ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF MICROFINANCE BANK IN NIGERIA

 

ABSTRACT

 

This study examines the assessment of microfinance bank towards achieving economic development in Nigeria, a case study of Afemai Microfinance Bank, Uzairue, Edo State. The study adopted a survey method (questionnaire and oral interview) as instruments for collecting data/information for the research. A simple arithmetic percentage method was used to test the strength and weakness of the research instrument, while chi-square statistical method was also used to establish the relationship between the variables tested. Significantly, the study reestablished that there `is a positive relationship between the microfinance bank and economic development of Edo State. The study concluded that microfinance bank should be empowered to contribute more positively towards the economic development of Edo State.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

It is know fact that banks help to accelerate the growth and development of a developed and developing economy. Consequently, finance becomes an important ingredient in the economic development of a nation and communities alike. Thus, the relevance of microfinance banks (formerly known as community bank) in promoting economic, programmes has become very basic and appreciated. In fact, the banks have the ability to mobilize funds in response to the dynamics of the societal requirements for growth and development. Therefore, there is the need for a proper functioning of microfinance banks as the pre-supposes a partial fulfillment of the requirement for development.

There is no gain saying the fact that at every stage of the state (Edo) effort towards economic development and advancement, the microfinance banks are called upon to assist in their capacities in response to this call, they provide available services in the areas of financing enterprises through small, medium and long term lending without prohibitive collaterals, in addition they equally provide veritable advisory function to assist various individuals engaged in business undertakings.

It is worthwhile to mention here that the microfinance banks perform advisory services to our rural dweller on one proper utilization of soft loans granted especially in trading and agricultural production since the fundamental objective of the banks is to bring development close to the people (grass root development).

Edo State which is the focus of the study was created out of the former Bendel State in 1991 as contained in (Edo State Investment Guide). It is surrounded by Kwara State in the North, Benue State in the East, Ondo in the West and Delta State in the South. The State has eighteen (18) local government areas with corresponding headquarters.

To state the obvious, funding has been a limiting factor as most of these organizations and enterprises are grossly underfunded. Even the government is almost unable to provide the needed funds to obliterate them from their financial predicament.

The microfinance banks tend to fill this yawing financial gap faced by the industries, organizations and other enterprises within the state. Often times, it is painful to note that the microfinance banks demand collaterals that most of the entrepreneurs are unable to provide apart from poor financial base of the ailing banks. This is in addition to the mismanagement of the resources of the banks by the unwholesome practices of the directors. Most painful is the inexperience investors are often considered on the priority list of the beneficiaries of the banks. These problems tend to mitigate the economic development of most of the micro finance banks, include Afenmai microfinance bank which is the focus of this study.

Again, this study is mainly designed to explore the roles of microfinance bank in the economic development of Edo State, with a focus on Afenmai microfinance bank, Uzairue, Etsako West Local Government Area, Edo State.

ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF MICROFINANCE BANK IN NIGERIA

 

1.2   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The relevance of microfinance towards achieving the economic development of Edo State cannot be overemphasized until the advent of the microfinance banks in Edo State, on rural dwellers had no access to modern banking facilities; hence they mostly saved their money in pots, holes underneath their mats and rugs. Furthermore, most of the bank lacked standard capital base to sufficiently meet the demand of their customers. It is also disgusting to know that the capital assets of the majority of the banks were and are still being mismanagement by the unscrupulous board chairman and directors. These problems are further compound by the recognition and support given to the bank by financial authorities; Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Mortgage Bank of Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and NICON.

 Anchored on these problems, the researcher would want to examine the relevance which the microfinance bank play in the following specific areas.

  1. Accessibility of soft loans by small scale industries
  2. Safe custody of deposits
  • Accessibility to soft loan for agricultural production
  1. Monitoring the usage of loans granted to the rural dwellers
  2. Overdraft facilities and bad debts

ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF MICROFINANCE BANK IN NIGERIA

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EINFLUENCE OF ‘NNOKO UMUNWANYI’ PROGRAMME IN RAISING THE POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS OF RURAL WOMEN IN ENUGU STATE

 

Abstract

As part of human development initiative, the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (F) Enugu designed Nnoko Umunwanyi programme to educate rural women on their political and other rights. Over twenty years after this Igbo programme was designed and broadcast to rural women, how has it influenced their participation in politics? To investigate this, the opinion  of 400 rural women in six selected villages in three local government areas in Enugu State  were studied using explanatory mixed method design which accommodates survey and focus group methods. The survey method was used to generate quantitative data through the instrumentality of questionnaire, while focus group discussion was used to generate qualitative data. The analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data generated revealed that Nnoko Umunwanyi programme has to a moderate extent, increased the political knowledge of rural women in Enugu State and as such increased their level of political participation. The finding also showed Nnoko Umunwanyi programme has to a moderate extent, raised the political interest of rural women in Enugu State. Based on these findings, it is recommended that the programme should be made more attractive and proper step should be taken to
encourage the rural women to expose themselves to the programme in order to consistently  secure increased listenership.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

