- Background to the Study
Curriculum is a dynamic programme that is expected to address the changing needs and aspirations of any society (Igwebuike, 2008). Nigerian policy-makers and educators recognize the role of science and technology in the achievement of education for all and national development in the present millennium. This has informed an evaluation process that led to the development of the nine-year basic science and technology curriculum of the universal basic education. The curriculum was implemented in September 2008 in primary one in Nigeria. This study is an investigation into the level of implementation of the basic science and technology curriculum at the junior secondary school level.
In Nigeria, education is perceived as an instrument for achievement of national objectives. According to the National Policy in Education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004), education is an “instrument per excellence” for achievement of national development. This explains the huge amount of money government earmarks for education in its annual budget. The basic education curriculum is an innovation in Nigerian education system. It was developed by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) following a directive it received from the National Council on Education (NCE) in 2005 to restructure and re-align the existing primary and junior secondary school curricula to meet the targets of the nine-year basic education. The nine-year basic education curriculum is structured into three stages:lower Basic Education (Primary one to three), Middle Basic Education (Primary four to six) and Upper Basic Education junior secondary school (JSS one to three);The overall objectives of the curriculum are to develop interest in science and technology, acquire basic knowledge and skills in science and technology, apply their scientific and technological knowledge and skills to meet societal needs, take advantage of the numerous career opportunities offered by science and technology and become prepared for further studies in science and technology (NERDC, 2007). In addition to these, the curriculum emphasizes the following process skills: enquiry, intellectual, manipulative and societal values.
The basic science and technology curriculum for junior secondary school level shares these features. The provisions of the millennium development goals (MDGs) and the national economic empowerment and development strategies (NEEDS) profoundly influenced the objectives, contents, materials and methods of the nine-year basic education curriculum. According to Gidado (2002) UBE (Universal Basic Education) is aimed at development of life-long education. This is one of the provisions of the MDGs. Gidado (2002), Okam and Bozimo (2002) and Faure (1972) explained life-long education as that which is concerned with helping learners to develop skills, competencies and attitudes which enable him/her to live successfully in the society as well as prepare him/her to assume roles as an adult in future.
Before the introduction of the UBE, the UPE (Universal Primary Education) was in existence. It provided six-year primary education. Junior secondary school was provided as a part of secondary education. Gidado (2002) criticized the UPE on the following grounds. It was elitist and failed to emphasize life-long learning and vocational education. Thus, its products were characterized with unemployment and inability to apply knowledge to their environment. Gidado further noted that another problem with UPE is that its implementation was not evaluated on regular basis. Thus, it became difficult to monitor implementation for possible improvement. Curriculum evaluation is making value judgment about decision alternatives on the curriculum based on valid data. It is an important stage in curriculum development processes outlined by Wheeler, Nicholl and Curriculum Organization of Nigeria (Igwebuike, 2008).
The nine-year basic education curriculum which embraced basic science and technology curriculum was implemented in primary one and the basic science component in junior secondary school one respectively at national level in September 2008. Currently, no study to the knowledge of this researcher has evaluated the relevance and the status of its implementation at the junior secondary school level in katsina state. There is need to investigate the relevance of the curriculum as well as evaluate the implementation of its contents. It is in this light that this research intends to carry out a survey of the perceived relevance and implementation of the Basic Science and Technology Curriculum in the junior secondary school.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Following the directive of the national council on education for a reform of the secondary school education curriculum, NERDC reviewed and re-aligned the basic science curriculum. That review gave birth to what is now known as the Basic Science and Technology Curriculum to replace Basic Science. In the reviewed curriculum, four Subject areas were integrated into one. The former curricula of Basic Science, Basic Technology, Home Economic, and Computer Science are brought together to create a new UBE subject curriculum now known as basic science and technology. The new curriculum is already in use as the Federal Ministry of Education directed that the implementation of the new curriculum should take effect from September 2014.
Basic science and basic technology curricula were restructured and in their place, the Basic Science and Technology curriculum has been introduced. The federal ministry of education directed for the implementation of new curriculum. This new curriculum has been implemented since 2014 in all the federal government schools and in most states of the federation.
