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JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT VOLUME 8 NO 2, DECEMBER, 2010


 

STATUS OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT FOR STM EDUCATION IN NIGERIAN SECONDARY SCHOOLS:THE YOBE STATE EXPERIENCE

 

Raina A. Ovie

 School of Science Education,Federal College of Education, (Technical) Potiskum

 E-mail:commonamibo@yahoo.com

 

 

Abstract

This study sought to x-ray the status of human resource development for STM education in Nigerian secondary schools, as it affects Yobe State. Survey research was adopted in the study. Proportionate and simple random sampling were used to obtain samples of science ,technology and mathematics teachers (84) and science laboratory assistants (30) that were used for the study. The instrument for data collection was Questionnaires, and data collected was analyzed using percentages. Result of data analysis showed, among others, that the STM teachers and laboratory assistants were not sufficiently exposed to in-service training opportunities to enable them improve on their on-the job performance. It was recommended, among others, that the state government should embark on a sustainable program of capacity building for the serving STM educators and the laboratory assistants.

 

Keywords: Human, development, science, mathematics, technology

 


Introduction

A sound science, technology and mathematics (STM) education base, is a sine qua non for the attainment of functional scientific literacy which, in turn, determines the extent to which the citizens any given nation can avail themselves of the benefits of a technology that is inexorably linked with all spheres of national development. This assertion is in line with the observation by Ogbazi (2000) that science and technology are so fundamental to the modern world that it is becoming impossible to comprehend this world, and hence to know how to act in it, without the appreciation of the social significance of science and technology.

 

In Nigeria there are well articulated curricular provisions for the attainment of qualitative STM education at all levels of the nation’s education system. At the secondary school level, which is the concern of this study, there is the nation’s curriculum for secondary schools (FME 1985) which clearly spelt out the objectives, instructional media, as well as the methods/strategies for effective teaching and learning of all science subjects, notably biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and technology- related subjects like introductory technology and computer education. Much as the various science curricula appear laudable, the fact still remains that the successful implementation of any educational Programme is, to a large extent, contingent on the availability of the right caliber of human resources (teachers and support staff). To ensure effective STM education in our secondary schools, highly qualified and competent STM educators (teachers) and laboratory assistants, are required for the implementation of the STM curriculum.  It is only by so doing that the recipients of STM instructions (students) will be sufficiently groomed and equipped with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies that are expected to them at that level of education.

 

It has been observed that students’ performance in science subjects in external examinations (e.g. WASSCE and NECO examinations) has, over the years been generally poor (Ezeh, 2000; and Eze 2002).  Some reasons have been adduced for the observed poor performance, prominent among which are scarcity of qualified science teachers, incompetence on the part of the few available science teachers, students’ lack of interest in science, etc (Ezeh, 2000; Eze 2002).  In countries that the genuinely committed to the attainment of a high level of teachno-scientific development, adequate attention is paid to the provision of effective STM education via assumable programme of capacity building for the serving STM teachers.  This, according to Ajeyalemi (2002) entails enhancing he abilities and capabilities of human–resource identify and meeting development challenges in sustainable manner.  Ovolabi and Dansu (2005) further posited that capacity building for serving STM teachers is either short or long term up-dating of the teachers’ knowledge and ability, usually through seminars, workshops and conferences or further studies.  The act that science is dynamic in nature and new methods and strategies are continually being evolved to facilitate its teaching, underscores the need to evolve ways and means of updating science teachers’ knowledge in their respective subjects of specialization.  This will enable such serving science teachers to live up to their expectations as facilitators of scientific learning.  This view is predicated on the general belief and expectation that in any teaching-learning situation, the teacher is not only expected and exhibit mastery of the subject matter, but should also distinguish himself as an expert in pedagogy.

