PROJECT TOPIC- FACTORS AFFECTING QUALITY ASSURANCE IN THE TEACHING OF AGRICULTURE AT UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION LEVEL IN SOUTH EAST NIGERIA
This study was carried out to identify the factors affecting quality assurance in the teaching of agriculture at Universal Basic Education level in South East Nigeria. Two research questions were developed in line with the purpose of the study. Two null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance. Literature was organized under conceptual framework, theoretical framework, empirical studies and summary of the review of literature. The study adopted descriptive survey design. The population of the study is 1879.The sample comprised four hundred (400) public primary school teachers from the area of study. This sample was drawn using multi-stage sampling technique. A–27 item instrument termed “Quality Assurance Questionnaire on Agriculture (QAQA)” was used by the researcher for data collection. The instrument was face validated by three experts and reliability was determined using Cronbach Alpha Statistics the reliability gotten was 0.92. The administration and retrieval of instrument were through direct contact and use of research assistants with the respondents. Data collected were analysd using mean and standard deviation for the research questions while t-test statistics were used for testing the null hypotheses. The findings of the study revealed that items presented are institutional and socio-economic factors affecting the teaching of agriculture at Universal Basic Education Schools in South East Nigeria. Findings on the hypotheses tested revealed that there was no significant difference in the mean responses of teacher of agriculture from Ebonyi and Enugu States on the items presented. It was recommended that government and none governmental organization should assist in the provision of the required facilities.
Background to the Study
Universal Basic Education is a brain child of the world conference on education for all, held at Jometren Thailand from 5th – 9th March 1990 which was jointly organized by UNDP, UNESCO, and UNICEF. The conference, through a blue print titled “world declaration on education for all and frame-work for action to meet basic learning needs” recommended the full implementation of the universal basic education programme by member nations.
The primary goal of this programme according UNICEF (1997) is to universalize access to basic education, provide learning environment that is conducive and eradicate illiteracy within the shortest possible time. The vision statement according to Universal Basic Education (2000) is that the end of nine years continuous education, every child should acquire appropriate level of skills in literacy, numeracy, communication, manipulative and life skills, be employable, useful to the society at large by possessing relevant ethical, moral and civic values.
In Nigeria, the Universal Basic Education was launched in September 1999 in line with the global declaration. Since then, the programe has enjoyed continuous implementation in the country. To facilitate the programme, the Federal Ministry of Education (2008) outlined 10 compulsory subjects and three electives in lower basic; 11 compulsory and three elective subjects at the middle basic, and 12 compulsory and four elective subjects at the upper basic education level which must be taught to the students.
Out of these subjects, agriculture is an elective in all the levels. Agriculture is the science and art of growing crops and rearing of animals that are used by man. According to Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004), agriculture is a subject group under vocational education at the basic education level with emphasis on practice. The Federal Ministry of Education (2007) outlined the objectives of teaching agriculture at the basic education level to include:
- develop interest in agriculture;
- acquire basic knowledge and skills of agriculture;
- apply the skills and knowledge acquired to solve societal needs; and
- take advantage of the numerous career opportunities offered by agriculture and become prepared for further studies.
If agriculture is taught in Nigeria properly in line with these objectives, graduates of basic education will be in a position to contribute their quota in food production and progress in it thereby helping to solve societal needs. The design is such that at the end of the basic education programme, the students should be able to acquire manipulative skills in production, marketing, engineering, pest and diseases management among others. This could make them to create self employed jobs and be globally competitive in the production of crops and animals.
The duty of teaching agriculture qualitatively at Universal Basic Education Programme is the job of the teachers of agriculture. Teachers are the hallmark of any educational system. The strength of any nation lies on the quality of its teachers while education remains the center of manpower training and development. The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2002) noted that a teacher is a person who had undergone approved professional training in education at appropriate levels capable of imparting knowledge, attitudes and skills to the learner.
