IMPROVING PRIMARY SCIENCE TEACHING THROUGH EFFECTIVE SCIENCE TEACHER EDUCATION
The National Policy of Education (1981:6) is emphatic on the promotion of primary science education and has the science-related objectives which point in the direction of active and realistic primary science education. Consequent upon this, the National Policy on Education (1981:7) recommended the study of primary science as one of the curricular activities that will help to achieve the prescribed board-based primary education objectives. Since then the Federal Government of Nigeria has made a lot of efforts aimed at consolidating primary science education in Nigerian primary school. One of such major efforts is the development of the new Primary Education Science Core Curriculum (PESCC). The introduction and use of the core curriculum for primary science came at an opportune time and is significant because its introduction and use has provided a basic, well-planned and systematic instruction in primary science rather than the haphazard approach to science teaching which characterized previous teaching of science in primary schools. Primary school pupils can now learn science effectively and will be sufficiently prepared for learning science at higher levels of education.
The Primary Education Science Core Curriculum (PESCC) (1981:12) claims that science education at the primary school level should enable the Nigerian child to:
- Observe and explore the environment
- Develop basic science process skills, including observing, manipulating, classifying, communicating, inferring, hypothesizing, interpreting data and formulating models;
- Develop functional knowledge of science concepts and principles;
- Explain simple natural phenomena;
- Develop a scientific attitude including curiosity, critical reflection and objectivity;
- Apply the skills and knowledge gained through science to solving everybody problems in his environment; and
- Develop a functional awareness of and sensitivity to the orderliness and beauty in nature.
In the option of the writer, these objectives fall within the context of the broad objectives for primary science as outlined in the National Policy on Education and seem to be specifically directed towards achieving them. A closer look at the objectives of the Core Curriculum shows that they are also relevant to the needs, interests and abilities of the pupils and a nation in quest of scientific and technological growth. In all, the objectives point to a high probability of achieving a good grounding in science at the primary school level. This desired success may, however, remain a mirage if the primary school teacher is inadequate or insufficient in the epistemological and methodological dimensions of science. Science teachers effectiveness in primary science teaching is thus perceived as a major focal point in this discourse.
Towards Effective primary Science Teacher Education
Experimental knowledge in the field of education has proved at the very outset of any innovation or reform in education, the issue of teacher, for it to be effective. It stands to reason, therefore, that suggestions by and aspirations of people for science education are intended for the science teachers in particular, since the spirit of science education must inevitably be the spirit of those who do the actual teaching in the science classrooms.
This may be why the National Policy on Education (1981:32) prescribes the purpose of (science) teacher education to be:
- To produce highly motivated, conscientious and efficient classroom teachers for all levels of our education system;
- To encourage further the spirit of equity and creativity in teachers;
- To provide teachers with intellectual and professional background adex date for their assignment and to make them adaptable to and changing situation not only in the life of their country, but in the wider world;
- To enhance teachers’ commitment to the profession.
These objectives are essential in order to equip primary science teachers for the effective performance of their classroom science duties bearing in mind the assertion in the education policy document that no education can rise above the quality of its teachers. One can “scientifically and technologically” above the quality of her science teachers. This situation could apply to the issue of primary science education at the primary science teachers. Effort will, therefore, be made to achieve and maintain both the quantity and the quality of the primary science teachers in the primary schools where a solid scientific foundation is desired in order to form a stable substratum for erecting desirable future scientists and technologists.
This call for improvement in the quantity and quality of primary school science teachers is a welcome one when one reflects on the profused literature on the problems of primary science teaching in Nigeria. Studies by Agun (1976), Ango (1982), Ikoku (1982) Okeke and Inomiesa (1986), Nzewi (1986), and Ali (1987), to mention but a few, generally indicate poor teaching of primary science in schools and attributed the sorry situation to poor teacher preparation and poor environmental stimulation. The problem with the teaching specifically lies with the qualifications, experience and acquired skill level of the average primary school teacher who is expected to teach science to the pupils in his class. It is educationally true that the child learns, but as put by Jacobson (1970), it is the sensitive, knowledgeable, highly competent teacher who makes it possible for learning to take place.
