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Agric. Economics & Extension

Approaches To Developing Sustained Interest In Students Preparing For Agricultural Career After Secondary School In Kaduna State

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ABSTRACT

This study ascertained the approaches to developing sustained interest in students preparing for agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State. Five specific objectives, five research questions and five null hypotheses were stated for the study. The population studied consisted of 6,011 students at the Senior Secondary School level offering agricultural science and agricultural science teachers in Kaduna State. Stratified random sampling technique was used to select 493 respondents from twelve educational divisions of Kaduna state. The study employed the descriptive survey research design,‘ and structured questionnaire was used in data collection. Data were analyzed using mean and standard deviation. The five null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance using t-Test statistic. Major findings revealed that taking students on field trip to places of interest like university farms created lasting impression in students and sustained their interest in agriculture. Four null hypotheses

I, II, III, and V were accepted and null hypothesis IV was rejected. In conclusion, since Nigeria has the ambition of diversifying her economy and agriculture yet remains at a subsistence level, to develop successor generation of farmers there is need to adopt all the approaches identified in this study to attract youths into agriculture. It was recommended that teachers of agriculture should be well trained in agricultural methodology and liaise with successful role models in agriculture within and beyond the state to encourage students to enter into agricultural careers.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

One of the goals of secondary school education in Nigeria is to provide technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic development to recipients. Education therefore is the backbone for the choice of one‘s life career and the type and level of education a child receives determines the profession he or she is likely to choose in life (Abakpa, Obinne and Adegbe, 2006). Education provides individuals with appropriate skills necessary for the development of his or her innate potentials so that he or she may contribute meaningfully to the development of the society.

In Nigeria, the National Policy on Education (NPE, 2004) prescribes six years of primary education and three years of Junior Secondary education which are collectively termed Basic Education that should be free and compulsory. Senior secondary education is for three years, and four years are prescribed for tertiary education that leads to a bachelors‘ degree. The senior secondary level of education is comprehensively planned to broaden pupils‘ knowledge and outlook. Every student is expected to take all the six core subjects, namely: English language, mathematics, a major Nigerian language, one of biology, chemistry, physics or health science, one of literature in English, history, geography or religious studies and a vocational subject among which category is agricultural science, home management, food and nutrition ,principles of account ,wood work etc (FRN, 2004). It is hoped that such combination can guide one into a career choice.

A career refers to a person‘s professional work life and involves the work roles that makes up his or her life and forms a pattern with other roles he or she has to play. Career is a life long adventure and demands that care be taken in choosing the appropriate one. Bluestein (2004) points out that most adults spend a third or half of their waking hours at work. It is therefore expedient that an individual makes the right choice of a career. It is only when the right choice is made that it helps to develop and give value to the person and becomes the pivot on which hinges his or her happiness, fulfilment and general well being. Career also fulfills various core human needs or yearnings (Holland, 1997) thereby meeting the needs for food, shelter and many other physical as well as psychological needs.

Segal (1999) identifies some factors that have considerable influence in the choice of career to include genetics, familial interest, education, and social, economic and environmental pressures. Furthermore, Segal (1999) categorizes these factors into intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The intrinsic factors are those bothering on satisfying questions of challenges or achievement while the extrinsic factors bother on work conditions, supervision, job satisfaction and the happiness level of an individual. Among the varieties of career options that are self-sustaining and have measurable goal attainment is agriculture where returns on investment in which ever area, be it in crop production, fishery, livestock farming, crop processing or marketing are promising.

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Awareness of the importance of agriculture in the country Nigeria was captured in the school curriculum early enough. Agricultural science is taught at the primary and secondary school levels in Nigeria. However, the question remains whether such is sufficient to create a desire in one to choose agricultural based career. In order to make a more deliberate impact, agricultural education is vocationalized to create the level of interest and ambition that would encourage the recipients to choose careers in agriculture.

According to Holland (1997) one can be happy with his or her jobs and will be able to do the jobs comfortably, if the jobs are congruent with his or her interests. Holland further defined career interests as patterns of likes, dislikes and indifference regarding relevant activities demanded in a career.

Holland (1997) identifies that relationships between interest and learning havefocused on three premises namely, individual, situational and topical. Individual interest isconsidered to be an individual‘s predisposition to attend to certain stimuli, events and objects, it is associated with a psychological state of positive effect and persistence. It results in greater comprehension of learning materials within a broader domain of schooling. Student‘s individual interest sometimes is closely related to the goals of classroom learning. Individual interest can be defined in terms of school subjects such as agricultural science, literature or mathematics. A more general individual interest that students may have is expressed as a desire to acquire new information, to find out about new objects, events and ideas not restricted to any domain. This involves approaching and acquiring information to find out about something the students already know.

Situational interest is elicited by certain aspects of the environment, these include content features such as the ways in which tasks are organized and prescribed. It deals with the psychological state of interest and is characterized by an individual‘s focus on a text interested in. Topical interest on the other hand refers to the interest elicited by a word or paragraph that a topic presents a reader. It is this form of interest that is particularly relevant for educators because students are often given topics about which they will be expected to learn or write about. It deals with the level of interest triggered when a specific topic is presented.

The teacher‘s role is very paramount in arousing the interest of students for whom he plans the instruction and delivers it. What he or she does or does not do has a lasting effect on the learners. The competencies of the teacher, his qualification and teaching methods adopted go a long way in stimulating the interests of youths who shy away from agricultural education. Education remains the most important approach to develop the human being to enable him or her function effectively in whatever environment or situation he or she finds him or herself (Sofolahan, 1997). According to the National Association of Agricultural Educators (1998) agricultural education has the mandate to prepare and support individualsfor career in agriculture and to build awareness of and develop leadership for the food, fiber and natural resources systems in advancing personal and global well being.

Agricultural education is needed to produce skilled manpower to serve the agricultural sector through teaching, research, extension, entrepreneurship food processing, food storage and preservation. Non-formal agricultural education provided by extension workers is for capacity building in a wide range of rural organizations and groups. Adole(2006) opines that there is need to expose children early to vocational and career education and introduce them to various vocations and provide them a guide which would help them determine their choice of profession. Agricultural career should be expounded as it is capable of turning around the socio-economic standard of living of the people by turning many into food producers rather than being dependent on for government jobs or seeking for non existing employment in the other sectors.

Literally an approach is a way of dealing with something. Wikieducators (2011) posites that there are a number of approaches or paths that offer high quality and acceptable environment for students to learn. Pragmatic curriculum and teaching methods are among the identified approaches coupled with commitment over a substantial time period to achieve an objective. Stahl and Hall (2003) stress that the ambition to build a rural renaissance in Africa will fail unless research and development programmes seriously address the question of recruiting a new qualified and motivated generation into the agricultural profession. Stahl and Hall (2003) further agree that for any meaningful progress to be made, underinvestrnent, loss of staff, incentives and failure to recruit replacement for an ageing cadre of practicing farmers have to be addressed.

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Kaufmann (n. d.) acknowledges that a radically new approach is needed to build African scientific and institutional capacity to be effective and meet global standard in agricultural sustainability. Kaufmann emphasizes that whatsoever approaches adopted mustbe African-grown to address the following needs;

  1. Upgrade teaching and learning processes to embrace integrated approaches that recognize interest among land use sciences and practices.
  2. Improve access to locally relevant educational materials based on agricultural research experiences in Africa.
  3. Stimulate interest of youth in agricultural science by attractive career opportunities.
  4. Prepare students better with the systems of soft skills and tools needed for career in knowledge based innovations.
  5. Make the curricula more responsive to developmental needs.
  6. Enhancing the quality of the delivery of education.
  7. Strengthening capacity to access and use different sources of facilities.

The foregoing seems to point out that meaningful approaches to develop the interest of students would require the contributions of all people. The parents are the first teachers known to the child; as such they have to begin early to lay the foundation by teaching how foods eaten at meal times are produced. The teacher at school must adopt teaching methods that lead to arousing interest in agriculture such as field trip and demonstration methods. Interventions from mentors such as global donor agencies providing talk shop, incentives and even scholarship to emphasize how noble the profession of agriculture is may be another approach to arouse student‘s interest. The government above all can play a crucial role by ensuring thorough effective supervision and evaluation of the agricultural education curriculum at all levels of learning to regular input and commitment to the development of agriculture generally.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The researcher observed that many youths after secondary school, go into higher institutions to study courses with no clear definition of what career to pursue on completion of their studies. This is both because they were denied their preferred course at admission and wereleft with no option than to take what they were offered or due to ignorance, inexperience, peer pressure, careless advice from friends, parents and teachers and counselors.

Most of the time, certain courses such as accountancy, medicine, law and engineering are overly rated as prestigious and others as second rated and these are only considered as alternatives if these so-called prestigious courses are unattainable. Agricultural career falls among these second rated courses and as such, agricultural career remains largely unpopular among prospective undergraduates as they are beclouded with many perceptions of

agriculture as a career for the aged and the illiterate. This is despite the fact that agricultural career is one career that Ayatse (2006), opines brings about agricultural development and impacts vocational skills which offer enough security for youths to be self reliant since jobs in the public sector are becoming very scarce. It is also an important solution to poverty alleviation and the chronic unemployment prevalent in Kaduna State today. Its unpopularity can be adduced to these reasons;

According to Ochu & Ochu (2006), Nigeria is a society with poorly equipped inadequately skilled and disinterested personnel in the agricultural sector coupled with willful negligence by policy makers and educational planners. Abah (2011) also specifies that youths who are the future farmers are not adequately empowered, and that the underdevelopment of the rural areas has created many problems for the young people. 1-Ic further asserted that agricultural research information as a component of agricultural development has often focused its attention on adult farmers and has repeatedly failed to add the utilization of available information relevant to youths in agriculture in Nigeria.

This study sought to ascertain approaches that would develop sustained interest in agriculture to the point of taking up agricultural career among so many available career options.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The major objective of the study was to ascertain approaches for developing sustained interest in students to choose agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State.

Specific objectives of the study were to:

  1. ascertain teacher-based approaches for developing sustained interest in students to choose agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State;
  2. ascertain the interventions that develop sustained interest of students to choose agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State;
  3. identify‘ extracurricular approaches that develop sustained interest of students to choose agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State;
  4. determine familial approaches that develop sustained interest of students to choose agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State;
  5. ascertain government-based approaches that develop sustained interest of students to choose agricultural career after secondary schools in Kaduna State.
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1.4   Research Questions

The following research questions were answered:

  1. What are the teacher-based approaches for developing sustained interest in the students to choose agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State?
  2. What are the interventions that develop sustained interest in the students to choose agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State?
  3. What are the extra-curricular approaches that develop sustained sustainable interest of students to choose agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State?
  4. What are the familial approaches that develop sustainable sustained interests of students to choose agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State?
  5. What are the governments based approaches that develop sustained interest ofstudents to choose agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance:

H01:    There is no significant difference in the mean of the responses of teachers and     students on the teacher-based approaches for developing sustained interest of students  to choose agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State.

H02:   There is no significant difference in the mean of the responses of teachers and students  on the interventions for developing sustained interest of students to choose  agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State.

H03:   There is no significant difference in the mean of the responses of teachers and students  in the extra-curricular approaches that develop sustained interest of students to choose  agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State.

H04:   There is no significant difference in the mean of the responses of teachers and students  on the familial approaches that develop sustained interest of students to choose  agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State.

H05:   There is no significant difference in the mean of the responses of teachers and students  on the government based approaches that develop sustained interest of students to  choose agricultural career after secondary school in Kaduna State

1.6      Significance of the Study

The findings of this research will be useful for youth organizations as it will create awareness for the youths of the immense potential available when agriculture is taken up as a career. It will also provide blueprint for policy makers on the type of agricultural information to disseminate to the youths to arouse their interest in agriculture. Teachers of agriculture will benefit from the study as they will plan their 1esso to effectively teach agriculture using the right teaching method and teaching aids to arouse their student s‘ interest in agriculture. Curriculum planners also will benefit from the findings of this research as they plan activities that will serve as the total learning experiences students would be exposed to.

1.7 Basic Assumptions of the Study

The following assumptions were made in this study:

  1. Effective teaching of agricultural science by competent and qualified teacher will increase the number of secondary students who will choose agricultural careers after graduation.
  2. Parents have a major influence in the career choice of their children.
  3. Effective career counseling and observing role models can play a significant role in developing interest of secondary school students to choose agricultural careers after graduation.
  4. The different levels of government in Nigeria are aware of the importance of agricultural development going by the antecedents of programmes in agriculture as such they will welcome any suggestion for enhanced awareness.

1.8   Delimitation of the Study

The study was delimited to agricultural science teachers and senior secondary school students who choose to offer agricultural science subject up to senior school certificate examination(SSCE) in the twelve educational division of Kaduna State. It was delimited to generating sustained interest in students to prepare them for agricultural career after graduating from secondary school in Kaduna state.


Pages:  66

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF               

Chapters: 1-5                                          

Source: Imsuinfo

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.

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