PROJECT TOPIC- MOTIVATIONAL FACTORS FOR IMPROVING STUDENTS, ENROLMENT AND PARTICIPATION IN YOUNG FARMEFS’ CLUB PROGRAMMES IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN ABlA STATE, NIGERIA
Young Farmers Club programmes are designed to attract boys and girls into agriculture. It is a forum for providing practical formal and informal training in agriculture, home economics and related disciplines. However, the cultural , bias against agricultural practices made young farmers club unattractive to secondary school boys and girls. This has resulted in the dwindling nature and performance of YFC activities in qost secondary schools. This study was designed to identify the motivational factors required for improving students enrolment and participation in YFC programmes. The specific objectives of the study were to: identify the motivational factors for improving students participation in YFC supervised farming activities; exakine the motivational factors for improving students’ participation in YFC educatio1 nal activities; find out the motivational factors for improving students’ participation . in YFC leadership act/vie%y identify the motivational factors for improving students’ participation in YFC community service activities; and ascertain the motivational factors for improving students’ participation in YFC social and recreational activities. Five research questions and five null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. A total of two hundred and eight (208) I respondents comprising sixty (60) local club leaders, sixty (60) agricultural science teachers, sixty (60) school princ/pals and twenty eight (28) directors in the Ministry of Education were involved in the study. The data was obtained using 69-item structured questionnaire. The data were analyzed with mean and t-test. . The findings of the study revealed that effective participation of students in YFC programmes could be achieved through the provision I of arable farmland, farm inputs, improved livestock breeds, veterinary services, credit facilitier S , excursions, seminars, workshops, adequate fundings, logistic support, entertainment and refreshments. Based on the key findings of the study, recommendations were made accordingly.
Background of the Study
Agricultural Science is one of the vocational subjects offered in secondary schools in Nigeria in general and Abia State in particular. . In the
Junior Secondary School Agriculture ,is a pre-vocational elective with emphasis on practicals while at the Senior Secondary School level it is a
vocational elective. Ndomi (2000) noted that Agriculture was the mainstay of the Nigerian economy before the advent of the oil industry particularly the oil boom’of 1972. He B He ed that .h%e the oil boom the agricultural sector suffered neglect and therefore witnessed a decline in the number of youths engaging in it, a situation he described as a Generation Gap in Agricultural productivity.
For agriculture to regain its past glory, it is necessary to developagricultural programmes for the rural young ones because they are the
future progressive farmers,. It is better to interest them in farming through vocational agriculture while in schools so that they will be able to farm on their own, join the community Young Farmers’ Club in their area, be mare responsive to the agricultural extension programmes, and participate actively in agricultural technology transfer during and after the secondary education (Ajayi, 1995; Ogunlade, 1998).
According to Ogunbameru (1997) and A.j ,a yi (1997), a Young Farmers Club is an organization in which young people (usually between 9 and 20
years of age) are engaged to learn about better farming and home making technologies. The members are under the guidance of the agricultural
extension personnel, the local club leader and the agriculture teacher. Members are allowed to elect their officers, plan and execute their own
programmes, hold meetings regularly, at least once in. a month. They carry out worthwhile projects in farming, home making, community development and other related areas.
If young farmers club is effectively organized in secondary schools in Abia State, it will help in the transfer of technolo’gy (Maunder, 1972). It could
also play an important.. r.ole-. ..i n diffusing information related to the new . strategy .of agricultural production (Singh and Kheide, 1971). Besides,
Young Farmers Clubs have been identified by Ajayi (1988) as nurseries for . The youths to develop to future progressive farmers.
The need to encourage and promote Young Farmers Club programmes in secondary schools as a means of boosting agricultural productivity and all round development of the students socially and morally is further buttressed in the, objectives of the young Farmers Club. Ovwigbo
(2004) highlighted the objectives of the Young Farmers Club as follows: it acts a conduit for the transfer of new technologies to other farmers within the community. It makes young school leavers take up farming as a Ihcrative occupation.
Young Farmers Clubs equip youths with leadership and vocational skills. It also fosters citizeqship training. It helps to maximize profit by employing new methods and technologies of Agricultural production. Moreover, it encourages initiatives and entrepreneurial shills.
Other objectives of Young Farmers Club according to Ovwigbo (2004) include: It helps to imbibe the spirit of dignity and pride in manual labour;
generates interest in farming among club members, parents, teachers and others through project work. In addition, it helps the Gembers to understand the true value of service to mankind as well as fosters the health and vitality of club members.
