1.1 Background of the study
Education is an essential ingredient for the development of any society and is seen as a pathway to raising political, social awareness as well as upholding the level of manpower (Onyara, 2013). According to Yara and Otieno (2010), education is a fundamental human right. The pivot to sustainable development, peace, and stability within and among countries is the provision of quality education to their citizens (Oguntuase, Awe, & Ajayi, 2013).
Teaching of agricultural science at the secondary school requires a sound background in theory and practical aspects by the teachers of agriculture. The new 6-3-3-4 system requires that agriculture be taught as pre-the subject at the primary and junior secondary schools and as a the subject in senior secondary school level (National Policy on Education, 2004). The 6-3-3-4 educational system in Nigeria includes six years of primary education, three years of junior secondary (pre-the) education, three years of senior secondary education and varying tertiary education period of not less than four years. Although this system of education has remained fairly constant since it became government policy, there have been some slight modifications in government commitment towards the provision of basic education to Nigerians. For instance, the scope of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme has been extended to nine years, which includes six years of primary education and three years in junior secondary school. The delivery of the agriculture at the senior secondary level should not be handled as a science per se but rather as a the subject for acquisition of practical agricultural skills for meaningful living (Obi, 2005). Olaitan (1997) maintained that the basic goal of our National Policy on Education is to make education both functional and utilitarian. Ikeoji (1999) reported that the education is borne out of the need for the system to make its products useful to themselves. The Federal Ministry of Education (as cited by Obi, 2005) stated that the objectives of agricultural education at the senior secondary should include; To stimulate and sustain students interest in agriculture; To enable students acquire useful knowledge and practical skills in agriculture; To prepare students for further studies in agriculture; and To prepare students for occupations in agriculture. Observation has shown that as laudable as the objectives of agricultural and the education in Nigeria are it may be impossible to achieve them due to poor delivery process of the programme and inappropriate method of evaluating the performance of students in the agriculture at the senior secondary school (Ikeoji, 1997a, 1998). Martin and Odubiya (1991) reported that the primary role of the agriculture teachers has always been to help students to learn knowledge and skills in agriculture.
In quest to determine the availability and adequacy of teachers in secondary schools, Several researches have shown that many teachers of agriculture at the secondary school leave the profession early in their life (Myers, Dyer and Washburn, 2005;HeatCamp and Camp, 1990,1994). Myers et al 2005; Camp, Broyles and Skelton, 2002; Mundt and Connors, 1999; and Veenman, (1984) have conducted studies on the problems of beginning teachers of agriculture. These problems of beginning teachers include classroom management and student discipline, balancing work and personal life, managing stress, lack of preparation time at beginning of school year, time management, and motivating students. Others were dealing with individual differences, assessing students work, relationships with parents, organization of class work, inadequate teaching materials and supplies, and dealing with problems of individual students (Myers, et al 2005; Mundt and Connors, 1999; Nicholas and Mundt, 1996; Mundt, 1991; Heath-Camp and Camp, 1990; Barrick and Doerfert, 1989; Veenman, 1984)
Many countries in Africa are paying attention to invest in education from primary, secondary and tertiary levels. However, the main challenge is poor academic performance of students (Miller & Yodar, 2002). In Botswana, for example, the government is offering free basic education to all the children attending school.
In addition, the government supports education from primary to secondary level. To achieve this, the Ministry of Education receives a heavy share of the country’s budget (Matambo, 2013). Despite all the efforts by the government on education, the students’ academic performance has been declining lately from 2010 (Luke & Mavis, 2014).
Teacher availability and adequacy can compromise the quality of education (Boyd & Barbarin, 2008).To identify the availability and adequacy of teachers in the learning environment, the student-teacher ratio (STR) need to be determined. STR will tell whether an institution is having adequate teachers or not. The advantage of having low STR is reducing the number of students to be handled by a teacher in the classroom. This ensures the teacher’s attention to the students and thus good academic performance. On the other hand, high STR will mean that a teacher will have to handle a large number of the students in the classroom at the same time. Students’ academic performance is affected by the transfer of teachers from schools without replacements leading to lack of enough teachers’ thus affecting teacher-student ratio (Wanyama, 2013).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Many of the school authorities have very lukewarm attitudes over the provision of needed tools, equipment, and farm inputs required for effective agricultural science, especially practical in secondary schools. This non-challant attitude tend to retard genuine efforts of some teachers of agricultural science in the secondary schools. Inspite of the emphasis being placed on agricultural science as one of the subjects in secondary schools, there is usually not enough time provided in the time-table for a meaningful agricultural science work (Adeyemi, 2000). Agricultural science teachers are always interested to finish the syllabus before the external examination – Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) conducted by West African Examination Council (WAEC). Agricultural science is one of the core vocational courses being offered at the junior and senior secondary schools in Nigerian education system. Experience has shown that many agricultural science teachers in Gombe Education zone, teach agricultural science theoretically in the classroom without involving the students in field practical. Some of the teachers teach with pictures, drawing agricultural specimens instead of using the real life specimens to teach. Furthermore, many agricultural science teachers do not use the school farms in teaching the students; nor go on for excursions to well established agro-farms and industries.
The unavailability and inadequacy of the agricultural science teachers has manifested through the poor performance of the students in internal and external examinations. The poor performance of the students in agricultural science due to inadequacy of the teachers has also led to non-acquisition of the skills in agricultural production required from a secondary school graduates, and has jeopardized the laudable objectives of agricultural science programme at the secondary school level.
1.3 Objective of the study
The main objective of this research work is to assess the influence of availability and adequacy of agricultural science teachers on the performance of secondary school student in Gombe state.
The study was guided by the following objectives to;
i) To determine the influence of agricultural teacher’s availability and adequacy in performance of secondary school students in Gombe state.
ii) To ascertain the factors affecting the availability and adequacy of agricultural teachers on the performance secondary school students.
iii) To determine the strategies for improving the adequacy of agricultural teachers on the performance of secondary school students.
1.4 Research Question
i). To what extent does agriculture teacher’s availability and adequacy influence the performance of secondary school students of Gombe state?
ii). what are the factors affecting the availability and adequacy of agriculture teachers on the performance secondary school students?
iii). what are the strategies for improving the adequacy of agricultural teachers on the performance of secondary school students?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypothesis were formulated;
H01. There is no significant relationship between teacher’s availability and adequacy and performance of secondary school students in Gombe state.
Ho2. There is no significant relationship between factors affecting the availability and adequacy of agriculture teachers and the performance of secondary school students.
Ho3. There is no significant relationship between the strategies for improving the adequacy of agricultural teachers and the performance of secondary school students.
1.6 Significance of the study
Ministry of Education/School Administrator
The rationale for this study was that it would provide a better understanding of the influence of availability and adequacy of agricultural teachers on the performance of secondary school students. These results would help school administrators and Ministry of Education officials to identify effective teaching methods of improving teacher’s availability and adequacy.
The study should also help beginning and experienced teachers to improve their skills in the selection, adequacy and availability in teaching. This study was conducted because of a discrepancy noted between the excellent performance desired by teachers and the actual performance.
This research work will serve as a guideline for any student who wish to make more research relating to this topic.
Scope of the Study
This research work assesses the influence of availability and adequacy of agricultural science teachers on the performance of secondary school student in Gombe state. Thus this work is limited to all secondary schools in Gombe state ministry of education.
1.7 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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