THE FACTORS AFFECTING SECONDARY SCHOOL GRADUATES ENROLLMENT INTO BIOLOGY EDUCATION, CASE STUDY OF EBONYI STATE UNIVERSITY ABAKALIKI
The study examined the factors affecting secondary school graduates enrollment into biology education, with particular reference to Ebonyi state University Abakaliki. The specific purposes are: to determine the exact factors that influence students’ enrollment in biology education, to examine the level of gender disparity on students’ enrollment into biology education and to examine the opinion of biology education students of Ebonyi State University students. The descriptive survey design was used. The population of study consisted of 346 students of science education. A sample of 310 respondents were selected using the simple random sampling technique. The instrument for data collection was the questionnaire. The method of analysis was mean and standard deviation. The result showed that Family background of students influence their enrollment into biology education, Peer group factors influence students’ enrollment into biology,Students’ interest plays great role in enrollment into biology education, Societal influence affect students’ enrollment into biology education and that experienced teachers influence students to enroll into biology, gender disparity influence students’ enrollment into biology education, students feel happy when enrolled into biology education, students of biology education likes to further their academics in biology or biology related courses, students of biology education are confident of successful graduation and that Students of biology education like their friends to enroll into biology after secondary school graduation. From the results of the study, it was recommended that students should start early in life to develop interest in biology as a subject as this will make the subject easy for them when they choose it as one of their subjects at school. Parents should arrange extra lessons for their children in the sciences,Girls should be encouraged to choose biology and its related subjects.
keyword: THE FACTORS AFFECTING SECONDARY SCHOOL GRADUATES ENROLLMENT INTO BIOLOGY EDUCATION, CASE STUDY OF EBONYI STATE UNIVERSITY ABAKALIKI
Background to the Study
A major goal of science education is the attainment of scientific literacy, which includes deeper conceptual understanding of key scientific principles and ideas, the ability to apply scientific knowledge in real life contexts, as well as the ability to identify problems and conduct scientific inquiry (Oguntelure, 2008). Understanding motivation is critical for reforming school curriculum, increasing learning, and improving career aspirations of students. Historically studied as a general trait, motivation is now studied multi-dimensionally, through personal goal orientations (students’ reasons for engaging in specific academic tasks), and self-efficacy (belief in one’s ability to succeed in a particular situation) constructs.
National development with respect to specific country or countries, a developed country may remain an ideal country with such characteristics as high degree of modernization, specific and technological progress. Experts hardly disagree on the role education plays in fighting under development. Egu (2005) states that education does this through development of appropriate manpower for service in the political, social and economic sector. In the development of human resources, education does a number of things. It brings about literacy which accelerates the process of socialization, occupational preparation and the development of the individual. Literacy in science is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs and economic productivity. It also include specific types of abilities. In the national science education standards, the content standards define scientific literacy as when someone can ask, find or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It mean that a person has the ability to describe, explain and predict natural phenomena (Salau, 2002). A scientific literate person therefore is willing to engage in reasoned discourse about science and technology which requires the competencies to:
- Understand, experiment, and reason as well as interpret scientific facts and their meaning.
- Ask, find or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences.
- Describe, explain and predict natural phenomena.
- Read articles with understanding of science in the popular press and engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions.
According to Osborne, Simon and Collins (2003), "the investigation of students' attitudes towards studying science has been a substantive feature of the work of the science education research community for the past 30-40 years”. The importance of this investigation is stressed by a persistent decline in post-compulsory high school science enrollment over the last two decades.Science is the knowledge about the structure and behaviour of natural and physical world based on facts that can be proved (Homby, 2008). It is the study of natural phenomena by relying on the hypothetical, deductive and experimental approval. Hyacinth (2004) views science as all human activities involving organized knowledge of natural phenomena. It has to do with using observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena.
Science Education is fundamental in the development of any nation, this is because the whole universe revolve around science. Science is the bedrock on which modern day technological breakthrough is hinged. The main objective of science education is to develop scientifically literate individuals that are concerned with high competence for rational thoughts and actions. The objectives of science education according to Maduekwe (2006) include the need to prepare students to observe and explore the environment, explain natural phenomena, develop scientific attitudes including curiosity; critical reflection and objectivity, apply the skills and knowledge gained through science to solving everyday problems in the environment, develop self-confidence and self-relevance through problem solving activities.
Biology is one of the science subjects that is offered in science education. Biology is a very important subject and a requirement for further learning of number of science related professional courses like medicine, agriculture, pharmacy etc. Biology education is a subject that helps an individual understand himself, the parts of his body and their functions, the relation of men to his environment as well as knowledge of the interrelationship existing between living and non-living things around the environment.
Biology is a branch of science that deals with the study of living organisms. The subject lays a foundation for careers in health, education, agriculture, environment as well as a precursor of biotechnology which is a tool for industrial and technological development. Despite the importance of Biology in society, the percentage enrollment of students in the subject as compared to other science subjects has been declining in Nigeria.
Several studies have identified a number of factors affecting students' attitudes to biology. These can be largely categorized as gender, personality traits, structural variables, and curriculum variables, societal influence, family background among other factors.Many studies (Francis and Greer, 2009; Jones, Howe and Rua, 2010 and Sjøberg, 2010) have reported that males have more positive attitudes to biological science than females, while others found no statistically significant gender differences (Selim and Shrigley, 2013). Kahle and Meece (2014) published a wide-ranging review on gender issues related to students' attitudes to biological science subjects.
