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1.1 Background of the study
Safety practice can be explained to mean the process of averting danger. According to advance learner’s dictionary, “safety is freedom from danger or risk” (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary of Current English A. S. Hornby, 1982). The importance of safety measure in every activity of individual cannot be over emphasized. It forms an integral part of individual understanding. Laboratory activities demand adequate safety measures in order to overcome danger. This can be achieved either by the teachers or students. Aminu (1982) maintain that most laboratory hazards can be reduced by good value judgment, careful manipulation adequate supervision, and most of all the knowledge of how to use the safety material or device present in the laboratories. It is obvious that anyone who is not alert and safety conscious stand the greater risk of turning a minor hazard into an accident which might be fatal. To ensure safety in our biological science laboratories, students and teachers should be well-informed of the safety practice and how to operate simple safety gadgets during emergency. Also there is the need that these safety gadgets be constantly checked to ensure proper functioning during emergency. Laboratories serve as a training ground for scientist and a means for discovering new knowledge and testing hypothesis. “A school laboratory is an instructional facility for helping pupils learn what science is and how the scientists work” (Archohold, 1977). In the study of biology, the equipments and facilities to which students are exposed are very important. It is believed that students with rich background in terms of exposure to many and varied equipment and facilities have advanced intellectual developments than the less privilege ones (Fafunwa, 1984). Laboratory according to the world book encyclopedia can be defined as a place equipped with scientific apparatus where scientist perform experiment to test hypothesis. Science laboratory is not confirmed to a room with sink and fitting for experiment but rather, it includes any place in the field, stream near school, garden or workshop especially equipped and set aside for the function it is intended to serve (Danazumi, 1992). Practical works and safety practices run concurrently in laboratories. This is reflected in one of the objectives of the adequate practical teaching in biology science, which is to teach public how to handle safety materials that could be dangerous. Child center or activity method is one of the recognized methods of teaching biology. This method of teaching ensures a high degree of student participation. The success of practical lesson and the realization of the positive goals of teaching biology in secondary school depend on the measures taken to measure the safety of both the students and teachers (Ahmed, 2001). Conclusively, many lives can be saved if necessary safety measures are considered or taken appropriate in the biology lessons or practicals. The indispensability of the Biological Science Laboratory Apparatus to the teaching of biology cannot be over emphasized. Science laboratory is an important component in the learning of science subjects but it depends upon the degree to which it is efficiently used, only the availability of Science laboratory is not a guarantee of students’ performance until both the students and teachers actually use Biological Science Laboratory Apparatus facilities efficiently (Lewin, 2000).
The proper use of laboratory and demonstration of experiments are the indicators of student performance. Science laboratories are important only when they are used in the school setting. If Science laboratories are provided to schools, there are three possibilities that they remain unused, used inefficiently and used efficiently. Furthermore, Science laboratories are provided to schools with deficient quality and less quantity of equipments, apparatus, materials, and chemicals owing to limited funds. However, Biological Science Laboratory Apparatus may contribute to higher level of academic achievement if used effectively and properly with national commitment. Hofstein and Mamlok-Naaman (2007) described the concept of the use of science laboratory in these words: “Over the years, many have argued that science cannot be meaningful to students without worthwhile practical experiences in the school laboratory”.
Unfortunately, the terms ‘school laboratory or lab and practical’ have been used, too often without precise definition, to embrace a wide array of activities. Typically, the terms have meant experiences in school settings where students interact with materials to observe and understand the natural world. Some laboratory activities have been designed and conducted to engage students individually, while others have sought to engage students in small groups and in large-group demonstration settings. Teacher guidance and instructions have ranged from highly structured and teacher centered to open inquiry. The terms have sometimes been used to include investigations or projects that are pursued for several weeks, sometimes outside the school, while on other occasions they have referred to experiences lasting 20 minutes or less. Sometimes laboratory activities have incorporated a high level of instrumentation, and at other times the use of any instrumentation has been meticulously avoided.
According to Raimi (2002) and Adeyegbe (2005), laboratory adequacy was reported to affect the performance of students in biology. Likewise, about the use of laboratory, Farounbi (1998) argued that students tend to understand and recall what they see more than what they hear. Students see when they actually use laboratories in the teaching and learning of science. Similarly, Adesoji and Olatunbosun (2008) found that laboratory adequacy was also found to enhanced achievement through attendance at Biology workshop.
Biological Science Laboratory Apparatus is a very important resource input for teaching science and is an important predictor of academic achievement. Throwing more light on school facilities and moral guiding provision, Fabunmi (1997) asserted that school facilities when provided will aid teaching learning programme and consequently improve academic achievement of students while the models guiding their provision to schools could take any form as rational bureaucratic and or political model. Whichever model is adopted, according to him, there is always a common feature of differing allocation of facilities to schools. In his words, Ojoawo (1990), however, noted that certain schools are favoured.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The study and mastery of Biology is a major objective of Nigeria education. The achievement of this objectives requires the concern of both the government and private owners of schools in collaboration with classroom teachers. There is a great need for proper provision and Biology science Laboratory Apparatus in the Teaching of Biology also utilization of instructional materials in order to achieve the objective of the emphasis laid on the importance of biological science laboratory apparatus in the teaching of biology in senior secondary schools at all levels of our educational system. Provision and improvisation of Biology science Laboratory Apparatus and their proper utilization in delivering instructional on biology lesson, undoubtedly will improve the teaching and learning outcome of the subject and the learners. Despite the consensus on the importance and place of biology in teaching of Biology, there is a glaring absence of these materials and poor utilization by teachers. The resultant effects of the absence of these Biology science Laboratory Apparatus and their poor utilization on students include mass failure in Biology examination in most schools. The problem of this study therefore is the extent of the importance of biological science laboratory apparatus in the teaching of biology in senior secondary schools. It is in view of the above that the researcher intends to investigate the view of students on the problems of laboratory management and safety in secondary schools
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to investigate the view of biology students on the problem of laboratory management and safety in secondary schools, but to aid the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objectives:
i) To ascertain the effect of poor management of laboratory equipment on student performance in biology
ii) To investigate the role of biology teachers in the management of laboratory equipment
iii) To ascertain the role of student in the management of laboratory equipment
iv) To examine the relationship between improvised teaching materials and student performance in biology
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
To aid the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: poor management of laboratory equipment does not have any effect on student academic performance in biology.
H1: poor management of laboratory equipment does have an effect on student academic performance in biology
H02: Biology teachers do not play any role in the management of laboratory equipment
H2: Biology teachers do play a role in the management of laboratory equipment
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the management of secondary schools in the appointment and employment of a qualified personnel to man the affairs of the biology laboratory, the study will also be useful to biology student, as the also have a significant role to play in the management of biology laboratory, the study will also be of great importance to researcher who intend to embark on a study on a similar topic as the study will guide them and serve as reference point to further studies. Finally, the study will be of importance to students, teachers, lecturers, academia’s and the general public as the study will contribute to the pool of existing literature.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers an investigative study on the views of biology students on the problems of laboratory management and safety in secondary schools. In the cause of the study, there were some factors which militate against the scope of the study;
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Management is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or government body.
A laboratory is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific or technological research, experiments, and measurement may be performed
The laboratory apparatus depends upon the type of laboratory you are in and the experiment you are going to perform.
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