The mass media are social drivers in all human society. They determine most times what we do and how we do them. Unarguably, a lot of social changes occasioned by increase in knowledge level have taken place in most parts of the world because of media influence. Experts in the communication circle insist that the mass media are vehicles of social change in the dynamics of human existence. No doubt, the mass media have powers to change people’s attitude and persuade them to take up a particular course of action. In most cases, the media persuade you to do only what they want you to do (Okunna, 1999, p.210). The agenda setting function of the media explains better how the media tell us what to think about. In the area of politics, agenda setting function of the media  demonstrates how the media determine the topic for political debate and discussion in the society. Okunna (p.210) asserts that the “ability of the media to mold public opinion by defining the boundaries within which people think about and discuss political issues, has been widely noted”.

In line with this, the media might not succeed to tell the electorates what to think, but they inevitably tell them what and what to think about. This has been the power of the media over the years.Many studies support the fact that people gain knowledge about public events, politics and social trends from the media. However, experts wonder why women’s participation in politics is still low despite all that the media are doing. Why some said that women are marginalized by men, some argued that men have more access to the media than the women. Whether this is true or not is another matter altogether; the fact remains that women
participation in the politics of the third world is abysmally low. According to Ogbiti and Onosu (2012, p.139), many third world “countries lag behind other
world regions in ensuring gender equality in educational attainment, politics and control over economic resources”. Ogbiti and Onosu (2012, p.139) explain further that: The 2008/2009 global Gender Gap Reports (GG GR) (2009) by the World Economic Forum shows Africa fared poorly among the 130 countries featured.

Mozambique ranked (18), South Africa (22), Namibia (30), Tanzania (38), Uganda (43), Botswana (63), Madagascar (74)… Mali (109), Mauritania (110), Algeria (111), Angola (114), Bukina Faso (115) and Chad (129). On the global ladder of GGGRS, Norway came first while among the top 10 are Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, Philippines, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, and Lativia. Ogbiti and Onosu (p.139) also observed that of all the countries in Africa, only President
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia is the only female president. The case is even worst in Nigeria as all the elections held have not produced significant number of women in elective positions. Okonkwor and Nwammuo (2012, p.9) write that: There is no surprise about the results of 2011 elections that still portrayed male domination in Nigerian politics. Although this is an improvement from what it used to be in Nigerian politics. A lot still needs to be done. After the 1999 general elections, only 14 women made it as cabinet members of the President. Odii (2011) cited in Okonkwo and Nwammuo (2012, p.9) observed that, as always,
men occupied all sensitive positions.

According to them “there has never been an elected female president, vice president, Senate president, etc”. This ugly development is in spite of the noise of 35 percent Affirmative Action for women representation in Nigeria politics during the run up to the 2011 elections. In fact, observers claimed that the so called ‘Women for Change Initiative of First Lady Patience Jonathan, did not yield much result. Ogbiti and Onosu (2012, p.14) noted that the 2011 general elections, like other election, did not show that any serious effort was put in place to encourage women to participate actively. At present women constitute: A paltry nine (9) percent of the number of persons in the Senate, 7.29 percent of the membership of House of Representative, 16.6 percent of the deputy governorship positions, 5.45 percent of the state house of assembly and zero percent at the presidential election office (Ogbiti and Onosy, p.140) Worst still, 98.1 percent of all the women that got elective positions came from the urban areas leaving less than 2 per cent for rural women (Madu, 2012, p.124). This has made the need to encourage a genuine and effective participation of Nigerian women in politics is not only imperative but a must do.

To be able to meet Goal 3 of the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) which has to do with gender equality and women empowerment, a serious  communication effort must be put up by all to encourage and mobilize women, especially those in the rural areas to participate since over 80 percent of Nigerian women live in the rural areas. Moemeka (2012, p.139) writes that about “80% of the people (Nigerians) are very poor and live in rural environment”. Since the mass media occupy a privileged position and also have as their social responsibility the duty to inform and encourage women to participate actively in politics, one expects them to perform these roles effectively (Obot, 2012, p.489). Anything short of this will see everyone offloading all the blames on the media. In line with the quest to develop an effective communication strategy, the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Enugu zonal station came up with a gender empowerment
programme, Nnko Umunwanyi. The programme designed for rural women in Enugu State to enlighten them on certain issues such as women development in terms of politics, health, culture and other matters concerning them. The programme is an aged long programme produced by Ngozi Obi and was first broadcast over 20 years ago. It is a magazine programme that accommodates two or three persons in a panel.The programme was formally aired on Wednesday by 9.30 am but later changed to Friday by 8.30pm due to demand of the audience. It is aired on 828KHZ 362 Meters MW Band or AM Band. The time belt for the programme is 30 minutes and it is run in Igbo language. The English version of the programme is called Women’s World and it comes up every Wednesday by 6:30pm. For over twenty years that this programme has been running, one is quick to ask: what effort has imade in empowering rural women in Enugu State whom the station claims are active participants?

