A Critical Evaluation Of The Impact Of Agricultural Science Teachers’ Adequate Availability On Student Academic Achievement In Benue State

Agricultural Education Project and Seminar Material

A Critical Evaluation Of The Impact Of Agricultural Science Teachers’ Adequate Availability On Student Academic Achievement In Benue State


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Education is a crucial factor for the growth of any community and is regarded as a gateway to developing social and political awareness as well as sustaining the quality of manpower (Onyara, 2013). According to Yara and Otieno (2010), education is a basic human right. The linchpin to sustained growth, harmony, and stability inside and among nations is the provision of excellent education to the populace (Oguntuase, Awe, & Ajayi, 2013).

Teaching agriculture in Nigerian secondary schools requires a standard basis in theory and practice by the teachers of agriculture. The current educational system of Nigeria (the 6-3-3-4 system) stipulates that agriculture should be taught as a pre-subject in the elementary and junior schools, and as a major subject at the senior secondary level (National Policy on Education, 2004). Furthermore, the Nigerian education system as specified above involves six years of elementary school, three years of junior secondary education, three years of senior secondary education, and a varied tertiary education duration of not less than four years. Although this system of education has remained stable since it was made an official policy, there have been some modest variations in government commitment towards the provision of quality education to Nigerians. Specifically, Olaitan (1997) emphasized that the underlying purpose of our national strategy for education is to make education both functional and utilitarian. In highlighting the relevance of education Ikeoji (1999), cited by Obi(2005), noted that education is borne out of the necessity for the system to make its products valuable to themselves. As a result, the objectives of agricultural education at the senior secondary should include the following: to stimulate and sustain students’ interest in agriculture; to enable students to acquire useful knowledge and practical skills in agriculture; to prepare students for further studies in agriculture; and to prepare students for occupations in agriculture. However, Martin and Odubiya (1991) observed that although the major responsibility of agricultural teachers has always been to assist students develop theoretical knowledge and skills in agriculture, and ensure the objectives of agricultural education is attained, it may be impossible to achieve the outlined aims of agricultural education due to the poor teaching process, lack of adequate availability of quality teachers, and an inappropriate method of evaluating the performance of agricultural students (Ikeoji, 1997).

In conjunction with the above, several studies have indicated that many secondary school agricultural educators quit the profession early in their careers (Dyer, and Washburn, 2005; Camp, 1990, 1994). Furthermore, Broyles and Skelton, 2002; Mundt and Connors, 1999; and Veenman (1984) investigated the problems of agriculture teachers. The findings of the study revealed that classroom management and student discipline, blending work and personal life, stress management, a lack of time to prepare at the commencement of the school year, time management, and encouraging students are among the issues that teachers face. Others were coping with individual differences, evaluating students’ work, relationships with parents, classwork organization, insufficient teaching tools and supplies, and dealing with specific student concerns (Myers et al., 2005; Connors, 1999; Mundt, 1996; Camp, 1990; Doerfert, 1989; Veenman, 1984).

Many nations in Africa are paying attention and investing in education at the basic, secondary, and postsecondary levels. However, the fundamental difficulty is the low academic achievement of learners (Miller & Yodar, 2002). (Miller & Yodar, 2002). In Botswana, for example, the government is delivering free basic education to all children attending school.

In addition, the government promotes education from the basic to the secondary level. To do this, the Ministry of Education gets a substantial portion of the country’s budget (Matambo, 2013). (Matambo, 2013). Despite all the efforts by the government on education, students’ academic performance has been dropping since 2010 (Luke & Mavis, 2014). Teacher availability and adequacy may degrade the quality of education (Boyd & Barbarin, 2008).

To assess the availability and suitability of instructors in the learning environment, the student-teacher ratio (STR) has to be established. STR will reveal if an institution has competent instructors or not. The benefit of having low STR is that it minimizes the number of students to be managed by a teacher in the classroom. This assures the teacher’s attention to the learners and, consequently, strong academic success. On the other hand, high STR will indicate that a teacher will have to manage a larger number of students in the classroom at the same time. Students’ academic performance is hampered by the relocation of teachers from schools without replacements, resulting in a shortage of adequate teachers, thereby altering the teacher-student ratio (Wanyama, 2013).