There is obvious need to inject quality and relevance into pimary school science teaching. This has obvious implications for primary science teacher centres and programmes. According to Odunusi (1988) several changes have occurred in the education system which should have provoked an overhaul of the teacher education curriculum. Notable among these changes is the introduction of the new primary education science core curriculum which by design has many implications for primary science teacher education programme. Majority of the present teachers in the primary schools were trained based on the Teachers’ Grade Two Syllabus on 1974, which has little or no relevance to the knowledge and skills they are expected to impart to the pupils, based on the new primary education science core curriculum.
If this category of teachers are to adequately cope with the present task and magnitude of primary science teaching, which has changed from transmission teaching to that of guidance and encouragement, they should be carefully trained, retrained, maintained and supported while in the field. As one articulates and analyses the task, certain fundamental questions readily come to mind. The rest of this paper will attempt to pose and then provide answers to the crucial questions indicated viz:
- How can it be ensured that every teacher in the primary school today effectively teaches primary science using the new PESCC?
- How can it be guaranteed that the primary school teachers are academically sound in the primary science curriculum experiences they are to teach?
- How can the pedagogic and process skills of primary school teachers be improved for their science teaching interactions with pupils, in the primary school?
Towards Effective Induction of the Primary School Teachers for Primary Science Teaching
A good number of the primary school teachers are ill-equipped for the task of science teaching using the new primary science core curriculum. To teach science effectively the teachers must have an opportunity to retrain and update their knowledge and techniques of teaching primary science.
The in-service training programme designed for the induction of the primary school teachers should be related to the school, the primary education science core curriculum, the child and the society. This is necessary because of the obvious case of discrepancies between competent and performance when the performing environment does not reinforce or is actually incompatible with the training environment (Balogun, 1983:38).
Furthermore, a meaningful and effective in-service education for the primary school teachers required a systematic, continuous and objective identification and analysis of the needs of the primary science teachers with regard to the demands made on them by the new primary science core curriculum. Training courses, therefore, should be planned based on the identified training needs. Studies by Okeke (1986:62) and Nzewi (1986:51) identified need areas for primary science teaching and agreed on the call for a review of the teacher training programmes primary school teachers are exposed, and more importantly to the need for massive in-service training and retraining of service teachers.
Specifically, this paper suggests that teacher education programme could be related to the following identified need areas of primary science teachers:
- Planning, implementing and evaluating instruction in science (Nzewi, 1986:50-51).
- Effective preparation and use of instructional materials (Ikoku (1982:75). A feature of elementary science teacher preparation which may be effective in promoting the teaching of science in the schools, is the preparation of teaching materials and equipment during preservice training.
- Use of posters, plays and games in teaching and learning primary science. (Okeke and Inomiesa, 1986:65) (Okeke and Okpara, 1988:5). This approach meaningfully shifts the task of the teacher from the teacher-talk approach to an exploitation of the informal experiences and behaviours of children and injecting formal learning.
- Knowledge of the content of primary science (Okpara, 1985:7), (Ali, 1987:18).
- Knowledge of SEPA’s approach to primary science teaching which takes the view that science is a medium through which a child might develop his natural curiosity and its teaching should involve the child actively interacting with things in his natural environment. (Harlen, 1985:5-11).
During the training programme:
- The trainee – teachers should be given opportunity to watch more experienced teachers conduct science lessons with primary school pupils;
- The trainee – teachers should be provided with lesson programmes or packages on how to effectively conduct science lessons in their schools. Such lesson programmes can be produced by Colleges of Education, Ministries of Education and professional bodies such as the Science Teachers’ Association of Nigeria and the Curriculum Organization of Nigeria.
- Model lessons can be produced and shown to schools live to video-taped.
- The trainee – teachers should be exposed to informal ways of teaching primary science, such as through use of posters, plays and games which serve as advance organizers and increase the readiness of the pupils for the science topics, and acquisition of process skills (Okeke and Okpara, 1988:7).
