IMPACT OF COMPUTER IN RURAL AREAS SOUTH-EAST, NIGERIA
The purpose of the study was to determine the extent of utilization of Computer to enhance rural development in South-East, Nigeria. Four research questions were posed to identify the utilization of computer to create enabling business environment, boosting production of goods and services through computer. The design used for the study was descriptive survey and the instrument was structured questionnaire.. Four null hypotheses tested at 0.05 level of significance were upheld. Findings of the study showed that the utilization of computer to create enabling business environment were accepted and enhancing marketing of goods and services through computer. computer such as web-based lesson, cyber guide and telecommuting projects for staff training were often utilized while the utilization of virtual classroom and personalized courses are minimal. The major barriers for utilization of computer were customers incompetence in using the technology, limited number of competent staff, and taxation of internet sales. Based on the findings, recommendations were made which include that society should organize on- the-job training and offer opportunities for in-service training to their staff to make them more competent on the use of computer, educational institutions should incorporate digital courses in all levels of education to develop computer compliance workers at the points of employment, entrepreneurs in the South-East should develop digital networks to promote digital economy and network of ideas.
Background of the Study
computer have become the modern-day strategy to capture the market because of the potentials it can offer to enhance rural development. computer has enormous potentials to assist economies in achieving specific economic development goals. computer has the ability to improve communication and enhance the exchange of information and the role of communication in the success of any enterprise cannot be overemphasized. As identified by Itegboje, Adigun and Oyeyinka (2001):
Communication is the soul of business. It is the life wire of every organization. Communication is a process by which an individual, group or organization shares information with another for a definite purpose. In business management, communication makes it possible for important processes and functions such as planning, organizing, leading, supervising, decision-making, delegating and motivating. p.307.
They maintained that communication involves budgeting, negotiations, representing and controlling. Through the internet, the computer has made business communication in various forms possible. Internet is meant for communication both within and across national boundaries. The internet according to Patton (2001) is a world-wide communication matrix that provides users with access to electronic mail, news, training, instruction, maps, computer files, games and countless volumes of information on virtually any subject. The internet even links customers to commercial web sites where one can compare and buy products without leaving home.
computer has a great role to play to enhance rural development. Bartelsman and Hinloopen (2002) pointed out that the use of computer could have several impacts on productivity. It might help more productive society gain market share. The use of computer may help society expand their product range, customize the services offered or respond better to client demand and to innovate. Moreover computer may help reduce inefficiency in the use of capital and labour by reducing inventories. All these effects might lead to higher productivity. Investment in computer might also have benefits going beyond those accruing to investors in computer. Bartelsman and Hinloopen (2002) further stated that the diffusion of computer may help establish networks, which produce greater benefits which is spillover effects, the more customers or society are connected to the network. The spread of computer may reduce transaction costs which could lead to a more efficient matching of supply and demand and enabling the growth of new markets. Increased use of computer may also lead to greater efficiency in the creation of knowledge. Where such spillovers exist, they raise overall multifactor production (MFP) growth.
Furthermore, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, 2000) pointed out that much is being done to improve the environmental performance of industry through policies which induce reductions in general burden of taxation, and cost of essential services. Comparatively, smaller society, tends to be less aware than larger firms of environmental externalities and of the legislation that governs their activities. Besides, these smaller society have fewer resources to invest in environmental improvements and management tools that could make their operations more sustainable. According to them, society can fill market niches in the development and sale of environmental goods and services. It becomes a formidable challenge to involve the full range of society in working towards sustainable solutions. This is where the computer advances come in to provide the means for governments and other stakeholders to reach, inform and influence society.
Existing literature has proven that computer, if well used for training has potential to aid materials to be presented in multiple media for multichannel learning. It motivates and engages learners in the learning process, brings abstract concepts to life and enhances critical thinking as well as other higher levels of cognitive skills and processes. computer in training provides opportunities for learners to practice basic skills on their own time and at their own pace while allowing them to use the information acquired to solve problems within their environment. Access is thus provided to world-wide information resources for instructors and learners alike, a platform for large scale information interchanges and research development beyond geographical boundaries,(Haddad and Draxler 2001).
