FACTORS AFFECTING THE PERFORMANCE OF ACCOUNTING STUDENTS IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL (A CASE STUDY OF ENUGU NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ENUGU STATE)
This research sets out to investigate the analysis of factors influencing the study of Accounting in junior secondary school in Enugu north LGA Enugu state.
The research used questionnaire to get information from students and qualified teachers of five selected secondary schools in Enugu north LGA Enugu state.
The study reveals that:
- Most students have negative attitude towards the study of business studies.
- The student’s attitude toward the study of Accounting is influenced by teachers’ method of teaching.
- Parents motivate their children to like business studies.
- The factor influencing the students towards Accounting is influenced by their friends.
- Most students do badly in Accounting during examination have negative attitude towards the study of Accounting.
- Students whose vocational aspirations require Accounting have positive influence towards the study of Accounting.
We are living in a world that is rapidly progressing scientifically and technologically. The economic well being of any developing nation depends to a significant extent on her scientific and technological process. Organized exploration of nature for the benefit of mankind in the basic aim of modern science and technology. Nigeria being a developing country now encourages the study of science and technology in schools so as to be able to meet up with the man-power needs of the nation. This could be evidenced by the way State and Federal Governments build Universities of Technology, Polytechnics and even Technical Colleges. A few of such institutions include Federal Polytechnic Idah, Federal Polytechnic Bauchi. Anambra State University of Technology, Auchi Polytechnic, Technical School, Benin etc. The present administration has in her take-over note that sixty percent (60%) of students to be admitted into the University should be science oriented students.
All these approaches made by the government are good in themselves. A question stands to be answered “what of the students and the factors influencing to the subjects that will be used to achieve this purpose”? No matter the amount of investment, the government puts into education to make sure we are developed scientifically and technologically, it will be a wasted venture if students’ are still been faced by the factors influencing Accountingis negative. This is because Accounting is the language of sciences. Accounting serve as the vehicle of thinking. A real study of science is not possible without the facilities of this fact. Idah (2007) said “as a subject, Accounting is at the base of all the science and environmental professions”. In industry, Accounting is needed for the production of guided missiles and is useful in aerospace technology. In communication, Accounting is also very useful. If one is mathematically literate, on can communicate precisely and present his argument in a logical manner because Accounting helps one in logical thinking. Indeed, there is hardly any field where Accounting is not useful. The farmer, the hunter, the housewife etc. All use Accounting although they may not be of this fact.
Hence, we notice that if Nigerians are to realize their national objective in science and technology, hands must be on deck regarding the study of Accounting in both the primary, secondary and tertiary level of our education. Efforts would be made to improve students’ attitude towards the subject.
The right way to introduce young pupils to Accounting is not to teach Arithmetic, Algebra, Statistics and Geometry as separate branches, each with its own technical apparatus and methods. The ideal thing is to treat Accounting as a science in which the topics are chosen so as to develop a grasp of mathematical idea. Therefore, the early stage of Accounting teaching is very important since the pupils’ future performance in the subject depends on how well he performs at this stage. Accounting is a way of thinking about pattern and relationship of numbers and shapes. It includes arithmetic, algebra, geometry, statistics and trigonometry.
The attitude of students to Accounting whether positive or negative and affected by many factors. Most students are biased towards Accounting before they start to study it. They are told that Accounting is very difficult. With this in their mind, they feel that they can never grasp the subject no matter how hard they try.
Another factor is the career expectation of those concerned. Many students who aspire to become doctors, engineers etc develop interest in the subject as early as possible. This interest is seen in the effort made to understand the subjects. Although some of this type of students may have problems in understanding the subjects due to level of aptitude for them, the interest already developed assist in no small measure in their performance.
Another factor that can affect the attitude of students is the method of teaching Accounting in secondary schools. The traditional method of verbal learning and memorization had led to formal and abstract approach to Accounting teaching.
Finally, attitude towards Accounting may be influenced by social status of the parents and associated with peer group.
