Background of the Study
Education is the greatest tool for the development of any nation, the major objectives of sending our children to school is to help them learn some basic concepts, skills, knowledge and beliefs necessary for the development of some specific goals. Observations have shown that in even level of schooling whether at the primary, secondary or tertiary level of education, there are basic facilities which make it possible for the school to attain her desired goals school facilities can also be referred to as school plant.
Saunders (2000) states that, education was consistently the single biggest item of budgetary expenditure, accounting, for an average of 18% of total government expenditure in the 1980s. This saw the education system grow in leaps and bounds. Saunders (2000) further states that the share of gross Domestic Product (GDP) allocated to education increased by 3% between 1980 and 1985; one of the highest levels of investment in education in the developing world. It is no wonder, therefore, that literacy levels rose to highest levels of over 80%.
Reomer (2001), referred to education as all those experience of the individual through which knowledge is acquired, the intellect enlightened or will be strengthened’
Education therefore can be regarded as a social process whose purpose is to bring about certain desirable behavioural change in the total development of the individual. In the whole world, education has been given more regard while in Nigeria particularly education has been seen as the main vehicle for rapid development.
It is obvious that since advent of the Europeans, Nigeria have attached much importance to western education. The first type of schools according to Bab fafunwa (2001), were the Islamic and Arabic schools which emerged as a result of the Islamic scholar’s arrival into the country on the pretense of trade.
The first set of schools were usually situated under big trees with students who were mainly conducted in the evening after their trading activities with the merchants who acted as the tutors. (mallams). The first type of school didn’t have any facilities apart from the slate and foreign textbooks used.
The second decade saw the real spending on individual students falling, mostly due to poor economic performance. (Nziramasanga, 1999) states that the impact on the education system was devastating.Real spending per student in primary school fell by 40% over the period 1990 – 1995, to the lowest level since the early 1980s. Since that time, real spending never improved again, with the year 2000 and after, hard hit by economic meltdown (Kothan, 1990).
Home economics is the education for living. It is the study of all that relate to home and family. It is the area of study that provides the necessary knowledge guiding and assisting human being to be able to attain a more self reliance and fulfilled life. Home economics deals with all aspects of family living, drawing knowledge from many disciplines such as Biology, Physics, Social Science, Humanities and Arts, and unifying the knowledge drawn to teach people how to do the followings: Determine the needs of individuals and families and become responsible and effective members of family and community through effective home making and gainful employment (Anyakoha, 1997). Ugoezie (1990) is of the view that home economics is a skill-oriented subject that can equip an individual with the basic skill and knowledge that will help one to be self-employed and so contribute effectively to the socio-economic development of the family and the society.
Eze (2001) pointed out that Home Economics is capable of preparing youths and adults for entry into various areas Home Economics occupations. This shows that as a vocational subject Home Economics contributes to manpower development by equipping individuals with reliable occupational skills, which lead to self-reliance. Home Economics can also help individuals (male and female) acquire basic skills needed for gainful employment and family living. It could also be known that Home Economics as a field of study does not exclude gender, age or any other classification (Eze, 2001). Home Economics is a very important subject in the University Curriculum. The programme has many career opportunities, for the University graduates. It also prepares individual for happy family life. Both male and female students study the subject at the University. In practice, however, Home Economics is one of the courses which attract the lowest enrolment of students both at the university and other tertiary institutions.
Akuzuilo (1993), Azikiwe (1990) and Olaitan (1986) are of the view that Home Economics education is one of the courses which attract lowest enrolment of students in secondary and tertiary levels of education. Besides, the low enrolment pattern, Home Economics education show wide disparity between male and female students in favour of females. Both low enrolment and gender disparity in enrolment have been attributed to wrong awareness (perception) of the meaning and the roles of Home Economists (Olaitan, 1986). It is therefore of paramount importance to investigate the factors/reasons which students from studying Home Economics at the University of Ilorin and students’ view on the roles of Home Economics programme on graduation from the University.
