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FACTORS MILITATING AGAINST EFFECTIVE TEACHING OF CHEMISTRY IN SOME TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN LAGOS

EDUCATION UNDERGRADUATE PROJECT TOPICS, RESEARCH WORKS AND MATERIALS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND of THE STUDY

Education, especially Science and Technical education, is the hub for the production of the needed technologists, technicians and craftsmen as well as skilled artisans who are required to turn the nation’s economy around and usher in the desired technological development which is very much required for the elevation of Nigeria from a nation termed ‘consumer nation’ to a ‘producer nation’; from a ‘third world country’ to a ‘developed nation’ (Ajaja 2007:56). Acquisition of appropriate scientific and technological skills is necessary to cope with the challenge presented by the evolving needs of modern work place in our industries and the ever growing non-formal sector. Education and training systems that responds adequately to these demands will therefore, contribute to the efforts to overcome the growing unemployment and marginalization of majority of the populace. By providing access to appropriate learning experience designed to broaden skills and knowledge can increase productivity and significantly improve the fortunes of the unemployed, thereby reducing poverty and unemployment amongst our youth. (Ajayi, 2012:93)

It is against this background that science education has been accorded a prime position worldwide (Okoro, 2006:67). Within the context of science education, Chemistry has been identified as a very important science subject and its importance in scientific and technological development of any nation has been widely reported. It was as a result of the recognition given to Chemistry in the development of the individual and the nation that it was made a major subject among the natural sciences and other science – related courses in Nigerian education system. It has been a pre-requisite subject for offering most science oriented courses in the tertiary institution and this calls for the need in teaching it effectively.(Ahmed, 2003:103)

Chemistry can simply be defined as a branch of science concerned with the substances of which matter is composed, their investigation, properties and reactions. (Ajaki 2002:68). It is one of the cardinal or major science disciplines in the world today. Chemistry is a science discipline that has several branches, each with its own uniqueness and opportunities. The teaching of chemistry in tertiary institutions and colleges has over a long time witnessed some constraints and hindrances (Wikipedia)

Chemistry teaching is supposed to be result oriented and students centered, and this can only be achieved when students are willing and the teachers are favourably disposed, using the appropriate methods and resources in teaching the students. Students by nature are curios; they need to be actively involved in the learning process in which they are continuously equipping, testing, speculating and building their own personal construct and knowledge.(Ayeyalemi,2002:42) It is only by personalizing such knowledge that it becomes valid, meaningful and useful to them. In chemistry, students need to actively construct their own personal awareness and meaning. To substantiate the argument, Usman remarked that the brain is not a passive consumer of information and to learn with understanding, a learner must actively construct meaning of what to be learned.

Despite the important position chemistry occupies in our educational system and the efforts made by researchers to enhance performance, students’ performance in chemistry and sciences in general are still low. Some of the reasons identified for this failure are laboratory inadequacy, teachers’ attitude, examination malpractice, time constraint for conduction of practice’s, non-coverage of syllabus, class size, non-professionalism and environment(Bajah 1982:89)

Science practical in schools is aimed at giving the students the opportunity to gain meaningful learning, acquire appropriate skills and attitudes that enable them live and contribute to the development of society.

Overtime the importance of chemistry to human existence and economic development cannot be over emphasized since it happens to be of the major science disciplines in the world today. (Gumus 2003:35).Since ancient times, we have experiment with materials around us to feed, cloth and shelter ourselves what started as a satisfaction of our basic needs has now develop into science of chemistry. Chemistry is one of the main branches of pure science the other two being biology and physics chemistry deals with the composition, properties and uses of matter it probes into the principles governing the changes the Matter undergoes.

