Saturday, 14 July 2018

Strategies for improving academic performance on economics in secondary schools


1.1   Background to the Study:-
        The modern trend in education and the complex nature of learning and instruction have made the role of the teachers more challenging. This new role does not just involve the mere transmission of information to students but it involves looking at the problems associated with learning
and instruction. The National Policy on Education (NPE, 2004) in Nigeria emphasized that our children should be educated properly so that they can acquire skills and competencies that would enable them function well and solve problems in the society.
        This is expected to reduce the mere paper work system associated with the former system of education and which led to mass unemployment. This new policy on education emphasizes vocational education and was formulated by the Nigerian educators and policy makers in the education industry to direct the nation towards technological and economic development and cultural renewal. The subject areas recommended for study and compulsory for every child in the post primary school system include science, religion, civic education, health and physical education, vocational and social studies. Under the vocational area is economics and other related subjects. According to Udeagha (2012), economics is an indispensable field of study in education. It is a subject that is very essential for business. It helps both profit and non-profit making organizations. This is because it helps these organizations to make polices which helps for expansion. It also assesses the efficiency of management to make decisions relating to further investment. It aids proprietor’s assess the efficiency of management and provide information which assist parties outside organizations to make objective judgement about the organization.
        According to Ezeoha (2013) in the secondary schools, the objective of teaching this important subject is to provide students with the basic method of processing economic data necessary for making economic decisions, it provide students with the skills necessary for economic understanding of business vocabulary and to inculcate in the students an understanding of basic economic concepts and principles as well as how to apply them in real life situations. In summary, the aim of teaching this important subject (economics) is to ensure self- reliance among students upon graduations, as it educate them  on how to be productive, put resources together to manufacture goods and services and how to  make profit from any production process.
        It can be argued from the above views that academic performance is the outcome of education, it is the extent to which a students, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals. According to Izunwa (2012), academic performance represents performance outcomes that indicate the extent to which a person has accomplished specific goals that were the focus of activities in instructional environments specifically in schools, college and university. School systems mostly emphasize cognitive goals that either apply across multiple subjects areas or include the acquisition of knowledge and understanding in a specific intellectual domain (e.g. numeracy, literacy, science, history etc).
        Unfortunately, students nowadays perform poorly in important subjects like economics; the poor performance of students in economics has become a matter of concern to many people especially to those in the educational sector. Ezezue (2011) posits that, it is worrisome to note that the performance of students in economics in external examinations like WAEC has continued to decline year after year. It is understood that if the situation in Economics remains like this, it will affect both the economic and technological growth of the country and the respective states. This is because a good mastery of economics is required of all students in order to do well in the society after graduation when they are supposed to start contributing to the economic growth of the country. Hence, students who are handicapped in economics are likely to be handicapped in the acquisition of skills in practical technological and other development oriented subjects.
Suffices it to say from the foregoing that, to ensure improved students performance in economics in secondary schools, secondary schools administrators, ministries of education, school principals and other stakeholders in the education sector must not lose sight of the importance of qualified teachers of  economics who can use effective teaching methodologies and strategies to stimulate students learning behaviours positively, exposed the students to practical experience in the  field of economics, organize mock sessions on economics in the classroom and organize training exercises  for the students in workshops. This category of teachers must be employed if improved performance in Economics in secondary schools must be achieved. Similarly, the government is expected to provide training workshops for economic teachers on innovative ways of teaching the subjects. The government is also expected to provide the textbooks and other instructional materials needed for the teaching of the subjects.
The implication of this is that where these facilities are not in place, achieving improved academic performance among secondary schools students will be very difficult thereby affecting overall economic activities and development of the country. The thrust of this work therefore is to determine strategies for improving low academic performance in economics in secondary schools in Afikpo local government area Ebonyi State.

1.2   Statement of the Problem
Students academic gain and learning performance is affected by numerous factors including gender, age, teaching methods, students’ schooling, parents/guardians’ social economic status, residential area of students, medium of instructions in schools, tuition trend, daily study hour and accommodations as boarden or day scholar. Of all these challenges, teachers’ inability to come up with effective strategies for teaching and improving students’ performance in their subjects seems to be the most challenging constraints to student’s academic performances. In some schools, teachers seem not to have played active roles in promoting students academic performances. Some of them find it difficult to effectively impact knowledge on the students due to lack of skills necessary for exposing the students to practical experiences in the various subjects they teach, for instance, in vocational oriented subjects like economics.
        Similarly, the laxity on the part of some government and school administrators to provide teachers with training workshops, instructional materials and other infrastructures may also contribute to poor performance of students in some vocational and practical oriented subjects like Economics. Where these facilities are lacking teachers and students would lack the innovative ways and skills necessary for teaching and learning of practical oriented subjects like economics and other vocational subjects. Thus, the problem of this study is to determine strategies for improving low academic performances of students in economics in secondary schools in Afikpo south local government of Ebonyi state.

1.3   Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to determine strategies for improving low academic performance in economics in secondary schools in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi state. Specifically, the research will,
1.           Determine whether teachers of economics in secondary schools have requisite qualifications for enlightening the students on the loaded benefits of learning economics
2.           Ascertain if there are adequate infrastructures necessary for teaching practical aspects of economics.
3.           Determine whether teachers of economics in secondary schools use adequate instructional resources in teaching the students.
4.           Ascertain whether the government provides training workshops for economics teachers on innovative ways of teaching the subjects.

1.4   Significance of the Study
This research will be significant or beneficial to the governments, educational administrators like schools principals, teachers of economics, students and upcoming researchers.

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