THE EFFECTS OF QUALIFICATION OF INTEGRATED SCIENCE TEACHERS ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN EXTERNAL EXAMINATIONS (A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED SCHOOLS IN AKWA IBOM STATE)
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The quality of education is directly related to the quality of instruction in the classrooms. It is a fact that the academic qualifications, knowledge of the subject matter, competence, and skills of teaching and the commitment of the teacher have effective impact on the teaching learning process (National Education Policy)
The introduction of integrated science into the Nigeria School System was based on certain philosophical considerations. One of them is to address social issues and man’s problem of life in their interrelatedness, as they appear in real life situations instead of addressing them in an uninterrelated manner as those learnt through separate disciplines like Geography, Religion, Sociology and Anthropology. Integrated science according to Ezegbe (1994), was therefore introduced as an integrated discipline to make education real to life.
Integrated science was also introduced into the Nigerian School System to achieve one of the philosophies of Nigerian education as indicated in the National Policy on Education (2004) which is “the development of the individual into a sound and effective citizen”. The realization of this objective through integrated science is possible since the subject is an integrated programme which is taught and learnt. Integrated science looks at all aspects of the life of the child in the society.
It is further stated in the National Policy on Education (2004) that the essence of education is to achieve the inculcation of national consciousness and national unity; the inculcation of the right type of values and attitudes for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian society. All these, according to Ezegbe (1994) involve the development of modern democratic values which are taught and learnt in integrated science because of its broad based scope. The accomplishment of the purposes for which integrated science was introduced in schools would depend to a large extent, not only on the availability of the right caliber of professionally trained integrated science teaching personnel but also of the material resources available in schools for its teaching. Of the personnel involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of a curriculum, the teacher is the most important. Brown (1982) pointed out the vital role of the teacher in the curriculum process when he notes that:
The curriculum can be a great success or a dismal failure, depending on the teachers. They are the key persons who alone can make the curriculum design achieve whatever it was designed to achieve… (pg. 19).
No matter how strongly motivated a nation may be in desiring to provide education for its citizens irrespective of the financial resources and the good will, the effectiveness of the system ultimately depends on the quality of the teachers that operate it. It is the teacher who translates societal values and aspirations to practical lessons in the class. Several educators amongst who are Coombs (1970), Fafunwa (1974), Fayemi (1991) and Ukeje (1970) have written on the vital role of the teachers as implementers of the curriculum. According to them, whatever abilities are available, whatever content is presented for teaching, whichever kind of environment the school is situated and whatever kind of pupils are given to teach, the important and vital role of the teacher cannot be over-emphasized. Teachers represent a large proportion of the input of an educational system.
Quality improvement in education depends upon proper training of teachers. The teachers cannot play any of the roles unless properly trained (Yadved and Singh, 1988). The performance of students especially in external examinations goes a long way to show the level of preparedness of the student definitely by qualified teachers.
Teaching is an art. It can be refined by training and practice. The availability of competent teachers is central in the reconstruction of the educational system. Integrated science have acquired the status of a global standard (Crystal, 1997). Keeping in view the growing need and importance of Integrated science in every walk of life, Integrated science is one of the compulsory subject in Nigeria from the very beginning of the academic career.
The teacher is the facilitator of examinations rather than of learning. The students memorize, translate and retranslate and, finally reproduce the crammed information or knowledge in the external examinations. No creativity is witnessed on the part of the students from this kind of teaching experience (Baumgardner, 1993).The reason is that the teachers themselves are not qualified or competent enough to teach integrated science efficiently. This causes poor results in integrated science eventually leading to highest failure percentage in integrated science at external examinations. Thus integrated science becomes the biggest hurdle (particularly for the students from rural areas) in the way to getting higher education and the key administrative posts. In its annual report, Federal Public Service Commission (1998) reported that integrated science as the medium of expression in the external examination is depriving the students of some poor institutions to compete with their counterparts from highly placed institutions.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
teaching has been the primary focus of applied linguistics. Formal instruction does not work in vacuum. School environment, teacher qualifications, curriculum and instructional approaches, and many other factors interact to produce growth in student academic skills and knowledge. There is sufficient empirical evidence that suggests that the academic performance of students relies substantially on the teachers they are assigned. Classroom based research is valid enough to determine whether the learners are receiving appropriate content instruction or not. Pennington (1989) says that the quality of teaching must be considered in determining what results can be expected. He further states that teachers make decisions about classroom management based upon the achievement gains. Thus we can say that findings about the relationship between teacher characteristics and student academic performance scores are important in determining the policy about the teachers. It is assumed that only those who have professional training in Integrated science teaching should teach Integrated science. The Integrated science teacher should be the one whose competence and proficiency in all the language skills are in a good measure. But especially in written and conversational English, is not deficient. The Integrated science teacher should have a good knowledge of current usage and the theoretical aspects of English. In Nigeria today, most students in secondary schools and in fact even in universities lack the ability to communicate efficiently in English when teaching Integrated science, both oral and written. This is still the major problem faced by Integrated science students today. It is therefore important to find out if the qualification of the Integrated science teachers has any effect on the performance of the students in integrated science in external examinations.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the effects of qualification of integrated science teachers on the performance of secondary school students in external examination.
- To examine the criteria for producing a qualified integrated science teacher.
- To determine the factors that can improve the academic performance of secondary school students in external examinations.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the effects of qualification of integrated science teachers on the performance of secondary school students in external examination?
- What are the criteria for producing a qualified integrated science teacher?
- What are the factors that can improve the academic performance of secondary school students in external examinations?
HO: There is no significant relationship between the qualification of integrated science teacher and secondary school student performance in external examination.
HA: There is significant relationship between the qualification of integrated science teacher and secondary school student performance in external examination.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- This study will serve as a painter to the ministry of education to verify whether the qualification of teachers has any effect on the student performance in senior secondary school certificate examination (SSCE). The finding will also help people who want to conduct such research to serve as reference.
- This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic
1.7 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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Baumgardner, Robert J. (1993). The English Language in Pakistan. Karachi: Oxford University Press.
Crystal, D. (1997). English as a Global Language.Cambridge University Press.
Cullen, R. (1994). Incorporating a Language Improvement Component in Teacher Training Programmes. ELT Journal, 48(2), 162-172
FPSC (1998). Annual Report: Federal Public Service Commission. Islamabad: Federal Public Service Commission
Fuller, B. & Clark, B. (1994). Raising School Effects While Ignoring Culture? Conditions and the Influence of Classroom Tools, Rules and Pedagogy.Review of Educational Research. 64 (1), 119-57
Yadred, D.D., &Singh, D. J. (1997).Evaluating the Effect of Teacher Degree Level on Educational Performance. In W.J. Fowler (Ed.), Developments in School Finance, Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics
Government of Nigeria, (1998). National Education Policy 1998-2010. Islamabad: Ministry of Education