The low students’ enrolment of Home Economics in the University of Ilorin calls for much concern. This could be due to certain problems relating to the teaching/learning of the subject. Some likely causes include; some parents do not encourage their children to study Home Economics. Lack of equipment and facilities for practicals (Imonikebe, 1993). One of the reasons why students do not like to study Home Economics may be due to its expensive nature.
Olaitan and Agusiobo (1981), observes that parents seem to underrate Home Economics and object to its inclusion in the school’s curriculum. Poor funding by the government was seen as a problem affecting Home Economics (Anodiogbu, 1980). Uwadie (1990) stated that most complaints about teaching of Home Economics are mostly shortage of teachers, equipment and accommodation and lack of dedication on the part of teachers of Home Economics. Home Economics is perceived as a female domain into which males need not venture (Uwadie, 1993). Eze (2001) found the following as the factors that militate against male students in the study of Home Economics; that there are differential socialization patterns of boys and girls at early stage of life; he perceived irrelevance of Home Economics for boys; absence of career education, feminine…. of Home Economics as a course of study.
Anyakoha (1992) pointed out that the potential of an educational system is directly related to the qualification of the teacher. The more qualified and well-trained teachers are, the easier it is curriculum to be executed and the better achievement by the student. The need for the students to be taken for excursion to various Home Economics establishment such as in clothing and textiles, Home management, Food and Nutrition establishments was recommended by Ovute, (2001). This could motivate students to study Home Economics. The Federal Government should be more seriously involved in the funding of Home Economics courses in order to overcome the problems of lack of finance (Ode, 1998). Teaching people about the importance of Home economics is very necessary. There should be enlightenment campaigns through seminars and mass media about the importance of Home Economics and the career opportunities that subject provides.
Eze (2001) recommended that parents should encourage their sons and daughters to develop interest and select Home Economics as a subject of study in schools; that there should be no mark sex discrimination in the activities and games which boys and girls are allowed to participate at home: that parents should encourage their sons to choose Home Economics and related discipline; that careers in Home Economics are attractive and highly remunerated; that Home Economics teachers should not only teach their subject but also guidance counsellors to their students especially boys; that there should be emphasis on the provision of teaching facilities and career education that will help to attract boys and girls to study Home Economics. Ovule (2002) recommended the excursion or field trips as method of teaching Home Economics in all levels of education.
Economic recession is a period of general economic decline and is typically accompanied by a drop in the stock market, an increase in unemployment, and a decline in the housing market. Generally, a recession is less severe than a depression. The blame for a recession generally falls on the federal leadership, often either the president himself, the head of the Federal Reserve, or the entire administration.
Unemployment can leave lasting negative impacts. Firstly, unemployment is very stressful and can damage the persons morale, and even health. Areas of high unemployment tend to experience more social problems. High unemployment can be factors in creating social instability such as riots. Mass unemployment in Spain and Greece is threatening the social fabric of the countries.
The unemployed lose the opportunity to gain skills and on-the job training. Long-term unemployment can make it harder for the worker to gain a job in the future; it can even cause people to give up and drop out of the labour market completely.
Pat Callan (2002) in Coping with Recession: Public Policy, Economic Downturns and Higher Education, formulas for setting tuition were early victims of a recession and the steepest tuition increases in the public sector occurred during recessions as states seek to shift their costs to users, including students and their families. Callan believes that higher education absorbs larger cuts when revenue shortfalls are allocated among state services and these costs are then shifted by the schools to the students. At the same time, no new financial aid will accompany the cost increases; in fact student aid may be reduced. Although the early 2000s were not good years, they were cushioned somewhat by the robust good health of higher education during the late 1990s, Callan, 2002.
However there are new considerations that will make future recessions harder: higher enrollments in general and of poorer students in particular; the different impact of higher education costs depending on one’s generation – one generation attends school during “good times” with small tuition increases (or even tuition cuts) and generous financial aid; then the next generation attends during the bad times and encounters double digit tuition increases and cuts to financial aid. Also in the future the mismatch between the current public policies and students’ needs will be exacerbated. Most of the recent increases in student aid have been for the middle class in the form of merit aid and tax credits. Most of the projected increase in numbers of students will come from families not able to take advantage of those program.
