Availability And Utilization Of Biology Laboratory Equipment

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

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1.1       Background to the Study

School resources form an integral part of the educational system and are observed as a potent factor to qualitative and quantitative education. According to Akande (2009), learning can occur through one’s interaction with the environment. The environment here refers to resources that are available to facilitate students’ learning outcomes. Such an environment includes the library, laboratory, Information, and Communication Technology (ICT) center etc. adequately equipped and properly utilized for efficient and effective learning.

Availability And Utilization Of Biology Laboratory Equipment

According to Oni (2012), resources constitute a strategic factor in organizational functioning. This is so because they determined to a very large extent the smooth functioning of any social organization or system including schools. He further stated that their availability, adequacy and relevance influence efficiency and high productivity. In his words, Farombi (2008) opined that the wealth of a nation or society could determine the quality of education in that land; emphasizing that a society that is wealthy will establish good schools with quality teachers, learning infrastructures that with such students may learn with ease thus bringing about good academic achievement. Writing on the role of resources in teaching and learning, Balogun (2012) submitted that no effective science education programme can exist without the availability of necessary equipment. This is because resources enable teachers and learners to develop problem-solving skills and scientific attitudes.

Availability And Utilization Of Biology Laboratory Equipment

Ajayi (2010) reiterated that when resources are provided to meet relative needs of a school system, students will not only have access to the reference materials mentioned by the teacher, but individual students will also learn at their own paces. The net effect of this is increased overall academic performance of the entire students. In his study on resource concentration, utilization and management as correlates of students’ learning outcomes in Oyo state, Farombi (2009) found that the classroom learning environment in some schools was poor. He cited examples of schools without a chalkboard, the absence of a ceiling, some roofing sheets not in place, windows and doors removed among others, a situation which the researcher regarded as hazardous to a healthy living of the learners. The problem of candidates’ mass failure in examinations will continue until the situation of schools in the country change for the better.

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Commenting on why academic achievement is not in vogue in Nigeria, Adesina (2011) identified poor and inadequate laboratory resources, obsolete teaching techniques, overcrowded classrooms among others, as factors. Throwing more light on school resources provision, Fabunmi (2007) asserted that laboratory resources when provided will aid the teaching-learning programme and consequently improve teaching and learning in schools.

Availability And Utilization Of Biology Laboratory Equipment

Science is doing and involves regular hands-on practical work for learners to develop scientific literacy to face global challenges.  Biology being a natural science can be studied both indoor and outdoor as most biological specimens are plants and animals which abound in the environment. However, some laboratory resources may not be found outside the laboratories such as reagents, hence the need to have a well-stocked laboratory with available and adequate resources. For science teachers to play their roles in teaching science, laboratory resources should be available and used appropriately to improve the performance of students. Students poor performance in Biology, especially at Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) level, has become a source of concern to all stakeholders in education in the country (Imogie, 2010). One of the major reasons for this anomaly is the lack of or inappropriate application of laboratory resources in the teaching of science by secondary school science teachers (Orji &Ebele in Asiyai, 2012). Biology as a key science subject is offered by most senior secondary students. It is a core subject required for medical sciences, biotechnology, pharmacy, microbiology, agriculture, oceanography to mention but a few.

Availability And Utilization Of Biology Laboratory Equipment

One would be tempted to assume that the high enrolment in Biology and the fact that it deals with familiar objects like living things in general and the human body in particular, would imply high performance. From observations, performance in sciences is poor when compared with other subjects (Adodo, 2013). A review of student’s performance in Biology in the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) from 2005 to 2013 in Nigeria revealed fluctuation and a downward trend in the students’ performance (Daluba, 2012). This has attracted a lot of concern among science educators. In order to achieve the objectives and the aspiration of the government and to improve students’ performance in Biology efforts should be directed towards improving teaching and learning of the subject.

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Achimagu (2013) classified resource materials into classroom/laboratories equipment/chemicals and textual/audiovisual materials. Resources according to Umeh (2013) refers to facilities that can be used to enhance or improve educational programmes and promote teaching and learning. Science laboratory resources/facilities can be human or material. The human resources have to do with personnel such as lecturers/teachers, laboratory technologist/assistants, and students. The science laboratory material resources are those materials available to the science teacher for teaching and learning. They include textbooks, computers, thermometers, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, oven, incubators, chalkboards, model/mock-ups, television, radio, and other electronic devices.

Although some resources may be available and adequate but may not be put to use by the teachers. Umeh (2013) is of the view that audio-visual aids such as computers and projectors are not utilized in schools due to lack of knowledge on the proper use of such resources for teaching. Onyeji (2014) had earlier reported that none of these new media (electronics) is available, accessible or used in communicating Science, Technology, and Mathematics (STM) in secondary schools. Physical laboratory resources are the fundamental factors in better learning and achievements of the students.  All resources should be provided to the schools for the students’ better, concrete, and real experiences.

Availability And Utilization Of Biology Laboratory Equipment

Leeper, (2008), stated that the child learns through concrete rather than abstract experiences as there are learners who use different cognitive skills for learning, such as seeing, hearing feeling and touching skills. School resources have been observed as a potent factor in quantitative education. The availability of laboratory resources is essential for effective teaching and learning of Science and consequently a good performance in students. Ifeakor (2010) is of the opinion that learning can occur through one’s environment – resources that are available to facilitate students learning the outcome. Students can master better the basic concepts of Biology /chemistry when they learn by doing. This implies that practical should function as the primary learning experience.

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Researchers such as Oladare, Abiodun, and Inyang (2006), Adesoji (2008); stated that there are inadequate resources for teaching and learning of science subjects in public secondary schools in Nigeria. They further stated that where there are little resources at all, they are not in good condition, while the few ones that are in good condition are not enough to go round and also the few available materials are dysfunctional. Empirical studies conducted in relation to resource utilization in education have revealed that essential resources are not always available in schools. This inadequacy of teaching resources has been of serious concern to educators (Kennedy, 2009). Lyons (2012), states that learning is a complex activity that involves an interplay of students‟ motivation, physical resources, teaching resources, skills of teaching and curriculum demands. The process of managing and organizing resources is called resource utilization. The utilization of resources (laboratory resources) in education brings about fruitful learning outcomes since resources stimulate students learning as well as motivating them.

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