 

INFLUENCE OF ‘NNOKO UMUNWANYI’ PROGRAMME IN RAISING THE POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS OF RURAL WOMEN IN ENUGU STATE

 

Statement of The Problem

For over twenty years that Nnko Umunwanyi programme was developed and broadcast by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Enugu, observers have been watching with keen interest the role the programme has played so far in educating and raising the political consciousness of Enugu State women who are audience of the programme. Why some argue that the programme has done so much in educating women and mobilizing them to participate actively in  politics, some have however argued that the programme has not done much in rural women’s political life (Ugwu 2009 and Okeke 2010). However, a close look at these observations revealed that they were mere observations which are outcome of perceived happenings in the programme. No thorough study has been done on the influence of the programme in raising the political consciousness of rural women in Enugu State. Hence, this study evaluates the influence of the  programme in raising the political consciousness of rural women in Enugu State. This helped to reveal whether the programme is achieving it set goals or not.

INFLUENCE OF ‘NNOKO UMUNWANYI’ PROGRAMME IN RAISING THE POLITICAL CONSCIOUSNESS OF RURAL WOMEN IN ENUGU STATE

ROW HOUSING DEVELOPMENT ENUGU (A STUDY

ON PASSIVE CLIMATE CONTROL IN A TROPICAL

ENVIRONMENT)

 

ABSTRACT

Comfort within buildings is primarily controlled by four major factors: air temperature, mean radiant temperature, humidity, and airflow (air movement). Each can have a dominating effect. Their effects are not necessarily additive and practically never linear. There are other factors which affect comfort including clothing, activity level, and climatization. With these factors posing a threat to human psychology and well-being it is without doubt that comfort remains a key factor in residential  developments especially in developing nations like Nigeria where power supply is erratic. In view of that, the study attempts to review various concepts in attaining thermal comfort. The research also relates to Vernacular Architecture techniques to achieve thermal comfort through efficient means, and
its various elements and usage for modern architecture. It also presents and analyzes passive design climate control systems as a concept in achieving comfort and an energy efficient design. It goes further to investigate climatic conditions in the tropics emphasizing more on the climate of Enugu.

Methods and elements of passive design climate control techniques were discussed and researched by concerned individuals were also analyzed especially those most important to row housing developments in the tropics. The paper discusses row housing type, its origin and preference in the temperate regions (Western countries); the favouritism emerged primarily because of its ability of the cluster house type to retain heat gained during the day needed obviously to heat up their buildings. Notwithstanding, the reverse is the case in the tropics as attempts are made to keep heat away from interior spaces in building. Against these many odds the paper recommends this housing type in Enugu because of its sustainable nature as translated in its maximization of land. Finally the study analyzes the challenge of adapting a concept constructively in line with the temperate zone in a tropical context (Enugu) through various passive design climate control techniques and transmitting the ideas into an actual design configuration that will tackle the obvious problems of ventilation and solar radiation in row housing design.

CHAPTER 0NE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

No building can turn out to be a Work of Architecture without first meeting the requirements of realism. This includes Utility in the sense that a building must serve  the various purposes it is intended for. Economical in the light that within a reasonable cost the building must be constructed and maintained in addition to  sustaining its value with the passage of time. Environmentally friendly; with consideration given to the use of materials that are renewable, using minimum  amounts of total energy from extraction, processing, shipping, and installation of the materials and in the operation and maintenance of the Building.
Reliable, that is the Building must be well built to resist the various deteriorating forces to which it could be subjected. And finally a building must be comfortable; with consideration given to proper lighting, climate control, sanitation, acoustics, circulation, and healthy environments. The paper focuses on the economical realism and comfort pragmatism of a building and its environment. It proposes passive climate control systems as a vital tool in achieving comfort and sustainability in buildings in the tropical environment especially in Nigeria where power supply is erratic (it is estimated that the population is effectively short of power supply over 60 percent of the time Okoye 2007).

Row housing type was singled out and analysed also in this paper. Its peculiar problems as regards to indoor thermal comfort and how to achieve a controlled climate within the housing type using passive climate control systems. Key terms- passive climate control, row house, thermal comfort, climate responsive design,
sustainability, and tropical environment.

 

DEFINITION OF TERMS

Passive design climate control: This is improving comfort conditions without the use of any electromechanical systems. Climate responsive design: These are designs that ensure a comfortable environment, less energy usage and reduced green house gas emission. Tropical environment: Can be referred to the environment or areas that lie within the tropics. The tropics lie along the equator, between the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately 23° 26′ 16″ (or 23.4378°) N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at 23° 26′ 16″ (or 23.4378°) S and can be distinguished by hot humid conditions. Mean annual temperatures reach a maximum of 30ºC during the day and a minimum of 24ºC at night. Humidity levels vary between 60% – 100% and a tropical climate is accompanied with high levels of rainfall, during ‘rainy periods’ where annual mean rainfall can exceed1000mm. Thermal comfort: An internationally-accepted definition of thermal comfort, used by ASHRAE, is ‘that condition of mind which expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment’ (ISO 7330). Perceptions of this environment are affected by air temperature, radiant temperature, relative humidity, air velocity, activity and clothing. More general
definitions of comfort include a sense of relaxation and freedom from worry or pain.