Statement of Problem
Business Studies, has grown out of a curriculum where it was previously viewed as suitable only for standard grade learners. A standard grade learner was classified as a learner who could not cope well with higher order thinking skills such as analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating problems. Accountingwas previously named Business Economics and was provided as an alternative to learners who could not cope with Mathematics (Pullinger: 2008). Classes were often small, learners were not there by choice and in many cases educators were gleaned from other subjects when they had ‘spare time’ on their timetables (Clark: 2006). The feeling was that anyone could teach it. The standard joke in staff rooms, especially aimed at educators of commercial subjects, was “Those who can, do. Those that can’t, teach.” Etzinger (2008) asks a pertinent question: “Why would someone with a BCom degree, who could be earning millions in commerce, be teaching Accountingor Accountancy for a pittance?” The disdain of principals especially, as well as that of Mathematics and Physical Science educators, who would send learners to Business Economics when they were not coping with the ‘more difficult’ subjects, added to the problem. The rather mundane syllabus, which included copious sections on aspects such as ‘filing systems’ and ‘indexing’ (specifically targeted to the type of learner who was battling with Mathematics), did nothing to alleviate the problem (Etzinger 2008). Unfortunately, this perception of the subject is still rife today. (Russell, 2009). From personal experience as an educator, the researcher has witnessed the influential effect that she has had on learners choosing subjects. By merely boosting their confidence or damaging their confidence one is able to alter their decisions. There are a number of factors that determine learners’ choice and this research is attempting to discover some of the significant factors in choosing Business Studies.
- Are student aware of the fact that Accounting is a prerequisite for professional courses like Accounting, etc?
- Do secondary school students lack adequate background in Accounting?
- Does the way Accounting is taught affect the attitude of students towards the subject?
- Does lack of motivation affect students’ attitude?
- Is it because some students are naturally weak and find the study of Accounting very difficult?
- Do parents, peers and teachers influence the attitude of students towards the subject?
If all these questions would be answered and analyzed, the writer would be able to determine what is responsible for the attitude of students towards Accounting and perhaps make suggestions on how the attitude could be improved.
The attitudes of a student towards Accounting influence his life in many aspects. It cannot only affect his performance in Accounting but also in other related subject. This can affect his reasoning faculty and his logical approach to day to day issues in life.
The problem associated with Accounting disturbs parents, teachers and educationist. The slow rate of development of this country is attributed to the low science manpower, tradesmen, the technicians and other skilled labour to facilitate development. Since it is only Accounting that will solve this problem, it become necessary to identify those factors that affect students’ attitude.
Purpose of Study
The purpose of the study is to investigate the attitude of secondary school students towards Accounting with a view to identifying the basic factors underlying them. attempts would also be made to find solutions to these problems.
The writer’s choice of this topic for research is based on the urgency of the need for a positive attitude towards the study of the subject. This need is based on the usefulness of this subject towards the scientific and technological development of our country.
Significance of the Study
It is hoped that this would really reveal the factor that affect students’ attitude towards Accounting. On identification of such factors, student would be advised on how best to tackle their problems. The best way to solve a problem is not to shy away from it but to face the problem squarely and the result will appear.
To the educationist and curriculum planners, this study would reveal the relevance of arithmetic taught in primary school to the Accounting teachers who would be able top motivate students so that they can develop positive attitude towards Accounting. It will also enable them to start holding workshops for teachers more often than before so as to furnish teachers with techniques for improving their students’ attitude as well as performance.
It will also serve as a resource material for those who like to carry out research into problems encountered in the teaching of Accounting in secondary schools.
Scope/Delimitation of Study
The main concern of this investigation would be on the effect of teachers on the students’ attitude toward the study of Accounting, its relevance to the vocational aspiration of the students concerned, the effect of low score in Accounting examination to student attitude.
In order to be able to direct this study to specific areas, the following questions were formulated:
- Do most students have negative attitude towards Accounting?
- Can students’ attitude toward the study of Accounting be influenced by teachers’ method of teaching.
- Can students’ attitude towards Accounting be influenced by their parents?
- Can attitude of students towards Accounting be influenced by their friends?
- Do students who do badly in Accounting during examinations have negative attitude towards the study of Accounting?
- Do students whose vocational aspiration require Accounting have positive attitude towards the study of Accounting?
This study is limited to only S.S.S I and S.S.S II students in five selected secondary schools in Enugu north local government area.
In administration of questionnaire, the students and only qualified Accounting teachers in the secondary schools were interviewed.