PROJECT TOPIC- FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH MASS FAILURE OF STUDENTS IN ECONOMICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN IZZI LGA OF EBONYI STATE
Background to the Study
One of the major problems facing the educational system in Nigeria is the abysmal failure of students in economics, particularly at the senior secondary level of education. School failure can lead to serious consequences if undetected and left untreated. The failing student loses self-confidence, becomes discouraged and decreases his/her effort to study further. And most at times these failures spring up not only from external factors but from within the student in question.
Also, the impression that economics is a difficult subject that is full of calculations causes failure among students. Because of this impression, there is poor performance among secondary school students who are the focus of this study and the best procedures to be taken to put to an end of this mess of mass failure among students in economics in secondary schools in Izzi LGA of Ebonyi State.
Factor mean circumstance that contributes to a result.
Synonymously: cause, influence, circumstance. Hence, factors associated with mass failure of students in economics in secondary schools in Izzi LGA of Ebonyi State could be traced to several factors that can be compartmentalized into parents associated factor, students associated factor, teachers associated factors, schools associated factor, government and the society associated factors. In other words, the causes of mass failure of students in economics are multi-dimensional in nature. Parents play significant roles in the education of their children.
Apart from the fact that they pay school fees and other levies, they buy textbooks, uniforms and other materials required by their children and wards. In addition to this, they are expected to supervise their academic works and give them good moral training. They are also expected to visit the school which the child attends from time to time to find out how their children are behaving with view to taking corrective measures where and when necessary.
However, the failure of parents to play these roles could negatively affect the academic performance of the students. Studies have shown that the poor academic performances of students are caused by the parents. According to Ajala and Iyiol (1988), polygamous families contributed to poor academic performance of the students. Parents’ inability to provide breakfast, textbooks and basic school needs for their children, less interaction with children’s teachers and less involvement in the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) resulted in poor academic performance of students (Etsey, 2005).
Akanle (2007), also identified insufficient parental income and family type as causes of mass failure of students. Moreover, other parents’ associated factors of mass failure of students in economics could be traced to the parents’ lack of proper guidance. Failure of parent to provide necessary materials for their children to work with in school and family breakdown (Ajayi and Ekundayo, 2010).
The importance of teachers in the educational attainment of the students cannot be overemphasized. The quantity and quality of instructional delivery by the teacher will, to a large extent, determine the academic performance of the students.
This perhaps usually prompt some parents to enroll their children in private schools where better academic performance appears to be guaranteed as a result of more supervision and higher quality of teaching by teachers. Another important teachers’ associated factor is the teacher’s attitude and improper use of new technological innovation and the use of instructional media. Most Nigerian secondary school economics teachers fail to take into account the dynamic nature of the subject.
The subject involves drawing of graphs and the use of power point projection is also needed. The traditional content/knowledge oriented teaching is still very much practiced by teachers. Abdullahi, (2003) was of the view that teachers mostly prefer to use traditional ways of teaching which they have been familiar with or as they were taught, which do not necessarily aid proper learning. Ya’u, (1993) categorically said that successful achievement of stated objectives in teaching and learning is always associated with using the right technique.
Various causes of mass failure performance of students which are attributed to the teachers were non-use of verbal reinforcement strategy and lateness to school (Morakinyo, 2003), poor interpersonal relationships (Aremu and Sokan, 2003). Others include absenteeism, inability to complete the syllabi and less interest in children understanding of lesson and poor methods of teaching (Asikhia, 2010). Ajayi and Ekundayo (2010) also identified incessant strike, poor methods of teaching, teachers’ inability to cover syllabus and teachers’ lack of resourcefulness in teaching as causes of mass failure of students in most subjects.
Therefore, it is clear to us that unqualified teachers in our secondary schools lead to mass failure of students in economics. Inadequate Infrastructural facilities and instructional media are regarded as another cause of mass failure among students in economics in our secondary schools. Roger, (1981) was of the view that instructional materials and facilities are important part of the process of learning as they provide practice and feedback in learning track.
In our present day secondary schools particularly public students are in most cases sitting on the floor and windows during lessons. In some cases students are living under trees or living in dilapidated classroom. In addition to that even where there are enough classes, they are overcrowded and laboratories are lacking. All these cannot allow for proper learning of economics and other subjects hence lead to mass failure. Sa’ad (2007) was of the view that teaching and learning take place effectively when classes are moderate.
But the present day Nigerian class is over populated with students over 120 and this cannot allow for proper teaching and learning. On the other hand, in the area of instructional resources or media, there is dominance of textbooks, dictionaries, workbooks and posters in the teaching of economics in secondary schools in Nigeria. Modern media such as audio, video tapes, language laboratories, programmed-texts, flash cards; computers, magazines and newspapers are rarely used.
