1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Agriculture as defined by Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary 6th edition is the science or practice of farming. It is the art, science business and industry of cultivating the land to grow crops, rear animals and preparing plants and animal’s product for mans use.
Before recorded history, man depended on wild animals for food, clothing, shelter and transport. Due to increasing human population, the demand for food and animal protein had out weighed the supply from natural resources which fluctuated, became laborious and expensive. Therefore man had gone a little bit further as society made transition from hunting to pasturalism and cultivation, certain animal species were domesticated in areas other than their natural habitat.
These farm animals are exhaustible resources but are renewable. Their renewability however depends on the level of management adopted. It is for this reason one has to learn the scientific techniques involved in the maintaining and improving these resources to maximum yield and their usefulness to mankind.
Agriculture is one of the core subjects in both junior and senior secondary schools in the Nigerian 6:3:3:4 system of educational programme (ONWUEGBUNAM 1993). Agricultural science teaching covers the following areas;
- Animal science/production
- Crop science
- Soil science
- Agricultural extension and
- Agricultural economics.
Animal science include the production and management of many different species of domesticated animals like cattle, sheep, goat, pig, poultry, rabbit, horses, fisheries and many others for human consumption.
According to WAEC regulation (2002), schools presenting candidates for the examinations in addition to having a school farm where students should be trained in the art of growing various crops, should also keep the following livestock like cattle, sheep and goats, fish, rabbit, pigs or poultry birds. This will ensure that the students should be able equipped with the skills and management techniques involved in animal production.
To improve the animal protein needs of the Nigerian populace, the Federal Government of Nigeria is making efforts towards increasing animal protein productions. Apart from encouraging ministries of Agriculture at both state and local government levels to establish livestock unit, the National policy on education (1998) has emphasized the teaching of Agriculture at the secondary schools level.
Among the objectives of teaching and learning of agriculture in secondary schools, Agricultural science curriculum for JSS and SSS 1998 revised include; stimulating and sustaining students interest to acquire basic knowledge, practical skills in agriculture, prepares students for further studies and occupation in Agriculture. To achieve the objectives of secondary school agriculture, agricultural science is taught as a single subject although divided into units as below:
UNIT I – Soil science
UNIT II – Crop production
UNIT III – Animal production
UNIT IV – Agricultural engineering
UNIT V – Agricultural economics and extension
In unit III which is animal production, WAEC has spelt out that practical and theoretical approach should be used to teach the topic. To this effect, the WAEC syllabus (1998-2000) stipulated that school farms where crops are grown with at least one species of livestock from each of the following two groups; pig, rabbit and poultry or goat, sheep, cattle and where feasible fish pond should be established.
In animal production, students are to cover the following topics as contained in the said WAEC agricultural science syllabus which is stated above;
– Identification of parts and important organs of farm animal e.g. cattle, sheep, goat, pig, poultry, rabbit etc.
– Functions of some of the organ of farm animal’s skin, feather, liver, kidney, lungs etc.
– Digestive system, difference between the digestive system of monogastric and ruminant animals.
– Circulatory system reproductive system and nervous systems.
– Explanation of the following process under animal production: Oestrus cycle, heat period, mating, parturition, lactation and colostrums, gestation period, ovulation and artificial insemination.
– The process of egg formation in poultry
– Reproductive hormones and their function
– Livestock management; housing, feeding and hygiene of at least one monogastric animal.
The students are expected to carry out the following practical exercises authorized in the WAEC agricultural science syllabus (1998-2000) as follows;
– Common breeds of animal and types of animals available in the locality.
– Major internal organs of farm animals
– Animals feeds and feeding stuff and their local sources
– Main parts and parasites of farm animals
– Diseases of farm animals their prevention and control
– Routine management practices in farm animals
– Fish harvesting and prevention.
The above requirements make the teaching of animal science as a component of agricultural science program in the secondary school by teachers very demanding.
According to West African Examination Council report (2008) students performed well in other units except in animal science. For illustration purposes in 1986, the report showed that most candidates identified the digestive systems of ruminants and non ruminants correctly but could not label the unlabelled parts.
A – Oesophagus/gullet
B – Rumen
C – Reticulum
D – Omasium
E – Obamasium
F – Duodenum
G – Ileum
H – Colon/large intestine
I – Rectum
J – Stomach
Also candidates were poor in identification of specimen obtained from animal products probably due to the methods used in imparting the knowledge or the teachers are not well equipped.
Criticizing the methods applied in the teaching of animal science component of agriculture in the secondary school level Ikezue (1983) remarked as follows: “it is disheartening to see that a fifth form (SS II) student cannot identify very well some breeds of goat, sheep, cattle and poultry because they learn them theoretically without seeing them physically” he expressed the opinion that should the government want to make the teaching of animal science meaningful at the secondary school level, she should help school provide livestock farms where the student could learn more about livestock production.
In order to achieve this, it becomes necessary to give the in service training to teachers of agriculture in animal science so that they can be better equipped for the job of teaching the subject. These will enable the teachers of agricultural science impact the knowledge to the students and update their knowledge on animal science component.
Consequently, it becomes necessary to investigate in service needs of agricultural science teachers of secondary schools in animal science teaching.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The provisions of meat for man have moved from the primitive game hunting of our fore fathers to the modern day management of livestock. (NERDIC 1991) stipulates that the science of animal production requires that the agricultural teachers of animal science in our secondary school should have at least a basic knowledge of the structure and functions of the various organs that make up the body of farm animals.
It is a well established facts that animals and their products constitute the richest source of protein in our diet and as such the need to take a hard look on the decline in the science of this important part of the agricultural science would not be over emphasized (Akinsemni 1999). The WAEC senior school certificate examination has made it clear that one of the following livestock e.g. poultry, sheep, goat, pig, cattle or rabbit should be established in schools that have candidates for agricultural examinations. Therefore it becomes imperative that qualified and highly experienced agricultural science teachers are needed to actualize the objective of teaching the subject in the school. Most of the time candidates presented for the above examinations do not perform well in animal science or agricultural science. This was shown in West African Examination Council (WAEC) report (2008) on the performance of student on animal science.
The poor performance of students in animal science components of the WAEC examination is an indication that the teachers of agricultural science are not properly equipped with the skills or competencies required for teaching the units in animal science. Some of the teachers may have acquired the skills but cannot demonstrate the skills in the classroom setting. Others lack some essential instructional competencies which may be necessary to be possessed by the teachers of agricultural science in animal science teaching to make them effective. As a result they are unable to demonstrate the skills acquired in the course of training in their respective schools.
These skills in teaching of animal science curriculum in secondary school require in-service training to meet up with the challenges of teaching the unit. Therefore this study is conducted to investigate the in-service needs of teachers teaching animal science unit of agricultural science in secondary schools.
1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY
This study seeks to find out the in-service needs of agricultural science teachers in teaching animal science in our secondary schools.
Specifically the study intends to
- Find out areas of animal science component where agricultural science teachers require in-service training.
- Find out the different modes of the in-service training suitable for the serving teachers of agricultural science in the schools.
iii. Find out how agricultural science teachers can be motivated for effective teaching and learning of animal science in secondary schools.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of this research work will be of immense benefit to the following categories of people:-
- The researcher
- The agricultural science teacher,
iii. The students
- The school
- The policy makers and
- The nation at large.
THE RESEARCHER: The work will enable the researcher highlight the various problems affecting teaching and learning of animal science component of agricultural science in schools and provide a platform for further research work.
THE STUDENTS: They stand a better chance of becoming self employed when armed with the scientific techniques involved in rearing of animals like piggery, poultry, fishery, ruminants and non-ruminants etc after their school career. It will also afford them opportunity to acquire the necessary skills, experiences and knowledge needed for increased animal production for those who may wish to become full time farmers.
THE AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE TEACHERS: The Teachers by attending in service training will be exposed to the latest techniques and practices in animal rearing. Also the provision of livestock will enable them carry out and demonstrate to students the various techniques and practices. This will steer the student’s interest and create a good farm work habit.
THE SCHOOLS: problem of funding in schools will be reduced because the livestock farm will be a good source of revenue generating unit which could assist in running and provision of other basic needs of the school.
THE POLICY MAKERS: It will also enable the policy makers to be abreast of the problems of teaching animal science in our secondary schools and the need for the serving teachers to embark on in-service training to update their knowledge on the latest management practices in animal production.
They should recognize the importance of qualification and experience de-emphasized paper qualification in favour of practical skills and knowledge. They should provide for the schools modern implements and materials for achievement on the stated goals. With the above knowledge, the policy makers will be able to formulate policies that will encourage the schools to participate in in-service training of the teachers.
THE NATION: Finally when agricultural science teachers are well equipped or embark on in-service training according to the national policy on education, the student will benefit immensely which will in-turn help the entire nation to be self reliant on animal production.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study will cover only the in-service needs of agricultural science teachers teaching animal science in secondary schools within Enugu North Local Government Area.
1.6 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The researcher was confronted with problems during the course of the study and there are:-
– RESPONDENTS: Some of the respondents were not available during the distribution and collection of the questionnaire. This made the researcher to visit some of the Secondary Schools more than twice in order to distribute and collect the questionnaire.
– FINANCE: There was no grant for the research. Fund was not available therefore the researcher found it difficult to transport himself to and from the secondary schools for the distribution and collection of the questionnaire.
– TIME: The time for conducting the research could not be over sighted. During the course of the research, there were lectures going on. Secondly, semester examinations followed immediately after lectures. There were, other things the researcher did in other to put food on his table. These are some of the limitation encountered by the researcher.
1.7 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the areas of animal science components of agriculture that require in-service training by the teachers of agricultural science in Secondary schools?
- What are the various modes of in-service training suitable for the serving teachers of agricultural science in Secondary schools?
- How could the serving agricultural science teachers be motivated for effective teaching and learning of animal science in secondary schools?