Sustainability: The Brundtland Commission, formally the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) defines sustainability as meeting the  needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. is simply able to be maintained or exploiting natural resources without destroying the ecological balance of an area. United States environmental protection agency (EPA), defines sustainability as the ability of an ecosystem to maintain a defined/desired state of ecological integrity over time. Row house: Also called “town houses”; also called “terraced home”: 3 or more houses in a row sharing a “party” wall with its adjacent neighbour. They are typically multiple stories.

 

1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY

Enugu is located in a tropical rain forest zone with a derived savannah. The city has a tropical savanna climate. Enugu’s climate is humid and this humidity is at its highest between March and November. Other weather conditions affecting the city include Harmattan, a dusty trade wind from the north east lasting a few weeks of December and January. Like the rest of Nigeria, Enugu is hot all year round. Fig 1.1 map showing the tropical climate regions (source:  www.meteoblue.com/en_GB/content/438) Enugu is known for its good soil and climatic conditions all year round, sitting at about 223 metres (732 ft) above sea level, and the soil is well drained during its rainy seasons. The mean temperature in Enugu State in the hottest month of February is about 87.16 °F (30.64 °C), the lowest temperatures occur in the month of November reaching 60.54 °F (15.86 °C), while the mean daily temperature is 26.7 °C (80.1 °F). The lowest rainfall of
about 0.16 cubic centimetres (0.0098 cu in) is normal in February, the highest is about 35.7 cubic centimetres (2.18 cu in) in July, while the average annual rainfall in Enugu is around 2.0 cubic centimetres (0.122047 cu in), which arrives intermittently and becomes very heavy during the rainy season. Enugu is regarded as a tropical state and it lies on latitudes 6°24’and 6°30′ and longitudes 7°26′ and 7°30′, it is bounded in the west by a north-south trending escarpment and in the east
by Cross River Plains. The population of Enugu state is put at 3,257,298 according to the population census of 2006(www.total-facts-about-nigeria.com)

Housing in Enugu over time has always been the priority of the government, but the recent government has taken the course more seriously than any other government much as to incorporating it in their four point agenda. The government has promised to

 Fully monetize government houses to public servants on owner-occupation basis.
 Develop new middle and low income houses (a target of minimum of 500 units a year) in partnership with the Federal Mortgage Bank under the National Housing
Fund Scheme for sale to public servants and other contributors to the NHF.
 Create new estates and satellite towns with full site and services for sale to members of the public.
According to Enugu State Housing Development Corporation (ESHDC) report the Enugu state government has 12 estates that are either completed or ongoing.
 Riverside Housing Estate Abakpa Nike
 Trans Ekulu Housing Estate Enugu
 Real Estate Uwani
 Republic Layout Estate
 Harmony Estate, Umuchigbo iji Nike
 Ebeano Housing Estate Indepence Avenue Enugu.
 Golf Course Estate Enugu.
 Q-Services Estate Enugu (Governmnet House)
 Coal City Gardens Estate G.R.A. Enugu.
 Maryland Estate
 Ekulu East Housing Estate
 Liberty Estate

The Enugu public private partnership housing scheme (EPPHS) has built large number of residential buildings (239 housing unit) for Enugu citizens and about  64%of the population lives in it (www.enuguppphousing.com) Most Enugu buildings old, new, and ongoing rely on a combination of cross ventilation and
mechanical ventilation by fans to achieve thermal comfort. However, the climate condition of Nigeria might have negative impact on the comfort of the occupants.
Over the years, the living standard in Enugu has improved. To improve the thermal environment, more and more occupants install air conditioners. The most obvious side effect is the dramatic rise in energy consumption in the domestic sector. In Nigeria, the energy consumption has more than doubled since 1980, from just 0.42 quadrillion BTU (quads) in 1980 to about 1.13 quads in 2004 according to (www.allbuisness.com)  Passive climate control is the concept completely in line with the notion of sustainable building. It is an alternative to a mechanical air-conditioning system and as such is an essential part of sustainable building.

Passive climate control implies that the structure is built and arranged in such a way that the thermal and hygroscopic properties of the building and its
contents create a good stable indoor climate (Christoffersen, 1995). Only buildings that are climate responsive adhere completely to the concept of passive climate control. According to Gut & Ackerknecht, (1993): The main points to take into consideration when designing a climate responsive building are
 minimize heat gain during daytime and maximize heat loss at night in hot seasons, and reverse cold seasons,
 minimize internal heat gain in the hot seasons,
 select the site according to microclimatic criteria,
 optimize the building structure (especially regarding thermal storage and time lag),
 control solar radiation,
 Regulate air circulation.