Mohammed (1998), observed that the teaching of economics is bedeviled with many problems such as inadequate period of teaching, method of teaching and lack of adequate and useful resources. Abdullahi (2003), Sa’ad (2007), Abdulganiyu (2010) and Usman (2012) were of the view that provision of enough instructional media/materials, qualified teachers as well as conducive classrooms will assist a lot in improving the performance of secondary school students in economics.
Considerable research evidences abound to show that students are responsible for their poor mass failure in academic performance. Aremu and Sokan (2003) found out that the students’ factors of mass failure in academic performance were poor study habits, psychological adjustment problems, lack of interest in school programme, low retention, association with wrong peers, low achievement motivation and emotional problems.
(Ajayi and Ekundayo, 2010) have shown that students’ lack of financial support, absenteeism, truancy, use of local language in the classroom, lack of interest and joy in teachers’ lessons and learning disability cause poor academic performance of students. Other causes include low cognitive ability, gender prematurity, medical problems and inability of students to understand examination questions.
The school system has its own share of the blame for poor academic performance of students. According to Kraft (1994) and Etsey (2005), the causes of mass failure among subject in economics is traceable to the doorsteps of the school were large class size, limited teaching materials, and inadequate textbooks. Government plays crucial roles in the management of educational system in terms of policy formulation, programmes implementation, funding, administration, supervision among others.
The extent to which government is committed to these roles could make or mar the educational system. It is therefore not out of place to blame government for the mass failure of students in public examinations. Studies have shown that the causes of poor academic performance of students attributed to the government were instability of educational policy, leadership problems, job losses, inadequate poor supervision of instruction (Etsey, Amedahe and Edjah, 2004).
Others include irregular payment of teachers’ salaries, inadequate and specialist teachers in schools (Ajayi and Ekundayo, 2010).
The work so far reviewed has shown that the causes of poor academic performance of students are multi-dimensional in nature. This implies that solutions to the problem require collaborative efforts of the various stakeholders. It is to be noted that this scenario is peculiar to the thirty-six states and Abuja (Federal Capital Territory) in the country (Adepoju and Oluchukwu, 2011).
Ajayi (2012) further elaborates that the situation is so pathetic that stakeholders keep on wondering why this level of education has persistently failed to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the society. The mass failure of students in economics constitutes wastage on investment in secondary education; it has put a big question mark on the quality of secondary education in the country. Each time the results of students in Senior school Certificate Examination (SSCE) is released, it has been a tale of woes and national embarrassment.
Students are said to be the bedrock of the nation’s educational system. This is further supported by (Joshua, 2004) saying, “Secondary education is the pivot around which the development of the nation’s economy revolves”. It is the engine room that provides the input, resources into the nation’s economy and higher (tertiary) education production systems. Annually the results for Economics among others have been discouraging.
According to Uduh (2009), the high percentage of candidates who failed WASSCE yearly is reflected in the low percentage of the candidates that meets the university admission requirements. The situation is so pathetic that stakeholders keep on wondering why this level of education has persistently failed to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the society. Various captions in the dailies point towards mass failure of students in the subject economics.
In the past five years, most of the students who sat for the SSCE each year did not have credit passes in at least five subjects including Economics, English and Mathematics. The situation is getting worse every year. The nation was shocked and devastated when the National Examination Council (NECO) released its November/December 2009 SSCE result showing that only 1.8% passed with five credits and above including Economics, English and Mathematics which are required for admission into university.
Many more Nigerians have expressed their worries and pointed accusing fingers at the government for not taking education as a project of priority importance judging by the rate of dilapidation and underfunding bedeviling the sector. While one school of thought blamed the government for the entire mess, another believed a combination of factors created by the government, parents, teachers and students themselves led to the failures (Eze, 2011).
This is supported by Omoniyi (2011) who gave a principal’s outcry under condition of anonymity saying, “that decaying infrastructure, lack of finance, insincerity on the part of the administrators of education in the nation, amongst a host of other factors accounts for the mass failure in student examinations, especially at the senior secondary school level.” Concrete evidence provided below will speak better.
Trend of mass failure of students in the May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) between 2003 and 2010
Year % with at least five credit passes in economics % of candidates without at least five credit passes in economics
2003 19.26 80.74
2004 18.26 81.74
2005 27.53 72.47
2006 15.56 84.44
2007 25.54 74.46
2008 13.76 86.24
2009 25.99 74.01
2010 24.94 75.06
Average % 21.35 78.65
Source: Public Affairs Department of WAEC, Lagos
The above table shows a fluctuating trend of mass failure of students in WASSCE between 2003 and 2010 with an average of 78.65% of students without at least five credit passes in economics while there was increasing trend of mass failure of students between 2003 and 2004 (80.74% to 81.74%); 2005 and 2006 (72.47% to 84.44%); 2007 and 2008 (74.46% to 86.24%); and 2009 and 2010 (74.01% to 75.06%), there was decreasing trend of mass failure of students between 2004 and 2005 (81.74% to 72.47%); 2006 and 2007 (84.44% to 74.46%), and
2008 and 2009 (86.24% to 74.01%).