Towards Providing a Sound Content of Science to the Teachers
It is common knowledge that a teacher can only teach what he knows. This implies that the primary school teacher must be academically sound in the substance of science he is to teach. The core content for primary science education in the ne PESCC is arranged for the six-year period of primary school education. The topics are so spread out that the unity of science is obvious and they sufficiently provided the needed building blocks for secondary education in science. Each year has a number of topics to be covered. Generally, the topics include: exploring the environment; using the senses; modeling; air; water; measurements; food; soil; colours; the human body; the body at work; heat; energy and temperature; soap and alkali; pulley; levers and friction; minerals and us and where we live. The content of the curriculum surely demands a lot of in-depth knowledge and good self-concept of science on the part of the teachers.
Okeke (1986) I found out that majority of the teachers used for her study are of the view that the teaching of primary science as is presently done in our primary schools is not effective. The findings of this research are illuminating and tally with the views of Ali (1983 ad 1987) that the primary science teachers find it difficult to teach primary science as it demanded in the PESCC. The findings indicate that the teaching done at this level is not as effective as it should be. According to Ali (1987:17) many primary school teachers lack the cognitive (knowledge) and technical skills competences desirable for effectively teaching primary science. When such findings are analyzed, one strongly feels that something radical needs to be done to set the right standard for primary science teaching. One major step will be to provide sound knowledge of the content of science for the teachers.
It is advisable that during training (pre-or in-service) the primary school teachers should be exposed to the objectives of primary science teaching, the content, activities, and materials as reflected in the primary education science core curriculum including the textbooks used for primary science. In short, the teachers should be exposed to curriculum experiences that are similar to those the primary school pupils are expected to be exposed to in the primary schools as a point of departure. This measure, it is hoped, will confer confidence and effectiveness in primary science teaching because effective primary science teaching can only be attained by those trained or retrained in the experiences of primary science teaching. Furthermore, there is need for attention to be given to the interrelationships of science, technology and society. This is necessary for two reasons. Firstly, there are topics in the nee curriculum that are related to technology and society. Secondly, science and technology seem to be among the greatest shapers of any society.
In all, the training programme should ensure such content that will help the primary school science teacher possess the knowledge that will eventually help him compare favourably with the Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE) holder in the area of primary science teaching (Okpara, 1985:7), and confer in him a solid operational understanding of the conceptual structure and generalization of science.
Towards Improving Skills of the Teachers in Primary Science Teaching
A major change in primary school science education during the past two or more decades is an emphasis on process skills. Process skills, instruction stresses the acquisition of skills used in doing science when compared to an emphasis on pupils mastery of knowledge and facts. According to the SAPA Newsletter, (1967) in Campbell and Okey (1977) process skill instruction have been shown to enhance intellectual development in elementary school children. In the opinion of Hunt (1967) also in Campbell and Okey (1977) children who have learned process skills think analytically and are more successful with new problems. Considering these gains from process skill instruction it is essential that primary science teachers understand process skills and how to use process skills in their science teaching. This calls for a considerable emphasis upon these processes of science in their training programmes. These experiences will, no doubt, provide the intellectual foundations that will make it possible for primary school teachers to achieve the potentials inherent in the new primary science core curriculum that emphasizes process skill acquisition and demonstration.
Unfortunately, the change in direction from content-oriented to more process-centered primary science curriculum materials has not been followed by a substantial a change of emphasis in the preparation of primary school teachers. To date the literature expresses a need for teacher proficiency in science process skills. Riley II (1979:373) feels that a teacher’s understanding of and attitude toward science would be improved by proficiency in the process skills and that this would likely result increased and improved science instruction.
If the teachers are to teach primary science successfully in accordance with the way in which children learn best and as demanded in the new core curriculum for primary science, their repertoire of teaching skills and approaches should be sharpened and improved. In addition, the teachers should be kept in-formed of new developments in resource materials and different kinds of equipments and how to use them in teaching primary science. The primary school teacher should be able to bring the outside world of science into the classroom through effective use of the television and radio and use various kinds of projectors to illustrate ideas during science teaching. As the training of science teachers takes several years to accomplish it will be quite appropriate to make special efforts to improve the teaching strategies at the pre-service training stages. This is so because, in the final analysis, successful and effective teaching of primary science in the primary schools largely depends upon what we do with the present group of student-teachers entering the Training Colleges and Colleges of Education with primary education departments.
