Factors Influencing The Choice Of Science Students In Schools
1.1 Background to the Study
Science is recognized widely as being of great importance internationally both for economic well-being of nations and because of the need for scientifically literate citizens (Fraser and Walberg, 1995). Knowledge of science and technology is therefore a requirement in all countries and all people globally due to the many challenges that are facing them. These challenges include emergences of new drug resistant diseases, effects of genetic experimentation and engineering, ecological impact of modern technology, dangers of nuclear war and explosions and global warming among others (Alsop & Hicks, 2001).
As a result there are rapid changes taking place in industry, communication, agriculture, and medicine. Science as an instrument of development plays a dominant role in bringing about these changes by advancing technological development, promoting national wealth, improving health and industrialization (Validya, 2003). Weham, Dorlin, Snell and Taylor (1984) emphasized that sciences are and will remain the fundamental subjects through the ages.
According to Zsuzsa (1981), the choice of educational program is made in direct ratio to information and guidance available to the individual and the breadth of educational opportunities available. The school should therefore ensure that learners make informed choices. Tiqet (1999) revealed that good performance in internal and external examinations in any subject creates an academic discipline commitment and desire to pursue the subject. Regardless of all the efforts, currently it is observed that the objectives for improving scientific literacy is not achieved, Science enrollment are relatively low, achievements in certain grade level is declining and teachers morale is low. In the past the more intellectual able students were the ones selected to pursue Science and Mathematics in secondary schools. But nowadays more of these students are less interested to continue with Science when they join universities (Voogot, 2001).
Students start secondary school with an expectation that the school will provide them with an environment that will allow them to freely decide the subjects to study based on their ability and interest. Interest in the subject is regarded as the most important motivational factor in learning (ibid).
The study by Ndalichako (2014) aimed at providing answers to two key questions:
- Which subjects are most preferred by students in secondary schools?
- What are the reasons behind the students‟ interest, or lack thereof, in particular subjects?
Through Observation, Documentary Review and Focused Group Discussion with form three and form four students, the findings showed that the majority of students in secondary schools preferred arts subjects notably because of the challenges they experience in learning Science. The reasons for students preference of a particular subject included the inspirational from significant others, commitment and support provided by the subject teachers, the availability of teachers and their teaching approaches and relevance of the subject to their daily life experiences. (Ndalichako et al, 2014).
People frequently want jobs that meet their academic interests. People in general find that, for whatever reasons, they tend to be interested in certain subjects and disinterested in others from the time they are young children, and no matter what the financial rewards, taking a career in an area where one holds no interest is likely to be unbearable (Ryan, 2000). In this rapidly growing competitive market, industry prefers graduates, who have the potential to meet their research and development needs, and compete effectively with their counterparts worldwide.
The overall situation that the wide discrepancy between learners opting for Science and those opting for Arts subjects in Nigeria is a warning that it is less likely Nigeria will improve its local and global leadership in Science unless the Government takes remedial action to produce or import enough experts in these fields (Ibid). A major goal for education in the 21st century is to create scientifically literate citizens, who are able to think critically, make sense of complex data, and solve problems (NRC, 1996). Research suggests that, if all students are to become scientifically literate, Science instruction must convey greater engagement and meaning to them. To achieve this, Science instruction in secondary schools must provide students with opportunities to explore the world, to apply scientific principles, to sample and analyze data and to make connections among these explorations, their personal lives, and communities.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Secondary schools students have been often faced with the problem of indecision most especially science students when they are about to choose a course for higher education. This problem has plagued many secondary school students for quite sometimes. It is such a problem that must be looked into, knowing fully well that the place of sciences in secondary education cannot be over emphasized in the educational development of a nation. With good background, students still need to develop themselves on the subject areas they are keenly interested in and particularly that they have potentiality for. Many students have been found choosing course for their university education without considering the aspect of their potentiality and the directive of the school counselor where available, it is against this problem that this research intends to find out the factors that influence the choice of science subjects in secondary schools.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of this study is to find out the factors that influence the choice of science subjects in secondary schools, specifically the study intends to:
- Find out the factors that influence student’s choice of Science subjects.
- Examine the factors that sustain the interest of studying Science subjects.
- Investigate what factors influences the level of performance in Science subjects.
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the factors that influence student’s choice of Science subjects?
- Are there any factors that sustain the interest of studying Science subjects?
- What are the factors that influences the level of performance in Science subjects?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study would be of great significance to the school management because it would help the management fraternity in understanding the factors affecting the choice of science subjects and be able to initiate appropriate measures to improve on students’ performance in science subjects The relevant government ministries would also benefit from the study findings and be able to come up with policy issues touching on subject choice and later career choice at higher levels of education in Nigeria. The study would add to the wide academic knowledge in the area of education which can be used by other researchers as reference in future. Researchers and research institutes may use the study to come up with other research studies.
The study will be significant to other researchers who are interested in doing research on education development and students‟ performance in relation to education management activities and strategies in the country. In addition, the study significantly enriches different studies that have been undertaken on students‟ performance, and it reveals the problems associated with secondary education and students‟ performance, which are very important in identifying the solutions for addressing the identified problems.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This research work will be conducted in Ogun state, secondary school students in Abeokuta North LGA will be sampled for this research.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
Finance for the general research work will be a challenge during the course of study. Correspondents also might not be able to complete or willing to submit the questionnaires given to them.
However, it is believed that these constraints will be worked on by making the best use of the available materials and spending more than the necessary time in the research work. Therefore, it is strongly believed that despite these constraint, its effect on this research report will be minimal, thus, making the objective and significance of the study achievable.
1.8 Definition of Terms
These involves subjects which are core to the examination board in Kenya secondary Education and they includes such subjects as Biology, chemistry, physics and others, for the purpose of this study the focus was on the factors influencing students choice on selecting them.
Refers to the students’ preference over one science subject as compared to the other science subjects the study focused on identifying the critical factors that influenced students’ choice on the subjects. The choice of subject can either be to great extent or to low extent.
This is the education level that precedes primary education and succeed the tertiary education.
Factors Influencing The Choice Of Science Students In Schools
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