Some people shifted the blame on government, some on parents, some on society and students themselves with the teachers having lion share of the blame. As accusations and counter-accusations on what are the factors associated with mass failure of students in the subject persist, the fact remains that all the stakeholders have roles to play in solving the problem of abysmal failure of students in the subject. Nevertheless, there is need to identify the major causes of the problem with a view to providing lasting solutions. It is against this backdrop that this study investigated the mass failure of students in Economics in Secondary Schools in Izzi LGA of Ebonyi State.
Thus, whatsoever the cause of the mass failure maybe it should be noted as said by the President of the World Bank, Barber Conable, while introducing a World Bank policy study on education, that “Without education, development will not occur; only an educated people can command the skills necessary for sustainable economic growth and for a better quality of life” (Awosiyan and Idoko 2012). That is the more reason why attention must be given to academic performance of students.
Furthermore, Udonquak (2010) laid emphasis on the fact that the link between literacy rate and the level of economic development in any society has long been established. While societies with high literacy rate are likely to boast of developed economies, countries with poor literacy rate as found in sub Saharan Africa are likely to be among the least developed economies.
PROJECT TOPIC- FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH MASS FAILURE OF STUDENTS IN ECONOMICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN IZZI LGA OF EBONYI STATE
Statement of the Problem
Sharp practices among senior secondary school students have been a serious problem Nationwide. The neglect, to solving this issue no doubt has relegated students’ performance to the background in our senior secondary certificate examinations. A close look at the results between 2003 and 2010 WAEC, confirms that students’ performance has been very poor generally and the increased number of school dropouts. The poor performance is caused by many factors such as students ineffective study techniques, quality of teachers and method of teaching, the parent’s inability to provide useful materials like textbooks, exercise books and school fees and the problem of inadequate instructional materials for teaching and learning of economics in senior secondary schools. The problem of the study therefore is to identify the factors associated with mass failures of students in economics in secondary schools in Izzi LGA of Ebonyi State with a view to proffer solution.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to find out the factors associated with mass failure of students in economics in senior secondary schools in Izzi LGA of Ebonyi State. The study sought to find out specifically:
1) To determine the qualifications of economics teachers in Ebonyi LGA secondary schools.
2) The factors associated with mass failure of students offering economics in Ebonyi LGA of Ebonyi State.
3) Suggest solutions-strategies that will reduce mass failure in this subject in Ebonyi LGA secondary schools.
4) Recommend ways by which stakeholders could assist to halt incessant mass failure among these students.
Significance of the Study
This study is significant because its findings would help economics teachers in a large measure to tackle the problem of mass failure. The methodology used by teachers needs to be review and a more updated and precise method adopted to enhance students performance in Ebonyi LGA of Ebonyi State.
The findings would also help the State Government in setting her priority right in regards to education in Ebonyi Local Government Area of the State which had not been given adequate attention. Government would need to realize that these children are the leaders of tomorrow. Thus, Ebonyi secondary schools will be enviable to attend among other schools. The outcry is not only from the federal government but the individual state governments are also in the same situation, expending so much money on the payment for the national examinations annually as a form of encouragement to the students and supplement parents financial commitment also. Therefore, it can be said that their outcries are justifiable if that is the only factor. Characteristically, statistics has revealed that out of the two examination bodies; each time the results of their examinations are released it does point to the fact that students drawn from both government-owned and private schools have not been performing up to the required standard despite the high investment which the government, both at the federal and state levels, as well as the parents have been making in the sector Oyinlola and Ofoelue (2011). Hence, through the recommendations in this work the State Government of Ebonyi will be informed on how to appropriate funds; which invariably they will benefit.
The students which are the focal subject of the school will stand a chance to retrace their way back to proper use of instructional materials, keen interest to studies, punctuality and regularity to school to mention but a few; which at the end will enhance better performance.
Scope of the Study
The study focused itself on evaluating the factors associated with mass failure of students in economics in secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government Area. It focused on such factors as socio-demographics, socio-economic, school related factors, teachers’ factors, psychological factors, common disease among students, and parents’ factors (gene) that are the causes of mass failure and the strategies to employ in preventing further mass failures in this LGA. All the students of Economics in Ebonyi Local Government Area were used, for this study.
The following research questions were designed to guide the study.
1). what academic qualifications do the economics teachers have in Ebonyi secondary schools?
2). What are the factors associated with mass failure of students in economics in secondary schools in Ebonyi LGA of Ebonyi State?
3). What are the strategies that could be adopted in reducing mass failure of students in economics in secondary schools in Ebonyi LGA of Ebonyi State?
4). In what way could stakeholders assist to put an end to incessant mass failure among these students?