- The recent efforts in some Colleges of Education and Universities in Nigeria to offer courses in integrated science or primary science at the diploma level for teachers are commendable and should be continued.
- The Federal and State Governments of Nigeria should organize for the teachers’ periodic workshops and seminars on primary science teaching in the primary schools. This could be done through the relevant ministries, institutions of higher learning and/or through reputable professional bodies such as the Science Teachers’ Association of Nigeria (CON) at no cost to the teachers. For effective and efficient achievements of this goal the topics and science experiences contained in the primary science curriculum should be used in the programme as a point of departure.
- A body/panel should be set up at Federal and State levels to work out the logistics for effective carrying out of the recommendations made in this paper. The body may involve scientists and non-scientists because sciencing at this level is essentially science for living.
The writer may not have, in these few pages, explained everything that need to be projected on how to inject quality into our primary science teaching through effective teacher education programme. However, the point that has been made, it is hoped, is that it is not wise to level primary school science teaching in the hands of poorly informed, ill-motivated teachers. Improving the quality of primary science teaching calls for effective science teachers education programmes. This stems from the conviction of the writer that the primary school science teachers will not and cannot deal with the components of the new primary science curriculum expected to be taught in school unless they have experienced them. Experiencing them demands an update of the primary science teacher education programmes.
The Role of Business Education in the Teaching of Employability Skills in Nigeria
The high rate of unemployment among school leavers and college graduates has been several attributed to lack of skills and competencies requires in the world of work. Ifedi (1982) in a reaction, aggress that one of the main causes of unemployment among school leavers is lack of trained and employable skills. Many unemployed, according to Uzoagulu (1985), do not possess the necessary skills and competencies which the modern economy demand. Thus, we are faced with critical shortage of competent applicants and burden some surpluses of unemployable manpower. Uzoagulu further described unemployment as an economic menace and socially, a hydra-headed monster which casts an economic menace and socially, a hydra-headed monster which casts ponderous responsibilities and implications upon government of nations.
All these go to show the great need for manpower development towards meeting the needs for employable skills among the masses of the Nigerian citizens. Lack of employable skills is further worsened by the current trend in technology. Employment requirements, according to Osuala (1985), are changing due to technological advancement. The growing implementation of office automation techniques in business and technological advancement, according to Kanu (1987), will soon affect our student teachers and even business lives in the country.
However, business education has been seen as a solution to this problem. It is in this line that Osuala (1985), noted that there is a growing need for business knowledge. According to him, people in all works of life today attach much importance to business education. Many Nigerians have come to realize that they need training skills that can make them employable, he added.
Besides, employers required business education as a prerequisite for entry into and advancement in the world of work. Osuala also pointed out that secondary school leavers and those without business education experience have difficulty in finding jobs.
Objectives of Business Education
A review of the general objectives of business education is necessary as this will enable one to determine the roles it plays or should play in the inculcation of employability skills in the students passing through it. Some of the major objectives of business education include enabling youths:
- Have the skills and competencies required for the performance of basic business jobs.
- Apply the various business concepts acquired in class in real life situations.
- Recognize and demonstrate their responsibilities and rights as consumers.
- With some business skills recognize and play their roles as productive participants or members of the society especially in a free enterprise economy.
- Improve their economic and personal qualities and build attitude necessary for adjustment to personal and other employment situations.
- Guide individuals for suitable placement in business and office employment.
Needs for Employability Skills
This area will deal with the need for employability skill as it affects learner and as it affects the Nigerian business community. For any educational system to be successful, the needs of the learner and the community he will subsequently serve must be duely considered. It is not just enough to mold a course of instruction around the requirements of a particular student enrolled in the programme.
