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FACTORS MILITATING AGAINST THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
This research was designed to investigate the factors militating against the teaching and learning of Science and Technology in Secondary Schools. It is a survey of the Government/Public Secondary Schools in Enugu Education zone. There are three Local Government Areas that make up Enugu Education zone. They are Enugu East Local Government Area, Enugu North Local Government Area and Isiuzo Local Government Area. Out of these Local Governments, a random selection was made in order to pick the schools for the study since there are about 35 public/Government Schools in the zone. A random selection of 4 schools was made from each of the Local Government Areas in Enugu Education Zone making up 12 public secondary schools for the study i.e 4 schools from each of the three Local Government Areas of the zone (4x3 = 12). From the above analyses, a representative sample of the twelve (12) secondary schools was taken. The sample was chosen so as to include schools located in Urban, Semi-urban and rural settings. The sample included male schools, female schools and schools of mixed composition. The classes chosen for the study were the junior classes mainly for subjects such as Mathematics, Basic science and basic technology; and the senior classes for Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Health Science and Technical Drawing. In each school, a random sample of 25 students was taken from all junior classes and another random sample of 50 students taken from all the senior classes making a total of 75 students in each school. Since the study was among 12 secondary schools, the population size is 900 (Nine hundred) students i.e 75 students multiplied by 12 schools. A questionnaire was distributed to the students and they filled these questionnaires in the presence of the research support staff in their various schools. The questionnaire included questions on the students personal and family characteristics, their aspirations, attitudes to science, technology and mathematics, their performance in science, technology and mathematics, factors affecting their attitudes and performance and their assessment of their science, technology and mathematics teachers. On the whole, 900 students responded to the questionnaires. Of these, 300 students i.e 33.3% were in junior classes while 600 students i.e 66.7% were in senior classes. 508 student i.e 56.4% were female students while 392 students i.e 43.6% were their male counterparts. In-depth interviews were conducted with the teachers of science, technology and mathematics in these schools to determine their personal characteristics, experience in science, technology and mathematics, their assessment of the performance of their students, factors affecting attitudes and performance of their students and recommendations on how to improve students performance. The data collected in this study was tabulated and analyses using mean and standard deviation. To this end, the researcher was able to establish that some of the factors militating against the teaching and learning of science and technology in secondary schools are: Phobia attitude for Mathematics, science and technology by students owing to their academic background, the career aspirations of the students and the academic background and attitude of the teachers among other things. Based on the researcher’s findings, implications were highlighted and recommendations were made. The report of this study was divided by the researcher into five (5) chapters: chapter one contains the introduction and background, two; reviews theories, three displays the methodology applied, four gives analysis of the collected data while the last chapter summarizes and concludes the decisions reached and presents recommendations.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The role of science and technology in a nation’s development can not be over-emphasized. Science and Technology have become the basic tools for the development of modern society; a measure of the development of a nation can be ascertained from the quantity and quality of its basic and applied scientific output J.C. Amazigo (2005).
The development of a nation depends largely on the level of scientific and technological literacy (Ivowi 1993, Okebukola 1999 and Ukpene (2005). Science is indispensable to the technological development of any nation. According to Okecha (1993), science has helped in the development of Modern technology through the application of its principles to Modern invention.
A nation that neither develops a scientifically literate citizenry nor attracts its best minds to the basic sciences and technology is doomed to remain underdeveloped no matter its natural resources. Any nation with ambitions for development must have its home grown expertise in science and technology.
Nigeria’s policy makers and scientific and technological communities appear to understand and may be accept these basic axioms but they have not taken adequate evolutionary steps to identify, solve and address the major factors militating against the teaching and learning of Science and Technology.
For about two decades now, it had become clear that Nigeria’s educational system had been deficient in the production of adequate number of competent man power in science and technology to man Nigeria schools, colleges, universities and industries.
Students’ performance in sciences in both Junior School certificate examination (JSCE) and senior school certificate examination (SSCE) results for more than 20 years have persistently been poor in public examinations conducted by examination bodies like NECO, WAEC, NABTEB and JAMB.
A number of teaching methods have been used by science and technology teachers in the past. Such methods as discussion, questioning, guided discovery, exposition, etc. studies have shown that these methods have not yet yielded expected results (Abimbola and Okebukola 1998 and 2001, Inomiesa and Unuero 2003, Ukpene 2004 and WAEC Chief Examiners’ report 1998, 1991, 2002 and 2003.
Efforts must be made by the science teachers and technology teachers to make students acquire meaningful learning in science and technology by making the teaching of science and technology subjects exciting, purposeful and participatory. This calls for the use of an instructional method that would make students develop adequate assimilation and understanding of the concept taught and acquire process skills in science and technology.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
Common observations indicate in alarming rate the certification of unemployable science, technology and mathematics graduates who prefer paper certificates to knowledge and skills required for the survival of an individual and the entire society. This trend has really caused the phobia for and lack of interest in Mathematics, Science and Technology and led to uncontrollable examination mal practice in our total school system.
Conspicuous gross incompetence of the science, technology and mathematics teachers in handling science, technology and mathematics mislead the students and the society at large to think that it is very difficult to study sciences, technology and Mathematics. This incompetence has led to the certification of people better referred to as Ignoramuses since no one can give what the one does not have. This condition if not checked in any society threatens to destroy completely society order, man power and national development among other things and replace them with social crime, underdevelopment and other vices.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The study aims at determining the factors militating against the teaching and learning of science and technology in secondary schools. Specifically, it will address the following:
1. The attitudes of students to mathematics, sciences and technology and the reasons for the poor performances in mathematics, sciences and technology among secondary school students.
2. The apparent irrationality on reaction to mathematics, science and technology and the students’ rating of Mathematics, sciences and technology.
3. The background of mathematics, science and technology teachers as one of the factors militating against the teaching and learning of science and technology.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of the study will be useful to a number of people in different parts of the country. The beneficiaries of this study will include: the learners, teachers, parents, the ministries of education, policy makers in science and technology education matters who would want to produce outstanding personalities, the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), colleges of Education, Universities and industries among others.
The society at large will actualize the goals and aims set in education if the hypothesis of this study is supported by the findings and the recommendations implemented by the government, school authorities and other necessary bodies.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY/DELIMITATION
This study on the factors militating against the teaching and learning of science and technology in secondary schools was carried out in Enugu Education zone of Enugu State. A random selection approach was used and 4 secondary schools were picked from each local Government area out of three LGAs that make up Enugu Education zone. As a result, 12 schools were used. The targeted population is 25 junior student and 50 senior students from each school with a sample size of nine hundred (900) participants. This is because of financial and time constraint.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study will attempt to answer the following research questions considering the researcher’s set objective and significance for the study:
1. How do students rate mathematics, science and technology generally?
2. Does the attitude of a student contribute to the student’s performance in Mathematics, Science and Technology?
3. What are the students’ assessment of their teachers in science, technology and mathematics and to what extent does the quality of the teacher affect the proper teaching and learning of science and technology.
1.7 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
Two null hypothesis guided the study.
1. The phobia attitude and other negative attitude of students towards mathematics and sciences as a result of poor primary school background in mathematics and sciences have been discovered to be the greatest factors Militating against the teaching and learning of science and technology in secondary schools.
2. The academic background of teachers has a very big influence on learners’ academic achievement in science and technology.
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