The study is aimed at finding a survey of the factors responsible for students poor performance in shorthand in polytechnics in Enugu. In search of the required information, the researcher administered questionnaires to 100 respondents that made up the population for this study. The information gathered were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentage. A number of factors were identified to be responsible for mass failure of students in shorthand. They include, Inadequate preparation on the part of students before examinations, lack of interest in shorthand on the parts of students, poor background of students in English language among others. Based on the findings, the study recommended among other that the government should provide the institutions with necessary equipment, introduce motivational incentives to lecturers and students, encourage authors to publish adequate textbooks on shorthand and make sure that all the necessary shorthand textbooks are available in all the libraries in the country. Also, students should develop interest in shorthand and devote much time in practicing it.




In Nigerian, there are many system of education that will be beneficial to citizens and the society in terms of job opportunities and self reliance. This system of education laid more emphasis on vocational courses. Shorthand is a course in secretarial studies that leads to the acquisition of a particular skill and offer workers adequate self-expression, more opportunities for creative thinking and physical manipulation of modern equipments. Shorthand is one of the main subject offered by secretarial studies department in various tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Unfortunately, many students of secretarial studies or business education (secretarial option) find the mastery of shorthand an obstacle to the realization of their educational ambition. In schools, the study of shorthand has been a difficult task to both students and lecturers.

The lecturers find it uneasy to impact the knowledge to the students, while on the other hand the students find it difficult to master the art as to produce accurate transcription or get to the standard as many required of them. Some of the problems encountered by the students of shorthand include poor knowledge of English, bad typewriters for transcription, bad cassette recorders, lack of interest, poor ventilation, uncomfortable sitting arrangement and poor accommodation etc. which should facilitate shorthand writing. Lack of adequate teaching equipment and fear on the part of the students has prompted the researcher to carry out thus study with a view of finding solutions to these problems. Students treat shorthand like every other subject, they only study it during examination periods and as such perform badly. The reason for choosing shorthand among other subject for this work is because of its importance to the business world and the society at large without adequate alternative.

In the secretarial profession upon which the researcher, will want to base this research, it has been discovered that many people choose the secretarial profession for one reason or the other. Normally, people are enthusiastic and motivated to perform better in a course of study when they are aware of the benefit they will get from the study of such courses like shorthand, typewriting, audio typing, transcription, computer operation and word processor manipulation. Whatever be the motivate of the people for doing the course, they should bear in mind that it is very important that the basic shorthand and typewriting that qualifies anybody to be called a secretary, must not be tossed to the wind.

Much has been said in recent years about the declining standard and disappointing examination results in shorthand while this may be some what exaggerated, lecturers are well aware that the performance of many students fall short of their potentials example the result of Institute of management and Technology, Enugu declined seriously in the year 2001 academic session, due to students inability to synthesize and retain what they had learnt in shorthand subject thus being unable to deliver positive result and students negative attitude to the learning of shorthand or is it inadequate teaching of the course and lack of equipment and materials for study.

Despite the fact that shorthand plays a vital role in today’s business transaction, students in secretarial department have beem finding it difficult to put more interest in the course of shorthand which has lead to poor performance of the students in the course (subject shorthand). Inability of the students to comprehend and concentrate when shorthand dictation is going on are all reason why difference in progress is to be expected. Another factor that lead to poor performance in shorthand is the student’s poor background in English language because it implies to the students knowledge in the transaction from shorthand dictation.

Considering the above listed factors, shorthand is made up of the following contents

–          Vowels

–          Consonants

–          Diphthongs

–          Trip hones

This research work aims at finding out the causes of poor performance of students in shorthand examination.


Over the years, the general notion has been that shorthand is a difficult subject. Its difficult nature is better imagined than described. This general notion is a driving force which has led the researcher into the topic: factors responsible for student’s poor performance in shorthand. Some of the problems student encounter may include but not limited to.

1.  The negative or lack of interest of students towards shorthand subject has effect on the students performance.

2.  Lack of qualified teachers to teach the course.

3.  Teacher’s inability to use the appropriate methods in teaching the course.

4.  The teachers attitude towards the student.

5.  Inability of the student to identify shorthand outlines among others.


The major purpose of this study is to find out the factors responsible for student’s mass failure in shorthand. Specifically, the study will find out:

1.  Why students fail shorthand massively.

2.  Whether students of today have interest in studying shorthand.

3.  If the lecturers are qualified shorthand teachers.

4.  The suitability of the teaching methods used by the lecturers.

5.  What is responsible for the students inability to identify their outlines.

6.  Whether lecturers attitude encourages or discourages the students in studying and learning shorthand.


It is hoped that the research findings will help to know how the students, lecturers, boss, society and institute will benefit if the problem of students poor performance in shorthand is rectified. It would be significant to students as they will be able to take down minutes or letters in a very shorthand time in their office instead of using longhand in writing. This can make their work more easy and more accurate. Lecturers can also benefit because they will have little work to do when marking student scripts after examination believing that their students are good in the course. Also, the boss will benefits if his/her secretary knows her job in the office and can take down notes within a short time and accurately or transcribe shorthand dictation after a meeting. Secretaries need shorthand skills so as to be competent in performing his/her duties without constant supervision. A secretary that fails to perform well in his/her duties will not succeed.


The following research questions will guide the study:

1.  What are the causes of students massive failure in shorthand?

2.  How do students demonstrate interest in studying shorthand?

3.  What are the qualifications of shorthand teachers?

4.  What are the teaching methods used on teaching shorthand?

5.  To what extend do students find it difficult to recognize their shorthand outlines?

6.  What are the lectures attitude to shorthand students?