This study was to determine the relationship between e-library and quality assurance in the Federal Government Colleges (unity schools) in Rivers and Bayelsa states, Nigeria. The population comprised of the teachers and students (SS3 and JS3) of the six unity schools in Rivers and Bayelsa States Nigeria numbering 3186 (teachers 1019, students 2167). A research sample of 637 was used through proportional stratified random sampling technique using 20%. A self-designed questionnaire known as E-library and Quality Assurance Questionnaire (ELQAQ) was used to elicit information from the respondents. Three research questions and one null hypothesis were formulated. Mean, rank order, standard deviation and z-test were used to find solution to the research questions and the hypothesis. The major findings of the study include that Federal Ministry of Education (F.M.E.) is a pacesetter of quality education, the library (print or non-print/digital) is the heart beat of the school system as it increases ones reading habit, e-library has the capacity of storing large content of information which can be accessed from anywhere, not all unity school (under study) have functional e-library, the print library is still useful, unity school teachers and students prefer a blend of the print and e-library as both have their advantages. Based on these findings, it was recommended that the print library should not be relegated but upgraded periodically to complement the digital library for quality service delivery, the Federal Ministry of Education Nigeria should endeavor to complete and equip the e-libraries as planned, the Inspectorate division of the F.M.E. should always inspect schools facilities for quality assurance, more qualified ICT teachers should be recruited in the unity schools (as model schools) to promote computer literacy and the F.M.E. should implement effective and regular capacity building in the unity schools of Nigeria to maintain qualitative education as quality teachers produce quality students.
Key words: Federal Government College, library, e-library, quality assurance.
Education is the biggest instrument for academic progress, social mobilization, political survival and effective national development of any country. It constitutes the single enterprise in the country like Nigeria (Akpa, 2002 in Archibong, 2011). Federal Government Colleges also known as federal unity colleges in Nigeria are 104 in number and they possess ultra-modern edifices (such as classrooms, laboratories, libraries, workshops, dormitories etc.), which enhances quality education. The Federal Ministry of Education established these unity schools to promote academic excellence, integration, tolerance, cohesion and to promote some principal objectives like the building of a united, just and egalitarian society. This was borne out of rancor, recrimination and ethnicism (tribal consciousness) evident in the Nigerian history between the Northern and Southern protectorates which affected national issues.
As part of the measures taken by the federal government to rid the society of this cankerworm, it was decided that children of varied ethnic and social background come together for a better understanding of one another (cross-cultural fertilization). To further achieve this, a good number of students admitted into such schools were posted and encouraged to study outside their immediate ethnic and geographical areas; they were thus exposed to finer details of different culture of multi-ethnic Nigeria (Ikonne 2008 in Archibong, 2014). Nigeria is a pluralistic society, a multiple culture of about two hundred and fifty distinct ethnic groups, speaking over two hundred and fifty languages and dialects. It is made up of thirty six states and for the purpose of easy administration, the former Head of State and Commander-in-chief of Armed forces, General Sani Abacha on the first of October, 1995 in the 35th Independence broadcast zoned the country into six geo-political units for the purpose of power sharing: North East, North West, Middle Belt, South West, South East and Southern Minorities. Before now, the Northern and Southern protectorates was amalgamated to become a political entity in 1914. Since then there has been the north versus south disparity in the development of western education in Nigeria and as a result of the education imbalance, the idea of ethnic balancing or federal character was necessitated (Ukeje et al 1988 in Archibong, 2008).
Prior to the Nigerian civil war, there existed two of what later came to be known as federal government colleges, namely, Kings College and Queens College all in Lagos, for boys and girls respectively. At the end of the civil war in 1970, there was a proliferation of the likes of Kings and Queens Colleges throughout Nigeria. These schools were rather christened “Federal Government Colleges”. These federal government colleges can also be referred to as “federal unity colleges” (FUCs) and include “Federal Government Girls Colleges” with Pro Unitate Motto.
The founding fathers led by Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa was to foster unity among the youths of the country by bringing young Nigerians aged between 11 and 18 years in one institution where they will live, work and study together for some years and so grow to understand one another and thus become true Nigerians and as much as possible shed their tribal inclinations. Later, others were established and today there are 104 federal unity colleges across the country (Ikonne 2008 in Archibong, 2014).