 

In line with the dynamic nature of science and also the fact that acquisition of scientific knowledge and skills usually proceeds through experimentation, there is also the need to evolve a mechanism for keeping the science laboratory assistants abreast with various techniques and innovations in science laboratory management.  The question then arises:  how are the serving STM teachers and laboratory assistants in Nigerian secondary schools encouraged to develop themselves, especially with a view to improving their on-the-job performance?

 

Research questions

The following research questions will guide the study.

1.                  What are the in-service training opportunities to which the STM teachers and laboratory assistants have been exposed?

2.                  What are the specific areas in which the STM teachers have received in- service training?

3.                  What are the specific laboratory organizations and management in which the laboratory assistants have received training?

4.                  What are the sources through which STM teachers and laboratory assistants are sponsored to –service training?

 

Method

Survey research design was adopted in the conduct of the study. The study was carried out in Yobe state of Nigeria. All the secondary school science teachers and laboratory assistants in the  57 government owned secondary schools in Yobe state, constituted the population of the study. A proportionate sampling technique was used to obtain the 50% of the total number of schools in each of the four educational zones that are in Yobe state, giving a sample of 28 schools. Simple random sampling was used to obtain three STM teachers in each of the sampled schools, giving a total sample size of -84 The total number of science laboratory assistants in the sample was 30 and all of them were used for the study.

 

Two sets of questionnaire adopted from Eze (2006) with some modifications, constituted the instrument for data collection. The questionnaire for the STM teachers sought to know the in-service training opportunities that are available to them, the kind of in-service training they have received, and the modes of their sponsorship to such training programmes. The questionnaire for the laboratory assistants are almost similar, except for the type of training they are being given. The instrument was validated by three science education lecturers in the federal college of education tech. Potiskum in Yobe state. Reliability of the two questionnaires was determined by test-retest method. Using Pearson product moment correlation technique, reliability indices of 0.78 and 0.81 were obtained for the questionnaire respectively. the researcher administered the questionnaires with the help of three research assistants.

 

Results

The results are presented in percentages on tables according to research questions.


 

Table 1:           Distribution of STM teachers and Laboratory Assistants according to the in-service training opportunities they have been exposed to

N = 84 and 30 for STM teachers and Laboratory Assistants respectively.

Nature of Training Attended

 

Respondents

 

Induction

 

Workshop /Conference

 

Refresher Course

 

Further Studies

 

Total Number Trained

Total Number Not Trained

STM Teachers

11(12.5)

63 (75)

5(06)

31(39.90)

84(100)

307(60.4)

Lab Assistants

00(00)

04 (13.33)

00 (00)

01 ( 03)

05(16.67)

112 (58.3)

 


Figures in parentheses represent percentages.

Table 1 above shows that all the  STM teachers, have gone for one form in- service training or the other in the last five years.  In the same vein, a total of 05 five Laboratory Assistants (16.67%) were exposed to in-service training programmes within the last five- ten years.

 

 


 

Table 2:           Distribution of STM teachers according to the specific areas in which they received in-service training.

N = 84 and 30 for STM teachers and Laboratory Assistants respectively.

 

Specific Training Areas

Trained

Not Trained

No.

%

No

%

1.                 

Teaching of difficult topics in science

35

41.7

49

58.3

2.                 

Continuous Assessment

35

41.70

49

58.3

3.                t

Teaching methods and strategies

70

83.33

14

16.67

4.                 

Fostering students’ interest in science

60

71

24

29

5.                 

Management of large class sizes

45

53.50

    39

46.50

6.                 

Improvisation

45

53.50

39

46.50

 


The table above shows that STM teachers are fairly exposed to in-service training in their subjects of specialization, especially in relation to the specific areas itemized in the table.

 

The highest percentage of 83.33 , was recorded for item 3 (teaching methods and strategies) while the least percentage (41.70%) was obtained for items 1&2 which deals with difficult concept and continues assessment.

 


Table 3:           Number and percentage of laboratory assistants that received in-service training in some specific aspects of laboratory organization and management.

