school of vocational and technical education in Emmanuel Alayande College of Education Oyo, Oyo State and in the department of curriculum studies and Instructional Technology in Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State of Nigeria respectively. The scope covers the perception of business education students on the relevance of SIWES to their education programme, relevance of SIWES workplaces to their education programme, students exposure to the practical aspects of their programme during SIWES; adequate supervision of business education students in SIWES as well as the determination of whether the industries where the business education student do their SIWES accept them fully into their mainstream.