Since 2014in junior secondary schools is doubtful due to some factors which include: teachers’ inadequate subject mastery and competence to carry out the stipulated science activities within the regimented schools’ timetable; the administrative bottlenecks in granting permission on both the side of the school managements and those of the sites of interest and inadequate funds especially where transportation is needed. Some of its objectives include development of interest in science and technology; acquisition and application of scientific and technological knowledge and skills to meet societal needs and for further studies in science and technology etc. Also the full implementation of the curriculum can help the youth in acquiring knowledge and skills in Information/Communication Technology (ICT) and Entrepreneurship that will enable them compete favourably in the global market. These may be potent factors that can limit the relevance and implementation of the BST curriculum in junior secondary schools in Dutsinma,Katsina State. This situation may result to the objectives of the curriculum not to be fully achieved. Therefore the problem of this study is: the importance of the curriculum review,for any Educational system to be functional,the system has to be reviewed from time to time. Such review mustbea process of knowledge and understanding of the National Council was mended to review the curriculum of the Primary and Secondary in Nigeria and across all the subject area.In pursuance of this, the NERDC also reviewed the existing Basic Science Curriculum.As it is customary with people to be skeptical to embrace new changes, so it was with adopting the new curriculum. Observation reports from many schools indicate that teachers are still use of the old curriculum even when the new one has been in effect. The researcher has also heard teachers complain of the challenges that are inherent the BST curriculum. The challenges commonly mentioned are: Is it possible for a teacher toteach four subject areas? Or how possibleis it to implement the curriculum among others? It is in this light that the research intends to ascertain the implementation and perceived relevance of the Basic Science and Technology curriculum in junior secondary schools in Dutsinma LGA of Katsina state.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to ascertainthe readiness with personnel fortheimplementation of the Basic Science and Technology(BST) curriculum in junior secondary schoolsin Dutsinma local government area of Katsina state. Specifically, the study is set to achieve the following objectives:
- To assess the availability of the BST curriculumdocument in junior secondary schools.
- To ascertain the usage of the curriculum by teachers of BST.
- To determine the relevance of the BST curriculum as perceived by teachers.
- To examine the level of implementation of the BST.
- To determine the challenges facing the implementation of the BST curriculum.
1.4 Research Questions
The study will seek to answer the following research questions:
- What curriculum is currently used in science teaching at the JSS level?
- How aware are teachers concerning the new basic science and technology curriculum?
- How qualified are teachers who are to implement the BST curriculum?
- How do the Teachers Perceive their ability to teach all the Components of the new curriculum?
- How trained are teachers on the new basic science and technology curriculum?
- How ready is infrastructure for implementing basic science and technology curriculum?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This research is significant for a number of reasons.First, it might provide information in literature on the readiness of the BST curriculum and teachers’ involvement in implementing the basic science and technology curriculum in junior secondary schools. This is likely to stimulate further research in the area.
Secondly, the outcome of the study will provide independent feedback to NERDC on the results of some of the actions taken so far in the implementation of the BSTcurriculum. Thus, the outcome will serve as basis for further action.
Thirdly, the outcome of the study will guide government and her agencies in identifying areas of intervention in the successful implementation of the BST curriculum. This will help to address the existing gaps.
Fourthly, teachers will be sensitized by the outcome of the study to enquire about the nine-year basic Science and technology curriculum. This will improve their awareness on the curriculum.
The practical significance of this study also takes care of otherbeneficiaries of the study such as the Basic Science and Technology pupils, the Basic Science and Technology teachers, the Basic Science and Technology textbook writers, the ministry of education workers especially school supervisors and the society at large.
1.6Scope of the Study
The study will be carried out in Dutsinma local government area of Katsina state. The content’s scope will cover all the themes in the basic science and technology curriculumnamely: basicscience, basictechnology, physical and health education and information technology in the junior secondary school level.
1.7 Operational Definition of Key Terms
Basic Science and Technology – In this study, it means the UBE subject curriculum that has integrated Basic science, Home Economics,PHE, and Information into a single subject curriculum.
Curriculum:Curriculum is the total package of what is to betaught or learnt. He describes it as a process of translating national educational objectives into ‘within-school do-ables’. Offorma (2005) sees curriculum as the planned learning experiences offered to the learner in the school. In this study, it refers to vocational and technical subjects outlined in the National Curriculum for Secondary Schools manual as part of subjects for secondary education.
Instructional Materials:These are immediate scientific materials that have to be at the disposal of teachers/pupils in order to enhance easy and effective teaching/learning process.
Personnel: This refers to the trained manpower requirement for the Basic Science and Technology.This has to do with the quality and quantity of staff employed to implement the Basic Science and Technology curriculum.
Infrastructural facilities: These include buildings,computers, furniture,playfields,libraries,laboratories etc which are needed in adequate quantity and quality in order to meet the minimum standard for promoting any meaningful teaching and learning in basic science and technology.