1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nigeria is an Agricultural country before and after the discovery of petroleum. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of United Nations, (2009) agriculture is usually the mainstay of the economy and levels of food consumption are relatively low.
However, Lawal (2000), noted that agriculture is perhaps the greatest single innovation that made it possible for man to live in settled community which grew gradually in complexity from families through village and Cities to modern nations.
Similarly Makinjola (2001) observed that the transformation agriculture from nomadic life was made possible by modern agriculture. To this effect importance of agriculture in a developing nation such as our, cannot be over-emphasized. As a source of food supply, foreign exchange earners and employment of labour, agriculture should receive a priority of consideration towards the maintenance of a healthy economy agricultural education therefore is imperative and should be taken more seriously so that it will wipe away ignorance with regards to practical agriculture and developed interest toward farming. It was in line with taught that Inoaya (2004), stated that food supply is generally inadequate in quantity and quality in the Country. According to him, there is at present a significant increase in the Country’s population. Thus with too many months to food and too little land to farm, Nigeria has resorted to importing a lot of her food with her foreign exchange earnings.
It therefore, become pertinent at this juncture to state that lack of property agricultural, education in our schools and lack of properly qualified agricultural teachers has resulted to reduced interest and poor performance of students in agriculture.
Uchegbu (2003), rightly observed that poor remuneration situation of agricultural teachers with irregular payment of salaries as well as fringe benefits and lack of teachers motivation, attributed to their low moral. This point was further highlighted by Ayandele (2001), Babalola and Ezenwa (2001) who asserted that one of the mentioned reasons for teachers ineffectiveness in schools arise out of the frustration due to non-participation in the organization’s decision-making process similarly, students poor performance and lack of interests are attributed to so many factors.
According to Ayandele (2005), non-availability of school equipment, inadequate instructional supervision, socio-economic background of students, etc. hinder the effective performance of students in teaching and learning.
Furthermore Madike (2003), pointed out that most of the schools in Nigeria do not teach agriculture and even in schools where it is taught, there is no serious attempt to provide adequately qualified teachers and necessary facilities. Most of our students, he noted lack of both the interest and aptitude for agriculture. The syllabus are not oriented towards the need of the society and the society and the standard of teaching of many agriculture science teachers is nothing to write home about.
According to Mbanuju (2008), teachers of agricultural science make the subject boring. They use the farm as punishment ground for offending students, and this make students feel that the school farm is mainly for punishment. This goes a long way to kill interest of the students especially for practical work. As a result of this, students feel very proud to be associated with such subject like Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Mathematics and Additional Mathematics even when they do not have aptitude for such subjects. This makes them disregard subject like Agriculture science which they feel is for then never-do-wells. This impression of the youths about agriculture makes it difficult for the teachers to make any meaningful impact on the students both in the classroom and school farm during practical lessons.
Okoro (2009), pointed out that it is important to mention that there has been no evidence to show that secondary schools have gone into fulltime, on graduation because of the problems of finance, land tenure system, immature agriculture procedures, among others. According to him, the only exception is usually getting employed with ministry of agriculture. This observation, he tended to make some parent to choose for their children to take up agriculture. From the foregoing, one can infer that an exposure to agricultural science at the secondary school level is factor for higher studies in agricultural science.
In his own contribution Eze (2000), observed that teaching agricultural science in schools has been greatly lacking in their goals aspiration. Many agricultural educational institutions he pointed out should be established to educate and train people in the science of agriculture. He concluded that from this, young people will receive formal education and training which provides them with a career since agriculture is one of the main features of economic development of a country and a contributor to National income and employment, it should be accorded priority consideration towards the maintenance of a healthy economy.
Agricultural Science is taught in the secondary school as a vocational subject. Vocational agriculture is an aspect of vocational education which emphasizes skills, knowledge and attitude required in all areas of agriculture for proficiency in agricultural production. One of the principles of vocational agriculture is learning by doing.
