SKILLS NEEDS OF AUTOMOBILE TEACHERS IN TEACHING EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES IN TECHNICAL COLLEGES IN BENUE STATE, NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Skill is indispensable features in teaching automobile trade in technical colleges. Skill is needed in lesson preparation, lesson presentation in classroom or workshop and material selection. According to Weiner in Aniago and Ezugwu (2011), skill is the capability of accomplishing a job with precession or certainty, practical knowledge in combination with ability, cleverness and expertness. According to Okeke (2002), skill is the ability to do something expertly and well in accordance to set standard or manufactures instruction. Okeke further stated that to possess skill is to demonstrate the habit of acting, thinking and behaving in a specific way such that the process becomes natural through repetition of practice. Skill development and improvement is very important in harnessing competency in one’s chosen career, this is because skill acquisition and improvement helps in developing and advancing intrinsic potentials in individuals.   

On the other hand, need is said to be a minimal condition to reach, in a given performance level. Chouinard (2006), stated that need is expressed as the capacity to reach a condition or to perform a task according to a required minimal level of satisfaction. In a school environment especially technical, the situation of need experienced by teachers expresses itself as inability, a great difficulty or great restriction in performing a given task, in attempting a given learning inquiry, or in reaching a given competency according to an acceptable, identifiable and measureable minimal level. According to Chouinard, a person in a situation of need experiences insecurity, marginality, inequality, inequity and handicap. The situation of need, because it implies necessary and essential values requires an adapted or appropriate solution to narrow or eliminate the gap. Once the acceptable minimum level is reached, the improvement of the general state, the situation or the condition of a person tends towards standardization, feeling of well-being, security, equity and equality of opportunities.

Skill needs by inference are those experiences and attributes that make an automobile teacher or technician to operate optimally in a given situation. Skill needs therefore are those practical habits required by automobile teachers which will increase their proficiency and service delivery in their occupations, (Aniago and Ezugwu, 2011). Automobile teachers need new skill apart from the old one they possessed to be able to impart the deserved skill to students both in theory and practice of maintenance and repairs of automobile technology in technical colleges.

The technical skill possessed by technical teachers in general and automobile teachers in particular are meant to impart, maintain and repair automobile and light trucks that run on diesel and gasoline engines. Automobile teachers are supposed to possess skills in the application of variety of traditional hand and power tools such as pneumatic wrenches to remove bolts quickly, machines tools like lathes and grounding machines to rebuild brakes, welding and frame cutting equipment to remove and repair exhaust system, jacks and hoists to lift cars and engines. Automobile teachers also need skills in using common hand tools such as screwdriver, pliers and wrenches to work on small parts and in hard-to-reach places, (American Automobile Manufacturers Association, (AAMA), 2006). 

The work of automobile mechanics and automobile teachers is basically on maintenance and repairs of vehicles. Most importantly, automobile teachers need skills in general maintenance and repair of automobile vehicles from the engine and covering all the systems in the engine. Their old skill in maintenance of automobile vehicles is important for the skill required in emerging technologies.

The general occupational qualification (Technical skills) for automobile teachers must be adequate for the assignment of producing mechanics craftsmen who are masters of handling tools and imparting their technology to the students. According to the National Automobile Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF, 2006), automobile teachers should possess the under listed skills; – Maintenance and repairing motor vehicle systems or components using the needed and correct tools such systems include;

  • Dismantling and assembling of engines
  • Maintaining and repairing of engine accessories
  • Maintaining and repairing of the following systems: suspension, brakes, ignition, fuel, electrical, transmission and other systems on the motor vehicles.

The knowledge of the old skill is an advantage for acquisition of required skills in the maintenance and repairs of systems on emerging technology vehicles. The possession of old skill in motor vehicle aids the understanding and faster acquisition of skills in emerging technologies in automobile technology. This implies that the automobile teachers in Benue State technical colleges must be updated in skills and operations of emerging technologies in automobile if they are to remain relevant and surmount challenges they now face in the teaching of automobile trade in the technical colleges in Benue State.

          Emerging technologies’ vehicles are those whose operations and control are based on computer operations. Byron (2010), defined emerging technologies as those technical innovations (in automobile) which represent progressive developments within a field for competitive advantage; emerging technologies represent previously distinct fields which are in some way moving towards stronger inter-connection and similar goals. However, the opinion on the degree of impact, status and economic viability of several emerging and converging technologies vary.

