Students in Nigeria’s secondary schools have been often faced with the problem of indecision when they are about to choose the chemistry subject in their secondary school (two) education. With good background, students still need to develop themselves on the subject areas they are keenly interested in and particularly that they have potentiality for. The overall aim of this research was to gain a deeper understanding of the factors influencing the choice of chemistry education in Nigeria’s secondary education schools, a case study of Ikwuano L.G.A of Abia state. The study would be of great significance to the school management because it would help the management fraternity in understanding the factors affecting the choice of Chemistry subjects. The study adopted a descriptive survey design. The population for this study was all students in Ikwuano L.G.A of Abia statei. Sample size of 11 teachers and 150 students was drawn from the teachers and the students from form SS1-SS3. Primary data was collected by use of a questionnaire. The study generated both qualitative and quantitative data. Quantitative data was coded and entered into Statistical Packages for Social Scientists (SPSS Version 17.0) and analyzed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data was analyzed based on the content matter of the responses. The study found that that the school encouraged students to take up Chemistry subjects. Chemistry subjects were competitive in the job market. Students had developed a career path that they strived to achieve/attain in life. The study revealed that the teacher influenced the subject choice. The study found that gender did not influence choice of subject. Teachers influenced choice of chemistry education’. The study concludes that when students are allowed to choose which classes to enroll in increased motivation and independence which in turn increased a student’s performance. Students had developed a career path that they strived to achieve/attain in life. A student’s attitude about a teacher has a large
impact on their attitude toward a class. Different perceptions men and women have in regards to their ability and competency in those certain classes influenced choice of subject. School has a great role to play in influencing students’ choice of Chemistry subjects. The study recommends students to have good attitude towards Chemistry subjects. They need to consider their interests, personal academic goals while choosing subjects. Competent and qualified teachers should teach Chemistry subjects. Chemistry teachers should strive to be enthusiastic, well spoken, knowledgeable, caring, and helpful. Gender differences should be discouraged amongst students. Women should be encouraged to change their perceptions in regards to their ability and competency. Parents need to help students when making their study choices. The school should support subjects and careers decision making.
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
Chemistry is recognized widely as being of great importance internationally both for economic well-being of nations and because of the need for scientifically literate citizens (Fraser and Walberg, 1995). Knowledge of Chemistry and technology is therefore a requirement in all countries and all people globally due to the many challenges that are facing them. These challenges include emergences 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, 20011). As a result there are rapid changes taking place in industry, communication, agriculture, and medicine. Chemistry as an instrument of development plays a dominant role in bringing about these changes by advancing technological development, promoting national wealth, improving health and industrialization (Validya, 2003). Weham, Dorlin, Snell and Taylor (1984) emphasized that Chemistry are and will remain the fundamental subjects through the ages.
Statistics on international trends in Chemistry subjects selection in 46 countries shows that in the US, among fourth graders in 2007, males continued to prefer Chemistry subjects to females in where males scored significantly higher overall than females in Chemistry (Mullis, Martin and Foy, 2008).The 1986 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) carried out in the United States earlier had reported that boys had outperformed girls in Chemistrys achievement and the gender gap increased as students progressed in school. A later assessment by NAEP in 2005 revealed that males preferred Chemistrys subjects to females in grades 4, 8 and 12. Females at al
levels made relatively little gains in their average Chemistry scores since 1996. In most cases by grade 11, the areas of largest male advantage were physics, chemistry, earth Chemistry and space Chemistry (Kahle and Meece, 1994). In the final year of secondary school, males had a significantly higher achievement in scientific literacy than females in all participating countries (European Union Report, 2009).
In Nigeria, in the SS1, are assessed at the end of the ss3. The choice of which Chemistry subject to study in SS1-SS3 has been an issue to many of students; an issue that have since received varied interpretation among the students themselves and the various stakeholders in the education fraternity. Studies have revealed that most students will prefer chemistry and biology when allowed to choose Chemistry subjects (Waititu, 2004). Moreover, female student have been noted to shy away from physics and chemistry citing the reason being the tedious mathematical calculations involved in such subjects (Murithi, 1996)
Implementing Vision 2030 will require more knowledge based skills. This calls for more training in Chemistry and technological related courses. If secondary school graduates are not realizing the required grades in order to enroll in such courses, the vision remains just a mirage. There must therefore be concerted effort among all stakeholders to address the problem of deplorable choice and performance in Chemistry subjects.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Students in Nigeria’s secondary schools have been often faced with the problem of indecision when they are about to choose the Chemistry subjects in their SS1 of the secondary school
education. This problem has plagued many Nigeria’s secondary school students for quite sometimes. It is such a problem that must be looked into, knowing fully well that the place of Chemistry in secondary education cannot be over emphasized in the educational development of a nation. With good background, students still need to develop themselves on the subject areas they are keenly interested in and particularly that they have potentiality for. Many students have been found choosing subjects for Nigeria Certificate Secondary Examination without considering the aspect of their potentiality and the directive of the school counselor where available.
