AVAILABILITY OF LABORATORY FACILITIES FOR EFFECTIVE TEACHING – LEARNING OF MATHEMATICS, INTEGRATED SCIENCE AND COMPUTER SCIENCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
The primary objective of this research work was to determine the availability of laboratory facilities for effective teaching and learning of Mathematics, Integrated Science and Computer Science in Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu North L.G.A Enugu State, Nigeria. The descriptive survey research method was used for the study and data were analyzed descriptively using simple percentages. The results of the study reveal that school principals’ negative administrative styles and the inadequacy of duration/time allotted to health instruction in the schools were critical factors that affects health instruction in Enugu North L.G.A State Secondary Schools. The study equally show that lack of laboratory facilities, lack of relevant textbooks, pamphlets and posters were factors central to the poor state of education in Junior Secondary School in Enugu North L.G.A. Based on the findings, we made several recommendations including the need for school authorities in Enugu North L.G.A to provide relevant and modern textbooks, pamphlets, posters, computers and other related instructional materials. It was also recommended that the State Ministry of Education should help in enhancing the tenets of education by employing more experienced teachers in the Inspectorate Division of the Ministry had been assigned the responsibility of visiting the schools regularly in order to ensure that the schools, students and teachers are adequately implementing and using those facilities.
In Nigeria as well as in other countries, education is perceived as a tool for socio-economic and political developments and as such it is accorded the necessary attention. This position is amplified in the Nigerian National Policy on Education, which stated that education is an instrument par excellence for effecting national development, (The National Policy of Education, 2004). It is added further that education shall continue to be highly rated in the national development plans because education is the most important instrument of change and that any fundamental change in the intellectual and social outlook of any society has to be preceded by educational revolution.
Recent study by Jekayinka (1998), Suleman Atiku (1997), Ajayi and Ayodele (2001), proved that adequate supply of instructional resources has significant effects on student’s performances and enhances the effectiveness of instructional delivery and supervision.
However, there seems to be in Nigerian schools an alarming shortage and even complete absence of labouratory facilities. UNESCO (1998), further stressed that monitoring of learning achievement report on the available instructional materials and facilities in the 960 sample secondary schools across the country revealed. An NUC report as cited by ESCO (1998) stated that academic and physical facilities were in the deplorable states with insufficient lectures theaters/hall, laboratories and so on.
Thus, one begins to wonder how some of these universities scale the accreditation hurdle. That is why Ijaiya (2001) opined that the quality of education being provided for the Nigerian child has become of concern and lamented on the rot in the educational system. Also, Adeyemi and Igbenewaka (2001) observed that mismatch between growing enrolment and provision of facilities especially in respect of seats for students leads to overcrowding. He added that overcrowding creates undue stress on available space and results in the creation of rowdy behaviours, hanging outside the classrooms, and absence from activities around school premises. All these have negative effects on teaching and learning process.
This research work concentrated mainly on Enugu North Local Government Area in our case study. We also selected some few schools where we conducted most of our interview and shared our questions.
Enugu North Local Government Area is one of the 17 Local Government Areas in Enugu State. Administratively, Enugu State is divided into 17 Local Government Areas. But politically, they are three zones in the local Government, namely: Enugu North, Enugu South and Enugu West. The highly cosmopolitan nature of Enugu State is a major boast to high presence of many academic institutions both private and public, and is all categorized into primary, Junior and Senior Secondary and Tertiary levels of education.
This however does not mean that these academic places are out of the loop in terms of academic infrastructure, especially the laboratory facilities.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The role of mathematics in the development of science and technology in modern economy cannot be over emphasized.
This role is multifaceted and multifarious that no area of science and technology escapes its application (Okereke, 2006)
Ukaeje (1989) described mathematics and the basic sciences as the mirrow or civilization and the most basic discipline for any person who would be truly educated an any science.
Despite the importance place on these basic sciences, researchers (Odili, 1886) Salan, 1985; Amazigo 2000; Agwagah, 2001, had observed that students lack interest in the thee subjects and perform poorly in them. For instance, (Ukeje 1986) observed that mathematics is one of the most poorly taught widely hated and abysmally, understood subject in secondary schools.
The West African Examination Council (WAEC) Chief Examiner (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006) consistently reported candidates lack of skill in answering question in General mathematics in particular and the Basic sciences in general.
To buttress his argument, he reported that most candidates avoided questions on 3-dimensional problems, when they attempt geometry question; only few of the candidates showed a clear understanding of the problem in their working.
Although (Okigbo and Oguafor 2008) have carried out research on the effect of mathematics laboratory on the achievement of mathematics students, it is not certain how many of these schools have these mathematics laboratory or laboratories for the science subjects. We therefore need to adapt to the fast changing computer age.
Consequently evidence of poor performance in mathematics basic science and computer by secondary school students point to the fact that the most desired technological, scientific and business applications cannot be sustained.
The study is therefore designed to find out the availability mathematics or otherwise computer and Integrated Science Laboratories in JSS in Enugu North LGA of Enugu State.
It is also designed to find out the extent for which these Laboratories are equipped where they exist.
Purpose of the study
The importance of this study is that it will help to identify the availability of laboratory facilities in Junior Secondary Schools as well as the impact these facilities have on the effective teaching and learning of Mathematics, Integrated Science and Computer. It will also analyze critically some factors that affect individual performance of students in the selected schools.
Finally, the researcher proffers solution for those that will read and implement the work.
Significance of the study
The importance of this study is that it will help to identify the availability of laboratory facilities for effective teaching and learning of Mathematics, Integrated Science and Computer Science in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State. This study would also help to provide some information for curriculum designers and classroom teachers in order to utilize facilities provided for them and other relevant approaches to enhance meaningful learning of Mathematics, Integrated Science and Computer Science by students. Thus, the knowledge of students’ cognitive style and attitude would be very useful in both academic and career enhancement. The finding from this study is expected to serve as guides for the educated policy makers towards ensuring that adequate educational facilities are provided in Enugu state.
The following research questions were raised:
Is there any adequate facility for effective teaching and learning of mathematics, integrated science in Enugu North Local Government Area?
Is the available facilities properly maintained?