STATUS OF BUSINESS EDUCATION IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF OWERRI NORTH LGA)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The present technological advancement in many countries of the world requires that an individual be given a type of education that will prepare him as an all round consumer or producer of human and material resources in any society he may find himself.
Nigeria economy is facing technological changes in business and industry. Hence the increasing demands for competent and efficient personnel in these sectors. The economy today is such that specialization is required in the labour market. It is no longer a period for pen pushers and letter writers but a time for people who possess the necessary skills and knowledge in various occupations, such as business and office occupations.
The present situation in Nigeria can be compared to that of America when the National Business Education Association Chaired by A. C. Farkner (1963) observed that office and distributive occupation constitute one of the fastest growing employment groups in the labour market. The Nigeria economy is expanding in line with the demand for youths prepared for occupations in these areas. Preparing youths for various occupations and providing occupational information for the same group of youth is the duty of business education. There is, therefore, an urgent need for the expansion of the programme of business education in our secondary schools. The expansion does not however, mean much, unless the programme maintains a corresponding high status, which of course is measured by the attitude of the general public i.e the Government, schools, parents, students and teachers towards it as well as the effectiveness of teaching the subject.
Among the objectives of teaching business education in secondary schools as outlined in the business education curriculum for junior secondary school (1983) include:
1. That the student may, after completing the junior secondary school will have opportunity for a job in a business organization or/and apprenticeship in industry.
2. That the student may go through senior secondary school, technical colleges and on to polytechnics or universities.
3. To offer prospective graduates an opportunity to develop those skills, abilities and understanding that will enable them to handle competently their personal business affairs.
4. To provide them with occupational intelligence to enable them get job satisfaction in the labour force of the economy.
5. To provide business oriented graduates who can be self-reliant in future.
6. To produce skillful graduates in business education.
The teaching of business education in secondary schools today is not encouraging as there are insufficient qualified teachers, lack of teaching facilities, textbooks and workshops. Besides, period allocations for the teaching of the subjects as a teaching unit are hardly enough to cover the scheme within the specified period.
Yet schools continue to produce students who pass through the teaching of business education as a subject without the requisite acquisition of skills.
Business education at the secondary school level is regarded as business studies. The Jess business study is a single subject, which comprises five integral areas of commence, bookkeeping/accounting, office practice, shorthand and typewriting. Business studies at the senior secondary school comprise five separate subjects which are economics, commerce, bookkeeping/accounting, shorthand, and typewriting. Students should be equipped with the appropriate skills in each of the units in business education after graduation from the school systems. Only then can one conclude that the objectives of teaching these subjects in secondary school have been achieved.
It is, therefore, necessary to find out the present teaching situation and the status of business education to know whether it is capable of achieving the objectives for which it was established.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In the junior secondary school, business education subjects are treated as interpreted subject, as business studies, which comprises commerce, office practice, bookkeeping and accounting, shorthand, and typewriting. In the senior secondary school, it is treated as single subjects where the students are allowed to choose the subjects they feel they can do. These subjects are economies, commerce, bookkeeping and accounting, shorthand and typewriting. For the effective teaching and learning of business education subject, there should be enough qualified teachers, enough teaching facilities, enough period of teaching allocated to the subject and adoption of practical oriented teaching method, these will lead to the realization in teaching of the subject in school.
Moreover, the availability and utilization of the instructional facilities in most of the schools cannot be guaranteed and the training in the subject areas where they will specialize in future. This is because most universities and colleges of education allow their undergraduates to specialize in a particular option of their choice, thereby producing graduates who are not all round specialists.
In the senior secondary, the students are allowed to choose their subject, but in a course like typewriting and shorthand which go on parri passu a student may be good in one area and not very good in another, but since the two subjects go together it poses a problem in teaching of the course.
In order that business education should meet up with the challenges, all the business subjects including typewriting and shorthand must be properly taught both in theory and practice to produce the type of individuals needed in the society. This is not always the case. The problem of this study, therefore, is on the need to find out the extent to which the teaching and learning of business education in secondary schools are carried out for better understanding of the subject.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study was to determine whether business education is meeting up with the challenges of business education in the 6-3-3-4 educational system in Owerri North LGA of Imo State. Specifically, the study was aimed at:
1. Finding the content coverage of business education by the teacher during the teaching of the subject with respect to business education programme, as stipulated in the national policy on education.
2. Identifying the equipment and other facilities available for teaching business subject in secondary schools.
3. Ascertaining the number of professionally trained teachers who teach these business subjects in secondary schools.
4. Determining the extent of support from government for business education programme in secondary schools in owerri North L.G.A.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following will benefit from the findings of the study; the students, the teachers, researchers and the government. This study will be of immense benefit to the students to enable them gain a better understanding of the business education. It will also form a base for the teachers in business education in the execution of their duty after gaining a better understanding of the business studies. This research finding will form a base for further researchers who will be conducting research in a similar area. It will also be of immense help to both the government and the problem of unemployment and producing capable hands in the business sector.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
For purpose of a grater sense of direction in the study, a number of questions to guide the research were formulated thus:
1. To what extent do teachers carry out the business education curriculum content during the teaching of business education in schools?
2. What facilities and equipment are available for the teaching of business subjects in secondary schools?
3. What are the qualifications of the teachers in business subjects in the secondary school?
4. What are the roles of the government in implementing the national policy on education as it affects the teaching of business education in secondary schools in owerri North L.G.A.?
1.6 BASIC ASSUMPTION
It was assumed that all the information that was supplied to the researcher by the respondents on the status of business education in secondary schools in Owerri North Local Government Area was correct, and reliable.
1.7 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
To carry out a study of this nature, the researcher was expected to cover a wider area to enable him collect enough facts for the study. The scope covered the curriculum content coverage of Business Education, equipment and facilities available for teaching Business Education, quality of professionally trained teachers and the extent of support from Government. The study was also delimited to owerri North L.G.A. only.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Before this study was completed, some problems were encountered. There were financial and time constraints.
Difficulties in the distribution and return of the questionnaire used also arose.
The researcher was limited to the accuracy of information that was given by the respondents.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Status: It is the social, legal or professional position of somebody/something in relation to others