1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
We live in a world of science and technology, throughout our lives; human beings encounter issues and problems that have their root in science. Science and technology have become critical factor of economic and social development. Through science resource of nature have been well utilized and transformed into meaningful resources for a better living in the world. The tremendous emerging trend in science education has assured man of a comfortable living within the society (FGN, 2014). Laboratory resources refer to the material assets which need to be acquired, planned, directed and coordinated in order to promote the quality of science teaching and learning in schools. Consequently laboratory resource factors are those things that influence laboratory resources which includes availability of laboratory resources, adequacy of laboratory resources, and level of utilization of laboratory resources among others. Laboratory resources/equipment are those instructional materials in the form of scientific equipment and materials found in physics laboratories which are used for laboratory or practical work in physics. Laboratory or practical works are those contacts or interactions of students with scientific equipment and materials which make direct contributions towards understanding or learning of concepts. Laboratory equipment is an inevitable tool in effective teaching and learning. Laboratory activities also encourage students to construct knowledge by interaction with laboratory materials as they solve problems. Ado (2013) further opined that it is very necessary that students manipulate materials and equipped in learning through equipment; this will help them not only to acquire science process skills and new knowledge but also scientific attitude such as honesty, open-mindedness and cooperation as moralities of science and enhance understanding and retention of difficult concepts and procedures. Laboratory resources give students some basic insight into scientific concepts and leave them with feeling of the reality of science which in turn improves their academic performance in examinations (Habu, 2015). Achimagu (2011) classified resource materials into classroom/laboratories equipment/chemicals and textual/audio visual materials. Resources or facilities according to Umeh (2011) refers to facilities that can be used to enhance or improve educational programmes and promote teaching and learning. Science laboratory resources/facilities can be human or material. The human resources have to do with personnel such as lecturers/teachers, laboratory technologist/assistants and students. The science laboratory material resources are those materials available to the science teacher for teaching and learning. They include textbooks, computers, thermometers, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, oven, incubators, chalkboards, model/mock-ups, television, radio and other electronic devices. Material resources according to Odigbo (2010) refers to either fixed or movable objects, equipment, supplies and facilities which may be private, public or government property that may be turned into educational use for attainment of set goals. Material resources in colleges of education are the essential concrete features that enable the instructor teach effectively in Education workshop and classroom (Okoro, 2010 and Oranu, 2012). Wang (1993) stated that material resources which he called physical faculties helped the teacher to convey intended messages effectively so that learner receives, understands, retains, and applies experiences gained to reach overall educational goals. Although some facilities may be available and adequate but may not be put to use by the teachers. Umeh (2011) is of the view that audio visual aids such as computers and projectors are not utilized in schools due to lack of knowledge on the proper use of such resources for teaching. Onyeji (2014) had earlier reported that none of these new media (electronics) is available, accessible or used in communicating Science, Technology and Mathematics (STM) in schools. Physical laboratory facilities are the fundamental factors in better learning and achievements of the students. All facilities should be provided to the schools for the students’ better, concrete, and real experiences. Leeper, (2011), stated that the child learns through concrete rather than abstract experiences as there are learners who use different cognitive skills for learning, such as seeing, hearing feeling and touching skills. School facilities have been observed as a potent factor to quantitative education. The availability of laboratory facilities is essential for effective teaching and learning of Science and consequently a good performance in students. Ifeakor (2011) is of the opinion that learning can occur through one’s environment – facilities that are available to facilitate students learning outcome. Students can master better the basic concepts of Biology /chemistry when they learn by doing. This implies that practical should function as the primary learning experience. Management according to Tarig (2014) is defined as a process of coordinating work activities so that they are completed efficiently and effectively with and through people. He went further to say that management is a process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling all activities of the organization in pursuit of pre-determined objectives. Davis (2017), listed management functions to include: planning, organizing, leading or motivating, coordinating and controlling. Management in the context of this study is the act of planning, organizing, controlling and coordinating the activities in a laboratory in order to achieve its objectives. Empirical studies conducted in relation to resource utilization in education have revealed that essential facilities are not always available in schools. This inadequacy of teaching resources has been of serious concern to educators (Kennedy, 2012). Lyons (2012), states that learning is a complex activity that involves interplay of students‟ motivation, physical facilities, teaching resources, skills of teaching and curriculum demands. The process of managing and organizing resources is called resource utilization. The utilization of resources (laboratory facilities) in education brings about fruitful learning outcomes since resources stimulate students learning as well as motivating them. In Nigeria, education is classified into three levels namely; primary-junior secondary, senior secondary and tertiary education. These respectively made up the 9-3-4 (nine years in primary school; three years in secondary school and four years in the university) system of education in Nigeria. Colleges of education (COE) are among the institutions legally authorized to train teachers and award Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) to qualified students. Graduates of colleges of education are qualified teachers. In support if this, National Policy on Education (FRN, 2014) reveals that, the minimum qualification for entry into the teaching profession shall be the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE). By implication, NCE holders are to teach in primary, junior or senior secondary schools depending on the course of study. Those that studied primary education subjects are to teach in the primary schools while those studying secondary education courses like biology, physics, chemistry and geography are to teach in secondary schools. To achieve the above objective effectively, the federal ministry of education, established the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) to supervise colleges of education in Nigeria (NCCE, 2011). The commission was mandated with the responsibility to lay down standards for all programmes of teacher education, to monitor and control quality of resources (human and material) among colleges of education, accredit certificates and academic awards. If undergraduate teachers in colleges of education are not trained using laboratory resources, poor performance of students in all educational sectors will continue to surface. This is because teachers will continue to transfer training deficiencies to classroom, thus indirectly influencing students’ performance negatively. If human and material resources are not adequately provided for and scarce resources properly managed, students will be taught using conventional method as Salami (2012) had rightly stated. Given the above scenario, one wonders whether the situation in colleges of education is different. Hence, the purpose of this study: to evaluate the provision and management of Laboratory Resources (LR) in Colleges of Education (COE) in Enugu Educational Zone
