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HOME ECONOMICS AND OCCUPATIONAL SKILLS: PERCEPTION OF NIGERIAN HOME ECONOMICS TEACHERS AND STUDENTS
Vocational Education Department, Delta State University, Abraka
Department of Primary Education Studies, Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe
Developing occupational skills among students is a major concern in Home Economics. This study investigated the role of Home Economics in developing occupational skills among junior secondary school students in Onitsha, Education zone of Anambra state. The survey was based on three research questions. A sample of 26 Home Economics teachers and 1400 junior secondary students was selected through proportionate stratified sampling. A questionnaire used for data collection was analyzed using mean ratings. The findings include that home economics has a role to play in helping students develop a range of productive and entrepreneurial skills. Finally, strategies such as use of focused group discussions; simulations; jingles; role models, games and drama presentations; curriculum review and removing gender stereotypes in Home Economics could be used to improve the role of home economics in developing occupational skills among students.
Keywords: Occupational Skills, Employment, Home Economics teachers and students, Development.
In Home Economics, two things are central in developing occupational skills. Pendargast (2004) described them as the ability to produce and the ability to distribute. The ability to produce involves acquiring productive-occupational skills. Productive-occupational skills enable one to produce goods and services. On the other hand, the ability to distribute includes acquiring entrepreneurial-occupational skills that enable one to market and distribute the goods thus produced. Olibie (2001) noted that these abilities constitute the work oriented, career-oriented or occupational-oriented competencies that attempt to improve the efficiency and productivity of its recipient’s attitude required as craftsmen, business men and technicians at a professional or sub-professional level. Without teaching occupational skills, Home Economics educational program would fail in its role of empowering students to cope with the daily needs of life and surmount the economic challenges that appear to effect every profession and walk of life. Studies into the teaching and learning of home economics in secondary schools by Ajala (2002) and Uko-Aviomoh (2005) lamented the inability of most secondary school graduates of Home Economics effectively apply occupational skills to ensure productive living. As a result of this lack of skills, students continue to loose interest and cannot perform successfully in their life careers. Presently, many graduates of home economics are not sure of their employment destination. Nwagwu (2008) noted that many are unemployed, impoverished and belong to the underclass. In addition, many secondary school leavers have no decent jobs and have no capacity to start their own business after graduation, Oloidi (2000). Thus, many are under-employed and cannot raise their living standard through the application of occupational skills and so they remain relatively poor. The problem of this study therefore is to find out how Home Economics could be used to develop occupational skills among junior secondary schools students in Anambra state.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the role of Home economics in developing occupational skills among junior secondary school students in Anambra State, Nigeria. Specifically, this study seeks to:
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
This study adopts a descriptive survey type of research. According to Akuezuilo and Agu (2003), this design is a method of obtaining information from various groups or persons mainly through questionnaire or personal interviews. The design was employed in this study to collect data from secondary school home economics teachers and students with which to assess the role of Home Economics in developing occupational skills among secondary school students.
Population of the Study
The population of this study comprised the entire 96 home economics teachers and 8285 junior secondary school (JSS) students in 28 public schools in Onitsha Education Zone owned by the Anambra State Government. Statistics obtained from the Anambra State Education Commission Zonal Office, Onitsha in November 2008, the student population was 8,285 (2870 JSSI students, 2592 JSSII and 2823 JSSIII students).
Sample and Sampling Techniques
The sample comprised 26 Home Economics teachers and 1400 junior secondary school students selected through proportionate stratified sampling. The schools were stratified based on school location (Onitsha North, Onitsha South and Ogbaru). From each school location, fifty percent of the schools were randomly selected. Thus, fourteen schools were selected. However, all the 26 Home Economics teachers in these schools were chosen. In each of the selected schools, 50 JSSII and 50 JSSIII students (totalling 1400 students) were randomly selected using their class registers.
Instrument for Data Collection
The instrument was given content and face validity by three experts in Home Economics education. Based on their comments some corrections were made in the questionnaire. The Cronbach alpha was applied to determine the internal consistency of the instrument. Copies of the instrument were personally administered by the second author on ten Home Economics teachers and twenty Home Economics students in secondary schools in Enugu State. A coefficient alpha of 0.71 was obtained for the items, and was considered adequate for the study.
Method of Data Collection
The second researcher personally visited the schools and administered copies of the questionnaire to the respondents. The copies of the questionnaire were collected back on the same day where possible. Out of the 1426 copies of the questionnaire distributed, only two were lost. Thus 1424 copies representing 99.85 percent were retrieved.
Method of Data Analysis
Mean scores were used in answering the research question. Since the items were based on a 4-point scale with an average of 2.50, in interpreting the results, items with mean ratings up to and above 2.50 were regarded as agree, while items with mean ratings below 2.50 were regarded as disagree.
Data analysis and presentation
Research question one: what is the role of Home Economics in developing occupational skills among students?
Table 1:Mean Ratings of Home Economics Teachers and Students on the Role of Home Economics in Developing Occupational Skills Among Students.