As important and indispensable as secretarial education is to national economic development and individuals in the area of employability, job creation, poverty alleviation and for self-reliance, its foundation from secondary schools is fast collapsing. The enrolment of students into secretarial education programme in Nigerian Secondary Schools is conspicuously very low, and this has negative corresponding effect on students’ enrolment into secretarial education programme in Nigerian Universities. This has subsequently created dearth of qualitative secretarial administrators in the labour market, and also inadequate number of secretarial lecturers in Nigerian Universities. It is in light of the above that this paper searches for the factors that are responsible for this unfortunate trend, and makes useful recommendations to rebuild and solidify the foundation of this vocational education programme in Nigerian secondary schools.
Secretarial Education is a vocational programme that is offered in Secondary schools, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and Universities primarily to educate and train students to become secretarial teachers and administrators with the appropriate skills and competencies to take up a career in teaching, office occupation and business. According to Amoor and Udoh (2008), secretarial education is an area of instruction that has been in existence for several decades, and it plays very significant role in national economic development. It is, according to Usman (2008) a vital tool in the hand of government to combat unemployment crisis, and also according to Ilo (2002) is a tool to alleviate poverty. Secretarial Education is also very useful to private organizations and individuals in terms of employability, job creation and self-reliance.
As important and indispensable as this vocational education programme is, its existence in Nigerian secondary schools today is about to die a natural death. It is keenly observed that many secondary school students nowadays do not opt for secretarial education neither are they guided by their parents or educational Guidance and Counselors to make a career in secretarial education. It is against this background that this paper attempts to examine the factors that are responsible for this devastating low students’ enrolment for this vocational education programme in Nigerian Secondary schools / commercial colleges.
Secretarial Education provides knowledge, skills, competencies and attitudes needed for would-be secretaries to function well in office occupation and also be self-reliant. In support of this definition, Chukumezie (2001) said that secretarial education revolves around job skills, employability and self-dependency. Also, the National Board for Technical Education (1989) defined secretarial education as the type of education that equips students with vocational skills, effective work competencies and socio-psychological work skills essential for inter-personal relations. In addition to the above, Okolo (2001) said, secretarial education provides students with adequate skills, information and competencies needed to function well in office occupation.
Secretarial education came to limelight in the last decades of the 19th century when some Nigeria nationals in business partnerships with overseas exporters had to learn simple commercial subjects for the purpose of facilitating business transactions. Aliyu (2006), said that between 1940 and 1960, the missionaries, particularly the Roman Catholic, established commercial schools for training girls as secretaries. He said that in 1955, the modern secondary schools were introduced to give pre-vocational business training and some leading commercial schools such as the Abett Institute, Sapele Christian Secondary Commercial College, Warri, subjects such as typewriting, shorthand, Office practice, Accounts/Bookkeeping, etc were offered.
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