The practice of sustainable/ environmentally friendly design tends to have captured the imagination of most people living in developed nations. Most sustainable design methods and bioclimatic data have been developed, are mature and fairly easily accessible within these countries in general. However this does not mean that sustainable or green design is not applicable within developing nations or in the tropics. As with most developing nations, as new technologies are introduced and people get progressively wealthier, the drive for mechanical means to achieve human comfort increases. Air conditioning is now a widely used and accepted way of life, still buildings built in Nigeria are not really designed to use air conditioning effectively. Nigerians now install casement or sliding windows which further reduces ventilation in replacement of the old style jalousie or louvered windows. Yet the buildings themselves are not insulated, windows and
doors do not have proper seals to prevent the heat from the exterior penetrating the structure. You end up with a building or home that is bleeding money through wasted energy from an air conditioner struggling to keep a building cool against all odds.

What happens in these buildings the moment you turn off the air conditioner? They get stifling hot within minutes. So you have buildings not designed to work with the climate and have technology that is inefficient. Since buildings accounts for 30% of a country’s energy according to the United states department of energy, one can see why for a developing nation, sustainability should be a priority.

ROW HOUSING DEVELOPMENT ENUGU (A STUDY

ON PASSIVE CLIMATE CONTROL IN A TROPICAL

ENVIRONMENT)

 

1.2 STATEMENT OF ARCHITECTURAL PROBLEM

Ventilation and lighting are major problems in row housing structures especially in the tropics. The research will be faced with analyzing the intricacies in achieving an effective climate control mechanism devoid of mechanical strategies. The architectural design will be faced with the challenge of transforming the research data
and models into a workable design configuration suitable for the tropical environment. The study should transmute into a design that ought to encourage further development of the housing type, and finally create a model for housing that will generally be accepted and appreciated by the people of Enugu.

 

ROW HOUSING DEVELOPMENT ENUGU (A STUDY

ON PASSIVE CLIMATE CONTROL IN A TROPICAL

ENVIRONMENT)

DEVELOPMENT OF A CAUSAL MODEL OF STUDENTS’ POTENTIAL ABILITY IN VOCATIONAL EDUCATION IN TECHNICAL COLLEGES

 

ABSTRACT

Vocational education is an important aspect of Nigeria education system which operates on the principles of individual differences. It operates on the theory that different individuals possess specific personality traits which must be considered for effective vocational training. However, the present mode of selection into Nigerian technical colleges is based chiefly on teacher-made-achievement tests which lack predictive validity in identifying candidates with relevant potential abilities for effective vocational education. This mode of selection has been observed to be the major factor influencing low achievement of candidates in vocational education in technical colleges as indicated in research reports. The purpose of the study was to develop a five-variable causal model of four predictor variables and one criterion variable for valid prediction of future achievement of candidates in vocational education. The predictor variables of the model include: age, academic attainment, interest and aptitude while the criterion variable is vocational achievement. The study adopted a correctional design and was carried out in the Federal Science & Technical Colleges in Nigeria. The population of the study comprised 25,212 final year students in 15 Federal Science & Technical Colleges between 2006 and 2010 (5 years)

. A sample of 1200 subject was drawn from the population using proportionate stratified and simple random sampling procedures. Six research questions guided the study. Existing academic data of each subject was obtained from academic records in each sampled school using a data collection format developed by the researcher. Data was analyzed by the method of path analysis based on the research questions. The findings: The coefficients of the causal relation among the five variables of the model ranged from .520 to .659. The relative importance of the paths in the model as indicated by the magnitudes of the path coefficients were: P21 (.566), P32 (.425), P53 (.393), P43 (.367), P41 (.359), P31 (.292), P52 (.194), P42 (.167), P51 (.122) and P54 (.122). The total causal effect of the
predictor variable on criterion variable was .500, and this indicated that the model explained 50% of the total variance of vocational achievement. The relative contributions of the four predictor variables to criterion variable as indicated by the beta weights were: Interest (.393), Academic attainment (.194), Age (.122) and Aptitude (.122). The goodness of fit of the model was calculated as .000. The direct effect of the predictor variables was .122 and the indirect effect was .401.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Vocational education as an integral part of Nigeria education system has been recognized as an important aspect as prescribed in the National Policy on Education (NPE), forms the basis for technological advancement in Nigeria (Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004). Technical and Vocational Education as defined by the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) is: A comprehensive term referring to those aspects of educational process involving, in addition the general education, the study of technologies and related sciences and the acquisition of practical skills, understanding and knowledge relating to the occupations in various sectors of economy and social life (FRN, 2004: 23). The FRN further prescribes the goals of technical and vocational education to include:-

