1.1 Background of the Study
Business Education is a part of technical and vocational education which is studied in secondary and tertiary institutions in the country. That is, universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. According to Osuala (2004), Business Education is divided into two parts: office education, which is vocational in nature for office careers and general business education which is a programme that provides information and competences needed for managing businesses. The primary objective of Business Education is to foster the acquisition of the necessary business competencies needed to effectively function in the world of work, either as an employee or an employer of labour. The need for ensuring that the theoretical knowledge acquired by students is matched with their practical knowledge gave room to the establishment of Student Industrial Works Experience Scheme (SIWES).
SIWES is one of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) programmes and it was introduced in 1974 due to the inability of engineering and technology students in Nigeria universities and polytechnics to meet the practical aspects of their training. That is, the needs to enable students match their theoretical school knowledge with the practical aspect of their training in industry. According to Ekpenyong (2011), one of the principles underlying any industrial work experience scheme for students in institutions of learning is the desire to marry the practical with the theoretical learning which characterizes conventional classroom situations with a view to striking a balance between theory and practice. The author stressed further that it was in realization of this that the ITF when it was established, set out to study the extent to which the theoretical knowledge that students in engineering technology and other allied fields in Nigerian institutions offering technology based courses related to the kind of work experience expected of them by employers. The result of the ITF survey showed a great disparity between students’ knowledge and their ability to apply it in relevant jobs. In order to bridge the gap between the two, the ITF in 1974 established a co-operative internship programme, which enabled students of technology to spend some part of their courses for relevant on-the-job. practical experiences in appropriate areas of the Nigerian industry (Ekpenyong, 2011). The author further stressed that the internship programme, SIWES, can therefore be seen as that which is intended to give Nigerian students studying occupationally related courses experience that would supplement their theoretical learning.
The objectives of SIWES according to Ekpenyong (2011) include: i. To supplement the theoretical learning of students form academic institutions with practical industrial activities in the various disciplines; ii. To expose and prepare students for the industrial work situation they are likely to meet after graduation; iii. To expose students to work methods and experience in handling equipment and machinery that may not be available in the educational institutions; iv. To enlist and strengthen employers’ involvement in the entire educational process of preparing students for employment in industry; and v. To prepare the students for a business career by merging their analytical power with self-reliance.
The above objectives of SIWES are laudable but for these objectives to be achieved there must be conscious efforts by all that have stake/stakeholders in SIWES. The effective administration of SIWES falls on the ITF, a student’s own institution and the employers. The ITF is saddled with several responsibilities aimed at ensuring the effectiveness of SIWES and some of the responsibilities include: prospecting for places for students on industrial attachment, provision of logistic materials needed to administer the programme, supervision and assessment of the performance of students on industrial attachment, ensuring payment of student monthly allowances, arranging Group insurance scheme for students on attachment and disciplining defiant students and those who perform poorly on the programme. The institution equally has a peculiar role to play in ensuring effectiveness of the scheme. The institution is to ensure the preparation of students for industrial attachment and subsequent placement of students with employers. It also ensures that there is proper and comprehensive supervision of students on attachment (Ekpenyong, 2011). The employers have a role to play in accepting the students on attachment and assigning them to relevant jobs where there will be utmost skill acquisition and supervision. The employer also ensures that students are given their monthly allowances and also abide by the rules and regulations governing the scheme. The students’ primary roles are being punctual and regular to the place of attachment; and ensuring that the student log book is completed.
Apart from the school and other supervisory agencies of the government (that is National Universities Commission, National Board for Technical Education and National Commission for Colleges of Education), the organizations play a very crucial role in ensuring that business education students are properly and adequately trained in line with the demands of the modern office. For there to be effectiveness and the realization of the overall mandate of SIWES, there must be proper collaboration between the schools where students are exposed to theoretical knowledge and the organization where they are exposed to detailed practical knowledge. Once the gap between the school and the industry (organization) has been bridged, there would be assurance of greater quality and productivity of the graduates from the various institutions.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
As indicated in the background of this study, SIWES was established in the year 1974 by Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to meet a felt need for individual efficiency by those who left school to work; precisely that of ensuring that engineering technology and management students who graduate from the universities and allied tertiary courses in technical and business education in colleges of education have not only theoretical but also practical competence in the areas of their studies.
Since business and technical education are industry related, the students of these courses are equally enlisted on the scheme. Over the years, there has been no clear evidence of effectiveness of SIWES, particularly as it relates to business education students enlisted on the scheme. Since there are diverse and unsubstantiated views of the effectiveness of the scheme in Nigeria, the study sought to assess the relevance of SIWES to business education programme objectives.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study sought to assess SIWES relevance to business education programme objective. Specifically, the study sought to;
i. examine the relationship between SIWES and business education programme objectives.
ii. determine the challenges confronting the effectiveness of SIWES in Nigeria.
iii. assess the effectiveness of SIWES in meeting the work experience needs of business education products.
1.4 Research Questions
i. What is the relationship between SIWES and business education programme objectives?
ii. What are the challenges confronting the effectiveness of SIWES in Nigeria?
iii. What is the effectiveness of SIWES in meeting the work experience needs of business education products?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
Ho: There is no relationship between SIWES and business education programme objectives
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.
1.7 Scope/Limitations of the Study
This study is assessment of SIWES relevance to business education programme objectives.
Limitations of Study
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 Definition of Terms
SIWES: The students industrial work experience scheme (SIWES) is a skills training programme designed to expose and prepare students of Universities, Polytechnics/Colleges of Technology/Colleges of Agriculture and Colleges of Education for the industrial work situation they are likely to meet after graduation.
Business Education: Business education involves teaching students the fundamentals, theories, and processes of business.
Ekpenyong, L.E. (2011). Foundations of Technical and Vocational Education: Evolution and Practice for Nigerian Students in TVE and Adult Education, Policy Makers & Practitioners. Benin City: Supreme Ideal Publishers International Ltd.
Isah, A.R. (2003). The effect of Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme on skill development of Business Education students (A case study of Federal College of Education, Kano). A project submitted to Department of Vocational and Technical Education, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
ITF (1973).Policy Document No 1. Industrial Training Fund, Jos, Nigeria.
Osuala, E.C. (2004). Principles and methods of Business and computer Education. Enugu: Cheston Agency Ltd.
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