THE ATTITUDE OF STUDENTS TOWARDS VOCATIONAL SUBJECTS IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

THE ATTITUDE OF STUDENTS TOWARDS VOCATIONAL SUBJECTS IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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ABSTRACT

The study set out to find out the effect of gender, parental background and teachers’ personality on students’ attitude to vocational subjects in selected secondary schools in Yewa South Local Government of Ogun State.  This is because vocational subjects having been accorded the prime place in the new National Policy on Education and its enforcement at Junior Secondary School level, is not embraced by students after the Junior Secondary.  The study sample is made up of 200 students (100 male and 100 female) randomly selected from ten secondary schools in Yewa – South Local Government.  Four hypothesis were tested.  The design of the study was survey which involved the use of questionnaires to elicit responses for data collection.  The findings among others are: Environmental factors play a significant role in rejection of vocational subjects.  The educational levels and occupational status of parents affect students choice of vocational subject negatively.  Choice of vocational subjects is not gender related. The study recommended that there should be an enlightenment programme in schools to enhance students’ positive attitude towards the study of vocational subjects.  Parent/guardian should encourage their wards to show interest and participate actively in vocational subjects.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

In Nigeria today, the importance of vocational education cannot be over-emphasised. Borishadee (2002) described vocational education as the springboard that is meant to elevate the status of Nigeria in the committee of nations.Jiboku (1995) observed that up till date, Nigeria has been craving for manpower especially in the areas of Engineering, Science and Technology.  The only vehicle for the achievement of the country’s goal of technological advancement is vocational education.Vocational Education has been absent in the Nigerian formal educational set up, for instance, the Education Ordinances of 1882, 1887, 1908 and 1916 were silent on Technical Education – as the colonial education in Nigeria have repeatedly asserted that it was meant to produce people who could only read, write, keep records and be willing to serve the colonial masters in whatever capacity they deemed fit.

In the non-formal realm, Jiboku (1995) further stated that vocational education is as old as Nigeria traditional grouping.  Skills were acquiredthrough informal and non-formal means.  Apprenticeship system was prominent before the advent of Western Education that gave rise to mad rush for white-collar job that was detrimental to the introduction of formal Vocational – Education.  However, events soon proved that Vocational Education could not be totally swept under the carpet; hence the establishment of a number of comprehensive schools (assisted and non-assisted), Vocational training centres, Technical Colleges, Colleges of Education (Technical) and Colleges of Technology where the teaching of Vocational and Technical subjects were predominant up to the level of Technician.The report of the Ashby Commission (investment in education) (1960) marked the beginning of government’s serious involvement in the establishment and funding of vocational education.  It also brought about the introduction of vocational subjects into Nigerian Secondary School’s curriculum.  The Ashby commission Report identified that the secondary school system was devoid of Vocational and Technical Education courses and therefore suggested that it is introduced.Education seminars, workshops, symposia and conferences were organized for a critical appraisal of the commission report.  Objectives of Vocational Education were summarized as:

(i)           Meeting the manpower needs of the society

(ii)          Increasing the options available to each student and

(iii)        Serving as a motivating force to enhance all types of learning.

It is also observed that Vocational Education had the merits that the student who was unable to proceed in academic education had the option to use his skill to earn a living.The Nigerian government, in an effort to meet the demands of the changing times decided to restructure the system of education in the country.  In 1977, the government published a new National Policy on Education which was later revised in 1981.  The policy provides that Nigeria should have a new secondary education programme designed to be both functional and practical; a programme that would be structurally and qualitatively different from the existing system.  This led to the introduction of 6-3-3-4 educational systems.The moral of an average Nigerian became dampened as to whether or not the teaching of vocational subjects in schools would deliver on its promise to elevate the country among the committee of nations.Students attitude towards vocational subjects can be traced to a number of reasons prominent among which are inadequate funding; a problem that has persisted right from the inception of the programme.  Money is needed to procure machines and equipment to be installed in standard workshop.  In some states, workshops were built without equipment while it is the other way round in some other states due to poor funding according to Olateru-Olagbegi (1995). Consequent upon the aforementioned, Vocational subjects are taught without or with little practical work.  Students therefore get disenchanted studying vocational subjects.

