Prospects of biology education in the development of tertiary education
BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The term biology is coined from two Greek words “bios” meaning life and “logos” meaning to study, and this simply defined as the study of life or the study of plants and animals Michael (2015) . According to oxford Oxford Science Dictionary biology is the study of living organisms, and these includes structure (gross and morphological), functioning, origin and evolution, classification, interrelationship and distribution. Biology as pointed by Nakano Nakona (2017) is the science that deals with the study of living things, since it is the study of living things there are certain recognizable characteristics by which living things which includes; movement, death, respiration, growth, excretion, irritability, reproduction, and nutrition. Chukunyerenmuwa Chukunyerenmuwa (2013) asserted that, biology remains one of the basic sciences whose teaching and learning is universally known to be efficient and successful, if only undertaken simultaneously with the help of adequate instructional resources and facilities. Biology plays a vital role in the field of biochemistry, genetics, physiology and anatomy, ecology, medicine Olutola et al., Olutola et al (2016) and molecular biology and as such biology has been made a central focus in some human activities including being a solution to the problem of food scarcity, health, hygiene, family life, poverty eradication, management and conservation of natural resources, biotechnology, ethics, various social vices and as well lack of appropriate infrastructural materials. Aina Aina (2013) stated that, biology education is important to any growing economy like Nigeria. Many graduate of biology education are self employed and employers of labour; many owned schools for themselves where people works and earn their living while some are into fish business.
Science is an intellectual activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment. Merriam-Webster (2016) defines science as the knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation. The National Academy of Sciences (2008) cited by Hohenberg (2010) defined science as the use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through its process.
Science, as taught in secondary schools, is divided into; natural science, physical science and social sciences. Sometimes, it is discussed under pure and applied science and covers such subjects as physics, chemistry, biology, etc. Of these subjects, biology is the only one that cuts across and concerns all students. Unlike physics and chemistry for instance, biology is the only science subject offered by all students in science class.
This implies that biology occupies a very sensitive position in medical science and other related disciplines. This informs several efforts geared towards studying biology at secondary school level of education. Hence, it is one of the science subjects a student must pass so as to offer some science courses at tertiary level of education (Akinfe, Olofinniyi & Fashika, 2012).
Science education comprises three subjects namely biology, chemistry and physics which are combined with education and over the year there has been low enrolment of these courses in our institutions as identified by ; causes of this low enrolment include society disdain, mockery of teacher and low prestige of teachers .Interestingly, as important as these courses are, students’ performance has not been encouraging in them and this is worrisome and called for investigation .
Biology education is very important for any growing economy like that of Nigeria. About 70 percent graduates of biology education are self employed and employers of labour (Okenyi, 2012). Many graduates of biology education also own schools of their own where people work and earn their living while some are into fishery business. These contributions of biology to the Nigerian’s economy will be highly improved through analyzing the challenges and prospects of biology education in Nigeria.
Biology deals with the study of many varieties of lives. It is a natural science concerned with the study of living organisms including their structure, function, growth, distribution and taxonomy (Magna, 2002). Biology is the study of the structure, function, heredity and evolution of all living things: micro-organisms, fungi, plants and animals. However, despite the broad scope of biology, there are certain general and unifying concepts within it that govern all the studies and researchers that consolidate it into simple and coherent field. In general, biology recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, evolution as the engine that propels the synthesis and creation of new species. It is also understood today that all organisms survived by consuming and transforming energy and by regulating their internal environment to maintain a stable and vital condition. Sub-disciplines of biology are defined by the scale at which organisms are studied, the kinds of organisms studied and the methods used to study them. For example Biochemistry examines the rudimentary chemistry of life, molecular biology studies the complex interactions among biological molecules:- Botany is the study of the biology of plants: cellular biology which examines the basic building-blocks of all life cells, physiology which examines the physical and chemical functions of tissues, organs and organ systems of an organism. Evolutionary biology, examines the processes that produced the diversity of life: Ecology examines how organisms interact in their environment: Zoology, the study of animals: Pathology the study of disease of plants and animals and methods of controlling them. Entomology, the study of insects: Algaelogy which is the study of algae, parastology, the study of parasites and microbiology the study of microorganisms. Biology Education therefore is education in biology which generally aims at training individuals to understand himself or herself, the parts of his or her body and how the body parts function. Hence, the application of principles of education in teaching and learning of biology is known as biology education. It is the art of teaching and training in order to inculcate or transfer the knowledge of biology to students .It is against this background that this study investigates the Prospects of biology education in the development of tertiary education