The policy underlying the 6:3:3:4 system of education in Nigeria is to enable students acquire knowledge and preliminary vocational training relevant to eventual self-reliance. The attainment of this policy would depend largely on the interaction between the learners (students) and the school environment; any shortfall from them may inhibit the students’ overall learning outcome.
The student belongs to several environments such as the home, school and the community where he lives; all these contribute to their right to learn, develop and live. The term learning environment has been used by many writers.
Whereas some see learning environment as the physical characteristics of the school environment, others take it as the teaching staff, leadership styles, morals and co-operations among others. However, Burden and Fraser sees it as the total learning environment where the child finds himself, which include the norms of the school system and the pattern of grouping of the learner for learning. This is why the classroom is a major component of the learning environment. Dorman et al. see the classroom as a critical place for pupils’ interpersonal and educational development. In all, a good classroom is essential for effective learning to take place.
Goodlord 2005, noted that good classroom environments are those with adequate equipment for teaching and learning, with motivated teachers who use standard teaching methodologies and have adequate facilities. In other words, schools that do not meet this standard may not be able to provide good learning environment for proper leaning to take place.
This study was motivated by the desire to understand the perception of students of their classroom learning environment as an educational phenomenon, crucial to students’ interest in school subjects. Home economics, an integrated subject having orientation of creativity, ought to be taught in the laboratory. However, most Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria are not properly quipped or non-existent; as a result, the subject is mostly taught in normal classrooms. The study therefore attempt to assess student’s perception of their home economics classroom learning environment in Nigeria tertiary Institutions.
All stakeholders in education desire a classroom in which the subject matter is relevant, learning is exciting and students are supported and encouraged to acquire new knowledge. There have been series of research on classroom as learning environment, quantitative and qualitative method have been utilized and a wide varieties of questionnaire have been developed and used for this purpose. Creating a successful classroom where learning is highly valued is the sole responsibility of the teacher.
Willen, 2008, a major part of building a supportive climate for learning is the use of appropriate method of teaching school subjects.
Results of the current situation in Nigerian schools, shows that teachers favoured the use of lecture method for almost all subjects. Also classroom observational studies have indicated that teachers’ instructional methods were at variance with the method implied.
This evidence was partly supported by Imariagbe 2011and Okeke 2009 where it was revealed that the overall pattern of intellectual transactions in tertiary institutions in Nigeria was teacher dominated, extremely didactic and theoretical. The teacher only presented the facts and principles contained in the standard recommended textbooks and students were rarely involved in practical experiences other than very infrequent teacher demonstration experiments. This teaching approach differs substantially from what is obtained elsewhere.
Over the years the link between students’ achievements and classroom learning has been researched into. Dorman et al. Writes that every school has a passive climate which has an influence on the behavior of both teachers and students to succeed in teaching and learning. If teachers have a supportive and conducive working environment, a better students’ achievement will result.
In addition, Fisher et al, 2005, adapted the learning model to give an indication that a teacher’s interpersonal behaviour in the classroom significantly affects the performance of students in chemistry, which indicates that teachers’ behavior influences students’ outcomes. Home economics educationists have over the years advocated well equipped home economics laboratories for home economics practical classes which meet the yearning of students over the years.
Low enrolment in home economics and other school subjects have also been traced to the classroom learning environment. Oyedeji identified the classroom environment as the militating factor which constantly interact to generate or degenerate cognitive and affective readiness. In addition, Mba  identified the teacher factor as one of the problems of the low level of acceptance of home economics as a school subject. In her opinion, methods utilized by the teachers in home economics classrooms are obsolete and have rendered the subject uninteresting.
According to Tanvi 2016, the teacher, the way he teaches, instructional process, the way he/she manages the students during the teaching and learning process has effect on the students’ learning outcome.
Level of performance among students in Nigeria tertiary institutions has been fully linked to classroom environment variables.
For instance, Koreau and Nbina 2005, indicated that poor physical structures such as classrooms, incompetent teachers and inadequate instructional materials were responsible for poor performance of students in most school subjects. Koreau specifically identified variables such as, poor laboratories and uncondusive classrooms as some of the major causes of poor performance of students in schools.