AVAILABILITY OF MASS MEDIA AND LEVEL OF USAGE ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
1.1 Background of study
According to Wikipedia, education is the process of facilitating learning or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits. Education is the nourishing of the good qualities in man and the drawing out of the best in every individual .Education is often confused with schooling famously called banking by Paulo Freire (1973) i.e to make deposits of knowledge on learners like objects acted on rather than individuals to be related to. Individuals should be given time to discover truth and possibility. Education means to develop a person morally (affective), physically (psychomotor) and mentally (cognitive). It is the foundation of the society and the best investment for the people. The main purpose of education is to prepare and qualify people for work in the society and to socialize them, preparing the young for adulthood. Education enables a person to understand his/her cultural identity. Education provides a forum to evaluate and find solutions to problems in a society. Education teaches learners to maintain social order. Education and mass media have overtime enjoyed a sweet-sour relationship. On the one hand, TV and newspapers have provided extensive useful education content, and acted as watchdog of public activities; however, its role has been compromised these days by the battl e for survival in the media industry. Education experts look up to the media to do more than act as a watchdog, and help to build an efficient education system by bridging the communication gap between the government and educational policy makers. The media plays a significant role in the design , manipulation and sustenance of international diplomacy and body politics. For the adolescent, the media has become a socializing agent. Adolescence is a time of self identification. Therefore, family influences decreases while peer influence increases. Media is the means and channel through which information and news reach individuals that constitute the local national, regional, Continental and or international, audience. In recent times, media has become a political tool of the dominant paradigm in the national, continental and international politics. In Africa, and nearly most other third world countries, national governments use the potential of media information and language to manipulate the masses and influence public opinion. The media is used to maintain and retain the status quo. But with media power, all those who have vested interests in its control make the ordinary citizen a mere puppet. Subjective reporting is the selection of content and media coverage for some diplomatic and political motive.
However, there are harmful effects of mass media. Firstly, teachers only use media to get attention to the subject matter, to reward good behavior, and to keep kids quiet and under control. Media content can sensationalise violent behavior, exposure to subtle or explicit sexual content, promotion of poor health habits and exposure to advertising targeting children. Moreover, majority of programmes for children and youth in developing countries are imported. Unfortunately, most of the content contain character messages that are not relevant to local culture. Youth programming has reduced in face of funding cuts and growing competition from private channels. As rich in content as the television is in instructional, education programming and news reportage, students and teachers are not abreast of socio-political issues. This is because TV news reportage and programming are beyond students’ comprehension on how to extract and analyse information. TV programming and news reportage are politically inclined and biased. Major TV networks in Nigeria chase for airtime. Money dictates what is shown on Nigerian TV screens. This ultimately means that people who have the funds e.g the government, rich politicians, private investors, multicorporations etc determine what is broadcast on TV. Corporations and private investors are profit oriented and will push any media content that will reach their target audience to make enough profit while the government and politicians are after promoting good image through propaganda especially during the electoral process. Therefore teachers and students are left with media content devoid of socio-political significance or tainted with cheap propaganda. Media content have generally been commercialized.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The challenges of availability of media are enormous: propaganda and brown envelope journalism, foreign nature of media conten, the bombardment of advertisement, reluctance to encourage youth programmes, regional and sectional interests, power outage, accessibility of the internet and inadequate ICT equipment. The cost of airing T.V programmes is very high so producers sacrifice educational programmes for entertainment which is readily sponsored by corporate bodies because it is profitable. The radio appeals to different audiences and ethnic, religious differences (segmentation). This makes its usage very selective as students might find it difficult to tune to a station for information. Internet penetration in Nigeria is very high now and its subscription too. Students might not be able to afford subscription fee and might not have access to ICT equipment e.g laptops, personal computers, phones, hand-held devices etc to download E-books. The digital divide between teachers and students is quite alarming. Most teachers do not possess the knowledge of handling ICT equipment and find it difficult to keep abreast with current trends. This affects their level of usage and they retort back to old media for information instead of complementing both sources of information.
The shelf life of newspapers is very low and this causes both students and teachers to assess magazines because of its attractiveness and shelf life. The challenges of using the media include poor reading skills.Due to technological development, reading habits are changing. Students now lack the skill of reading. Instead they spend more hours on electronic media. The acquisition of reading skills have a beneficial effect on all school subjects including social science, math and so on. Unfortunately, reading is not taught or included in school curriculum. Only a few schools have good libraries while majority have limited dog-eared books locked up in few cupboards. There is unprecedented rise in the price of books while DVDS are becoming more affordable. The vast information of the world’s information is not digitized. Rather, it is in print form mostly in books. Aina (2011).Children with poor reading habits have a higher chance of anti social behaviour. Today’s populace between the age bracket 18-34 are increasingly using the web as their medium of choice for news consumption. Local TV remains the most accessed source of the news and the internet is quickly becoming the most favourite of young consumers. About 44% of these age bracket use the internet for news and about 19% use the printed newspapers. Moral degeneration and decadence, gross obsession and abuse of social networking, inadequate knowledge by teachers are other challenges of using the media.Unfortunately, the endemic power outages in the country pose a limiting factor to the extent to which the radio can be used to effectively broadcast educational programmes. The problem associated with the television is whether a separate channel will be assigned educational programmes or to establish separate TV houses for the purposes of education. There is also the problem of incessant power outages. The influence of electronic media in educating students is not socially progressive. It has resulted to frustration on the part of many teachers who do not have inadequate knowledge of electronic media technologies like computer internet, education software etc. Also it is time consuming and skill demanding for teachers . Users of electronic media, for example, students can be vunerable to unintended misuses of electronic media e.g social media. Social networks grab the total attention and concentration of the students and diverts them towards non educational, unethical, and inappropriate actions such as useless chatting, time killing by random searching and not doing their jobs. Inadequate infrastructure, including computer hardware, software, bandwidth, are major challenges in using the digital media. Agbamuche, (2015).
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