PERCEIVED INFLUENCE OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE IN CAREER CHOICE BY J.S.S STUDENTS IN BENUE STATE
Agriculture, a subject whose choice by junior secondary school students has been declining year after year, has been offered in secondary schools in Nigeria for many years. It is an examinable subject in the Nigeria Certificate of Secondary Education examination and a career subject in various post-secondary educational institutions. The objective of this study was to determine the influence of selected factors on the choice of agriculture among junior secondary school students in Benue State. The objectives were; to determine the influence of teaching methods on the choice of agriculture among students in secondary schools, to establish the influence of gender on the choice of agriculture among students in secondary schools, to investigate the influence of students’ attitude on the choice of agriculture in secondary schools, and to examine the influence of school financing on the choice of agriculture among students in secondary schools. The study used cross-sectional survey design. Questionnaire was used to collect data. The study targeted JSS3 agriculture students and agriculture teachers. A sample of 352 respondents was used. Simple random sampling was used to sample agriculture teachers and students, while stratified sampling was used to sample 22 schools. Data were analysed using both quantitative and qualitative approaches: For the former, descriptive statistics including frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviations were used, and inferential statistics-specifically Pearson Correlation-was used to establish relationships among variables. Qualitative data, on the other hand, were analyzed using SPSS version 21.0. The findings show that methods employed by teachers in the teaching of agriculture have an influence on the choice of the subject by students; students’ attitude influence the choice of the subject; but school finances and gender have no statistical influence on the choice of agriculture. It was also found out that parents, teachers, and the ministry of education have an influence on the choice of agriculture. The study recommended that teachers be monitored well in syllabus delivery so as to employ proper teaching methods to enable proper implementation of the curriculum. The study further recommended strengthening of career guidance and counselling to create awareness of career opportunities available to enable more female students choose the subject. In addition, the study recommended that students be mentored well for this will see attitude change towards agriculture. Lastly the ministry of education to increase funding to schools to enable procurement of enough teaching and learning materials for agriculture.
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This chapter discusses different related literature that has been written on the factors that influence the choice of agriculture among junior secondary school students in Benue State and elsewhere.The conceptual framework of the study was based on the variables on factors influencing the choice of agriculture among junior secondary school students. The choice is influenced by: Teachers teaching methods, gender, ability of the student, attitude of the student, home background of the student, level of education of parents, choice of the subject in Nigeria certificate of secondary education,teaching learning resources, grouping of subjects by the Nigeria Institute of Curriculum Development, career guidance, career opportunities, cultural beliefs, social/economic activities, religion, and peer group influence.
Teaching Methods on Choice of Agriculture
Nyangi (2012) studied the influence of teachers’ teaching methods on the choice of biology in Nigerian secondary schools. The study used cross-sectional research design which employed simple random sampling techniques. Descriptive statistics was used to analyze the data. From the results, it was found that there were different factors hindering students’ choice of subjects starting from home science which lacked interest of the students, wide syllabus, inadequate facilities for practical lessons, lack of interest among home science teachers, and lack of qualifications among some teachers. This study, however, focused on teachers’ teaching methods on the choice of agriculture in secondary schools.
Salibury and Roddel (2000) studied the influence of teaching methods on certain subjects in secondary schools. The study found that teachers’ attitudes and behaviour towards certain subjects affect students in some ways when it comes to subject choice. The study further found out that students choose a subject because they like the way the teacher delivers the content, his/her positive attitude towards the subject,and that students do not choose a subject because the teacher does not handle it adequately. The methods of teaching used by the teacher have a significant influence on students’ choice of subjects. This study instead sought to determine whether lesson preparation influence the choice of agriculture.
Eshiwani (2001) indicates that poor teaching methods is attributed to low enrolment of students taking agriculture in most schools in the country . This is due to lack of role models among teachers since there are fewer females as compared to males which has created a negative attitude in the choice of agriculture by students. On the other hand, positive or negative attitudes towards the subject is influenced by parents who feel that agriculture- related careers are low paying and therefore discourage their children from choosing the subject and instead encourage them to venture into other fields. The parents would prefer their children to undertake courses that have quick returns to change their lifestyle in future. Eshiwani’s finding that gender is a factor in subject choice among junior secondary school students was of interest in this study; we sought to determine to what extent it affects student choice of agriculture.
The study was done in home science, which is one of the group four technical subjects chosen by students in secondary schools in Nigeria. Agriculture is one of them and a concern for this study to determine whether lesson attendance by the teachers has an influence on the choice of agriculture among students.The influence of teachers on students’ choice of subjects in any institution is paramount since students rely on teachers’ advice on subject choices. This means that teachers should be good role models at all times since students imitate them in all that they do. Education is one of the most effective development investments a country can make since it is recognized globally. It is one of the critical pathways to promote social and economic development (World Bank, 2005). It enables development of better life and world by raising the economy, reducing fertility rate, reducing infant and maternal mortality, improves livelihoods of families, and enhances better education for children (Gachukia, 1999).
A study by Coonery (1990) revealed that an effective teacher will make students to understand agricultural science.This concurred withIzumi and Evess (2002) in their study on factors that influence students choice of subject for study. They state that quality of teachers is very important among other factors like infrastructure and quality of the curriculum.Amuah (2009) observes that teaching of agricultural science in countries like Nigeria was faced with problems like, poor attitude of teachers, and low qualifications, poor funding, inadequate facilities, low professional efficiency levels of teachers,and attitude of school administration and parents towards agricultural science, and political lapses.
According to the chief examiner’s report on performance of agriculture at NECO in 2010, it was observed that students have ignored fundamentals of agriculture and knowledge of practical section of the subject (West Africa ExaminationCouncil, 2010). It further indicated that most students were unable to perform simple experiments.The same observation was reported in 2011 where it appeared as if most students had insufficient exposure to laboratory work in agriculture.This could be attributed to the fact that teachers lacked the required qualification to enable them use professional documents during the teaching process. It was against this background that this research sought to investigate whether the pace of content delivery by teachers influences choice of agriculture among junior secondary school students.
Mukweru (2006) states that teachers are agents of change in increasing and sustaining agricultural production through the teaching of agriculture hence their attitude should be positive since they play a very important role in curriculum implementation. A study by Shiundu and Omulando (1992) revealed that technical and vocational education has been receiving a negative attitude by a large section of the Nigerian community yet JICA (2008) reports that technical and vocational education training (TVET) is considered as a strong vehicle for social and economic development in most countries. A study by Gross (1971) indicated that when teachers have a positive attitude towards agricultural innovation, they will spend more time and efforts to ensure that it is fully implemented in actual classroom instruction. The research is useful to this study which sought to determine whether teachers have an influence on choice of agriculture among students.[email protected].
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