Research studies conducted by Power (1999) show that vocational subjects take the back seat in the list of referred subjects of students in Senior Secondary Schools.  Other reasons adduced are societal values, parental influence, bandwagon effect in selection of subjects, prospect and remuneration of workers in various fields of vocational studies.The attitude of students according to Borishade (2002) can also be traced to lack of qualified manpower to teach vocational subjects.  Technical teachers trained in our institutions are ‘half-baked’ since these institutions lack adequate equipment that will facilitate teaching.  Those trained abroad where there was equipment cannot function for unavailability of similar equipment in our schools, Physics teachers are drafted to teach most vocational subjects especially introductory technology.  A check has to be put to this trend so that our dream of becoming a technological developed nation will not be a mirage.

1.2   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

This study examines the attitude of students towards the study of Vocational subjects in secondary schools with all the incentives promised by the school administrators, parents and teachers to students, especially in Secondary Schools; the attitude of students toward the subject is still negative.  It has been established by research findings carried out by Bakare (1985), that the number of students who opted for Technical and vocational based subjects in the senior secondary level was not encouraging in terms of enrolment.Olateru-Olagbegi (1995) also asserted that there are quite a number of factors that are affecting students in the selection of vocational subjects at the Senior Secondary School level; these include lack of interest and negative attitude of the students of vocational courses.

This negative attitude to the choice of vocational subjects has been affecting the production of vocational and technological experts who are important in the technological development of the nation.  The question therefore is, will students’ attitudes towards vocational subjects be affected by environmental factors, such as the level of parents’ education, occupational status of parents, teachers’ personality and gender?

1.3   PURPOSE OF STUDY

This study is designed to highlight the attitude of students in Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun State towards Vocational subjects.  Attention will be focused on factors responsible for the students’ attitude vis-à-vis its implication on the implementation of 6-3-3-4 Educational System. The study will then suggest ways by which students, administrators, government and those concerned with the implementation of the 6-3-3-4 Educational System will resolve various problems confronting vocational education.

1.4   RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following research questions will be considered in the course of the study:

1.   What is the attitude of students towards vocational subjects?

2.   Does gender affects the attitudes of students towards vocational subjects?

3.   Does parental background affects the attitudes of students towards vocational subjects?

4.   Does the personality of teachers affect the students ‘attitude towards vocational subjects?

1.5   HYPOTHESES

H0: The environment of students will not affect students’ attitude     towards vocational subjects.

H0: The level of education of parents will not affect students’ attitude towards vocational subjects.

H0: The occupational status of parents will not affect student’s attitude towards vocational subjects.

H0: Teacher’s personality will not affect students’ attitude towards   vocational subjects.

1.6   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The significance of this study is to enable us find out the attitude of students towards vocational subjects in secondary schools in Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun State being a case study.

It is expected that answers to the research questions will be of tremendous help to practicing teachers and those in training who are to impart skills into students.

It is expected that answers to the research questions will be of tremendous help to practicing teachers and those in training who are to impart skills into students.School administrators will benefit from the outcome of the study as it is hoped to expose the danger inherent in creating official bottlenecks in the implementation of programme especially in the areas of equipment and materials.

Curriculum designers and scheme developers will also get first hand information as to what actually happen to the blue-prints sent to schools and will attempt a general evaluation and overhauling of the system.At the successful completion of this study, recommendations would also be made on how vocational subjects could be embraced by students and the society bearing in mind the fact that a society that does not develop her own technology through the teaching of relevant vocational subjects will continue to be colonized by other developed nations.The researcher examines the attitude of students towards the study of vocational subjects in selected secondary schools in Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun State.  The study will be limited to ten (10) public schools.  Private Schools are excluded in the study.The schools used for the study are co-educational and were selected randomly in order to be of good representative of all other schools, the schools have been presenting candidates for Senior School Examination (SSCE) in vocational subjects.

1.7   LIMITATIONS

Due to financial constraint, the study is limited to Yewa South Local Government, rather, it would have covered all the secondary schools both private and public schools in Ogun State.

1.8   ASSUMPTIONS OF THE STUDY

The researcher of this study assumed that:

1.   All responses from respondent are reliable and valid.

2.   The educational environments of all the schools used in the study are replica of the situation in other secondary schools in the local government.

3.   Vocational subjects are taught in the secondary schools under study.

1.9   DEFINITION OF TERMS

1. Vocational Subjects:  This included subjects that could lead   to acquisition of skills (see appendix).

2. Qualified Vocational Subject Teacher:- It is assumed tomean the Teachers with at least NCE in vocational Subjectscurrently teaching in Secondary Schools.

3. Attitude:-  It is a learned predisposition to react consistently    in a given manner either positively or negatively to certain       persons, objects or concepts.


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