1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In the context of ecological crisis and environmental deterioration, teaching about environmental issues and the preservation of the world’s environment has become increasingly important across the globe. Of the various subjects taught in secondary schools, economics is often perceived as one that can make a significant contribution to environmental education. Some scholars have suggested that environmental education offers social science education a range of perspectives on knowledge and situated learning while at the same time challenging current, orthodox thinking in the subject (Dillion and Scott, 2002). There are, however, concerns that tensions may exist between value-laden environmentalism and the science defined as being “value-free” (Ashley, 2010). Many scholars have suggested that environmental education should encompass education about, in/through, and for the environment (Fien, 2016). In recent times, growing awareness of environmental issues and their relationship to the economy has seen the emergence three main policy goals in natural resource management: efficiency, equity and sustainability, as parts of sustainable development. An ecological economist view of sustainability is primarily based in systems thinking. From an economist point of view, environmental problems become a problem only when it introduces externalities that distort the allocation of resources. Economic premises and principles play a serious role in the shaping of environmental policy. Instruments of environmental policy are historically assessed on the idea of potency criteria, such as optimal social welfare, Pareto efficiency and cost effectiveness (van den Bergh et al., 2007). Education about the environment refers to the environment as a subject for investigation and includes the provision of information on environmental issues and the teaching of appropriate technical and intellectual skills. Education in (or through) the environment is the use of real-life situations as a basis for inquiry learning. Education for the environment, in essence, promotes well-being as its goal (Robottom, 2011). Environmental problems having physical, economic and social consequences may be grouped under three categories: (a) resource deterioration – problems arising from shortage of food, mineral, power and other resources, in the face of a rising global population of human beings; (b) environmental pollution – pollution of air, water and land causing biospheric destruction including man; (c) human health and quality of life; (d) radioactivity from nuclear weapons and nuclear energy production. Many of these problems have been caused by the human activities in the process of using the environment for various needs. The use of the human surroundings is a necessary and acceptable conception. The difference is only in the way of use. Instead of the old pattern of use and discard, the future must be in the recycle context of perpetual renewal and re-use. A stable state between civilization and the environment is called for. Currently, there are a lot of terms about environment and environmental problem although those terms are used interchangeably and do not mean necessarily mean the same. The term, environment, occasionally refers to the external setting at which all of the living organisms are born, live, maintain all of their relations and share their experiences with non-living organisms. Environmental problems are defined as the unfavourable conditions that are rooted in the changes in the ecological balance of nature. The sources of environmental issues date back as old as the history of mankind. But with the industrial revolution, the rapid increase in population and over-consumption has started to force the toleration limit of the world. The process of manufacturing a new environment with totally different economical activities lead to negative changes, pollution and deteoration in nature which result in various environmental problems. Those issues have serious effects on individuals, without any restriction on nationality, gender, welfare, illiteracy and also gradually turn the world into something non-live able place. As a result, the important aspect of the current environmental problems is that they are a global threat now. The protection of environment is not only the task of people working in the fields of environment or education, but should be everyone’s duty. The environmental awareness is of great importance in solving ecological problems and it is also known that without the awareness, the attempts and plans to protect nature will remain as good intentions. Especially, the considerate people like teachers who have received university education are expected to behave more sensitive and to do what they are supposed to protect nature. At this point, there are two things to do: The aim of environmental awareness, as stated in many studies, is about the knowledge of environment, positive attitudes towards nature and beneficial activities for the environment. Explorations of teachers’ perceptions of environmental education have been undertaken in various countries (Lee and Williams, 2010). Following on this work, we undertook an exploratory study of Economics teachers’ perceptions of environmental problems in senior secondary schools in Afikpo education zone.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine perception of environmental problems among economics teachers of senior secondary schools. Other general objectives of the study are:
- To examine the perception of teachers of senior secondary schools in Afikpo Education Zone about environmental issues
- To examine the issues the economics teachers perceive as being the most important environmental problem.
- To examine the effect of environmental problems on economics teacher’s performance
- To examine the environmental awareness level, attitude towards environment, and attitude of the teachers toward environmental problems in senior secondary schools.
- To examine the relationship between environmental problems and economics teachers’ performance.
- To examine the ways of enhancing environmental education in Afikpo Education Zone.
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- How is the perception of teachers of senior secondary schools in Afikpo Education Zone about environmental issues?
- What are the issues the economics teachers perceive as being the most important environmental problem?
- What are the effects of environmental problems on economics teacher’s performance?
- What is the level of environmental awareness, attitude towards environment and attitude of the teachers toward environmental problems in senior secondary schools?
- What is the relationship between environmental problems and economics teachers’ performance?
- What are the ways of enhancing environmental education in Afikpo Education Zone?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant effect of environmental problems on economics teacher’s performance.
H1: There is a significant effect of environmental problems on economics teacher’s performance.
H0: There is no significant relationship between environmental problems and economics teachers’ performance
H1: There is a significant relationship between environmental problems and economics teachers’ performance
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The result of the study will be of significance to the State Ministry of Education, Local Government Education Authorities across the state, Secondary school administrators, Parents-Teachers’ Associations, teachers and students. The environmental scenario of Nigeria is very wide. Ours is a country highly diverse climatically, geologically, geographically, edaphically, floristically, ethnically, lingually, socially and economically. Therefore, environmental education has to be essentially location specific. The identification of any problem act as a fundamental spring board for its solution, it is hoped that this study would generate a greater significance to the area of study as well the nation to boosting the teachers environmental awareness level, and also to attain the international priority of sustainable development. This can be attained by the integration of principles, values, and practices of sustainable development in all aspects of education and learning, in order to address the social, economic cultural and environmental problems. This could be through seminar and workshops organised to brainstorm on the findings and recommendations of the study.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on perception of environmental problems among economics teachers of senior secondary schools in Afikpo education Zone from 2012 till 2018.
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.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Perception: The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.
Environmental Problems: Known process (such as resource consumption) that has negative effects on the sustainability of the environmental quality necessary for the well being of the organisms living in it.
Economics: Is the science of analyzing the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. In other words, what choices people make and how and why they make them when making purchases. The study of economics can be subcategorized into microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics is the study of economics at the individual or business level; how individual people or businesses behave given scarcity and government intervention. Microeconomics includes concepts such as supply and demand, price elasticity, quantity demanded, and quantity supplied. Macroeconomics is the study of the performance and structure of the whole economy rather than individual markets. Macroeconomics includes concepts such as inflation, international trade, unemployment, and national consumption and production.
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