(a) To provide trained manpower in the applied sciences, technology and business particularly at craft, advanced craft and technical levels;
(b) To provide the technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agricultural, commercial and economic development;
(c) To give training and impart the necessary skills to individuals who shall be self-reliant economically.
In pursuance of the above goals, the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) (2004) recognizes technical colleges as the principal institutions for technical and vocational education at the secondary school level. Obviously, the attainment of these goals depends to a large extent on the quality of vocational education offered in the technical colleges. Technical college programmes in Nigeria are designed to last for three years and entrants are drawn from holders of the Junior Secondary Certificates (JSC). Vocational courses offered in the technical colleges as contained in the National Business and Technical Education Board (NABTEB) syllabuses are classified into (1) Business Trades, (2) Technical Trades (3) Miscellaneous Trades and (4) General Subjects (NABTEB 2006). These courses prepare students for the award of the National Technical Certificate (NTC) and the National Business Certificate (NBC). NABTEB is the agency that examines and awards certificates to graduands of technical colleges in Nigeria.A pertinent question is whether the quality of vocational education being offered in Nigerian technical colleges is

 

DEVELOPMENT OF A CAUSAL MODEL OF STUDENTS’ POTENTIAL ABILITY IN VOCATIONAL EDUCATION IN TECHNICAL COLLEGES

 

Statement of the Problem

There is high demand for vocational education in Nigeria today because of the need for skilled personnel who can contribute effectively to the nation’s technological development. In one of the measures to meet this demand, the Federal Republic of Nigeria has embarked on the establishment of more technical colleges at the secondary school level with the expectation of producing more qualified skilled-personnel. Contrary to this expectation, evidence of negative trend of students’ achievement in vocational courses at the National Technical Certificate Examination (NTCE) has been reported by several literatures over the years. One factor observed to be the cause of this low performance of candidates is the present mode of selection into technical colleges which lacks predictive validity to accurately identify candidates with relevant aptitudes for successful vocational training. Vocational education is a specialized type of education which operates on the principles that different individuals possess specific personality traits which must be considered for effective vocational training.

In view of this, there is therefore the need for valid identification of the relevant potential abilities of candidates for successful vocational education in technical colleges. Particularly, the study would develop a causal model of students’ potential ability in vocational education based on the following variables: age, academic attainment, vocational interest and vocational aptitude as predictors of vocational achievement.

 

DEVELOPMENT OF A CAUSAL MODEL OF STUDENTS’ POTENTIAL ABILITY IN VOCATIONAL EDUCATION IN TECHNICAL COLLEGES

CULTURAL ASTRONOMY IN AFRICAN LITERATURE

 

ABSTRACT

The sun, Moon and Stars are always available in the sky for man. Man curiosity to know his environment extended to the exploration of these sky entities. In  many communities in Africa, the general life of the people is determined by some mystical symbolism understood and used by them. These mystical symbolisms have information on the solar and astral system buried in them. The practice of relating the heavenly bodies and events on earth and the tradition that has thus been generated is therefore put on the context of African literatures based on a general belief that movements and changes in the heavens are significant to humanity. In this research, we explore and analyze the beliefs, astronomical knowledge and theories of some traditional African people. We also explore how cultural astronomy in African works of art have gone a long way to define African creative literature.

This manifests in circular forms of thought in traditional African artistic expressions such as the architecture, ornaments, ritual dances etc This research work therefore reveals that cultural astronomy in represented is African literature in such a way that it enhances the aesthetic beauty of the literary works.

 

CHAPTER ONE

CULTURE AND ASTRONOMY IN AFRICA

1.1 BASIC CONCEPTS OF ASTRONOMY

A definition of astronomy and cultural astronomy is particularly important for a better understanding of this work, ‘Cultural Astronomy in African Literature’. Astronomy is intimately connected to our ideas of ourselves, our purpose and place in the universe. Celebreand Sariano (7) stress that it is a science that has a universal appeal because it encompasses all fields of human interest and endeavour. It is more than the science of the stars. Nicholas Campion (2) argues that currently it is fuelling myths, beliefs and ideologies as much as at any time in its history. Therefore astronomy as the word applies is the  scientific study of the celestial (heavenly) bodies, and this, to many uneducated majority, is believed to have started with the age of formal learning which came with the Europeans. But history holds it that before the period of colonialism, Africans had practiced astronomy in a well defined manner, that they had studied the celestial bodies for direction and guidance for the purpose of social, cultural, economic and religious beliefs. Johnson Urama in his article  Astronomy and Culture in Nigeria points out that astronomy arose independently in many parts of the world out of a practical human need of calendar, telling time and direction finding and ‘astronomy is a vital part of the culture of mankind’ (Urama 235).

1.1.1 Cultural Astronomy

In an article, ‘Introduction: Cultural Astronomy’, Nicholas Campion believes that cultural astronomy has been said to be the use of astronomical knowledge, beliefs or theories to inspire, inform or influence social forms and ideologies of any aspect of human behavior (Campion xv). Urama (235) is also of the opinion that cultural astronomy can be seen in the interpretation of the worldview, cosmology and creation myths, indigenous lore of celestial bodies, calendars, cycles, seasons and festivals because it focuses on the many ways people and cultures interact with celestial bodies. One may ask, what do people see when they look at the night sky? The answer is as much a cultural as an astronomical one.

This implies that ‘the study of cultural astronomies is concerned with diversities of the way in which cultures, both ancient and modern, perceive celestial objects and integrate them into their view of the world. C. Ruggles & N. Saunders in Astronomy and Culture argue that a society’s view of and belief about the celestial sphere are inextricably linked to the realm of politics, economics, religion and ideology. In this case, cultural astronomy is but part of the wider
endeavor of investigating and interpreting human culture (Ruggles and Saunders 1).

1.3 THE BELIEF, CULTURE, ASTRONOMICAL KNOWLEDGE AND THEORIES OF SOME COMMUNITIES OF AFRICA

 

CULTURAL ASTRONOMY IN AFRICAN LITERATURE

 

Culture is the totality of what is learnt by an individual as a member of a society. That is to say that the totality of all the values, laws, conventions, customs and traditions by whicha society is governed or recognized or known is culture. No society can exist without culture. Human nature is filled with traditions and superstitions connected with the cosmos, therefore, astronomy has its origin in all human traits and curiosity. Felix Chami stresses that the sun
and moon have been used by Africans to regulate their monthly and annual activities sometimes more unconsciously than consciously (Chami129). Astronomical knowledge is therefore passed on as word of mouth in symbolic stories and records of astronomy appear in oral tradition as well as written literary works of Africa. Much astronomical knowledge of African people has been incorporated into their art and architecture.

Some early cultures of  the people of Africa tried to make sense of what they saw in the sky, and these cosmological ideas are grounded in myths of the people. These astronomical observations were used by ancient people of Africa to reinforce their religious beliefs and they are also linked with ancient culture of the people. They are developed out of the people’s desire to have concrete manifestation of their gods and religious beliefs. In Northern Africa, sky watching plays a major role in agricultural and ceremonial lives of the people. Pyramids built in Egypt are built in such a way that the people will not
find it difficult to watch the sky. The Egyptians are using the knowledge of astronomical events like the appearance of Sirius star to time their farming season because they start farming when the Nile is at its peak in order to enhance easy irrigation. Men gifted in mysticism also see astronomical insights as extremely important success variable in their act and Egypt is known for mysticism.

The appearance of the new moons is also of great importance to them as they use them to know when to perform certain sacrifices. John Fix supports this by saying that “the Egyptians developed and used astronomy entirely for practical purposes, such as developing a calendar to be used for predicting the
Nile flood and in building temples and monuments”; that some temples in Egypt are also aligned with respect to the rising point of bright stars. For instance J.D. Fix in his Astronomy Journey to the Cosmos Frontier points out the temple of Amun-Ra at Karmak was aligned with respect to the rising or setting of the sun at the time of summer solstice He also argues that “it is possible that much of what we usually consider Greek astronomy was based on much earlier work done in Egypt” (Fix 26).

Ka’ba, the cubic structure in Mecca is a central focus in Islam. There is the Qur’anic injunction for Muslims to face Ka’ba while offering their prayers. Qibla (direction to Mecca) therefore became important for the erection of religious structures of traditional Islamic cities. M. E. Bonine shows that in most cases a mosque is a rectangular building which has one of its walls facing in the direction of Mecca. This wall is the qibla wall that contains the mihrab or prayer-niche that indicates this sacred direction for prayer (Bonine 145-146). He also stresses on the relationship between the qibla and urban structure of several principal Tunisian cities, indicating that astronomical phenomena are significant on the Islamic settlement orientation. The same thing is applicable to other Islamic African nations or communities. Their hour and manner of prayers are portrayed in their literary works.

During the Islamic Middle Ages various Muslim scholars devised diagrams of the world divided into various sectors about Ka’ba. Each sector is identified with specific rising or setting of prominent stars or star groups (e.g. the Pleiades) or in terms of the sunrise or sunset at the solstices. The earliest mosque  in Egypt, the Mosque of Amr in Fustat (the predecessor settlement south of the future Cairo), for instance, was built facing the winter sunrise (King
315 – 328). In almost all Igbo areas of Nigeria in West Africa, the Supreme Being “Chukwu” is commonly identified with the sun “Anyanwu”. In Igbo  cosmology the Supreme Being is often described as “Anyanwu Eze Chukwu Okike” which when translated is the Sun, the Lord, the Creator. The Igbo people identifying the sun with their creator, therefore depicts that their lives are centered on the moon, the sun and stars. Even though there were no watches or
clocks in the olden days as we have today, the rising and setting of the sun was used to predict the morning and evening. Also the position of the shadow cast on the people in the sun was used to predict the time.

In Nsukka, a town in Enugu State Nigeria which is a typical Igbo setting almost every household has a shrine of anyanwu in its compound as a round
pottery dish sunk into the ground bottom upwards at the base of an ogbu tree. This shrine is where they worship the sun god Anyanwu and it is called onu anyanwu. Urama (235) in supports this argues that there can be little doubt that this pottery dish there is used as representing the disk of the sun and offerings at the shrine are made at sunrise and at sunset to the sun god. Baths Chukwuezi also stresses that the sun is seen as the harbinger of the day
and night. It regulates when to work and when to rest and sleep. The sun he also says is revered and respected. The sun is feared and regarded as harsh yet the sun is the giver of life and strength (Chukwuezi 213-214). In Igbo traditional societies, people after the day’s activities gather according to their
peer groups to enjoy the full moon and to tell stories. The moon is therefore an important object in Igbo oral literary tradition. The Igbos also use uli sacred writings.