N = 30

 

Specific Training Areas

Trained

Not Trained

No.

%

No

%

1.                 

Handling/maintenance of delicate equipment

06

20

24

80

2.     

Preparation of solutions for experiments

03

10

27

90

3.     

Preservation of specimens

04

13.30

26

86.70

4.     

Accident prevention and control

06

20

    24

80

5.     

Stocking of chemicals materials and apparatus

02

6.7

28

93.3

6.     

Repair of simple equipments

02

6.7

28

93 3

7.                 

Record keeping/ inventory.

03

10

27

90

8.     

Conduct of experiments.

02

6.7

28

93.3

9.     

Improvisation

02

    6.7

28

93.3

 


The table above shows that STM laboratory assistants are not reasonably exposed to in-service training in their subjects of specialization, especially in relation to the specific areas itemized in the table.


 

Table 4:           Details of sponsorship of STM teachers and laboratory assistants to in-service training programmes.

 

 

Respondents

Sponsors

State Government

Self

School

STM teachers (N=508)

16 (18.75)

63 (75)

11 (12.25)

Laboratory assistant (N=192)

25 (83.3)

06 (16.7)

00 (00)

 

·                     Numbers enclosed in parentheses represent percentages.

 


Table 4 indicates that STM teachers did not adequately enjoy sponsorship to in-service training from the state government and the individual schools.  Instead, they expended their meager resources on self sponsorship to such in-service programmes.

 

Discussion

The present study has shown that a good number of the STM teachers are fairly exposed to in-service training, while the exposure of the laboratory assistants is in adequate. The poor exposure of the laboratory assistants is an unhealthy development, which if not addressed, will impede Nigeria’s developmental efforts in the area of science and technology. This findings agrees in part with the result of earlier study by Ivowi (1998), which advocated for

 Further training for science teachers to enable them implement the science curriculum which is full of innovations and dynamism. The poor exposure of laboratory assistants to retraining programmes to improve on their professional practice implies that many of them may be deficient in modern and innovative techniques of laboratory organization and management. A direct consequence of this is that the STM teachers will be overburdened with the task of combining their teaching job with that of the laboratory personnel. This condition will have a negative effect on overall productivity of science teachers.

 

Recommendations

The following recommendations are made as ways of improving the present status of human resource development in Yobe state.

1  The state Government through the Ministry of education and teaching service board, should embark on in- service training to equip all STM professionals

 

 

2   School authorities should send STM teachers and attendants to short-term trainings as workshops, conferences and refresher courses.

 

Conclusion

 A well articulated Programme of STM education holds an immense potential for unlocking the door to technological breakthroughs and overall national development but the STM educators play the central role in this breakthrough.

 

 

References

Ajeyami, D (2002) Capacity building in the sciences:  imperative for teacher education in Nigeria.  Inaugural Lecture Series, University of Lagos.

 

Eze, C. U. (2002).  Effect of target task approach on students’ achievement and interest in senior secondary school physical chemistry.  Unpublished Ph.D Thesis.  University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

 

Ezeh, D. N (2000).  Effective science and computer education in the new millennium.  A lead paper presented at the Annual Conference of Department of Science and Computer Education, ESUT Enugu August 9 – 12.

 

Federal Ministry of Education, FME (1985).  National Curriculum for Secondary School, Lagos Federal Government Press.

 

Ivowi, U. M. O. (1988).  Improving Teacher Education Programme in Nigeria.  Nigerian Journal Curriculum Studies 3(1), 1 – 7.

 

Ogbazi, N. J. (2000).  Effective science and computer education in the new millennium: Implication for Secondary Education.  A lead Paper presented at the Annual Conference of Department of Science and Computer Education, ESUT, Enugu.

 

Owolabi, T. and Dansu, T. (2005).  Capacity building in the science:  imperative for professionalism in teaching proceedings of the 46th Annual Conference of STAN held at Jos, August, 14 – 18