The federal unity colleges were bastions of academic excellence and models of qualitative secondary education. The colleges were administered and staffed by experienced, carefully selected and motivated education professionals. The principals and teachers in these institutions were among the best in Nigeria. Adequate provisions were made for classrooms, laboratories, libraries, workshops, dormitories, water and sanitation, books and instructional materials. Class room size was manageable, not exceeding 35 and effective teaching and learning was taking place. An overwhelming majority of the graduates of FUCs obtained the required five (5) credit passes, including English Language and Mathematics and directly moved on to choice tertiary educational institutions for further education (Ikonne 2008 in Archibong, 2014).
The library is a combination of both collection of information sources, resources, services and structure in which it is housed. It is a focal point in learning, teaching and research activities of a learning community aimed at achieving quality output. It plays a major role in sustaining education through acquisition, provision and dissemination of information materials (Omeluzor and Ogo, 2018).
An e-library or digital library is a physical site and or website that provide around the clock online access to digitalized audio, video and written material. It provides copies of books, journals etc. available to the users. Normally these materials are classics which have no copyright digital formats (as opposed to print, micro form or other media) and accessible by computers. The digital content may be stored locally or accessed remotely via computer networks. A digital library is a type of information retrieval system and is an increasingly popular research area that encompasses more than traditional information retrieval or data base methods and techniques (Velumani, 2013).
Quality in general terms is most often defined as “fitness to purpose” in relation to the user and customer needs. Quality can also be taken to mean that the “product conforms to standards, specification or requirements” (Juran and Crossby in Babalola et al., 2007). Quality is looked at by quality scholars like Juran, Derming, Feigenbaum, Crossby and Taguchi from three viewpoints: customer, producer and society. Product quality is described as “fitness for use” or conformance to requirements. A different way of defining quality, providing a new way of thinking is Taguchi’s approach: “quality is the loss imparted to the society from the time a product is shipped” (Juran, Crossby, Taguchi in Archibong, 2008). Quality Assurance derived from the organizational concept of Total Quality Management (TQM) is defined as a way of managing an organization so that every job, every process is implemented right first time and always. It is the avoidance of non-performance by pre-empting failure through proper planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation (Emetarom, 2007).
Quality of education, although varies, none the less has to do with the quality of educational input and output in it’s entirely. Quality is considered as the baseline standard in education which can be measured on a scale of reference. It is therefore an expression or means by which a certain set of standards in education can be achieved (Emetarom, 2007).
Quality in education is an important issue of global concern. This is attested in the conclusions of most of the world and regional deliberation and studies of the last decades. The famous four pillars of the Dehor’s Report on Education for the 21st century (learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and learning to be) are intended to link education, the development, the aim of which should be complete fulfillment of the individual personality (Sule, 2009).
In the same vein Iheonunekwu (2003) in Emenalo (2009) states that each element in the input-process-output framework of education enterprise should be of an acceptable quality to ensure high quality in education. This means that if educational inputs (financial and human resources) such as funding, learner enrolment, quality and quantity of teachers are in the right proportion, learner /teacher ratio, curriculum, textbooks, school materials and facilities etc. are adequately, proportionately and timely provided for education delivery, quality management is on course. Similarly, when the process of delivering the educational service is monitored, checked, encouraged and improved for efficiency and effectiveness, the end product would be of high quality.
This study was anchored on connectivism theory according to Autonomous University of Madrid-Spain (2014). Connectivism is an epistemological approach grounded in the interactions within networks both inside the individual mind and outside to the world, rather than to the individual memory of what to do (behaviourism), what to think (cognitivism), or how to make meaning (constructivism). It is becoming more influential and contentious of late due to its use as the epistemological basis for massive open online courses (MOOCs). Connectivism not only builds on the earlier notion of connectionism from computer science but also on the idea of situated cognition that knowledge occurs not only in the minds of individuals but rather is supra and trans-individual and also exists within and between groups. Its heritage also include that of collective intelligence, which is the idea that through the use of collaborative technologies, people can carry out a task as if the group were a single organism rather than individual agents. However, knowledge is inherently distributed and relies on the presence of networks without which it could not exist and it concurs with the fact that knowledge is emergent from an individual’s learning network as connections are recognized- that is, learning occurs as connections are made.
A library is the most peaceful place on the earth, it is like a corpora of knowledge. One could find books in a library in almost all topics like history, geography or even science e-fiction. Libraries are considered as the shrine where the relics of the ancient saints, full of true virtue and that without delusion or imposture are preserved. A library is like the whole world encompassed in one room. Without a library, an institution will not be complete. It is very essential to education and any problem, any query unanswered, one can find in one of the books stored in the library. Libraries are an integral part of the education system and one is incomplete without the other as a well-stocked library is an asset to any institution.
