1.1 Background to the Study
Science and technology have long been recognized as instruments per excellent for nation building and every country today craves for development Nwagbo (2000), Okpara (2004), Abbas (2007).
Nigeria, like the other nations in the world depends on what science, technology and mathematics could offer for her national development. Shinho (2004), Adeyegbe (2005), Ajewole (2005).
Her national objectives, as stated in the national policy on education federal ministry of education (1995), are geared towards self realization, better human relationship, individual and national utility as well as towards social, cultural, economics, political, scientific and technological growth. To accomplish these objectives, it is stated in section 10 of the policy that federal and state governments shall maintain and adequately fund the inspectorate and education. Indeed, the relevance of science to national goals, aspirations and economy dictates, to a large extent, the huge commitment and support which most nations make and give to science and technological development Olagunju (2003).
The enviable position which science education system of most countries of the world occupies, including Nigeria is perhaps justifiable. The reason is that science can exert a dominant, if not decisive influence on the life of individual as well as on the developmental effort of a nation (Emovon, 1985).
The universal recognition of the above submission is responsible for the prime position that has been accorded science and in particular, chemistry worldwide, within the context of science, chemistry which is a branch of pure science is introduced into the curriculum content of secondary schools because of its educational value, relevant to the need of the individual learner and society as a whole Ogunleye (1999). Chemistry is a human endeavour that relies on basic qualities like activity, weight, recording and skills Banya (2005).
Chemistry is commonly viewed as the “center science” as mastery of its concepts regarding the structure of matter is prerequisite to further study in all sciences.
Despite the importance of chemistry to mankind and the efforts of researchers to improve no its teaching and learning, the achievement of student in the subject remains low in Nigeria.
Among the factors that have been identified outcomes in chemistry are, poor methods of instruction Osuafor (1999) teacher’s attitude Agbadiuno (1992), laboratory in-adequacy Okegbile (1996), Raimi (1998), Bajah (1999) and Adeyegbe (2005) and poor science background (Oshokoya 1998) and Adesoji (1999).
Papanastasiou (2001) reported that those who have positive attitude towards science tend to perform better in the subject. The affective behaviours on the classroom and strongly related to achievement, and science attitudes are learned (George and Kaplan, 1998). The teachers play a significant role during the learning process and they can directly or indirectly influence the student’s achievement.
The school and teacher’s factors which influence the achievement of students in chemistry according to Ajayi (2001) and Oluchukwu (2000) are the classroom, libraries, quality and quantity of chemistry teachers, the availability or non availability of facilities, teaching aids school management, teaching methods, environment and the location of the school.
These school factor remain important area that should be studied and well managed to enhance student performance in chemistry.
In essence, chemistry performs the function of gate keeper for the future study of both pure and applied science, medicine, pharmacy, engineering, agricultural and all other professions at the secondary school level.
In another dimension, there are consistent reports in literature as regards students’ performance in science in senior secondary school in Nigeria. Afuwape (2004).
Also, many new curriculum projects such as chemistry study, elementary science study (ELSS) and science curriculum improvement study (SCIS) were developed and accomplished through the close collaboration of teachers and scientists, aimed at revamping the quality of science education and supporting student’ science learning with good curriculum materials with a high level of science content and disciplinary knowledge Shinho (2004). Therefore to remain relevant in the society around us and also to be part of the development of new technologies, science students should be competent at mastering the necessary concepts and skills and they should be able to translate them to everyday living.
Despite the introduction of new curricular Shinbo and Ogini (2012) believes that general level of performance of students in the subject is still not good enough Oginni, (2012).
The selected factors therefore include school location, school type, laboratory adequacy and frequency of practical classes.
The issue of poor performance of students in chemistry in Nigeria secondary schools has been of much concern to the government, parents and even students themselves. The quality of chemistry do not only depends on the teacher as reflected in the performance of their duties, but also in the effective coordination of the school factors Ajao (2001).
The school factors includes instructional spaces planning, administrative places planning, teaching methods, location, availability of qualify teachers, school programme, facilities and as well as the students themselves are essential in teaching learning process.
According to Williams, Persuade and Turner (2008), the extent to which student learning chemistry could be enhanced depends on their location which the school compounds the structure of their classroom, availability of instructional facilities and accessories. It is believed that a well-planned school will gear up expected outcomes of education that will facilitates good social, political and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process and that of chemistry performance of the students.
Glassman (1994), asserting that the physical characteristics of the school have a variety of effects on teachers, students and the learning process. Poor lighting, noise, high levels of carbon(iv)oxide in classrooms and inconsistent temperatures make teaching and learning difficult. Poor maintenance and ineffective use of school facilities and teaching aids among school students and teachers lead to poor performance in the teaching and learning chemistry in our secondary schools in Nigeria.
Beyond the direct effects that poor facilities have on student ability to learn, then combined with frustrating behaviour by students including poor concentration which creates a stressful, set of working conditions for lowered teacher enthusiasm, it is possible that the afore mentioned characteristics of school factors has an influence on the achievement of student in chemistry. The importance of the above school factors is enormous as succinctly put by Strain (2003) the success in chemistry learning is dependent not only on the quality and intensity of instruction and absence of impediments to learning, but also on the make up of the teacher methods and materials.
Similarly, Okeye (2001), posited that, teachers are the hubs of any education system and determine the success of any education system.