Gardner (2014) in a review of gender differences in achievement, attitudes, and personality of science students, stated that there were "clear differences in the nature of 'boys' and 'girls' scientific interests, boys expressing relatively greater interest in physical science activities, while girls are more interested in biological and social science topics.Osborne (2013) showed that there was "still a bias against physical sciences held by girls, suggesting that at an individual level the overwhelming majority of girls still choose not to do physical science as soon as they can". Their comprehensive literature survey shows that one of the main motivators of gender related research in science education is the fact that there are few girls in technical and science-related occupations, while more qualified personnel are needed.
There is great imbalance in students’ choice of science and non-science subjects in favour of non-science subjects as well. This has always manifested in the number of students actively participating in science subjects in the schools. Also, the West African Examination Council's Yearly validation sheet for students' enrollment in various subjects in the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) reveals less percentage of students’ enrollment in the sciences. These observation corroborate research studies carried out on the issue in different parts of the country (Akinseide and Ariehrie, 2010, salau, 2002, Israel, 2015, Longbap and Nok, 2007).More disturbing is that this trend has created a shortfall in the number of qualified candidates required to fill the quota allocated to biological science and its’ related courses in the Universities (Abdulraman, 2012).
The implication is that the nation cannot develop her human and material resources if she does not have a pool' of adequately skilled Manpower in biological science and other science-related fields at all levels. In spite of efforts by the Government and its Agencies such as Nigeria Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) including some professional associations like Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) to popularized science at all levels of education, students’ enrollment in the sciences has continued to decline over the years (Nworgu, 2010 and Israel, 2015). Among the few that opt for science, a good number of them register only a science subject because it is mandatory. No wonder, Yager and Penick (2007), reported that-science is not a popular subject in schools.
Students' low participation in biological sciences has hampered the realization of government's University admission policy of 60:40 Science /Arts ratio. This situation is a threat to the nation's scientific and technology aspirations. Studies conducted so far in Nigeria (Akinseinde and Ariehrie, 2010, Israel, 2015) have largely focused on students' enrollment and performance in the science at the secondary school level.
On the contrary, the situation in Ebonyi State University shows that there is serious enrollment in biology education in comparison to other science courses. The rush of secondary school leavers into biology education in Ebonyi State University with few students opting for other science subjects in science education curriculum like physics, chemistry, computer, mathematics etc is becoming a source of concern.
The recent change in students’ enrollment into science education in Ebonyi State University is summarized in the table below.
Table showing students’ Enrollment into Science Education
Source: Science Education Department (EBSU)
From the ongoing, the present study seek to examine the factors affecting secondary school graduate enrollment into biology education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.
Statement of the Problem
Nigeria is a vast country, having a considerably large number of secondary schools which evolved from a single mission school by 1859, to a presently estimated figure (by 2014) of around 10,000.However in recent times (say in the last ten to fifteen years), the school proprietorship trend appears to be borne out of desire to show affluence, create class distinction for the pupils, invest accumulated wealth, fulfill parochial, ethical or moral standard, or meet admission and consistent academic calendar gaps. As expected, the total enrolments in the schools have also appreciated over time.Observation showed that these schools evolved at various rates with time, majorly out of necessity to absorb the relatively teeming number of candidates yearning for post-primary education at those times.
Records show that not only is the percentage of students offering biology low for over 80% of the schools in Nigeria, but in addition, for over 50% of the schools, the enrollment figures continue to fluctuate and diminish on the average.This trend is seen as dangerous for the future of a developing country like ours; and if nothing is done now to find out the root causes of the situation with the aim of countering them, it might even degenerate to a point whereby we might have no biology teachers at all, or enough people going into advanced courses requiring biology as prerequisite.
On the contrary, available data shows that enrollment into biology education in Ebonyi State University has been increasing progressively over a span of almost half a decade now. Data from the department of Science education, Ebonyi state University shows a spiral increase in enrollment into biology from 2013/2014 to 2016/2017 session. It is on this background that the present study seek to examine the factors affecting secondary school graduates enrollment into biology education in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to examine the factors affecting secondary school graduates enrollment into biology education, with particular reference to Ebonyi state University Abakaliki.
The specific purposes are:
- To determine the exact factors that influence students’ enrollment in biology education.
- To examine the level of gender disparity on students’ enrollment into biology education.
- To examine the opinion of biology education of Ebonyi State University students’ on factors affecting enrollment into biology education.
Significance of the Study
The findings of the study will be of immense benefit to the students, the parents, the government, and Ebonyi State University in the following ways:
The Students: the findings of the study will be of great benefit to the students in that it will help them in choice of careers, because proper choice of subjects will build them towards attainment of great heights in life.
The Parents: the parents will benefit from the study because the findings of the study will make them allow their children pursue their life dreams and aspirations.
The Government: the result of this study will be beneficial to the government as it will guide them on policy implementation towards equitable provision and distribution of educational materials to both science and non-science subjects.
Ebonyi State University: the findings of the study will be of immense benefit to Ebonyi State University because it will guide them in admission of students into biology education and science education in general.
Scope of the Study
The study seek to examine the factors affecting secondary school graduate enrollment into biology education. The content scope covers the factors affecting secondary graduate enrollment into biology education. The geographical scope is science education, Ebonyi State University Abakaliki.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
- What are the exact factors affecting students’ enrollment into biology education?
- What are the level of gender disparity on students’ enrollment into biology education?
- What are the opinions of biology education students of Ebonyi State University on enrollment into biology education?
THE FACTORS AFFECTING SECONDARY SCHOOL GRADUATES ENROLLMENT INTO BIOLOGY EDUCATION, CASE STUDY OF EBONYI STATE UNIVERSITY ABAKALIKI