Background of the Study
The problem of students’ under-performance in Christian Religious Studies in Nigeria Schools has been a much discussed educational issue. In solving any problem however, it is pertinent to understand the causes of such problems. Many causes or agents have been studied as the etiological starting point for investigating the phenomena of school failure or success. These causes are looked into from several perspectives including the role of the students, teachers, parents or family, school environment, society, government but mostly into the attitude of male and female students. Notable works among these are effects of students’ study habits (Ayodele & Adebiyi, 2013).
Gender is one of such factors also mentioned to have considerable effects on students’ academic performances. Gender is the range of physical, biological, mental and behavioural characteristics pertaining to and differentiating between the feminine and masculine (female and male) population. The importance of examining performance in relation to gender is based primarily on the socio-cultural differences between girls and boys. Some vocations and professions have been regarded as men’s (engineering, arts and crafts, agriculture etc.) while others as women’s (catering, typing, nursing etc.). In fact, parents assign task like car washing, grass cutting, bulbs fixing, climbing ladders to fix or remove things etc. to the boys. On the other hand, chores like dishes washing, cooking, cleaning and so on is assigned to the girls. In a nutshell, what are regarded as complex and difficult tasks are allocated to boys whereas girls are expected to handle the relatively easy and less demanding tasks. As a result of this way of thinking the larger society has tended to see girls as a weaker sex”. Consequently, an average Nigerian girl goes to school with these fixed stereotypes.
Students effective learning outcome in Christian Religious Studies in recent times have been the concern of stake-holders in Nigerian education system (parents, guardians, teachers, counselors and government). This is because success in education is highly instrumental to the development of a nation; this includes scientific and technological development, socio-economic and political advancement and general life’s success. Various subjects are taught to students in schools, Abioye and Adekunle (2001) are of the opinion that, every subject taught in school has its unique value and importance to the whole education process. The uniqueness of Christian Religious Studies (CRS) emerges from its dual function of simultaneous development of the intellectual ability and moral character of female students than the male students. It also emphasizes the affective domain of education taxonomy – the domain which many seem to be silent about or even neglect completely. In the same vein, Okafor (2012) said that Christian Religious Knowledge helps to inject sanity into male student and minimize the turning of female students who acknowledge metaphysical sanctions, whose acceptable behaviors are often determined not just by external constraints but by spiritual consideration. Poor performance occurs yearly and more students are running away from the subject of Christian Religious Studies. This alarming rate of poor performance in Christian Religious Studies has generated growing concern from various quarters, the parents, teachers, schools and the government (Lawal, 2002; Lawal, 2010).
Ikechukwu (2014) asserted that Christian Religious Studies has been one of the most important subjects being taught in the Schools in Nigeria. This is because the subject helps to streamline the thought, character, moral and aspiration of both male and female students. It also offers hope for the future, integrate, discipline, harmonious and progressive society. Ocheoha (2005) opined that Christian Religious Studies has also as its duty the formation of personality and character in the students. Ocheoha (2005) further added that its curriculum has been designed with intent that students should be given a complete theory of life; a philosophy which emphasizes that God should be the joy of their youth, the strength of their age and the life of their immortality. Also, Akubue (2002) added that Christian Religious Studies is expected to fulfil male and female students great solemn mission of making spiritual values in this world of change; the wellspring of sanctity in the midst of evil, the beacon of idealism in age of cynicism and a ground hope in the face of discouragement and mounting fear by strengthening the students awareness of moral realities. Christian Religious Knowledge in addition, inculcates conduct so as to bridge the gap between creed and deed, ideals and action. This means that, students should be equipped to live in the world guided by moral ideas of loyalty to God, charity and justice to their neighbor. The study of CRK should help students give the best reasonable action in a given circumstance. It is designed to compel interests to beget habits and to influence behaviors. On the whole, religious studies makes one truly a citizen of his nation by inculcating in him the required civic responsibilities.
A person’s gender-role attitudes reflect beliefs about the roles of male and women. These attitudes define the kinds of things that are acceptable or appropriate for men to engage in but not women, and vice versa. For example, people vary in the degree to which they endorse the idea that women should be just as able to do science oriented subjects as equals with men or even better. Conversely there is also variation in opinion as to whether humanities and social sciences like religious education are meant for women and not men. Such gender based attitudes have an influence on students’ attitudes towards certain subjects, and in the long run may influence performance in these subjects. In addition, attitudes towards certain subjects may also be influenced by the teacher teaching such subjects. This paper examines how gender based opinions and teachers influence students’ attitudes towards Christian Religious Studies (henceforth, CRS) in schools in Ado Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
The relationship between gender and attitudes is in no way straight forward. Several studies done reveal mixed results. A survey conducted by the American Association of university women referred to as AAUW(2012) revealed that as girls grow, they lose confidence in their abilities, expect less from life and lose interest in challenging Christian Religious Studies and rewarding careers particularly pursuits involving mathematics and science. Atkinson (2012) carried out a study on factors influencing attitudes of male students and found that male student was not related to their attitudes.
According to Crow and Crow (2009), female students attitude towards her work affects her worth in daily activity. Crow and Crow asserted that female students should not be permitted to do completely as she wishes. She should be stimulated towards desirable activity through the aroused of interest in worth while projects, constructive objectives attitude encourage during child essence. Attitudes are serves well during adolescence. Attitudes are predisposition which has developed through a long and complex process.
Accepting this view, Ocheoha (2005) explained that Christian Religious studies mounts campaigns for better citizenship through her curriculum offerings containing lessons topics which seek to make righteousness prevail, to make justice reign, to spread beauty, gentleness, wisdom and peace, to widen opportunity of increasing goodwill, to foster industry and thrift, education and culture, reverence and obedience, purity and love, honesty, sobriety, and devotion to common good. In addition, according to Okonkwo (2007), Christian Religious studies teach the necessity and duty of participation in government and encourage the cultivation of better relations, socially, professionally, industrially and commercially with others irrespective of their religious inclinations. On the other hand, there seem to be a connection between the attitudes of students regarding learning of Christian Religious Studies and their academic performance. Sometimes students develop negative attitude to a subject due to some factors associated with the teachers and viceversa. Either way, it hinders students’ performance. More so, it can be said that apart from the attitude that has been mentioned, there is issue of students‟ sex. The assumption that male children are intellectually more endowed than their female counterpart sometimes can retrogress the confidence of female students and invariable create an associated problem of self-concept vis a vis attitudinal changes. More so, the age of the student in the learning of CRK is an important aspect of learning that enhances performance, a much younger age could make the learner lack ability to understand basic abstract concepts, this could be detrimental to success in learning.
Statement of the Study
The problem of this study is to compare the attitude of male and female students towards the learning of Christian Religion Studies in Ado Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
In the world today, especially in Nigeria, gender inequality is a very common issue; which even children below Ten are segregated all in the name of gender. This is an erroneous societal belief that women’s position in the society is predominantly a domestic affairs ranging from house keeping, child bearing etc. Therefore, the males are always trying to prove that they are superior to their female counterparts, thereby melting assault on them, discriminating them. Female children are not valued. They are being deprived of their right to education, movement and association, freedom of speech, freedom to participate in politics, freedom to economic access ,free access to employment, freedom to participate in policy decision making etc.