These writings  are mystical symbols and these mystical symbols are used to adorn the walls of houses in the form of the moon, the sun and the stars. They also have mystical symbolism understood and used by ‘dibias’ – traditional medicine men who have specific role to play using astronomical insights because they are gifted in mysticism. The sittings of the moon or rather the positions of the moon in the sky; are also used in Igbo society as signs to predict the future. The Igbo week is a time period of four days. These days are Eke, Oye, Afor and Nkwo. The week is called ‘Izu’ or ‘Nkwizu’. Seven of these Igbo week make the Igbo calendar month which is a lunar month of twenty-eight days. This Igbo calendar is even named after the moon – onwa. J.A. Ume stresses that “during this period of twenty-eight days, the moon comes out and shines for 14 days and goes in for 14 days” and that “The four
phases of the moon are of great importance to Igbo Dibia’s works particularly the new moon (onwa ofuu) and the full moon (onwa kpolu oku). Certain sacrifices or ogwu are made when the moon is waning, some when it is waxing and some when the moon has gone in (i.e., moonless nights or period)”. (Ume 43) The moon also influences various activities of the Igbo people as the various phases of the moon have different significance.

All the Igbo calendar months have activities ascribed to them. For instance, the third month is the period of planting though if the rain comes early,
planting could start in the second month (Chukwuezi 213). These celestial entities – the sun, moon and stars are in the sky or heaven which is
called ‘Igwe’ in Igbo language. There is one Igbo adage which says that ‘Igwe ka ala’ literally transmitted as heaven is higher than the earth. This saying clearly places the heaven high in Igbo custom Heavenly entities are also placed high in Igbo customs and so they are revered and respected.
The stars which are called kpakpando in Igbo language are also admired by the people. Shooting stars have social significance for the Igbo. They believe that when a shooting star appears in the sky an important person – probably a king is dead or about to die. It is also believed that shooting stars are associated with good omens, that is, something good is about to happen (Chukwuezi 214).

The Yorubas who are the people that inhabit the western part of Nigeria also have much astronomical knowledge and some of these learning are incorporated into their art and architecture. They have the belief that the whole people of Yoruba originated from the sun god (Abanuka 81). A good number of their myths and folklores are about the sun, moon and the stars. The traditional Yoruba society’s culture is rooted in myths, therefore, the moon, sun
and stars as natural phenomena are very important to the Yoruba society because their myths are deeply rooted in much sacrifice to the Yoruba gods. The phase of the moon, the rising and setting of the sun and the appearance of certain stars determine the kind of sacrifices to be made and when they will be made. As different cultures have different interpretations of some behaviours of the moon, sun and stars, the people of East Africa also rely on the sky entities for ordering events of their lives. In the eastern part of Tanzania inhabited by the Wahehe of the mountains who speak the dialects of Kisungwa, Kikami, Kiyenga and Kihafiwa, the occupations of the inhabitants are mainly peasant farming, animal husbandry and hunting, and so the people
examine the sky and the ways they visualize the sky are shown through their beliefs and astronomical practices.

This is seen in their lores of celestial bodies and seasons. Sun watching plays a major role in their agricultural and ceremonial life. There are also specific
stars that are believed to direct the hunters in the forest. Chami (129) presents the Eastern and Southern Africa cultural lives: they have a widespread painting/engraving of sun/moon discs. He points out that the Muslim communities of the Swahili people of Tanzania are known to have used celestial bodies as calendar for religious, sailing and other economic purposes. The Mwaka Kogwa festival, he also says, heralding the beginning of the New Year, is one of the activities related to the calendar. He also highlights that the Chaga of Kilimanjaro hold their sun-god Iruwa as the highest god – Mungu: That the Bible has been directly translated into Kichaga language among the Lutherans and the translation of ‘God’ in Bible as Iruwa – the sun-god of Chaga
people is because the sun is believed to have ruled and created the world and the moon has always been viewed as the sun’s concert.

From the beliefs, cultural astronomical knowledge and theories of some African communities that are discussed it is obvious that man’s curiosity to know about his environment extended to the heavenly bodies – the sun, moon and the stars. Therefore African communities just like the whole face of the universe experience astronomical practices in different ways and forms. Most of these ethno-astronomical views are revealed inthe folklore, ancient architecture, religious practices, traditional poetry and art works of different ethnic groups. This antiquity determines the special place which astronomy has
occupied in the history of human culture. Astronomical science therefore is seen having originated in a much earlier period of human history than other natural sciences and these archeo-astronomical practices serve as basis for the modern astronomy.

 

CULTURAL ASTRONOMY IN AFRICAN LITERATURE