Teaching of agriculture in secondary schools aims at ensuring that the learner is exposed to and taught the basic principles that are important to agricultural production in the country and exposing and involving learners in various practical and projects that will help them develop the necessary skills and abilities required in agricultural production. Practical classes are always organized to ensure that practical skills are imparted to students to enable them become self-reliant, resourceful and useful to the society.
However, Ssekamwa (2009), pointed out that the real approach to the teaching of agriculture was discouraging. Agricultural Science Subject is taught theoretically and has failed to make an impression on society. Olaitan (2008) noted that many students from farming homes come to school with farming problems like weed control, which crops to grow and what fertilizers to apply. He advised that such problems can only be solved when students are exposed to these situations practically. This is supported by the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004) which noted that Nigerian Schools should teach practical skills, knowledge and values which will help school leavers to solve real life problems. Learners learn better when they hear, see and feel or touch, which is the principle of “learning by doing”. This principle is best achieved by engaging oneself in practical activities (Osinem, 2008).
Practical activities in the school farm promote students’ interest to enter production and marketing of crops and livestock in the society after graduation. According to Awuku, Baiden, Brese and Ofosu (2001), the performance of the students in agricultural science should match student’s interest and practice of the subject. He further stated that lack of instructional materials, educational qualification of teachers, poor funding of practical agriculture, intellectual ability of the teachers etc are some of the factors that influence the outcome of the teaching– learning process. Coonery (2000) opined that students do not understand agricultural science when it is taught by an ineffective teacher. Izumi and Evess (2002) buttressed this by saying that teacher quality is the most important among other critical factors like quality curricula, funding, small class size and learning situation. George (2004) attributed poor achievement of students in agricultural science to teacher qualification, inadequate instructional materials as well as administrative factors. Common problems of teaching agricultural practical in developing countrylike Nigeria include: inadequate facilities, low professional and efficiency levels of teachers, poor attitudes of teachers, poor funding, school administrators and parents towards agricultural education, and political lapses (Amuah, 2009).It is against this background this study seeks to examine the problems associated with teaching practical agriculture in secondary schools in Oyo town.
Effective teaching of agricultural science is a process by which agricultural science teacher adopt all the possible method used in teaching in the classroom to make sure that students understand agricultural science and be able to respond positively during assessment or to produce a good result. Teachers’ effectiveness is exhibited in the teaching method, classroom managements, the material as well as the way students are being handled, a good teacher always bear in mind the individual differences of the students while presenting the lesson and frequently check the student’s understanding of his or her points to make sure that they are getting of understanding his lesson. This also includes the ability of the teacher to answer question asked by the students, having knowledge about his or her subject matter and ability to show students how to conduct appropriate research.
Effective teaching is crucial, in order for students to reach educational success in and outside classroom setting, therefore, there has been some factors militating against effective teaching of agricultural science in senior secondary school in Atiba Local Government Area, which some of them are as follows:
- Unqualified agricultural science teacher: Inappropriate training background of science teachers especially agricultural science teachers and qualification of agricultural science teachers are the major factor that militate against effective teaching of agricultural science because some agricultural science teachers in some senior secondary school did not undergo enough training to enable them get skills, qualities and enough knowledge of the subject matter and how to impact the knowledge to the students.
- Poor method of teaching agricultural science in senior secondary school: For teaching to be effectives one must use different methods of teaching. According to Eke (2001), teaching is effective if only it produces or yields the desired results, the ability of the teacher to adapt to different situations and produce a desired result in the classroom is a mark of teaching effectiveness. Vennier and Faith (2001) are of the opinion that all the teaching activities are supposed to produce learning, so that test of effective teaching will be amount of learning that occurs.
When the following methods are used, teaching of agricultural science can be effective. According to Bigmen (2009), activity method, inquiry method, and discovery method which elicit student’s interests and enhance their level of attainment or comprehension of agricultural science. Activity method the methods that encourage students to participate actively during the lesion while teaching at the same time. Oforkansi (2008) defined activity method as a method whereby the students learn through active involvement rather than being passive or being at the receiving end.
