COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF LEARNERS’ EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE IN AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the study
Agricultural Science subject is part of the vocational subject taught in primary schools and secondary school which inculcated the process of farming in all its branches and among other things includes the cultivation and tillage of the soil, dairying, the production, cultivation, growing, and harvesting of any Agricultural commodities, the raising of livestock or poultry, and any practices performed by a farmer on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with some farming operations, and it may include the manufacturing or processing of coconut, tobacco, pineapples or other farm products (Bolens, 1997).
The general objectives of Agricultural science subject are to: stimulate and sustain students‟ interest in farming; demonstrate that farming is a dignified and paying occupation; enable students to acquire basic agricultural knowledge, practical skills and attitudes; enable students to integrate agricultural knowledge and skills in solving agricultural problems of their families and societies; prepare students for employment in farming and/or further studies in agriculture (URT, 1997).
Agricultural science subject has been taught as a core subject in ordinary level secondary schools since its introduction in 1972 up to 2004 when the government phased it out. The reason for phasing it out was to avoid placing students prematurely into vocational programmes which might not meet their future career preferences as well as the teaching process of the subject which was thought to unable students to master both vocational and cognitive skills at the end of the teaching and learning cycles, thus rendering them incapable of undertaking self or direct employment in the formal and informal sectors
(Young, 2011). The government‟s decision to phase out the subject met with a lot of resistance from educational stakeholders whether it was appropriate decision or not.
Agricultural science subject is the course of study which involves teaching about crop production, livestock management, soil and water conservation and various other aspects of agriculture such as nutrition which improves the quality of life for all people by helping farmers increase production, conserve resources and provide nutritious foods (Schultz et al., 2008). In this study, Agricultural science subject refers to a course of study in ordinary level secondary schools which is among optional subjects in the prevocational subjects‟ group which mainly deals with crop and livestock production as well as basics of agricultural mechanisation, economics and soil science.
Private Secondary school is known as independent schools (non-governmental) or nonstate schools that are not administered by local, state or national government, they retain right to select their student and are funded in whole or in part by charging their student tuition fees, rather than relying on mandatory taxation through government funding, but they must operates based on government stated curriculum and scheme of work from ministry of education (Heins and David, 2004). Public secondary schools are those operated, funded and overseen by government. (Thattai and Deeptha, 2001 ). Most of the private schools are funded, conducted and maintained by a private group rather than by government, usually charging tuition and then followed stated curriculum and syllabus as the same with the public schools operated by government (Withan and Joen,
The overall objective in every teaching –learning interaction as usually required is to bring about harmonious development of the individual and acquisition of the desired knowledge, values and skills to enable him/her function in a particular way. The process of teaching needs to be supervised for effective teaching- learning process. The syllabus and curriculum system must be given special care and consideration so as to achieve the desired objectives. Thus, when curriculum system is ensured in every school, there will be positive developments that will bring permanent change in the behavior of the learner signifying that learning has taken place.
The teaching and learning of Agricultural science as a subject in secondary schools in the world reveals an evolution from vocational basis in the first half of the 20th century (Laugo, 2009). Interest in teaching and learning Agricultural science in secondary schools seems to be growing because many governments are seeking assistance to implement the subject (Laugo, 2009). The World Bank has been investing heavily in the implementation of Agricultural science subject in secondary schools but there have been limited studies on its effectiveness on economic development (World Bank, 2005). Because the Agricultural science subject weds academic or general subjects with some degree of vocational learning, students can develop not only vocational skills in the field of agriculture, but also cognitive skills to prepare them for university studies in agriculture (Yamada, 2001).
The motive behind the introduction of Agricultural science subject in secondary schools lies on the expectation of improving quality of life attached to secondary school education especially in developing countries (Bregman and Stallmeister, 2005). Therefore, the World Bank has encouraged the teaching and learning of Agricultural science as a development strategy and as a means to make the rapid expansion of secondary school education consistent with better match between skills learned in school and those needed in the students‟ families and societies (Psacharopolous and Zabalza, 1984). On this ground, different governments have introduced Agricultural science subject in their secondary schools to smoothen the transition to work particularly for the benefit of farm employment for those students whose secondary education schooling will be terminal (Benavot, 2006).
However, human societies differ in the way they teach their children values, norms and skills, while others impart skills in formal way, through organized system, that is a well recognized system approved by the ministry of education. Others prefer more traditional ways in inculcating such desired values, notwithstanding the particular society in which learning takes place, and methodology used, a number of variables interact together to bring about a stable and permanent changes in behaviour. Thus, the study intends to investigate the comparative academic achievement of secondary schools students in Agricultural science in public and private schools in three different educational zones of Kaduna State. The study also intends to look at these variables, the learner, the teacher and the learning environment, because learning can only take place where there is a learner and the learner has to be physically, mentally, socially and morally ready to learn. Thus when the learner is not fit to learn due to some health problems or interest, then the objectives of teaching and learning are hampered. Consequently, besides the two important variables mentioned in teaching learning process, the environment in which learning takes place has to be conducive for learning. In formal learning, schools are not just a place to learn, to read and write but also receive complete education. Therefore, schools have to provide suitable environment for effective and proper development of the learner so as to acquire the desired skills, but where the school environment is deficient or lacking in the materials required for effective learning, the designed objectives cannot be achieved. The facilities required for effective teaching – learning are; adequate classroom space, curriculum system, experienced teachers, teaching –learning materials such as text books, boards, board marker, and visual aids.
