1.1 Background to the Study
The office of today is dynamic and challenging. The advances in technology are rapidly changing today‟s modern businesses around the globe and have seriously affected every aspect of office work. As the traditional office moves towards automation, professional secretaries‟ are required to develop their professional competencies in order to work effectively in the modern office. Word-processing and shorthand are the major skill subjects in business education in Nigerian tertiary institutions. Nwogwugwu (2002) noted that the introduction of sophisticated technological equipment with the new management techniques have changed old work habits, thereby resulting in complete job resignation and acquisition of new skills. Word-processing and shorthand are the core courses to students specializing in secretarial profession.
Over the years, advancement in office technology and new management styles have brought about changes to the office environment. Professional Secretaries have undergone rapid transformation, moving from working in their age-old traditional role of taking notes in shorthand, transcribing on manual typewriter to new and multiple roles of using electronic, computer and recording devices. The National Board for Technical Education (2004) listed the following as traditional roles performed by professional secretaries: typing correspondence, taking dictation and transcribing dictated materials into a mailable document, arranging files and various information into appropriate headings, answering phone calls and attending to visitors, making travelling arrangements for the boss and arranging meetings, booking hotel accommodation.