Teachers in this study refers to all those who have done all the relevant professional training and are employed in the teaching service to teach agriculture at Universal Basic Education level in South East Nigeria. South East is one of the geopolitical states in Nigeria. It is made up of five states namely Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi Stat, Enugu and Imo. The Zone is occupied by a tribe called to Igbos.
As a geopolitical zone, in Nigeria, UBE programme is implemented in the five states with Ebonyi and Imo state running complete free education at the UBE level. Aguokogbue (2014) noted that despite the high expectations of the teachers at UBE level, factors like lack of periodic training affects their efficiency especially in the teaching of practical courses like agriculture. Observation by the researchers shows that the way agriculture is taught in Nigeria especially in South East is not good.
Example, many schools do not have farms, instructional materials, and qualified teachers among others. But in other countries the situation is not the same. Example, Eli (2011) noted that in Zimbabwe every student at universal basic education level is made to go for farm attachment as a way of acquiring more agricultural skills in field (agriculture schools) which has 16 hectares of pig and fish farms, and 82 hectares of forestry farms.
The author added that, the teaching of agriculture is practical oriented, done in special primary and secondary schools and instructional methods mostly used are demonstration, field trip, exhibition and excursion and experimentation while professionally trained agriculture school teachers are employed to teach the subject. In Israel, Nationmaster (nd) noted that a special school is built and equipped for the child to learn agriculture; the child is admitted into agricultural primary school which has laboratory for animal science, soil and crop as well as green house built and equipped for students; and professionally qualified teachers are used for the teaching of the subject.
But in Nigeria, Onu (2011) noted that agriculture is taught at basic education level in comprehensive, grammar and vocational schools with inadequate instructional materials using lecture and discussion method, and without emphasis on the acquisition of practical skills. The author added that half of the teachers of agriculture at the U.B.E level are not with professional qualification because at the basic education level professionalization is not emphasized.
For the objectives of U.B.E in general and agriculture in particular to be achieved, the subjects should be taught effectively by the teachers that the students not only to gain access but also qualitative assurance. Quality assurance according to Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) is the processes of setting, maintaining and improving standards in all aspects of the school system. Quality assurance is therefore a measure adopted by stakeholders to ensure the achievement of set goals and objectives.
At present, quality assurance appears to be a difficult task in the delivery of U.B.E. programmes in South East Nigeria. Example UBE (2007) reported with dismays that, the training envisaged to familiarize teachers with interventions (new textbooks and curriculum, procedure for continuous assessment, personnel management and record keeping) was never implemented. Shield (2009) observed that despite changes in policy related to such aspects as curriculum, accountability, teacher training and certification, there is a persistent lack of equitable educational outcomes at the basic education level.
In addition, Oladunjoye (2011) discovered that the role of government is not adequate in UBE scheme especially in South Eastern States of Nigeria considering the needs and aspiration of the people in the programme and this could be justified by the dwindling male enrolment. Because of these developments, shortcomings and observations, the study is aimed at identifying the factors affecting the quality of lessons delivered at the basic education level with respect to the teaching of agriculture. This could help to increase students’ interest in agriculture, acquire more knowledge and skills, meet societal needs of food production and prepare them for further studies in agriculture.
PROJECT TOPIC- FACTORS AFFECTING QUALITY ASSURANCE IN THE TEACHING OF AGRICULTURE AT UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION LEVEL IN SOUTH EAST NIGERIA
Statement of the Problem
The objective of Universal Basic Education is to provide not only access to nine years basic education but also to ensure that the education provided is qualitative so that beneficiaries can perform and communicate in life. One of the areas that this qualitative education is required is in agricultural science as a subject. But today, the absence of qualified agricultural science teachers, in sufficient teaching aids, use of theory instead of practical to teach some topics (Olaitan and Mama, 2001) have affected the teaching of the subject greatly.