Over the years, chemistry, as well as other fields of science, has developed through a series of discoveries how do scientists make their discoveries? Scientists are very alert and inquisitive they use their since to observe what is happening around them from a given set of observations they see a certain pattern they put toward a reasonable explanation or hypothesis and can out appropriate experiments to test it then they carefully record their observations and result of their experiment(Adesina 2003:30)

Our world is made up of matter we study chemistry to acquire knowledge about matter. We perform experiments and learn to observe, record and make intelligent influence studying chemistry such scientists are known as chemists also it was in this since that such medicinal aspects such as x-rays for curing cancers and many other findings and formulation are as follow: John Dalton proposed the atomic theory of matter.(Borich,2004:16)

Michael faraday proposed electricity with magnetism Gregor Mendel in genetics discovered the law of hereditary in plant and animal in realization of the importance of studying chemistry adequate attention and facilities should be provided through the help of the government ministry of education and other various organizations this feel is a more statement into the classroom experiences

STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM

The lack of effective teaching of chemistry across tertiary institutions in Nigeria has led to a host of other bandwagon effect across other science disciplines; this is as a result of the importance of chemistry as a discipline in the sciences amongst other science disciplines. The lack of effective teaching of chemistry has led to the production of half-baked graduates in chemistry which has significantly affected the productive capacity of the nation as when compared to other educationally advanced countries. The lack of effective teaching of chemistry has equally helped to ridicule our educational system making us a laughing stock among the comity of educational developed nations.

The present high rate of educational tourism bedeviling our country presently is also an offshoot of poor effective teaching of not just chemistry but other disciplines too as students prefer to acquire education in educationally more developed countries, this has led to brain drain and has also affected the socio economic development of Nigeria. An example of the high rate of education tourism in Nigeria is the alarmingly high number of Nigerians schooling in other West African and European nations. The number of Nigerians seeking to school abroad presently is alarmingly high; all these may have been as a result of our educational system.

AIMS/OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

 The main aim and objective of this study is the highlight the factors militating against the effective teaching of chemistry in some tertiary institutions in Lagos state Nigeria. Other objectives of the study are as follows:

1.    To examine the attitude of Nigerian students towards the major science disciplines and especially chemistry.

2. To examine the performance of chemistry students in tertiary institutions in Lagos state

3. To recommend some solutions to the problem of lack of effective teaching of chemistry

4. To examine the relationship between effective teaching of chemistry and the academic performance of students in Nigeria

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1. What are the factors militating against the effective teaching of chemistry in some tertiary institutions in Lagos?

2. What is the attitude of Nigerian students towards the major sciences disciplines in Nigeria?

3. What is the performance of chemistry students in tertiary institutions in Lagos state?

4. Are there solutions to the poor teaching of chemistry in Nigerian tertiary institutions?

5. Is there a relationship between effective teaching of chemistry and the academic performance of students in Nigeria?

6. What factors enhance the effective teaching of chemistry in Nigerian institutions?

RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

H0: There is no significant relationship between effective teaching of chemistry and the academic performance of students in Nigeria

H0: There is no significant relationship between effective teaching of chemistry and the chemistry teachers’ qualification in Nigeria

H0: There is no significant relationship between effective teaching of chemistry and learning environment in Nigeria

H0: There is no significant relationship between effective teaching of chemistry and the students’ interest in chemistry in Nigeria

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study on the factors militating against effective teaching of chemistry in some tertiary institutions in Lagos state would be of immense importance to the government and its stakeholders as it would unravel these factors with the aim of correcting of fixing them. The study brings to light the problems involved in the learning and teaching of chemistry in Lagos state, it we help the government and the ministry of education in Lagos state to find a lasting solution to the problems detected. The study would equally help regulating the curriculum for effective teaching of chemistry. This study would also be beneficial to students and researchers who are interested in the effective teaching of chemistry in schools and colleges.

SCOPE/LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

This study is restricted to the factors militating against effective teaching of chemistry in tertiary institutions with the University of Lagos and the Yaba College of technology serving as the case study.

LIMITATION OF STUDY

Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

DEFINITION OF TERMS

Chemistry:the branch of science concerned with the substances of which matter is composed, the investigation of their properties and reactions, and the use of such reactions to form new substances

Science: a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws

Institution: an organization, establishment, foundation, society, or the like, devoted to the promotion of a particular cause or program, especiallyone of a public, educational, or charitable character

Education : the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

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