BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Science is advancing at a rapid pace in Nigeria and around the world. Science can be defined as an intellectual activity carried out by humans that is designed to discover information about the natural world in which humans live and to discover ways in which this information can be organized into meaningful patterns. The basic goal of science is to gather facts (data), and the ultimate goal of science is to determine the order that exists between and among the various facts. Qualitative science education is required in Nigeria today to achieve accelerated growth in the twenty-first century. There have been several demands for changes and innovations aimed at enhancing scientific education during the previous two decades. This implies that there are difficulties in scientific education that need to be addressed (Omorogbe 2013).
Science is a structured body of knowledge comprised of ideas, rules, theories, and generalizations. Urevbu (2001) defines science as the study of nature and natural occurrences in order to find its principles and laws. According to Ezendu (2002), Science is a corpus of information derived through observation and methodical experimentation. According to Ogbonna (2000), science is a complicated human activity that culminates in the development of a body of universal statements that help to explain the observed behavior of the world or a part of it and have predictive features. The Columbia Encyclopedia (1963) defined science as “a body of collected and systematized knowledge confined to natural phenomena.” As a result, science education is a branch of study concerned with developing a scientifically literate society. It provides students with the fundamental information, abilities, and attitudes required for future work in science and scientific-related disciplines. The alarming prevalence of poor performance in science disciplines, combined with the country’s low educational level, are two of the primary reasons why most students avoid studying science. Students’ performance and involvement in higher science disciplines such as physics, chemistry, and biology have suffered as a result of this unfavorable attitude. All of the issues stated above have been decisively linked to fundamental science and its education.
Basic science, as the name suggests, is the foundational portion of scientific education that focuses with the transmission of the fundamental information required to comprehend science. Basic science is taught in elementary or basic schools, which include classes ranging from Basic one (primary one) through Basic nine (JSS 3). Because the majority of the basic science curriculum is descriptive, the student is expected to acquire numerous basic concepts such as energy, matter, force, and measurement, basic science serves as a basis for meaningful knowledge of higher scientific theories and principles. However It is obvious that basic science is a major determinant of performance in science study and practice; however, the teaching of basic science in Nigerian schools cannot be said to be effective due to poor student performance as a result of various problems associated with basic science teaching.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The teaching of science programs at Nigeria’s public secondary schools is the collective duty of all stakeholders, including teachers, school administrators, parents, and the government. The federal and state governments hire science instructors to teach courses such as basic science, chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, and environmental education, among others. The success of these programs is dependent on science professors, who are responsible for ensuring that pupils acquire the requisite information and scientific abilities. Unfortunately, these scientific instructors are dealing with a slew of issues that are hampering their productivity. According to Ezechi and Ogbu (2017), the effectiveness of scientific programs is highly dependent on the classroom teachers. They are the most essential agent in the ongoing effort to change scientific education and learning. Science professors are critical to the successful execution of a science curriculum. Teachers, according to Ezechi and Ogbu (2017), are the pivot on which the educational process hangs. However, teachers charged with delivering basic science instruction have recently faced challenges ranging from insufficient funding to teaching large classes, poor training and retraining programs, inadequate laboratories, a lack of instructional materials, poor motivation, an unconducive working environment, and inadequate infrastructural facilities, ineffective supervision, poor curriculum development, and a lack of resources. Despite the fact that there have been several studies on the teaching and learning of basic science in schools, none have thoroughly focused on the issues that basic science teachers face. As a result, based on this assumption, this study intends to investigate the problems that basic science teachers experience when teaching fundamental science.
OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The broad to investigate difficulties faced by basic science teachers in teaching basic science in junior secondary schools. The specific objectives of this study are stated below as follows:
i. To examine whether poor laboratory and adequate training of teachers on the basic science subject affects teaching and learning of basic science in junior secondary school.
ii. To establish whether shortage of instructional materials and inadequate infrastructural facilities affects teaching and learning of basic science in junior secondary school.
iii. To ascertain whether unconducive working environment and ineffective supervision affects teaching and learning of basic science in junior secondary school.
iv. To determine whether large classes, lack of students’ interest on the subject affects teaching and learning of basic science in junior secondary school.
The study came up with research questions so as to ascertain the above stated objectives of the study. The research questions for the study are:
i. Does poor laboratory and adequate training of teachers on basic science subject affects teaching and learning of basic science in junior secondary school?
ii. Does the shortage of instructional materials and inadequate infrastructural facilities affects teaching and learning of basic science in junior secondary school?
iii. Does unconducive working environment and ineffective supervision affects teaching and learning of basic science in junior secondary school?
iv. Does large classes, lack of students’ interest on the subject affects teaching and learning of basic science in junior secondary school?
SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study on the challenges faced by Basic science teachers in teaching basic science in junior secondary school will be of immense benefit to the entire secondary schools Nigeria as it will encourage government to increase the annual budget allocated for science programmes, and employ more professional science teachers to the public secondary schools so as to reduce the high teacher-students ratio in science classes. The study will serve as a repository of information to other researchers that desire to carry out similar study on the above. The study will also contribute to the body of the existing literature on the challenges faced by Basic science teachers in teaching the subject in junior secondary schools.
SCOPE OF STUDY
The study on the challenges faced by basic science teachers in teaching basicscience in junior secondary school. The study will however be limited to selected junior secondary schools in Uwana, Afikpo Local Government in Ebonyi State.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing that it is a new discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size covering only junior secondary schools in Uwana, Afikpo Local Government in Ebonyi State. Thus findings of this study cannot be used for generalization for other junior secondary school in other states within Nigeria. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work will impede maximum devotion to the research. Howbeit, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.