Oyetunde and Omolu (2009) observed that Universal Basic Education as it is offered in the government schools especially in teaching agriculture is failing in the task of equipping children with needed literacy skills . Thus quality is no longer assured in the teaching of the subject at the Basic Education level especially in South East Zone of Nigeria. In this zone, the quality situation is no longer as a result of insufficient land area for practicals and the belief that agriculture whether as a subject or in practice is a dirty job. The assumption is even such that professional teachers prefer using theory to teach the subject.
It therefore means that the teaching and learning of agriculture as it is currently done at Universal Basic Education is a dis-service to an average Nigerian child especially in the South East Nigeria, because it gives a false impression that learning has taken place while in actual sense, the education given does not make the child functionally literate. Because of this, there is need for a holistic research to find out all the hidden factors affecting quality assurance in the teaching of agriculture at the Universal Basic Education level in South East Nigeria.
Scope of the Study
The study was delimited to the identification of the factors affecting quality assurance in the teaching of agriculture at Universal Basic Education (UBE) level in South East Nigeria. The study focused on public primary and junior secondary schools in rural and urban areas. It focused on the identification of institutional and socio-economic factors affecting quality assurance in the teaching of agriculture. The study was geographically located in the five states in the South East Nigeria.
Purpose of the Study
Broadly stated the purpose of this study is to identify the factors affecting quality assurance in the teaching of agriculture at Universal Basic Education level in South East Nigeria. Specifically the study sought to:
- Identify the institutional factors affecting quality assurance in teaching of agriculture at Universal Basic Education level in South East Nigeria.
- Identify the socio-economic factors affecting quality assurance in teaching of agriculture at Universal Basic Education level in South East Nigeria.
Time Frame: This study lasted for a period of four months.
Significance/Justification of the Study
The findings from the study is of immense benefits to the following people, Teachers, Students, Parents, Future Researchers, and Curriculum Planners.
- Teachers: The teachers of agriculture in the zone will benefit from the study. This will be achieved because the findings of the study will lead to the provision of more instructional materials which the teachers will use to ease teaching stress. The teacher will also receive more motivational attention from stakeholders through the findings of the study.
- Students: The students offering agriculture in the zone will benefit because it will lead to the employment of more agricultural teachers and provision of more facilities which in turn will lead to the acquisition of more skills, attitude and knowledge of the subject. This will increase the practice of these students upon graduation in agricultural occupations.
- Parents: Parents of students that offered agricultural science at Basic Educations level will benefit from the study because the students will acquire more agricultural skills from the schools which the students will impart to them at home thereby acting as direct extension agents to them. This will further increase the participation of these parents\ guardians in food production thereby increasing their income and standard of living.
- Future Researchers: The future researchers will benefit from the study because it will provide statistics that will be used as a basis for future research in quality, quantity, access, assessment, implementation and evaluation of the programme of Universal Basic Education both in the South East and in the other part of the country. The result of the study could also serve as reference material for future research in the activities of Universal Basic Education in South East Nigeria
- Curriculum Planners: Curriculum Planners like West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO), Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) and Federal Ministry of Education among others will use the findings of the study to know areas that they need to give more attention so as to enhance the achievement of the objective of Universal Basic Education in Agriculture. This they could do by curriculum modifications.
The following research questions guided the study.
- What are the institutional factors affecting quality assurance in teaching of agriculture at the Universal Basic Education level in South East Nigeria?
- What are the socio-economic factors affecting quality assurance in teaching of agriculture at Universal Basic Education level in South East Nigeria?
The following null hypotheses were developed in the study and tested at 0.05 level significance. They are:
HO1 There is no significant difference in mean responses of teachers of agriculture from Ebonyi and Enugu States on the institutional factors affecting quality assurance in the teaching agriculture at Universal Basic Education level in South East Nigeria.
HO2 There is no significant difference in the mean responses of teachers of agricultural from Ebonyi and Enugu States Universal Basic Education Schools on the socio-economic factors affecting quality assurance in the teaching of agriculture in South East Nigeria.