Strategies for improving the teaching of business subjects in the secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State
Background of the study
Education and business forms the bedrock of any nation’s development. Effective teaching strategies must not be taken for granted if a nation can boast of being economically, technologically and educationally developed (Daniel, 1998).
The inability of the colonial system of education to solve Nigeria’s socio-economic problems including skills acquisition among the secondary school leavers in the 20th century generated a lot of public outcry among stakeholders. This led to the birth of National Policy on Education (1981) which was instrumental to the introduction of business subjects in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
History of education in Nigeria has it that the late introduction of Business education subjects into the Nigeria secondary schools was the architect of the colonial masters of that era. Before independence, there was no serious attempt by the colonial masters to educate the citizens in specialized areas of knowledge, thus, people went to school to major in Arts because the curriculum offered in secondary schools then included only subjects, such as English, Religious Studies, History, Latin, Geography’, Philosophy and Science. Mathematics and Vocational subjects were not offered because colonial office in London feared that Nigeria might become more economically and technologically advanced if given the opportunity (Esene, 2012).
However, the advent of the Nigeria Policy on Education (1981) which recommended 6-3-3-4 the present educational system brought a sigh of relief to business education scholars and practitioner in the sense that the junior secondary school programme is prevocational, pre-technical and academic. The 6-3-3-4 system of education introduced in 1981 gave birth to introduction of Business Studies in Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) curriculum. Business Studies is integrated in nature which means that the subject is taught as a single subject who has five major components of Bookkeeping, Commerce, Office Practice, Shorthand and Typewriting. Given the adoption of the new curriculum which commenced in 2013, Business Studies which was hitherto made optional for the Junior Secondary Schools was now compulsory with the inclusion of consumer education as an additional component.
Business Studies is expository and discovery in nature which enable students to discover those skills and potentials that help individuals in future for lifelong education. The curriculum is broad and rich in skills acquisition subjects and students are expected to cover all the various subjects to enable them possess the prevocational skills therein. It helps in training the students on those skills that are relevant to develop skills, aptitudes, potentials and competencies to be useful citizens and contribute economically to the society.
Business studies is synonymous with Business education at higher institution. Business Education is education for and about business or training in business skills and competencies required for use in business offices. Esene (2012) described Business studies as a single subject but these subjects can stand alone at senior secondary school level: Bookkeeping, Commerce, Typewriting and Shorthand.
The inadequate attention paid to the basic education sub-sector over the years had resulted in the near total collapse of the education system which led to limited access to, poor retention in, and poor quality of basic education. The rate of illiteracy was unacceptably high, the condition of the school infrastructure was appalling; teachers were poorly trained and poorly motivated; school drop-out rate had not been abated; while funding of basic education continued to decline. Consequently, Nigeria was nowhere close to achieving full access to primary education. Reports and studies have consistently pointed to this fact. As a result of the failure of other initiatives to register any sustainable impact on access to primary education, due principally, to lack of sustained political will and poor implementation plans, the Federal Government re-launched the Universal Basic Education Programme in September, 1999, as a radical intervention strategy for ensuring access to quality basic education.
It should also be noted that the need to broaden educational opportunities, especially in developing countries has been highlighted since the Jomtien Conference on Education for all in 1990. The international commitment to that effect stems from an understanding that education holds the key to individual and national development.
This is to be realized through improvement of the attitudes, beliefs and practices that are inimical to human and national progress and the enthronement of democratic values among citizens. Thus, the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2009) states that “the Government recognizes education as an instrument par excellence for effecting national development’. Apart from these plausible reasons for equitable access to education, another fundamental reason for such equity is the fact that education is a right in itself as enshrined in the Child Right Act, 2003 (UBEC Manual, 2008).
It should be noted also that Universal Basic Education programme is not altogether a brand new initiative, but rather a reform measure, which is aimed at addressing problems of access and quality in primary and junior secondary schools. Thus, the Universal Basic Education is a nine-year educational intervention programme, whose overall objective is to eradicate illiteracy, ignorance and poverty with the aim of stimulating and accelerating national development, political consciousness and national integration. Specifically, the programme was introduced in order to remove distortions and inconsistencies in basic education delivery and to reinforce the implementation of the National Policy on Education and ensure that the child rights are well catered for.