In Nigeria, secondary school ends with the Nigeria Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination. Students are expected to take two Chemistry subjects drawn from the cluster of Chemistry, Biology and Physics. However, most schools treat Biology and Chemistry as compulsory Chemistry subjects which must be taken by all the candidates. It is very important for students to be proficient in these subjects because they play an important role in career choices and professional development.
Dismal performance in the Chemistry limits individuals opportunities in competitive professional courses that are Chemistry oriented. Furthermore, Nigeria’s vision 2030 initiative aims at making the country a newly industrializing middle income country providing high quality life for all its citizens. The realization of this vision calls for the harnessing of the Chemistry ability of both men and women in the country so that they can contribute to nation building. However, this vision is not about to be realized for as long as students continue to underachieve in subjects that determine their placement in Chemistry oriented fields which are expected to spur industrialization. It is against this background that this study seeks to establish the Factors Influencing The Choice Of Chemistry Education As A Course Of Study Among Secondary School Students In Ikwuano L.G.A Abia State
1.3 Purpose of the Study.
The overall aim of this research was to gain a deeper understanding of the Factors Influencing The Choice Of Chemistry Education As A Course Of Study Among Secondary School Students In Ikwuano L.G.A Abia State. The research’s findings were achieved by assessing a number of indicators deemed best for the study and also more importantly through the following specific research objectives;
1.4 Specific Objectives of the Study.
The study was guided by the following specific objectives:
- To determine the effects of the value of the Chemistry subject on students’ choices of the
subject in Ikwuano L.G.A of Abia State
- To find out the influence of the subject teacher on students’ choices of Chemistry subjects in Ikwuano L.G.A of Abia State
- To find out the influence of gender differences on students’ choices of Chemistry subjects in Ikwuano L.G.A of Abia State.
- To investigate the role of parents and teachers in students’ choices of Chemistry subjects in
Ikwuano L.G.A of Abia State
1.5 Research Questions
The study was guided with the following Research Questions:
- What are the effects of the value of the Chemistry subject on students’ choice of Chemistry subject in Ikwuano L.G.A of Abia State?
- How does the subject teacher influence students’ choices of Chemistry subjects
- How does gender difference influence affect students’ choices of Chemistry subjects in Ikwuano L.G.A of Abia State
- What is the role of parents and teachers in students’ choices of Chemistry subjects in Ikwuano L.G.A of Abia State?
1.6 Significance Of the Study
The study would be of great significance to the school management because it would help the management fraternity in understanding the factors affecting the choice of Chemistry subjects and be able to initiate appropriate measures to improve on students’ performance in Chemistry subjects
The relevant government ministries would also benefit from the study findings and be able to come up with policy issues touching on subject choice and later career choice at higher levels of education in Nigeria.
The study would add to the wide academic knowledge in the area of education which can be used by other researchers as reference in future. Researchers and research institutes may use the study to come up with other research studies.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study investigated the Factors Influencing The Choice Of Chemistry Education As A Course Of Study Among Secondary School Students In Ikwuano L.G.A Abia State.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The study faced various shortcomings that may affect effective research undertaking. Respondents may be suspicious and fail to answer the questionnaire. The researcher intended to overcome this by adopting objectivity approach (by asking general questions on the issues pertaining to Chemistry subject selection) to the staff. Simple questions with answers to choose from will be used.
The research study focused on four variables that were addressed by specific objectives; this may deny an opportunity to explore further on other factors that influence the choice of Chemistry subjects in Nigeria’s Secondary Schools.
1.9 Assumptions of the Study
The assumptions of this study included the following: that the sample chosen respondents represent the population; the data collection instrument to be used has validity and is measuring the desired constructs.
1.10 Definition of significant terms
Science subjects: These involves subjects which are core to the examination board in Nigeria secondary Education and they includes such subjects as Biology, chemistry, physics and others, for the purpose of this study the focus was on the factors influencing students choice on selecting them.
Choice: Refers to the students’ preference over one Chemistry subject as compared to the other Chemistry subjects the study focused on identifying the critical factors that influenced students’ choice on the subjects. The choice of subject can either be to great extent or to low extent. Secondary schools: This is an education level in Nigeria that precedes primary education in the
Nigeria’s curriculum system which follows 8.4.4 systems where students sit for the NECO to signify transition to the next level after four years.
Teacher influence: The way a teacher make students choose a subject or not choose it.
Gender influence: Perception of male or female while choosing subjects
Role of teacher in subject selection: what is required/the responsibility of the teachers when
students are choosing subjects.
Role of parent in subject selection: what is required/the responsibility of the parents whe students are choosing subjects.