The major emphasis in the Agricultural science subject syllabi across countries in the world is to enable students to develop positive attitudes towards agriculture so that they can see agriculture as a viable source of occupation that can lead to personal and community development. It aims to equip students with relevant agricultural knowledge, skills and attitudes. This is particularly important because it gives students a clear understanding that agriculture is a viable source of livelihood just like any other job in other sectors (Briseid and Caillods, 2004; Laugo, 2009).
1.2 Statement of the problem
The educational stakeholders in Kaduna State raise a lot of concern about the failing performance of public secondary school students when compared with their counterpart in private schools (El-Rufa‟i, 2016). Despite the fact that, the scheme of work and curriculum for secondary schools are the same all over the country, it seems to be commonly believed that Public secondary school students are handicapped academically. However, Oke (1992), Adeyemi (1998), and Onipele (2005) stated that, “private secondary schools‟ students performed higher than students of public secondary schools”. Also Abari and Odunayo, (2012) stated that, „in terms of infrastructural facilities and academic achievement private secondary schools are ahead of public schools. In spite of proclaims of inducing more facilities to public secondary schools by Kaduna state government, it has been considered by people that, private secondary school students are better over public secondary school in their final senior secondary certificate examination (SSCE) result. For all these reasons, the researcher to embark on this study in order to clear this uncertainty between public and private secondary schools students‟ academic performance in Agricultural Science in Kaduna State.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The general objective of the study was to compare students‟ academic performance in Agricultural Science in public and private secondary schools and to examine availability of infrastructural facilities between public and private secondary schools in Kaduna state,
The specific objectives were to:
- compare the academic performance of male students of public and private secondary school in Agricultural Science in Kaduna state,
- compare the academic performance of female students of public and private secondary schools in Agricultural science in Kaduna state,
- compare the academic performance of students of public and private secondary schools in Agricultural Science in Kaduna State, Nigeria.
1.4 Research questions
The research questions were put forward to answer the following questions;
- What is the academic performance of male student of public and private secondary schools in Agricultural Science in Kaduna State?
- What is the academic performance of female students of Public and Private secondary schools in Agricultural Science in Kaduna State?
- What is the academic performance of students of public and private secondary school in Agricultural Science in Kaduna State, Nigeria?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following Null-Hypotheses were formulated or stated
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of male students of public and private secondary schools in Kaduna state in Agricultural science from 2014 – 2016.
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of female students of public and private secondary schools in Kaduna state in Agricultural science from 2014 – 2016,
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of students of public and private secondary schools in Agricultural Science in Kaduna state from 2014 – 2016.
1.6 Significance of the study
The main aim of carrying out research in education is to bring about positive improvement in the practice of education through finding new knowledge or information. Therefore, this research is important in many areas to the following stakeholders in the business of education for obtaining good output in secondary school education in the
state at large.
This study is significant and beneficial to the teachers in many areas. The research will make the teachers conscious of the current status of secondary school students‟ academic performance in both public and private schools within the state. The study will also expose to them the differences in academic performance of the students in public and private secondary schools if there is any difference and suggest the possible ways to be followed to remedy the situation.
The study is also important to students in their learning process. The research will make them know the level of their academic performance especially in Agricultural science subjects. Thus, the students through this research will be able to grasp certain areas of their considerable effort and excellent academic performance in the Agricultural subject they studied. The study is also of paramount importance to students because the acquisition of the suitable levels of literacy, skills and values of vocational Agriculture as it is the only occupation that meets the physiological needs of mankind and will serve as bed-rock, for laying a sound foundation for their future living, improvement and development. The study is very crucial to the curriculum planners. The curriculum planners are professional individuals who are well trained in curriculum development, they are active participants in the field of curriculum and they are responsible for curriculum planning as regards to contents and implementation procedures. Therefore, curriculum planning as been seen as a collection of readings that presents the knowledge, skills and alternative strategies needed by curriculum planners and teachers at all levels of education from early childhood through adulthood. Thus, the curriculum planners through this study will have a thorough knowledge on the current academic performance of public and private secondary schools in the study areas.
The research is also useful and beneficial to the federal, state and local government education policy makers. Therefore, the outcome of this research will give them a clear picture of the level of academic performance of public and private secondary school students. Having known the academic performance of secondary school students especially in Agriculture, the policy makers can provide all necessary teaching facilities that can boost students‟ performance to achieve similar objectives in both public and private secondary schools.
The public in the business of education are also expected to benefit from this study for obtaining good output in secondary education in Kaduna state at large. Afolabi (2005) stated that, “the concern of most public today is mainly on what they can do to help children to acquire a sound secondary education particularly in vocational subject like
Agriculture, because of its place of influencing an individual‟s self reliance in students future living and academic life‟‟. Therefore, it has been observed that qualitative education is mostly desired by the general public.
1.7 Basic Assumptions of the study
For the purpose of this research study, the researcher assumed that;
- Academic performance of male students of public and private secondary school is estimated as high.
- Academic performance of female students of public and private secondary school is rated as average.
3 academic performances of students of private secondary schools is higher than their counterpart in public secondary schools in Kaduna State, Nigeria.
1.8 Delimitation of the study
The scope of this study was limited to finding out the academic performance of public and private secondary school students in Agricultural science in Kaduna state, Nigeria. This research study further delimited to senior secondary certificate examination (SSCE) for three (3) sequential years (2014, 2015, and 2016) in order to answer the research questions. Therefore, students of Agricultural science in both public and private secondary schools were covered by the study.
COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF LEARNERS’ EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE IN AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA