In this study, an attempt is made to determine the relevance or otherwise of the Physics Education Programmes of Nigerian higher educational institutions to the teaching of senior secondary physics.
Physics Department of ten Universities selected by stratified sampling technique on the basis of their generation and ten Colleges of Education (Five Federal and Five State), selected on the basis of geographical location,were involved in the study.
The instrument used was the Discrepancy Content Analysis Model (DCAM) in which thirty-six major senior secondary content areas in Physics were listed. They were then qualitatively compared with the sampled higher educational institutions Physics Education Proquency counts, percentages and t-test. The major finding was that sampled higher educational institutions Physics Education programmes were relevant to the current senior secondary physics curriculum.
Science teaching in Nigerian secondary schools started when the first grammar schools in Nigeria were established. One of the schools was CMS Grammar School Lagos, established in 1859. There was a dearth of science teachers, hence, Yaba Higher College was established in 1932. Science Education as a degree programme started in 1961 when University of Nigeria, Nsukka, introduced such a degree programme. Other Universities, such as Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (1962), University of Ibadan (1965), University of Lagos (1962) and University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) (1962) followed suit. These Universities are now referred to as the first generation Universities. The second generation Universities are the ones established after the first batch, i.e. between 1975 and 1979. Tey were eight in number. There are also tose ones established after the second generation Universities, from 1980 to 1986. They are called the third generation Universities. They are fourteen in number. Many of the three categories of Universities have Faculties of Education which offer courses leading to the Bachelor of Science Education, Masters in Physics, Chemistry, Biology or Mathematics. Holders of the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) are also important in science teaching. Though they were meant to teach in the lower classes of secondary schools, very often they teach senior classes in the secondary schools due to insufficient number of University graduate teachers.
Physics is one of the science subject s taught at the senior secondary level of the Nigeria educational system. Despite the importance of this subject as one of the fundamental ingredients of technology, it is plagued by persistent low enrolment and poor performance of students (Balogun, 1985; Akanbi 1983; Daramola, 1982; Dial, 1972; Jordan, 1971). Notableamong the causes identified to be responsible for the unsteady state of Physics teaching in Nigeria secondary schools are: very limited number of professionally trained teachers. (Bajah, 1975; Daramola, 1982, 1987), inadequate laboratory facilities and exposure (daramola, 1982); and poor science background of students at the junior secondary level of education (Daramola, 1982, 1987, Ogunniyi, 1977). This researcher believes that the training received by Physics teachers might affect both enrolment and performance of students in Physics.
There have not been many studies to evaluate the curriculum of higher educational institutions. Tikhomirov (1968) said that in USSR, every pupil must study Physics regardless of his/her future vocation. He also stated that the key to the general, economic, cultural and scientific progress in the Soviet Union was its science teacher and that every field of study in the USSR has its special teachers. Michelson (1984) found that graduate teachers ofDarke University were satisfied with their training. From Saggaf’s study (1981), it has been revealed that the English curriculum of King Abdul-Aziz University, Mecca, did not meet the student – teachers’ needs and interest. Thiensuwan (1983) evaluated Art teacher education programmes at Chulalongkorn University Bangkok, Thailand. His findings revealed inadequacy in Art subject. Nwosu (1990) examined the content and curriculum development process of Nigerian tertiary teacher education as well as its response to the demands of national development from 1932 to 1987. His findings revealed serious neglect of the Nigerian tertiary teacher education curriculum. Irrelevance of curriculum to teachers’ needs may be a major obstacle to students’ progress and enrolment even as reported by Jegede (1984), Oguntimehin (1987) and Willison and Garibaldi (1976). Hence, the training of science teachers should not be taken lightly. This is because the efficiency of any institution depends on the academic competence of the teaching staff which in turn is predicated on the quality and level of the education received by the teachers. It is very important that secondary school science teachers are properly trained since ‘no educational system can rise above the quality of its teachers’ (FRN, 1981, p. 38). This is the rational for this study.
Attempts were therefore made to answer the following research questions:
1. to what extent are the Physics components of the Physics Education curriculum of the Nigerian higher educational institutions relevant to the senior secondary Physics programmes?
2. Do the first and second generation Universities run different Physics Education programmes?
3. Do the Federal Colleges of Education run Physics Education programmes which are more relevant to the senior secondary Physics curriculum than the State Colleges of Education?
On the basis of the above research questions, the following hypotheses were generated:
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