These objectives of the Young Farmers Club form the bedrock of the various programmes of Young Farmers Club. Lloyd (1965) remarked that
Young ~armek Club programmes should be based on the primary and contributory needs or objectkes of the association and it should contribute to the instructional phase of the Young Farmers Club programmes. In – selecting the major groupings. of activities the following criteria. must be
considered. They include attainability within the year educational value, profitability and national development (Ritaga, 1973).
To build a challenging programme of work, much thought, and planning should. be done by the club officers, members, organizers and
supervisors. The programmes must serve”the individual members, the chapter, the school and the community as a whole based on their needs
# (Foster, 1961). Specifically, we have the following programmes of Young Farmers Club – supervised farming, educational activities, leadership
activities, community service activities and recreational activities.
‘Supervised farming is a programme of selected activities in farming a farm which students of vocational agriculture undergo so as to develop the
right attitudes and be proficient in the necessary skills and abilities in the type of farming they are likely to eng.a ge in. Educational activities include ‘ the provision of both, methods and result demonstrations related to the course of instruction (Ugbomeh, 1994; Ajayi, 2002).
The ultimate purpose of leadership activities is to help members to develop leadership by providing opportunities ‘fbr participating in worthwhile
activities. Similarly, community service activities provide opportunities for members to render selfless services to the community such as painting
trees, beautifying the environment, conducting crop demonstration and farm safety campaigns (ugbom&h3 994). ‘ ‘
Furthermore, a good Young Farmers organization must include social and recreational activities. Lloyd (1 965) enumerated social and recreational
activities to include Ludo, table tennis, classical music, class dances, conducting meetings with neighbouring associations, election of officers and
provision of .refreshment for members.
Full and effective implementation of these programmes demand a lot of motivahonal initiatives 3om the various stakeholders in secondary school.
Agricultural ducat ion particularly the Agricultural Science teachers, the school administrators and the government. According to Adedoyin (2005),
motivation is a process of initiating conscious and purposeful action. He further stressed that motives means an urge or combination of urges to
induce conscious or purposeful action.
Hence, motivational factors are goal directed and needs satisfying behaviour. I They are those factors which tend to organize the field of the
individual in regard to certain incentives or goals and to execute activity directed towards their attainment.
Specifically, the Agriculture teacher has been described as important agent in the task of reorienting the y~uths for agriculture (Post Primary
School management Board Enugu, 2001). A good Agricultural Science teacher according to Stewart (1983), should assist members of the Young
Farmers’ Club in developing a programme of activities, provide systematic instruction for young farmers club regardless of their previous attituhes
towards agriculture. Heehould serve as a catalyst agent for a Young Farmers’ Club. The school administrators have the overall responsibility of
providing a conducive environment for school clubs to thrive.
They are also responsible for providing financial and logistic support for all the school clubs e in general and Young Farmers Club in particular. Besides, they are supposed to encourage the agriculture teachers and give them all the necessary moral support fowards enhancing the functional efficiency of the club (Okeke, 1986).
Similarly, the government, through its relevant agencies like ithe Ministry of Education and the Secondary Schools Management Board could
assist the schools Young Farmers Club by providing necessary farm inputs either freely or at a subsidized rate. They could also make policies
regarding the formation of YFC in all secondary schools in the state backed up by the setting up of a monitoring team (Ajayi, 2005).
The local club leaders are chosen from among the agricultural students. However, they must have shown keen interest in the progrmmes
of YFC. Their duties include inter-alia, to pilot the affairs of the club in the school.
~egret tabl~Y,F C organizations in secondary ‘schools in Abia State are in a pitiable state. Investigations carried out by the researcher revealed that students’ participation in YFC programmes in the state is rather dwindling and retrogressive. This results from students’ preference to other
school clubs like debating society, choral group, JETS club etc.
Other factors for the dwindling nature of the YFC in secondary schools in the state includ–e unhealthy attitude to farming among youths, lack .–..
of support from the government and the school authorities,. insufficient number of well-trained Agric. teachers in the sct;ool and time factor.
This study therefore seeks to .identify the motivational initiatives or incentives that.could bring about improvement in students participation in
Young Farmers Club programmes in secondary schools in Abia State with a view to helping the students to acquire saleable skills that will boost
agricultural productivity. ‘ .