This study assessed the self-efficacy for learning and for employment between regular and sandwich students of primary education studies. The study found out whether self-efficacy for learning and for employment depends of students’ programme of study. This study employed descriptive survey research design. The population of the study consists all regular and sandwich students of the University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria. A simple random sampling method was used to select 100 students across all the departments. A researcher’s designed questionnaire was used to elicit information on students’ self-efficacy for learning and employment. Descriptive statistics of percentage and inferential statistics of t-test were used for data analysis. Findings from the study revealed that the level of self-efficacy for learning and for employment among regular and sandwich students was high on majority; and that there was significant difference between the self-efficacy for learning among regular and sandwich students in favour of regular students. It was therefore recommended that both regular and sandwich students should be given opportunity to practice what they are studying while still in school; sandwich students should be sensitized on the need to have confidence in their learning ability; and that regular students should be orientated on the need to have high level of self-efficacy towards employment.
1.1 Background to the Study
Self-efficacy has been defined as “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute a course of action required to produce given attainments”. This differs from mere confidence by its emphasis on undertaking a course of action, as compared to simply holding an opinion or belief. In an educational setting, this definition was refined further to include the belief in one’s capabilities to successfully complete assigned academic tasks.
Academic self-efficacy has been extensively studied as a variable in student learning. A meta-analysis investigating the relationship between academic self-efficacy and achievements showed that increased academic self-efficacy made a positive contribution to academic performance. In addition to its influences on learning and performance, academic self-efficacy can affect learning strategies, specifically self-regulated learning. Self-regulated learning, which includes self-monitoring, self-evaluation, goal setting, and planning, contributes positively to academic achievement.
While many variables affect a person’s self-efficacy, four broad categories contribute most to its development. The first of these categories, past experience with a given task, plays an important role in the development of one’s belief that one could succeed at that task in the future. Secondly, present-day experiences, whether vicarious, in which the individual either observes or indirectly participates in the task, or mastery, in which the individual is a direct participant in the task, contribute to self-efficacy. The third category contributing to the development of self-efficacy is verbal persuasion, which emphasizes the role of teachers in cultivating the academic self-efficacy of their students. Lastly, biochemical changes (e.g. emotional responses) occur within the brain when one succeeds at a task, and this physiological arousal has been shown to contribute to the development of self-efficacy.
Perceived self-efficacy is concerned with people’s beliefs in their capabilities to produce desired outcomes (Bandura, 1997). People differ in the areas in which they develop their efficacy and the levels at which they develop it, even within their given pursuits. Thus, the efficacy beliefs system is not a global trait, but a differentiated set of self-beliefs linked to distinct realms of functioning.
In academic and learning settings, Niemivirta and Tapola (2007) opined that self-efficacy has bearing on both the level and type of goals people decide to strive for. It therefore follows that students’ self-efficacy beliefs consist of their belief to perform given academic tasks at designated levels. And the perceived academic self-efficacy as defined by Bandura is a personal judgment of one’s capacity to organize and execute courses of action to attain designated types of educational performance. Hence, students’ belief in their efficacy to regulate their own learning and to master academic activities determines their aspirations, level of motivation and academic accomplishment. Self-efficacy, trusting one’s abilities and powers for learning and performance, is a key trait for the academic success of university students (Hill, 2002). It is on this basis that Martinez-Pons (2002) classified self-efficacy into categories, one of which is academic self-efficacy and states that it reflects a student’s perceived capability with respect to the tasks a student is expected to perform in academic domain.
Apart from self-efficacy for learning, sandwich students are expected to have self-efficacy for employment. Self-efficacy for employment is one’s belief about his ability to work and face different employment demands. Research has shown the power of efficacy beliefs in different domains, for example, as a mechanism to face situations of occupational stress. For instance, it has been found that self-efficacy may act as a buffer in the presence of work stressors so that their negative impact is reduced (Grau, Salanova, & Peiró, 2000; Salanova, Peiró, & Schaufeli, 2002). Workers with higher levels of self-efficacy will not perceive demands as threats, but as opportunities to overcome and develop their skills; they will strive to obtain good results, and achievements will be interpreted as a result of their own effort (Bandura, 2002).
Efficacy beliefs influence the courses of action people choose to pursue, the challenges and goals they set for themselves and their commitment to them, how much effort they invest in given endeavours, the outcome they expect their efforts to produce, how long they persevere when faced with obstacles, their resilience to adversity, the quality of their emotional life, how much stress and depression they experience in co- ping with taxing environmental demands, the life choices they make and their accomplishments. For all these reasons it is important to take into account the construction workers’ levels of self-efficacy to understand their behaviour and their consequences (i.e., negligence and occupational accidents, as well as excellent performance at work). Self-efficacy for employment is a necessity for both sandwich and regular student.
The double-edged need to increase access to higher education and generate much needed revenue has informed the intent, development, and ultimately the introduction of current part-time programmes of study offered by Nigeria’s university system. According to Obemeata (1999) and Afe (1999) the expansion of part-time programmes must aim to accommodate both students seeking a university degree, as well as provide on-the-job training opportunities for those individuals who require new skills and/ or academic upgrading. In chronicling the relevance of outreach part-time programmes, Akintayo (1990) concluded that due to under-utilization of resources (physical capacity), coupled with increasing student demand for access to higher education opportunities, university’s must implement outreach programmes to address growing demand.
Part-time study comes in different forms one of which is sandwich programme. Sandwich study programme is a form of Adult education which United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 2006) described as “the entire body of organized educational processes, whatever the content, level, method whether they prolong or replace initial education in schools, colleges and universities as well as in apprenticeship”. Thus, persons regarded as adults by society to which they belong develop their technical or professional skills and bring about changes in their attitudes or behaviours in two-fold perspective of full personal development and participation in balanced and independent social, economic and cultural development.
The sandwich and part-time degree programmes represent one of the last available opportunities or chances for becoming university graduates in Nigeria. This is because there are so many people who are also capable of learning but inadequately or deliberately were not opportune to do so because of certain reasons. Psychologically, it can be accepted that people who are mature and socially responsible and economically viable, technically qualified and mentally sound, may be considered as the beneficiaries of Sandwich Degree Programme or Course (Akinade, 2007).
Another form of studentship is the full-time students. Full-time students are students who are enrolled or accepted on regular academic basis for the purpose of obtaining educational credential offered by the institution. Contrary to the part-time students, the regular students are expected to be in the school always for the period of their academic activities, except on holidays. Whether full-time or part-time, students are expected to have a considerable level of belief in their learning and employability skills.