A library is a place where not only books but also magazines, journals and newspapers are well-stocked for the benefit of the readers. Besides this, one can also get the entire charts, encyclopedia, government gazette etc. A reader can either read in the library or borrow the book/journal as it is a popular place in the academic curriculum. With the growing popularity of the internet, the retrieval of information becomes faster. The primary objective of the library is to organize, and provide access to information. This objective will never change but the format and methods that are used will change dramatically, providing new opportunities and challenges. Libraries have witnesses a great metamorphosis in recent years. The print medium is increasingly giving way to the electronic form of materials. The library is an extremely important entity in an ever-changing society and it must be responsive to the needs of the society. Information Technology (IT) has changed the complexion of today’s libraries. Libraries have evolved to become an information provider rather than mere document providers. The shift from the traditional libraries to the digital is not merely a technological evolution but requires a change in the paradigm by which the users access and interact with information. This move from traditional to electronic libraries also alters the fundamental role of the library (Velumani, 2013).
An e-library or digital library (both terms often used interchangeably) can be defined as a collection of digital objects such as text visuals, video, audio, etc. stored as standardized and customized electronic media format (as opposed to print, micro form or other media), along with means for organizing, storing and retrieving the contents at existing access points or own devices (Anurag, 2013).
A digital library, digital repository or digital collection, is an online database of digital objects that can include text, still images, audio, video, digital documents or other formats. Objects can consist of digitized content like word processor files or social media posts. In addition to storing content, digital libraries provide means for organizing, searching and retrieving the content contained in the collection. Digital libraries can vary immensely in size and scope and can be maintained by individuals or organizations. The digital content may be stored locally or accessed remotely via computer networks. These information retrieval systems are able to exchange information with each other through interoperability and sustainability (Wikipedia, n. d).
Statement of problem
The relevance of a library (print or digital) to an educational institution cannot be over emphasized as it is seen as a repertoire of knowledge, the heartbeat of the school system as well as the academic strong room. Based on contemporary trends, the e-libraries were established globally (even in the federal government colleges serving as model schools in Nigeria). However, certain issues and challenges emerged and so this study seeks to find out if the six unity schools in Rivers and Bayelsa states of Nigeria all have functional e-library and the level of patronage between teachers and students. That is, to verify the contention that e-library brings about quality assurance in secondary education.
Purpose of the study
The general purpose of the study is to determine the relationship between e-library and quality assurance in Federal Government Colleges in Rivers and Bayelsa states, Nigeria namely: Federal Government College Port Harcourt (F.G.C.), Federal Government Girls’ College Abuloma (F.G.G.C.), Federal Science and Technical College Ahoada (F.S.T.C.) all in Rivers State; Federal Government College Odi (F.G.C.), Federal Government Girls’ College Imiringi (F.G.G.C.), Federal Science and Technical College Tungbo (F.S.T.C.) all in Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
Simply put, this study seeks to find out if the usage of e-library leads to quality assurance in the six unity schools in Rivers and Bayelsa states, Nigeria. Specifically the study seeks to: find out the relationship between e-library and quality assurance in Rivers and Bayelsa state unity schools; find out if there are still unity schools (under study) without e-library and how they are coping with the pint library; investigate whether teachers and students in unity schools prefer digital to the print library or whether they preferred a blend of the two.
1. What is the relationship between e-library and quality assurance in unity schools?
2. Which are the unity schools (under study) without e-library and how are they coping with the print library?
3. Do teachers and students in unity schools prefer digital to print library or they preferred a blend of the two?
There is no significant difference between the opinions of teachers and students on the relevance of e-library for quality assurance in unity schools.
The research design used for this study was the correlational design concerned with determining the relationship between two variables (e-library and quality assurance). The study population comprised of 1019 teachers and 2167 students making a total population of 3186. The sample size was 637 comprising of 204 teachers and 433 students which was selected by proportional stratified random sampling technique using 20%. The instrument used was a self-designed questionnaire known as “E-library and Quality Assurance Questionnaire (ELQAQ)” to elicit responses from the respondents. It had two sections: A and B, section A generated demographic data while section B elicited information related to the research topic. The response scale was patterned after a modified four points Likert scale: Strongly Agree (SA), Agree (A), Disagree (D) and Strongly Disagree (SD). The instrument used was validated by lecturers in the Department of Educational Management and Department of Library and Information Science. A test-retest method was adopted to find out the degree to which the instrument would be consistent in measuring what it should measure. The questionnaire was personally administered by the researchers and they retrieved same on completion for analysis. The data collected from the respondents were tabulated, coded and analyzed and deductions from the tables were used to find solution to the research questions and test the hypothesis. The statistical tools used for the analysis were mean and rank order for the research questions and the z-test of difference for testing the null hypothesis.
PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF RESULTS
Research question 1
What is the relationship between e-library and quality assurance in unity schools?
Table 1 revealed that respondents agreed that the Federal Ministry of Education is a pacesetter of quality education with mean score of 3.45; they also agreed that the establishment of e-library increases ones reading habit with mean score of 2.68. The table also revealed that the e-library has the capacity of storing large content of information which can be accessed from anywhere in the world as this has mean score of 3.56. Also, the respondents agreed that the library is the heart beat of the school system with mean score of 3.42 but disagreed that there is quality internet service and adequate power supply that facilitates e-learning with mean score of 1.70. However, the grand mean score of 3.08 shows a positive response on the relationship between e-library and quality assurance in unity schools in the study area.
Research question 2
Which are the unity schools (under study) without e-library and how are they coping with the print library?
Table 2 revealed that respondents disagreed that there is no e-library in the school with mean score of 2.30; the teachers agreed that there is a functional e-library in the school with their mean score of 2.65 illustrated, whereas the students disagreed to the statement with mean scoreof 2.42. Also, the respondents disagreed that there are no qualified ICT teachers in their school and the students in the school do not like using the e-library with mean score of 2.21. Furthermore, the respondents agreed that the e-library in the school is still under construction with mean score of 2.88; there is a standard print library in their school which encourages learning with mean score of 2.64. Therefore the grand mean of 2.41 indicates a low functional e-library in the study area.
Research question 3
Do teachers and students prefer digital to print library or they preferred a blend of the two?
Table 3 shows that all the items have positive response rates, since their weighted mean are greater than the criterion mean of 2.50. This result implies that for items 21-30 with mean 3.29, 3.17, 3.09, 3.41, 3.15, etc., respondents agreed that teachers in unity school prefer digital library to print library, while some prefer print library to digital library. Students in unity school prefer digital library to print and unity school teachers prefer a blend of digital and print library because they both have their advantages. Nevertheless, the grand mean of 3.24 affirm that teachers and students preferred a blend of print and digital library in the study area.
Test of hypothesis
The hypothesis tested at 0.05 alpha level was formulated for the study.
There is no significant difference between the opinions of teachers and students on the relevance of e-library for quality assurance in unity schools. Result in Table 4 revealed that the mean score of unity school teachers and students are 2.40 and 2.36. And that the standard deviations of their scores are 0.37 and 0.44 respectively. However, when this mean difference was subjected to an independent z-test statistics, it was observed that the calculated z-value of 1.251 is less than z-critical value of 1.960 at 0.05 level of significance, so the null hypothesis was accepted. Hence, there is no significant difference between mean scores of unity school teachers and students on the relevance of e-library to quality assurance.
DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
The study revealed that the relationship between e-library and quality assurance include the facts that the federal ministry of education is a pacesetter of quality education,
the establishment of e-library increases ones reading habit, e-library has the capacity of storing large content of information which can be accessed from anywhere in the world, the library is the heart of the school system, there are large quantities of functional computers in ICT department which enhance teaching and learning. Others are: without a library (print or digital) an institution will not be complete, a school without e-library is not 21st century compliant, the e-library is an on-line data base of digital objects/documents which promote quality teaching and learning, there is quality internet service and adequate power supply that facilitates e-learning and there are qualified ICT teachers to promote computer literacy in unity schools.
These findings are supported by Ikonne and Nkom respectively in Archibong (2014) who stated that the federal ministry of education established the federal unity colleges as bastions of academic excellence and models of qualitative secondary education as adequate provisions were made for classroom laboratories, libraries, workshops, dormitories, water, sanitation, books and instructional materials. The Minister of State for Education Barrister Nyesom Wike revealed that the President Jonathan administration was focused on ensuring every Nigerian school has access, equity, standard and quality assurance noting that with the seriousness of the government, the fortunes of educational institutions across the country will be greatly improved. This is further strengthened by Ekong and Ekong (2018) who submitted that the library is the heart of any academic institution as it helps to provide, inform and educate the students through books, journals, audio visual materials and services. Academics and students now have unrestricted accesses to global digital information resources particularly through the internet for scholarly communication and publications.
Similarly, Shrestha (2008) affirmed that today’s library is powerhouse where information is stored, generated and transferred to fulfill the users need. Ternenge and Agipu (2019) posited that one of the objectives of the school library is to inculcate intellectual development by encouraging the development of skills in reading and promoting reaching habits and literacy appreciation.
