BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The Oxford Advanced Learner Dictionary (2018) defines “issues” as anything that is difficult to successfully manage or comprehend. Practical, as defined by the Oxford advanced student dictionary (2018), is an ideal approach or plan of action that is correct or reasonable and likely to succeed. Work on the job is crucial to the proper education of kids in school. Every citizen will be able to participate more effectively in all aspects of life; he will be able to speak out on issues involving both biology principles and human welfare; such knowledge will not result from book work, but rather from the practical application of the material learned to real-world situations.
Science is the study of the world’s natural phenomena. As a field of science, biology examines both living and nonliving organisms. (Sanjini, 2020). Similarly, the 2018 edition of World Book Encyclopedia defines Biology as the scientific study of living things. Botany, or the study of plants, and Zoology, or the study of animals, are the two traditional disciplines of biology. Sarojiet (2020) enumerated some of the benefits of biology, including:
(1) Scientific research and development of new tools and techniques that improve the quality of our lives.
(ii) Finding applications in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, science, agriculture, and horticulture.
(iii) Biotechnology, which includes fields such as genetic engineering and hybridoma technology.
(iv) Addressing ecological issues such as overpopulation, food storage, erosion, pollution, and illnesses, among others.
Biology practicals is the scientific study of the life and structure of plants and animals and their surroundings in a real or experimental setting, as opposed to focusing on theory and ideals. (Opuh, Eze and Ezeagu, 2021). On its preamble to the international senior high school certificate Examination curriculum, the West African Examination council WAEC (1998: 2003) emphasizes the importance of biology labs in the secondary school biology classroom. The curriculum was developed to evaluate applicants’ knowledge of the structure and function of living organisms as well as their appreciation of nature.
(i) Acquiring the necessary laboratory and field abilities to conduct and assess biological studies and projects.
(ii) Acquisition of scientific skills such as observing, classifying, and interpreting biology data, etc., to its previous edition WAEC Syllabus (2001), stated that great importance should be given to experimental work and we control experiments, and it was suggested that, whenever possible throughout the course, candidates should be conscious of the practical application of what is being studied.
From the above, it is clear that biology practical lessons are crucial for successful biology instruction and learning in secondary schools. In contrast, Akinpelu in Aguokogbuo (2020) defines teaching as an endeavor by a mature or experienced individual to impart information, knowledge, and abilities to a younger or less experienced individual. As a result, the national teaching institute NTI (2019) course book on education defines learning as the acquisition of new information, ideas, skills, values, and experience that enables a person to adjust or alter his behavior. Additionally, it requires the application of newly gained information or expertise. It was also suggested that learning produces lasting changes in the learners. Secondary education is defined by the national policy on education (2004) as the level of education that follows elementary school and precedes the university level.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
As a scientific discipline, biology necessitates the employment of skilled technicians and a laboratory assistant. In a small number of schools, laboratory assistants are high school dropouts with little expertise of how to prepare specimens for biology labs. In most instances, these laboratory attendants lack the technical knowledge necessary to operate, maintain, repair, or service the few pieces of damaged equipment they have. According to Nwamonu (2020), students’ low performance in biology lab results in their failure in biology exams. Likewise, WAEC head Examiners (2000) indicated that applicant performance in biology fell short of expectations. The report evaluated the candidate’s inadequacies under the following subheadings:
I poor spelling,
(ii) poor observation,
(iii) poor arithmetic abilities,
(iv) poor deductive thinking,
(v) incorrect question interpretation, and
(vi) poor understanding of biology. The examiner bemoaned the fact that “many applicants were unable to properly answer a single question in section A. In most instances, they provided wild guesses and answers that were sometimes irrelevant to biology.” According to (2000), the goals of biology practicals are not being met satisfactorily due to low academic achievement. He noted that the poor academic performance in biology practicals is due to a lack of well-equipped laboratories, insufficiently qualified biology teachers, limited timetable hours, poor observation, poor drawing and labeling, and poor comparison of specimens, etc., which is a disturbing state of affairs. It also emphasizes the West Africa School Certificate for Benin City, Nigeria, and notes that the biology laboratory is deficient. As a consequence, only practical teachings sufficiently engaged the pupils. The kids just observed the teacher’s exercise demonstration. Consequently, the purpose of this research is to investigate the difficulties that senior high school students have while doing biology labs.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The general objective of the study is to investigate the challenges of carrying out biology practicals among senior secondary school students. The study specifically seeks to;
i. To examine whether lack of well equipped laboratory have an effect on biology practicals among senior secondary school students.
ii. To find out whether inadequate qualified biology teachers affect the academic performance of senior secondary student in biology practicals.
iii. To investigate whether labeling and poor comparison of specimens influences students performance in biology practicals.
iv. To assess whether limited time table hours have an impact on students performance in biology practical .
The following questions have been prepared for the study:
i. Does lack of well equipped laboratory have an effect on biology practicals among senior secondary school students?
ii. Does inadequate qualified biology teachers affect the academic performance of senior secondary student in biology practicals?
iii. Does labeling and poor comparison of specimens influences students performance in biology practicals?
iv. Does limited time table hours have an impact on students performance in biology practical?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The practical activities in biology are designed to help students acquire basic scientific skills and improve the performance and achievement as well. The study tends to uncover the benefits of biology practicals to the students, parents, teachers, government and the entire society.
If the result of this research is properly initialized, it will;
(i) Promote the ideals that science is both a product and process in students by arousing their interest in biology practical work.
(ii) Motivate the parents to provide the basic requirements to practical lessons for their children.
(iii) Convince the biology teachers that practical lessonaire mostly essential for effective teaching and learning of biology.
(iv) Make the government, through the ministry of education to realize the need for provision of science equipment to schools and posting of qualified biology teachers to secondary schools, it is not the issue of jack of all trades master of none. Teaching has attained professionalism and specialization
(vi) Help the Nigerian society in their quest for improved technology and industrialization.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study will examine whether lack of well equipped laboratory have an effect on biology practicals among senior secondary school students. The study will also find out whether inadequate qualified biology teachers affect the academic performance of senior secondary student in biology practicals. The study will further investigate whether labeling and poor comparison of specimens influences students performance in biology practicals. Lastly, the study will assess whether limited time table hours have an impact on students performance in biology practical. Hence this study will be delimited to Oyo State.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend 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), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Biology: Being a branch of science is the study of living and non-living things.
Biology Practicals: This is the scientific study of the life and structure of plants and animals and their relative environment in test and experimental set up rather than dwelling in theories and ideas.
Challenges: Is defined as a thing that is difficult to deal with or to understand effectively.
Practicals: Is defined as an ideal, on method or a course of action, right or sensible likely to be successful.