Needs of the Students
Needs to Acquire Employable Skill
The most serious predicament of school leavers today is the inability to secure jobs because of lack of any relevant and employable skills. It has even continually been difficult and almost impossible to expose our students to any reasonable on the job experience. It should be expose our students to any reasonable on the job experience. It should be recalled at this point that one of the cardinal theories of vocational education states the effective training can only be effective in proportion as the training is given in real jobs rather than pseudo jobs and as the training environment is a complete replica of the place the trainee will subsequently work.
Financial needs and Economic Security
Students not only require skills and occupational competencies, but also money to keep them going as well as future economic security. Economic Security can only be ensure in proportion as the student has acquired the necessary skills capable of employment.
Need for Social and Occupational Adjustment
For social and occupational adjustment, students need to acquire social and occupational skills and competencies that will both enable them to be intelligent consumers and producers as well as achieve satisfaction in their jobs through effective occupational adjustment. One can only interact with the society around him to the extent that he is not socially maladjusted.
Reduction of Students’ Involvement in Youth and Juvenile Delinquency
Many youths involved in juvenile delinquencies and criminal acts have been noted to have been frustrated due to unemployment. Unemployment is often the result of lack of employable skills. It is hoped that re-orientation away from the former training in faculty psychology towards the inculcation of vocational skills will go a long way to reducing youths involvement in juvenile delinquencies and criminal acts.
Need to Identify with a Professional Association
An individual des not only require to enter and retain a job, but also to acquire security through membership of a professional association. Most professional associations, it is known, do require their new members to have attained certain level of competency registration. For instance, an ill-trained and incompetent accountant is sure not to secure membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) as he may never pass their examinations. These and other needs of the individual make education for employable skills of paramount concern to business education.
Need of Business and Industry
Needs of business as used is meant to include the need of a modern office in commerce, industry, and private or public office.
Because the primary goals of business education are often Vocational, the needs of business are vital in planning new educational programmes and in revising existing programmes. A business teacher must, therefore, be aware of employment trends for various occupations both nationally and for specific localities in which graduates may seek employment. The following are some of the specific needs of business for employability skills:
Need to meet-up with Technological Advancement
Gardener (1961) holds that the demand for high-talented manpower is firmly rooted in the level of technological complexity which characterizes modern life, and the complexity of modern social organization. He further contended that even more important than the complexity of technology and social organization, is the rate of innovation and change in both technological and social sphere.
In an age when new machines and equipment are constantly being developed and introduced into the world of work, there is a need for business and industry to employ only those possessing relevant skills and competencies necessary for effective performance in the office. For instance, competencies that were previously performed by secretaries are now divided between corresponding secretaries who spend their time transcribing dictation on this new equipment and administrative secretaries who perform the non-typing duties.
According to Eni (1987), important to business education is the training requirements to meet the current skill demands of prospective employers. It makes no sense for business education, therefore, to emphasize skills which are not relevant to the prospective job employment of the graduates. Technological advancement has revolutionalized office procedures and activities.
Need for Competent and Efficient Office Worker
In less developed countries like Nigeria, the problems associated with competencies in handling new and sophisticated office equipment may not be a serious as the need for efficient and effective office workers who knows what to do, how to do it and when to do it both efficiently and effectively.
Needs of the Nation
Generally, our country needs people with employable skills for the following reasons:-
Implementation of the Country’s National Development Plans
It will be recalled that the first development plan suffered in the hands of expatriate employees who were recruited by the government manpower development in the plan but rather felt it was more economical to employ expatriates whether they possessed the necessary knowledges, skills and competencies for the implementation of the plan or not.
With emphasis now placed on competency based education (CBN) in Nigeria, and from all indications, it has become necessary for us to develop available human resources for economic, social and political development. Ifedi (1982) shares this view in his statement: Because experience has indicated that shortage of talents and skills needed for development can directly retard economic progress, the creation and improvement of human capital has to be accorded premier attention in development planning.
Implementation of the 6-3-3-4 System of Education
This system requires that graduates of the junior or senior secondary school should be equipped with basic skills and competencies to enable them enter and progress in the world of work.
Miscellaneous: Other needs of the nation include:-
- Production of responsible, productive and self-reliant citizens.