Federal Government resorted to the Universal Basic Education because of her concern that states and local governments, which have the constitutional responsibility for basic education delivery, were unable to effectively deliver, and ensure unhindered access to quality basic education for all children and youths aged 6-15 years. Relying on a constitutional provision, which empowered it to set and maintain standards in education, the Federal Government enacted the Compulsory, Free, Universal basic education Act in April 2004. Part (1) of the Universal Basic Education Act states “Without prejudice to the provisions of item 30 of part II of the Second Schedule and item 2(9) of the Fourth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution dealing with primary school education, the Federal Government’s intervention under this Act shall only be an assistance to the States and Local Governments in Nigeria for the purposes of uniform and qualitative basic education throughout Nigeria”.
The act also formally established the (Universal Basic Education Commission) as the agency through which the Federal Government intervention in basic education would be affected and also provided for State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEB).
From the foregoing, this study is set to find out strategies for improving the study of business subjects in the secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Statement of the problem
Business Studies has become an integral part of Junior Secondary School (JSS) curriculum in the provision of prevocational skills needed in the world of work. Despite its immense importance, since the introduction of the subject, in Nigeria secondary school in 1982, it has been faced with some setbacks inhibiting its effective teaching and learning. Umezulike (2006) found out that teachers identified lack of instructional facilities, inadequate teachers, inadequate administrative support and students. Lukewarm attitude as of a reason of unattractiveness of Business Studies. The inadequacy of instructional facilities and teachers seem to have resulted to poor method of instructions. Most secondary schools do not offer Business Studies rather they prefer arts and science subjects. The subjects seems to have been neglected; unfortunately, the subject has also been made elective in Junior Secondary School at the Universal Basic Education Certificate Examination (2008) Most states have not accessed the intervention funds lodged by the Federal Government since the last quarter of 2005. Federal Government continues to lodge in funds quarterly since 2005.
Purpose of the Study
This study is set to find out the strategies for improving the study of business subjects in the secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Specifically, the study seeks to:
- Ascertain the instructional management tasks challenging in teaching of Business subjects in secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government area of Ebonyi State.
- Examine the tasks involved in teaching commerce in secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government area of Ebonyi State.
- Ascertain the instructional aids required in teaching bookkeeping in secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government area of Ebonyi State.
- Determine the strategies for enhancing the teaching of Business Subjects in secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Significance of the study
The findings of the study will be of immense benefit specifically to business teachers, students, government, education authorities, researchers and many more stakeholders. Hence, it will spur business teachers to determine and use effective strategies in teaching job skills at secondary school level. It could also help the teachers to keep abreast with modern equipment, technologies and facilities that should be combined with effective teaching strategies to yield excellent results in teaching and learning job skills in secondary schools. They could also enhance the professional growth of the teachers and bring about interactive business classes through the use of student-centred strategies to improve the teaching and learning of job skills for the individual and national development. Many students will imbibe the culture and develop interest in entrepreneurship on graduation, thereby helping them to create jobs and eliminate unemployment in the society.
The findings of the study could attract the desired attention of the government and other relevant education authorities to the importance of effective strategies in teaching and learning Business Studies in schools. Government could use the outcome of the findings to design an effective training package for teachers as it concerns the effectiveness of strategies involved in teaching job skills in secondary schools. The findings could also assist the government in finding fundamental solutions to unemployment among school leavers. It may also no longer be necessary for the government to make extra budgetary provision for establishing skills acquisition centres, instead, use secondary schools that are more accessible to the youths as skills acquisition centres.
Finally, the findings could serve as a guide to researchers who would want to conduct further study on the effectiveness of strategies for teaching Business Studies at secondary school level in Nigeria and beyond.
The following questions guided the study in ascertaining strategies for improving the study of business subjects in the secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
- What are the instructional management tasks challenging the teaching of Business subjects in secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government area of Ebonyi State?
- What are the tasks involved in teaching Commerce in secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government area of Ebonyi State?
- What are the instructional aids required for teaching Bookkeeping in secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government area of Ebonyi State?
- What are the strategies for enhancing the teaching of of Business Subjects in secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State?
Scope of the study
This study is set to find strategies for improving the study of business subjects in the secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Hence for effective and valid research this study is focused on secondary schools in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.