Findings on the unity schools (understudy) without e-library and how they are coping with the print library revealed that majority of the unity schools have functional digital and print library. However, for the school that the e-library is still under construction, the teachers and students are actually coping with the print library pending on when the e-library will be completed. This approximates to Abubakar (2012) in Archibong (2014) who recounted that when the Minister of State asked how libraries, laboratories, classrooms, hostels and assembly halls will be fixed. For the schools not selected for the phased rehabilitation for the year, a framework has been worked out with UBEC to make district interventions in the Junior Secondary section which falls under the present UBEC mandate; these schools will not remain the same again”.
In furtherance, Premium Times (2012, September 27,) postulated that Nigeria’s Minister of State for Education Nyesom Wike said that well-furnished e-libraries will be set up in 50 unity schools across the country as part of a federal government initiative in a bid to promote quality education.
Also supporting the findings is Premium Times (2019, April 27) which opined that the federal government has given a directive for the overhaul of all unity schools otherwise known as federal government colleges across Nigeria. The Permanent Secretary of the federal ministry of education, Sunny Echono said President Muhammadu Buhari gave the approval to the ministry of education to rehabilitate dilapidated structures and construct new classrooms, improve libraries, the laboratory and other amenities in the unity schools in Nigeria.
Concerning the findings of whether unity school teachers and students prefer digital to print library or they preferred a blend of the two. The respondents agreed that unity school teachers and students preferred a blend of digital and print library because they both have their advantages, the e-library is a modern form of learning for quality output and the print library allows for borrowing and retuning of books.
The findings are supported by Shrestha (2008) who confirmed that in today’s scenario more students surf the internet for information than going through the library resources as it is less complicated and readily available. Still students who are regular users of the library know that libraries have resources that are more comprehensive and scholarly than most websites provide which also are not freely available or may not be online at all. These findings are also strengthened by Ternenge and Agipu (2019) who submitted that the library is a repository of knowledge which helps secondary school teachers to achieve the objectives of producing students that are well informed and are prepared for lifelong education. Library facilities contain information in both print and non-print formats such as textbooks, journals, indexes, newspapers and magazines, reports, internet, video tapes, diskettes. The unavailability of such resources such as library resources negatively affects staff and students motivation and learning. Many users of the library see it as a place where books and other research materials are kept and made available for use.
These findings are equally affirmed by Wang and Hwang (2004) who posited that the booming of new learning methods built on an underlying foundation of computer and Information Technology (IT) over the past decades has offered various “solutions” to educational and training activities. Most of the early “solutions” were adaptations of text-based training delivered electronically. Today the “solutions” are more than duplicating non-electronic learning materials and transmitting them online. They are mainly embodied in the internet environments containing variant elements such as virtual learning environments, online mutual interaction and managed learning environments.
Suleiman et al. (2018) further supported the findings by confirming that library is meant to fulfill information needs because it is more convenient for students to collect reading materials from the school library.
Nigerian nation cannot be well developed without the integration of tribal difference as well as a stable educational system as education is the bedrock of development. To that extent, the federal government of Nigeria established the federal government colleges (unity schools) which have been leading lights and reference points of academic excellence in secondary education. They have produced high flyers and achievers in every sphere of human endeavor for the nation. Their alumni and alumnae are all over Nigeria and beyond as leaders of society, celebrated professionals and accomplished personalities.
In pursuance of true unity and quality assurance in education, the federal government colleges were established and equipped with standard print and non-print libraries to organize and provide access to information. This objective will never change but the format and method used will change (from print to digital library). The print library has not over lived its usefulness as many advantages still abound but the e-library exists to complement it for all round transformation of the users (teachers and students). The e-library is a solution to information explosion and its advantage of point and click functionality ensures that all the users find the information they need to upgrade their knowledge and skill so as to meet up with the 21st century demands.
Based on the results of the findings in the study, the following are advanced as quality is a continuous process:
1. The relevance of e-library cannot be overemphasized, however, the print library should not be relegated rather it should be upgraded from time to time to complement the e-library for quality service delivery in the unity schools in Nigeria.
2. The Federal Ministry of Education should ensure that they complete and equip all the e-libraries in the unity schools in Nigeria as planned.
3. The Inspectorate division of Federal Ministry of Education called FEQAS (Federal Quality Assurance Scheme) should inspect school facilities from time to time to meet up with contemporary demands.
4. Federal Ministry of Education should recruit more qualified ICT teachers into the unity schools (as model schools) to promote computer literacy.
5. Federal Ministry of Education should implement effective and regular capacity building in the unity schools to maintain educational standards as quality teachers produce quality students.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The authors have not declared any conflict of interest.
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