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THE EFFECT OF THE NEW CURRICULUM ON STUDENTS’ ENROLMENT IN GEOGRAPHY IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background to the study
It is pertinent to examine the meaning or definition and the importance of Geography as well as, the students’ low-enrolment in this discipline. The uniqueness of this indispensable subject in the 6-3-3-4 curriculum in Nigeria education today cannot be overemphasized.
Hammond, C.W (1979) viewed Geography as the study of environment and man’s relationship with it. In essence Geography (Human Geography) seems to examine issues which relate directly to man and his activities in space. Since man is the central figure, human geographers are often times concerned with providing information as well as explanations and sometimes productions of spatial patterns, especially those generated by man’s occupation, his way and patterns of living and his desire to satisfy felt needs. This concern of Human Geography with man and his activities in space suggests that the field of human Geography has two aspects: how man lives and how he makes a living.
How man lives or organizes himself involves the study of population, settlement and cultural and political activities of the population. The study of human activities such as trading, agriculture, forestry, fishing, transportation, manufacturing, settlements or house building e.t.c
Majasan, J.A (1971) in his paper titled ‘The place of Geography in the new school curriculum expressed that ‘Geography is more or less the basis of Nigerian education because hardly any subject that could compete with it in offering most of what is required to be taught to young people as regards environment and culture which are being emphasized’.
It is the work of Geographers (Climatologist) to develop models for various aspects agricultural production by using climatologically indices. They are able to determine the combination of atmospheric variables most suitable for the growth of food and cash crops. They have been able to determine their water requirement vis-à-vis evapotranspiration. They also determine the most ideal temperature for the growth of crops or plants. Climatologist can determine if crops will be subjected to diseases or invaded by insects on any given environment.
More so, Geography is relevant in the climate and economics. Here climatologists go into the area of economic and transport geography e.g effect of temperature change on highways. They used their knowledge of weather and climate to forecast areas which are likely to have snow or rainfall which can affect transportation services either by roads, rail or air. They also predict for people who are interested in recreation activities such as holiday resorts, sports business as well the type of cloth to put on.
The knowledge of Geography brings about other areas in the natural system where energy can be derived e.g. they are now looking into the way of harnessing solar energy how energy and how energy can be generated from wind. A way of doing this is for Climatologist (Geographer) to study the amount of solar energy at a surface and the angle at which the sun stritees such a surface.
Apart from above relevance of geography, the aspect of climate change. This deals with man-induced climate. Man over the years the years have deliberately or inadvertently modified climate one way of doing this is through the burning of fasil fuels, coal, petroleum and natural gas.
During this process a lot of pollutants are being released to the atmosphere. The pollutants affect the amount of solar energy that comes into the earth surface and the amount of irradiation from the earth surface into the atmosphere. Man has also generated artifial heat from bush burning and burning of fossil fuels.
Climatologist being aware of the climatic changes that are going on noticed that the world is getting hotter in most places, hence they focused attention globalwarning e.g setting up of the intergovernmental policy on climatic change (IPCC).several books have been published by this group, e .g global warming edited by Jeremy Leggett (1990) in some places things are getting drier (droughts) while in other places things are getting wetter (leading to serves of flooding problem).
Model for predictions and forecasting have been developed. The assessment of the impact of climatic change on economic political health’s food production, population growth, etc. are equally going on.
Anyone with or who has better knowledge of Geography with additional training can assist in urban and regional planning. For example, Professor Mabogunje was among those who did the planning of the federal capital territory and he is a Geographer. Likewise Professor Jerry Gana was once minister of information under Gen. Abdulsallam and Late Gen. Sanni Abacha he too was a Geographer.
The very nature of the subject as revealed by eminent scholars makes it the darling subject. The content and scope of Geography in the present syllabus if properly handled ensure enough ground or higher studies which may serve as spring board for related field of study life survey, cartography, civil and structural engineering and quantity surveying.
Despite the enviable position of the subject in the society and in the school curriculums there is still how other social science subjects like government and economics. For example, for subsequent four years white comparing the numbers of students offering Geography with other social sciences subjects, it was observed that the number of students enrolled for Geography was reducing while that of economic and government were increasing.
Table shows students enrolment in Geography economics and government
Year Total no of students No who offer geography No who offer economics No who offer government
1982 15,680 2,020 7,060 6,600
1983 10,000 1,500 4,500 4,000
1984 17,040 2,040 8,000 7,000
1985 11,480 1,080 6,400 4,000
Source: Ministry of Education
From the above table, one will observe that yearly the number of the students offering Geography is reducing as compared with those offering either economics or government.
Statement of the problem
Geography as a subject is suffering from students’ low enrolment in our secondary schools as compared with other subjects in the social sciences like economics and government.
Therefore, it is the researcher’s intention to examine the reasons behind students’ low enrolment in Geography in Nigerian. Secondary schools with particular reference to Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of this research work is to investigate the reasons behind students low enrolment in Geography as a subject in Nigeria secondary schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
The research looked into some causes of the problems and then makes some useful recommendations for solving the problems.
The following are the questions formulated to carry out the research work:
Why are the students not enrolling in geography?
What sex of students are less inclined to the study of geography?
Is the low enrolment in Geography more in rural school than urban schools?
The following hypothesis were formulated and tested in this study:
There is no significant relationship between students enrolment in Geography and students academic performance
There is no significant different between students low enrolment in Geography and teachers responses to students.
Scope of the Study
This study covered five secondary schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State. This was due primarily to lack of fund, time and other logistics.
The schools are listed below:
Amoye Grammar School Ikere
U.D Comprehensive High School Ikere
Ajolagun High School Ikere
Eleyo High School Ikere
Annunciation School Ikere
Clarification of Major Terms and Variable
Geography: this is scientific study of earths surface and its physical features climate products and population.
Low: in this context it means thin, lean, diminishing or poor attempt.
Enrolment: in this study is taken to be the action of admitting new members or students to join the old or the existing ones.
Climate: is the average cost or condition of the weather of a place usually over a period of year as exhibited by temperature wind velocity and precipitation
Weather: The is the state of atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness, or dryness calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness
Environment: This is the aggregate of social and cultural conditions that
Influence the life of an individual or student.
Curriculum: This is can be defined as the planned experience offered to
Learners under the guidance of the school to enhance learning
Population: A group of individual persons objects, or items from which samples are taken statistical measurement.
Geography Teacher: The study will use the term to refer to a person whose job is to teach Geography in a school.
Administrator: The study will use the term to refer to the principal of a secondary school.
Student Enrolment: This term will be used in the study to refer to the number of students selecting Geography subject up to the S.S.C.E level
Geography Subject: This term will be used to refer to one of the courses offered in the secondary school curriculum in Nigeria.
Geography Students: For the purpose of the study, this term will refer to the pupils studying Geography subject in secondary schools.
Public secondary schools: This term has been used to refer to schools governed by the government of Nigeria.
Significance of the Study
This research work is significant in that it will help the stake holders in the subject, Geography teachers and government to know the causes of students low enrolment in Geography and ways to motivate or arouse the interest of the students in the subject.
It will also assist the teacher to choose proper and appropriate approach/method for effective teaching of Geography in order to stimulate the interest of the students in Geography as a field of study
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