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1.1 Background of the Study
Every human being has an element of curiosity in him or herself, this element of curiosity when added to interest leads an individual to be involved in the act of inquiry. However, the degree at which this act of curiosity develops in individual part of science. An American scientist; James B.C. (1980) define science as an interconnected series of concepts and conceptual schemes that have developed as a result of experimentation and observation and are faithful of further observation and experimentation. Oguntonade C.B. further defines science basically as rational inquiry which is generated by a desire to explain the phenomena of human experience, commenting further, he states that any claim to a satisfactory or acceptable discipline in general. However, whatever opinion people hold about science, there is no doubt that science has come to stay as an integral part of our wellbeing,. It is therefore relevant for any nation to embrace science in her educational pursuit.
As rightly noted by Professor Babs Fafunwa “a nation that overtook the significant truism of science in our age has her own peril. Science in our age has obviously become a necessary tool to good living, to health, home making and to leisure add to national defense. According to Biology for the certificate year a millennium text sees biology as a branch of science that deals with the study of living things, it can also be seen as a very important part of science which is helping science to fulfill the major role that science plays in the life and well-being of any nation.
Curriculum planets over the years have become aware of the importance of biology as an integral part of science and there attempted to give biology as well as other sciences proper attention in the secondary school education but sad however, is the fact that the teaching of biology as a subject In our secondary schools is more of a theoretical knowledge. Indeed no attention has been directed towards making biology as a way of thought of attitudes or as a product. One of the ways in which biology teaching and learning could be seen as a way of thought; attitude or as product is by emphasizing the importance of laboratory and of course the need for the availability and use of the necessary science equipment in the schools science laboratory. The laboratory has been seen by Pinchas Tamir as “a place where students are engage in hands on activities such as observations and experiments” commenting further, he stated that a laboratory must be used not only to verify but to find her investigation and enquiry. This study on the “effects of the availability of laboratory science equipment on students performances in biology at the west African school certificate examinations (WASCE) will attempt to offer a broad base for the need to making the teaching and learning of sciences in general and biology in particular to be seen as a way of thought, of attitude or of products.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The major problem of this study was to examine the possible effect of the availability of laboratory and science equipments in student’s performances in the West African school certificate biology examination. A survey of this problem therefore formed the basis of this study.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The study has the following aims and objectives:
a. To determine if the lack of laboratory and scientific equipments have an impact on the performance of the students in Biology examination.
b. To compare if the students who have access to these laboratory and equipment do better than those who don’t have.
c. To highlight the importance of scientific laboratories and equipments.
d. To recommend effective ways of managing the situation.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
In this study, the following hypothesis will be tested:
Alternative hypothesis: That school with both laboratory and appropriate science equipment perform better in the west school biology examination than schools without laboratory and appropriate science equipment.
Null Hypothesis: That school with both laboratory and appropriate science equipment do not perform better in the west school biology examination than schools without laboratory and appropriate science equipment.
Alternative hypothesis: Those schools with laboratory and science equipment trained biology teachers perform better in biology in the WASCE than school with laboratory and science equipments but with untrained teachers in biology.
Null Hypothesis: Those schools with laboratory and science equipment trained biology teachers do not perform better in biology in the WASCE than school with laboratory and science equipments but with untrained teachers in biology.
Alternative hypothesis: That schools where the students make more use of the laboratory and science equipments in biology classes perform better than schools which make less use of the laboratory and science equipment in their biology classes.
Null hypothesis: That schools where the students make more use of the laboratory and science equipments in biology classes perform better than schools which make less use of the laboratory and science equipment in their biology classes.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is also interesting to note that the planners of education in this country realize the importance of science in that nation’s education. It is required that the teaching/learning of any science subject should be conceived of as a way of thought of attitude or as product. This placing of more emphasis on practical work in the teaching and learning of biology as well as other sciences will render them to achieve the goal by the teachers and students alike. This study will therefore be of utmost importance to the curriculum designers, the principals, science teachers in general, the biology teachers in particular, parents/guardians and the students.
To the curriculum designers, the study will help them to see the need for structuring the science curriculum in order to meet with the nation’s desire which is that of producing students that can live effectively in our modern age. This is exactly the aim of the 6-3-3-4 system of educations. To the principals of schools, science teacher’s parents and guardians, this study is important for it will help them to see the need for having a well equipped and effectively used laboratory. The importance of having good teachers to make use of the laboratory and the science equipments is very essential. A good teacher as it is said make teaching and learning look easy. The availability of the laboratory and science equipment will inspire the good teacher to utilize them effectively. The study will enable the students to see the need for developing his or her own creative thinking and his or her own manipulative skill or ability.
The net effect of these however, is the fact that the government stands to realize her long desired aim which is that of producing individuals who is capable of acquiring the appropriate skills, abilities and competence both mental and physical, which stands as an equipment for the individual to live in and contribute to the development of his or her society.
There will also be rise in the success of students in the West African school certificate biology examination.
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Laboratory: It is a place providing opportunities for experimentation observation or practice in a field of study.
Science equipment: In this context, it refers to all the necessary materials and supplies required for teaching and learning of biology in the secondary schools.
Experimentation: The process through which an operation is carried out under controlled condition in order to discover an unknown effect of law, to test or establish a hypothesis or to illustrate a know law.
Curriculum: This is the variety of the institutional activities planned and provided for pupils by the local school or school system.
Inquiry: the searching for scientific information.
Observation: A systematic careful study of events based on measurement.
Trained teacher: In the context of this study he is the teacher who has undergone an academic programme in a science (biology) and educational principles and practice in a higher institution such as in a College of Education and the University.
Untrained teachers: Refers to the teacher that has undergone an academic programme in any of the sciences but without a course in educational principles and practice from a higher institution such as the College of Education and University.
W.A.S.C.E: West African school certificate examination: an examination set for by every eligible final year students of a secondary school i.e. S.S.3 in Nigeria and some other West African countries.
1.7 Organization of the Study
The study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the study’s introduction and gives a background to the study. Chapter two reviews related and relevant literature. The chapter three gives the research methodology while the chapter four gives the study’s analysis and interpretation of data. The study concludes with chapter five which deals on the summary, conclusion and recommendation.
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