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Many of the school authorities have relatively tepid views about the supply of basic instruments, equipment, and farm inputs important for proper agricultural science, notably in secondary schools. This non-challant approach is likely to hinder the real efforts of certain teachers of agricultural science in secondary schools. In spite of the significance being placed on agricultural science as one of the majors in secondary schools, there is typically not enough time allocated in the timetable for meaningful agricultural science work (Adeyemi, 2000). Agricultural science instructors are usually keen to complete the course before the external test, the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), administered by the West African Examination Council (WAEC). Agricultural science is one of the most important practical subjects taught in Nigerian junior and senior secondary schools.Experience has indicated that many agricultural science teachers in Gombe Education Zone teach agricultural science conceptually in the classroom without engaging the students in field practicals. Some of the professors educate via drawings, sketching agricultural specimens instead of utilizing actual life examples to teach. Furthermore, many agricultural science teachers do not utilize the school farms in educating the learners nor go out on excursions to well-established agro-farms and companies.

Additionally, the unavailability and insufficiency of the agricultural science lecturers have been demonstrated via the low performance of the students in internal and external exams. The poor performance of the students in agricultural science due to the inadequacy of the teachers has also led to the non-acquisition of the skills in agricultural production required from secondary school graduates and has jeopardized the laudable objectives of the agricultural science programme at the secondary school level.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The general focus point of this study is the impact of agricultural science teachers’ adequate availability on student academic achievement in Benue state.

Below are the specific objectives;

  1. Determine whether lack of qualified affects the adequate availability of agricultural science teachers in secondary schools
  2. Ascertain whether school management ineffectiveness contributes to inadequate availability of agricultural science teachers in secondary schools.
  3. Determine whether inadequate availability of agricultural science teachers in secondary schools affects the performance of students.
  4. Proffer applicable recommendation.

1.4 Research Question

The study will be guided by the following question:

  1. Does lack of qualified teachers affect the adequate availability of agricultural science teachers in secondary schools?
  2. Does the school management ineffectiveness contributes to inadequate availability of agricultural science teachers in secondary schools?
  3. Does inadequate availability of agricultural science teachers in secondary schools affects the performance of students.

1.6 Significance of the Study

Ministry of Education/School Administrator

The aim for this research is to give a better understanding of the effect of the availability and adequacy of agriculture teachers on the performance of secondary students. These findings would enable school administrators and Ministry of Education officials discover successful teaching approaches to increase teachers’ availability and adequacy.

Teachers

The research should also enable beginners and experienced teachers to develop their abilities in the selection, adequacy and availability in teaching. This research was done because of a disparity found between the great performance sought by instructors and the actual performance.

Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as literature review. This means that, other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regards to the impact of agricultural science teachers’ adequate availability on student academic achievement.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The study examines the impact of agricultural science teachers’ adequate availability on student academic achievement in Benue state. The study is delimited to determining whether lack of qualified affects the adequate availability of agricultural science teachers in secondary schools, ascertaining whether school management ineffectiveness contributes to inadequate availability of agricultural science teachers in secondary schools, and determining whether inadequate availability of agricultural science teachers in secondary schools affects the performance of students. The respondents for this study will be obtained from four selected senior secondary schools in Guma local government area of Benue State.


1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

Education:

Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion and directed research.

Adequacy:

The state or quality of been adequate.

Agriculture:

Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The history of agriculture began thousands of years ago.

Agricultural Science:

Agricultural science is a broad multidisciplinary field of biology that encompasses the parts of exact, natural, economic and social sciences that are used in the practice and understanding of agriculture.

Teacher:

A teacher is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue. Informally the role of teacher may be taken on by anyone.


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Frequently Asked Questions


What research is being done on the future of agricultural education?

Two different research project are underway. One is exploring student retention from Ag Ed programs and their continued decision to remain in their career choice of agricultural education. This study is ongoing and a manuscript will soon be sent to a journal for publication.

Does practical agriculture enhance students’ motivation?

Uzel cited in Eze (2013) and Orjika (2007) stated that, practical agriculture (similarly Biology) has positive effect on students motivation. He also maintained that practical enhance both skills acquisition and the quality of learning because the students can equally add their understanding by discussing about the work done.

What is the purpose of the Agricultural Science i Curriculum Library?

The development and dissemination of the Agricultural Science I curriculum library provides an opportunity for future follow-up research studies on teacher implementation and student achievement. 

What factors have a great impact on students’ academic performance in biology?

Laboratory practical has a great impact on students’ academic performance in biology. Teacher- related factors has a great impact on students’ academic performance in biology.  

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