Furthermore, Love and Irani (2001) said that society could often experience barriers through lack of human technological resources needed for computer and e-commerce. Especially when society have to focus on day-to-day operations and lack the time and extra resources necessary to understand the benefits of new technologies. Even if they are aware of the potential benefits of adopting computer, they would still require know-how or qualified personnel to enhance entrepreneurial operations. They claimed that society may also lack managerial understanding and skills for e-business. Successful integration of e-business requires many society to restructure their business processes, to change organizational structures and to redefine their core competence and positions in value chain. The professional advice of Information Technology (IT) and e-business consultants could help them but society may not easily have ready access to them because of their relatively high costs.
As pointed out by Agbonifoh (2006) e-commerce is an on-line buying and selling of goods and services via the computer without leaving the comfort of their homes or offices. E- business is used to describe businesses run on the internet or utilizing internet technologies to improve the productivity or profitability of a business. This function of e-business is referred to as e-commerce and the terms are used interchangeably. Also, the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA 2005) said that IT is the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software application and computer hardware. It deals with the use of electronic computers and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit and securely retrieve information. When computer and communication technologies are combined, the result is information technology.
As aptly pointed by UNDP (2007) computer enhance society efficiency, reduce costs and broadens market reach both locally and globally. The uses of computer are increasingly transforming modern business by enabling the rapid, reliable and efficient change of large amounts of information. Access to and the use of computer by society will lead to greater job creation, increase public revenue and a general rise in the standard of living. Furthermore, computer offers enormous opportunities to reduce social and economic inequalities, particularly those related to income generation, poverty reduction, education, health, environment and gender equality and thus helps to achieve broader development goals.
Statement of the Problem
the advent of computer it has been found that entrepreneurial skills are facilitated. computer has great potentials in enhancing skills of entrepreneurs. It has facilitated training through on-line learning and helped in the area of enhanced business environment. To scan, organize and store documents are possible with computer but not with the old technologies used in business by entrepreneurs. According to Chris (2012) the growth of personal computer and computer networks continues to impact businesses both large and medium. Through computer and internet connection entrepreneurs can perform administrative tasks like paying your business bills on your computer, as well as marketing your business online, e-mail and instant messaging allow for easy communication. Moreover Uchegbu (2002) pointed out that the introduction and use of internet has caused an important revolution in communication and that is capable of improving the way we communicate, study, contract and transact business. This progress in business in noted as a result of progress in the ability to link up computers.
Despite these obvious advantages opinions from the background of this study still show that entrepreneurs are not yet taping the benefits of computer in enhancing their skills. These are however opinions and there is need to verify the authenticity of the opinions. It is therefore the problem of this study to verify the extent of utilization of computer to enhance rural development in South-East, Nigeria.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to determine the extent of utilization of computer to enhance rural development in South-East Zone. Specifically, the study sought to:
- Determine the extent to which entrepreneurs in rural areas utilize computer to create enabling business
- Find out the extent to which entrepreneurs in rural areas utilize computer in enhancing marketing of goods and
- identify the barriers to utilization of computer by managers of medium and large scale enterprise to enhance rural development.
Significance of the Study
This study is of great significance to society because the finding would provide data that would make managers to became producers and creators in high value areas of knowledge economy. The managers would be drivers and not consumers in the global digital economy. It would expose the staff to new ways of working in the enterprise.
Government would understand the need to be proactive in exploiting computer for enterprise development. The government and international funding agencies would be interested in general development of computer in higher institutions.
Educational institution would also find that the study would benefit them in that it would expose the challenge of globalization and information age for the transformation of the academic system from traditional role of teaching, learning, research and development methodology, to computer application which is the latest revolution changing all aspects of human endeavour.
The study will enable adult education administration fill the gap of computer knowledge in the society through continuing and life long education. The findings of this study will have significant effect on the way people live, work and play in the society.
Finally, future researchers would also benefit by identifying further areas to explore in computer.
The following research questions guide the study:
- To what extent do entrepreneurs in rural areas utilize computer to create enabling business
- To what extent do entrepreneurs in rural areas utilize computer in enhancing marketing of goods and
- What are the barriers to the utilization of computer to enhance rural development by entrepreneurs in rural areas in South-East Zone?
Scope of the Study
The focus of the study is on utilization of information and communication technology to enhance rural development in South-East, Nigeria. This study covers the registered society in South-East, Nigeria. The study focused on utilization of computer to create enabling business environment, enhancing marketing of goods and services through computer, utilization of computer in staff training and barriers to utilization of computer. The researcher did not cover other areas o of computer utilization since the researcher believes that such areas can be carried out by future researchers.
IMPACT OF COMPUTER IN RURAL AREAS SOUTH-EAST, NIGERIA