The emerging technologies have now shifted the need from mere acquisition of knowledge of operation of engines to effective handling of such computerized engines to detect faults and proffer solutions. Brain (2014), stated that today’s automatic transmissions have advanced to the point of providing as many as eight forward gears, driver-shift options, computerized driver-adaptable shifting and different shifting modes, such as sport, touring, and snow. Continuing, Brain declared that today’s “cutting edge” is tomorrow’s “common place”. Brain further listed some of the emerging technologies already offered that could be mainstream just a year or two from now. The top automotive technologies of 2014 include; Traffic signs recognition, Pedestrian detection, Lane Department Warning (LDW), Intelligent banking, Semi-autonomous driving, Hot-stone message, Receding door handles and Internet radio

The automobile industry has of recent undergone tremendous technological transformation. The dynamism of emerging technologies in all the sections of designing, manufacturing/production and maintaining/repairing has been on the increase necessitating continual changes in all the sections. According to Tim (2011), the designing, manufacturing/production and maintaining/repairing sections of automobile have also been transformed in many ways. Duff (2005) stated that automobile now integrates sophisticated computer technology, advanced wiring, intricate circuiting and complex engineering. Confirming the rapid technological transformation in automobile industry, Malone (2006), stated that today’s automobiles are factory fixed or equipped with computer systems that have more intelligence than the U.S.A’s National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) space craft sent to the moon in 1969. Malone further stated that automobiles are equipped with onboard diagnostic (OBD) systems. Many engines and machines that were manually or mechanically operated are now controlled by information technology (I.T).

Computers are used to control engines operation, transmission, transaxle, instrumentation, climate control, suspension systems, antilock brakes and safety systems. For automobile teachers at any level in technical colleges to effectively stimulate students into acquiring relevant skills in the modern techniques of maintaining, repairing and handling computerized and electronic equipment together with complexities in modern vehicles, the teachers themselves must first of all be well trained and retrained in skills of emerging technologies, and use of ICTs based functions and operations.

Almost all the operations and functions on modern’ vehicles are based on computer operations. Hence the need for automobile teachers to have basic skills in computer so as to be able to teach these computerized systems on motor vehicle to automobile students in technical colleges in Benue state and beyond. ICT is the study of collection, retrievals, use, storage and communication of information using computers and microelectronics system (Ivowi, 2002). Rodriguez and Wilson (2000) defined ICTs as the set of activities/materials which is facilitated by electronic means for processing, transmission and display of information. In the same vein, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) (2000) referred to ICTs as technologies people used to share, distribute and gather information and to communicate through computers and computer networks. In the view of Akunyili (2006), ICT is the ability to use electronic means to capture, process, communicate and store information. In the context of this study, ICT is an electronic process or technique that can be utilized by the people to enhance teaching and learning as well as operating systems on modern vehicles.

The required skill in ICT together with skill in pedagogy places automobile teachers in good professional stand in teaching emerging technologies in technical colleges. Pedagogy is the art and skill of teaching for successful and desired outcome (Qoca, 2012). The teaching of automobile trade is meant to produce successful students who will be useful to themselves and society hence the needs to apply suitable pedagogy in its teaching. Qoca further assessed that, it is a kind of teaching method: a way of doing something especially in a systematic way. It also implies an orderly and logical arrangement usually in steps. The possession of relevant skills and knowledge in emerging technologies, ICTs, and pedagogy are highly needed and required by automobile teachers to meet the needs of classroom challenges in particular and society in general.

The observation of Olaitan (2003) still holds and is most suitable for teaching automobile profession that, a learner should be trained with facilities and equipment as those found where he/she is going to work after graduation. This can only be done by well trained and skilled teachers. According to Emery, Karmer and Tian (2003), defective Technical Educational programme, use of inappropriate pedagogy and lack of command of emerging technology knowledge by automobile teachers are more devastating not only to individuals but also to the entire nation. According to Ogbuanya and Usoro (2009), a teacher who is currently not in tune with modern trends technologically is dangerous to the system. The Federal Republic of Nigerian (FRN) (2002) defines a technical teacher as a person who has undergone an approved professional training in education at an appropriate level in an approved institution and is being capable of imparting knowledge, attitude and skill to the student.

In the context of this study, such a person is supposed to have required knowledge and skill in automobile trade and pedagogy needed to teach automobile trade in technical colleges. Ogbuanya and Usoro (2009) described that technical teachers are those who obtained technical training in both theory and practice of education that are related to the advancement of knowledge, skill and attitude among youth who will later use the knowledge and skill acquired to improve and solve environmental problems. For the purpose of this study, a technical (automobile) teacher is a person who possesses the rudiment of automobile trade, knowledge, skill, and attitude and is knowledgeable in emerging technologies in automobile industry and is able to teach automobile trade in technical colleges. A prime requisite for a successful technical programme is a qualified teacher who is occupationally competent and also competent in emerging technologies. The main job of technical (automobile) teacher is to teach his subject area to students in such professional manner that on graduation students have something to rely on even if they are not employed in public offices.