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Teaching and learning need to be simplified, comprehensive and concrete. Extensive use of laboratory resources makes learning interesting, stimulating and understandable to the learners. The success of students in academic pursuit largely depends on the adequacy in the provision and effective management of available human and material resources. The teaching of science subjects is faced with some problems. Such problems include: the increasing number of students’ enrolment into science courses in higher institutions which forced the limited qualified teachers available to reduce allotted time to practicals to the minimal or even omit practical activities (Imogie, 2010). Teachers find it difficult during laboratory activities to supervise and teach large classes and combine the practicals effectively with normal class lessons. Students on their part have the problem of comprehending what is taught without the complementary laboratory activities in biology (Mamah, 2013). Most laboratory resources are lost, damaged or carelessly stored. In some colleges of education, storage facilities are not even available. In some cases, students are not allowed to make use of laboratories due to fear of losing valuable materials through stealing in the laboratory (Okoli & Osuafor, 2010). According to Imogie (2010), the number of professional lecturers in colleges of education are limited whereas competent and experienced lecturers cannot give hundred percent of their time, energy and resources to practicals due to limited quantity of materials as well as too excess work load. Most laboratories are dilapidated. Some laboratories built since 1970s with maximum of twenty students in view now occupies more than two hundred students which can only be managed for instructional delivery without practical’s. Researchers’ evidence testifies that most laboratories are not equipped with science facilities, seats and demonstration tables (Okoli & Osuafor 2010). Even when these resources are available, their management becomes questionable. These anomalies no doubt affect students’ performance in examinations. Most research works reveal the reformation of teaching methods without delving into what effects the management of material resources would have on students’ performance. In addition, scholars have been researching on the physical facilities/equipment in secondary schools without assessing the teachers’ training background from colleges of education. The challenge to improve the teaching and learning in colleges of education through adequate provision and effective management of laboratory resources in colleges of education prompted this study. Consequently, based on the problems so far listed, this research work investigates the adequacy in the provision and management of laboratory resources in Colleges of Education in Enugu Educational Zone.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to evaluate the extent of provision and management resources in colleges of education in Enugu Educational Zone. Other specific objectives are as follows;
- To examine the laboratories resources available for effective teaching and learning in Colleges of Education in Enugu Educational Zone
- To examine the adequacy in the provision of laboratory resources in Colleges of Education in Enugu Educational Zone
- To examine the extent of utilization of laboratory facilities in colleges of education in Enugu Educational Zone
- To examine the influence of laboratory resources on academic achievement of students in colleges of education in Enugu Educational Zone
- To examine the factors that militate against the effective use of available resources in laboratories of Colleges of Education in Enugu Educational Zone
- To examine how laboratory resources could be effectively managed in Colleges of Education in Enugu Educational Zone
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the laboratories resources available for effective teaching and learning in Colleges of Education in Enugu Educational Zone?
- To what extent are laboratory resources provided in colleges of education adequate in Enugu Educational Zone?
- To what extent do lecturers and students utilize laboratory facilities in colleges of education in Enugu Educational Zone?
- How do laboratory resources influence the academic achievement of students in colleges of education in Enugu Educational Zone?
- What are the factors that militate against the effective use of available resources in laboratories of Colleges of Education in Enugu Educational Zone?
- Are laboratory resources effectively managed in Colleges of Education in Enugu Educational Zone?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The essence of any research endeavour is an addition to the academic satisfaction, to find solution to the numerous problems confronting man in his attempt to actualize himself in the context of the society. The findings of this research will help the state and federal government of Nigeria to work out effective means of providing and managing resources in laboratories in colleges of education. This could be achieved through the establishment of resource centres where laboratory resources could be purchased, observed and experimented with at subsidized rates. Incumbent researchers on assessing this research work would find it worthy of emulation since it will provide them with documents and reference materials. The findings will be useful to inspectors and supervisors of higher institutions as the recommendations will enhance educational growth. It will also furnish them with the quantity and quality of laboratory resources that are available in colleges of education and the extent to which they are utilized for effective and efficient dispensation of lectures. They will also appreciate the need to plan, direct, control, and co-ordinate and supervise institutions of higher learning to actualize national educational objectives. From the findings of this research work, teachers (lecturers) in colleges of education will see the need for effective and efficient management of available laboratory resources provided to schools. In the same way, teacher trainees will appreciate the need to manage and improvise laboratory resources in colleges of education. Laboratory attendants and assistants/technologists on assessing this research would see the need to keep useful inventories of laboratory resources. They would see the need to report inadequacy of laboratory resources to appropriate authorities for subsequent provision and management.
1.7. SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to the extent of provision and management resources in colleges of education in Enugu Educational Zone.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Provision: this implies the supply, production or act of making available those things of education which enable skilful teacher to achieve high level of instructional efficiency.
Utilization: this is the degree or extent to which an item has been put into effective use.
Management: Management as a method where a group of people at the highest level of organization plan, organize, communicate, control and direct the actions and activities of people who work for the organization towards the achievement of the organizational goals.
Maintenance: this is involves any action taken to keep a facility in a good working condition for as long as it is designed to serve, or to restore it to its functional operational state in case of failure.
Facilities: they are material things that are meant to facilitate effective teaching and learning process in a school set up. They are expendable materials of education.
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