EFFECT OF AVAILABILITY AND USE OF LABORATORY ON STUDENTS PERFORMANCE IN SCIENCE SUBJECT
Background of the Study
Science had been of great importance internationally for sustainable and socio-economic development as well as for technological advancement of nations. Knowledge of science and technology is therefore a requirement in all countries and needed by all people globally due to numerous challenges that are facing them. These challenges include emergencies of new drug resistant diseases, effects of genetic experimentation and engineering, ecological impact of modern technology, dangers of nuclear war and explosions and global warming among others (Alsop & Hicks, 2001; Minishi, Muni, Okumu, Mutai, Mwangasha, Omolo & Munyeke, 2004). This had resulted to rapid changes taking place in medicine, industry, communication, and agriculture. Science as an agent of development plays an important role in bringing about these changes through technological advancement, national wealth enhancement, health improvement and industrialization (Validya, 2003), this is why scientific and technological breakthrough is usually the goal of any developing nation like Nigeria. The emphasis on teaching and learning of science is on ensuring that teachers not only teach the process of science but also are able to subject scientific concepts to the sensory experience of the learners. By this, the ‘hands’ and ‘minds’ of learners must be on scientific activities such that learners will be able to learn actively and thereby participate in knowledge construction In essence, the focus is on activity based science lesson which entails both best classroom and laboratory practices.
This direction of teaching and learning of science subjects in schools is viewed to lead students to acquiring the required science process skills, life skills and competence as enshrined in the revised edition of (National Policy on Education (NPE) (FRN, 2013) National core curricular for Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics etc. However, the eorts of teaching in achieving the goals of NPE 2013, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS), EFA, Science Education for all, NEEDS, Vision 20:2020 faces great challenges.
The challenges facing science teaching and learning includes the use of teacher-centered approaches to teaching, lack of adequate and relevant instructional materials, inadequate classroom and laboratories and laboratory equipment etc. Laboratory equipment etc. Laboratory is at the center of scientific studies and/or science so long as science remains both a product and process. The availability of laboratory equipment, facilities and materials play a vital role in determining the extent of best laboratory practices that will ensure acquisition of science process skills and competence in science concepts by the learners. According to Abimbola (2001) one major aspect of Science education that is of great concern is in the area of availability and effectiveness of use of specialized and relevant science equipment, facilities and instructional materials. The school laboratories that are well designed, stocked and safe for teaching and learning of science ensure active practical exercises (Katcha, 2005). Laboratory work is an indispensable part of science instruction, and no effective science education can exist without practical work (Udo, 2010). Laboratory practical’s are dependent on the level of equipping of the laboratory with relevant instructional materials and the ability of the teacher to effectively and efficiently utilize them. The challenges often faced in doing practical’s in inadequately equipped laboratories has led teachers to separate science lessons into practical and theory lessons or classes and or shifting practical work until the second term of the final year (Ekpo, 1999). According to Ekpo any effort to separate Science into practical and theory lesson account to perpetuating the dichotomy and this is antithesis of what science is.
Statement of the Problem
The persistent low level of senior secondary school students’ achievement in science at the various public examinations in Nigeria have continue to attract the attention of major stakeholders in education. Performance of students in science has consistently been poor and unimpressive. Despite all the considerable eorts made by stake holders at various levels, very little improvement in students’ achievement has been recorded. Available data from the two public examination body’s i.e [the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO)] in their appraisal report on SSCE indicates that, there was a downward trend in performance in Nigeria. Available records shows that from 2008 to 2012, there was a negative trend in the performances of students in the three sciences subjects with the average performances of 56.01% in Physics, 46.30% in Chemistry and 37.27% in Biology, this is in addition to an increasing failure rate in Biology and Chemistry (Sakiyo and Badau, 2015). It was generally observed that performance of candidates in WASSCE in the Nigeria in the subjects and for the period reviewed was not quite impressive except in Government where most of the candidates in Nigeria had credits and above. The main reason for this failure is because the learning and practice of science cannot be achieved in the environment which does not give emphasis on practical and hands on activities in schools. Students are supposed to do both theory and practical learning activities. Nevertheless, since science is an activity based subject, its effective teaching and learning cannot be feasible unless it is enriched with practical activities. Practical activities must occupy greater part of the time allocated to science subjects than the chalk and talk method of teaching the theoretical aspects. This study therefore intended to assess the availability and use of laboratory on academic performance.
Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study is to carry out Availability And Utilization Of Science subject Laboratory Materials In Secondary Schools In Jos South L.G.A, Plateau State
Specifically, the study intends to:
1) identify laboratory resources available for effective teaching and learning of science subject in secondary schools in Jos South L.G.A, Plateau State
2) determine the adequacy in the provision of these laboratory resources in secondary schools in Jos South L.G.A, Plateau State.
3) determine the extent to which teachers utilize laboratory resources in secondary schools in Jos South L.G.A, Plateau State