          Teaching is a profession that needs constant training and retraining of teachers especially in emerging technology. According to Allen, Walker and Morehead (1999), many educators are limited in the technological skills needed for successful technological integration in career and technical education due to the lack of recent training in professional field. When it comes to quality in education, one of the first issues is the training and retraining of teachers. The common belief is that the most important factor to determine a quality of education is the qualified teacher. This is only possible through regular training especially in automobile trade where emerging technologies has called or necessitated such regular training to keep teachers abreast with technological changes. According to Higbee (2008), training is bringing of a person or animal to a desired degree of proficiency in some activities. Training is the process of imparting specific skills which will equip the individual or group of people to perform specific jobs effectively, efficiently and diligently for the effective and efficient training programme. The training consists of imparting not only cognitive skills and dexterity but also in developing the requisite values, attitude and behaviours. This is more so in automobile trade where much of practical skills have to do with the state of dexterity of both the teacher and students.

In teaching automobile technology in technical colleges as a trade, certain level of skills in all area of maintenance and repairs of automobile are expected to be acquired by the auto teachers who in turn impart them to the students. Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) in the National Policy on Education (NPE, 2004) stated that teachers should be provided with the intellectual and professional background (skills) adequate for their assignment (teaching) and made adaptable to changing situations. This is to satisfy the goal of including automobile trade in technical college as spelt out by FGN thus, the goal of motor vehicle mechanics work (MVMW) programme in technical college is to produce competent vehicle mechanics with sound theoretical knowledge and manipulative skills who should be able to diagnose and carry out repairs and maintenance on all types of  diesel and petrol engines as well as  sophisticated vehicles in the ever changing technology advancement in modern automobile industry, (FGN, 2004).

Technical college is an institution of learning where student acquires both practical and theoretical knowledge on a particular job or profession as a chosen career. According to Ayonmike (2011), technical college is an institution designed to train people for work to reflect the modern trends and development in occupations and skills requirement. Technical colleges are not only specially designed structures but also have teaching contents and operations different from other forms of schools. According to Abdullahi (2002), technical colleges are institutions where specific knowledge and practical skills required for specific trade, employment or professions, craftsmen, technicians, technologists or similar levels in business are trained. Technical colleges train craftsmen in automechanic, plumbing, carpentry, cabinet making, painting and decorating, welding, electronic installation, radio and TV repairs, building construction and a few other trades (Okoro 1993).Technical college where the above mentioned courses were to be taught was and still is a special designed structure called technical college with all its peculiarities.  Okoro further stated that on completion of course of training, students obtain work in companies or establish businesses on their own. The people so trained especially in automobile trade are supposed to maintain and repair different machines, equipments and motor vehicles.

Automobile as a vehicle is basically used for transportation of passengers and goods on ground. It aids industrial, economic, social and entrepreneurial development. It provides service delivery, social services and offers employment to millions of people across the globe including Nigeria in which Benue is a State. Automobile as an aspect of technology is taught in technical colleges and tertiary institutions. Rajput (2008) stated that an automobile as a vehicle is self propelled and driven by an internal combustion engine. Automobile vehicles of all brands are designed, manufactured/produced and maintained/ repairs in an industry known as automobile industry.

        The dynamism of emerging technologies in automobile have placed automobile teachers to a tight corner on how to perform their duties particularly how to teach maintenance and repairs of automobile vehicles to students at technical college level. This is because automobiles teachers are supposed to produce marketable workforce (students) in the area of maintenance/repairs that will fit into the ever changing technologies in automobile work stations. More so, the curriculum content which is the teachers’ guide in instructional process at technical college level is meant to address skills development in maintenance and repairs.

The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) that designs teaching content (curriculum) emphasizes skills in maintenance and repairs only. According to Allian (1991), maintenance is the combination of all technical and associated administrative actions intended to retain an item in or restore it to a state in which it can perform its required function efficiently, without the right maintenance, skill and knowledge, it is almost impossible for personnel involved in maintenance to do the right thing as far as maintenance is concerned (Ogbuanya in Inyiagu, 2011).

Benue State is also an acclaimed food basket of the nation. Various food crops such as yam, cassava, rice, groundnut, oranges, mangoes, pawpaw, tomatoes, millet, maize, beneseed are produced in rural areas of the State. The State needs efficient and sound transport system to convey these food crops to urban centres in the State and beyond for sale. The State also owns one of the biggest transport companies in the country (information service 2012) – Benue links. The fleets of the vehicles in the company are emerging technologies vehicles. These vehicles must always be kept in a functional and operational condition all the time so as to facilitate free and continued movement. Also, the mechanic entrepreneurial business flourishes in the state. All these reasons enumerated above have necessitated and made this study imperative to be conducted in Benue State.

Statement of the Problem

SKILLS NEEDS OF AUTOMOBILE TEACHERS IN TEACHING EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES IN TECHNICAL COLLEGES IN BENUE STATE, NIGERIA