According to Ofokansi (2008), discovery means finding out. Exploration, manipulation and experimentation are components scientific enquiry that help one to discover. This approach demand that the teacher create the problem and allow the students to find answer for themselves. The author also said that enquiry involve active participation by the student rather than transmit a preconceived notion about situations.
Inadequate supply of agricultural science equipment: In some schools, many laboratories equipments like microscope, glass tube, Beaker, slide, plants etc. charts of different plants, animals development, systems, organs, etc, work book for practical and textbooks are not adequate for the students in learning of agricultural science. Beaty and Woolnough (2000) are of the opinion that the obsolete and insufficient teaching of agricultural science in senior secondary schools. They stressed that the teacher may be competent enough and have all the qualities to impact the knowledge to the students but to the obsolete and insufficient availability of agricultural equipment the aim is defeated.
Teachers attitude towards the teaching of agricultural science: the teachers personalities such as the way the teacher walks, talks, reacts to issues, his/her code of conduct and dressing code has become the major factors which leads to the ineffective teaching of agricultural science. It goes with the saying that the personality of such teacher affect the effective teaching of agricultural science in a great way. Enwieme(2001) continuous to stressed that teachers personality invariably affect the effectiveness of teaching of agricultural science. Oforkansi(2008)opinion that personal qualities do not only enhance teaching and learning but also promotes the tone of the school as well as the profession.
In summary, problems encountered in the teaching and learning of agricultural science in Atiba Local Government Area could be due to the several reasons such as classroom management, communication, teachers qualification, supply of agricultural science equipment, teachers personality, negligence of seminars, and workshop by the teachers of agricultural science, inadequate illustration and practical aspect of agricultural science is another factors, infrastructural facilities and absences of laboratories etc.
In the light of the above problems the purpose of this study is to investigate the problems militating against effective teaching of agricultural science in our junior secondary schools in Atiba Local Government Area with a view of finding a way that will help generate a sound foundation for the improvement and development of agriculture in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
Agricultural science today is regarded as one of the most important aspects of human life. It has greatly increased man’s knowledge of his environment together with basic needs of good, shelter and clothing. Nigeria being a developing country and in a great need to meet the food demand of her population requires effective and purposeful agricultural education in her schools.
Presently performances of students do not predict the hope of fulfilling our agriculture expectation as regards meeting the food need of the population through schools inspite of the effort being made by government to improve standard of teaching agricultural science in our secondary schools.
It then become pertinent to look inwardly for a better way of having a solid base for effective agricultural education in secondary schools. This study uses the junior section of the secondary school system to discover the problems causing failure of student especially in external examinations as the senior school certificate (S.S.C.E) and junior secondary school Examination (J.S.S.E). The identification of these problems for lasting agriculture programme for secondary schools in turn meeting the national objective in food production is the subjects of this research.
1.3 PURPOSES OF THE STUDY
To find out if qualitative teacher are available in required proportion in the teaching of agricultural science in junior secondary school in Atiba Local Government Area.
- To find out if there are adequate facilities for the teaching of agricultural science.
- To identify the extent to which fund is available for the schools for practical agriculture;
- To find out level of discipline in schools necessary to progressive Work in junior secondary School Agriculture.
- To investigate the appropriate method employed by teacher in teaching agricultural science in secondary school;
- To look into student attitude to learning of agricultural science in secondary school
- To investigate the role of parents socio-economic status to the teaching and learning of agricultural science in secondary school
- To look into the availability of library, laboratory and infrastructural facilities available to agricultural science in secondary school
- To investigate into the impact of students gender on the teaching and learning of agricultural science in secondary school
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In the course of this work, specific research questions to be answered are:
- Does teacher qualification have effect in teaching agricultural science in Atiba Local Government Area
- What method of teaching do agricultural science teachers usually used in teaching agricultural science in Atiba Local Government Area?
- To what extent do secondary schools in Atiba Local Government Area have adequate supply of agricultural science equipment?
- To what extent does the attitude of teachers affect the teaching of agricultural science in Atiba Local Government Area?