- Reduction in the rate of labour turnover due to lack of proper occupational adjustment resulting from lack of skill.
- Increasing the morale and jobs satisfaction of workers and above all.
- Increasing the confidence that employers have in the skills, competencies and capabilities of their employees.
Identification of Skills: A business teacher must be aware of employment trends for various occupation both national and for the specific localities in which graduates may subsequently, seek employment. One way to gather this information is to consult published labour statistics at national and state levels. He can also interview local employers, interview former students or by means of structured questionnaire to be completed by local business people.
A comprehensive analysis of the task requirements of each of the occupations will include the development of a useful programme geared towards skill acquisition.
However, Schocket (1983) has classified skills into three broad categories, namely;
Self-Management Skills: This he said include such personality traits as patience, perseverance, humour, punctuality, dependability, and resourcefulness. The help an individual to adopt to new situations.
Transferable Skills: Planning, coordinating, organizing, leading, analyzing, selling, and creating are examples of transferable skills. They transfer from one situation to another and are useful throughout life. These are the skills we sell when we look for a new job and are therefore, employable skills.
Specific Job Skills: There are particular skills which are used in a specific job. They must be learned in each new situation. Skills such as learning to type a different style of letter, to use a different brand or word processor, or process different accounting forms are examples.
Development of Skills: Skill development in a competency based system revolves around three major factors – the interest of the learner; the effectiveness of the teacher in the teaching process and the learning environment.
Interest of the Learner: The training programme for any skill development will be effective in proportion as the learner wants it, need it and is ready to progress by it. This principle places the learner at the forefront of the training programme for skill development.
Teacher Effectiveness: Any programme for skill development will succeed in proportion as the instructor has a complete mastery of theskill being developed and he had experience on the job itself.
An effective teacher makes for an effective teaching. The following elements have been identified by Plymire (1983) as essentials of effective teaching:
- The effective teacher loves people: The most effective TR is one who loves to work with a range of combinations of age, backgrounds, value systems, sex, race, creeds and needs.
- An effective teacher has an enthusiasm for teaching
- The effective teacher is willing to prepare outside of class.
Approximately 70% of teaching takes place outside the class room if one includes lesson preparations, students consultations, test makings, evaluations and related activities.
The effective teacher must be organized and self-disciplined. This implies that the effective teacher must be prepared always to meet time and self-discipline requirement on a routine basis.
- The effective teacher must provide a turnover of technique:
The turnover of techniques (TOT) is the use of a variety of approaches to get the point across.
The effective teacher switches to a different technique every few minutes. The purpose of this turnover of techniques is to help prevent student boredom and to provide the students with an opportunity for mental regeneration. All of the technique continue to examine the topic under study in an integrated fashion. A turnover of technique, for example, could included a few minutes of each of these, all dealing with the same topic.
- Overhead transparency presentation
- Students at the blackboard
- A short cassette tape presentation, and
- A presentation by way of poster
It is important to remember not to stretch any of these techniques over a long time.
- The effective teacher is a pacesetter
Pace setting implies a combination of complete organization teaching matter and materials along with a reasonably vivacious presentation of the material.
- The effective teacher has subject matter competence.
This may well be the assist effective teaching challenge to accomplish. Ordinarily, if a person is certified by the graduating institution and the state department of education, it is assumed they posses the academic credentials necessary to handle subject matter being taught.
- The effective teacher has subject methods competence.
Certain segments of the academic do not believe that methods of teaching courses are necessary. These people seem to feel that if you have a thorough knowledge of the subject matter, you can teach it. This may be something of an academic question, but students consistently report that many of their highly intelligent, motivated, subject-oriented instructors simply do not know how to present the material, or do not know how to put it across.
There is a strong sentiment in favour of methods of teaching courses. Through these courses, the teacher-to-be should become oriented to the latest methods, materials, and evaluation of the subject. With an ever-enlarging curricula, and often a shortened time span for mastering the subject, methods courses provide efficiency in the learning process.
The Learning Environment
For meaningful and effective learning outcome, the learning environment should be a replica of the environment in which the learner will subsequently work.
A vital and definite function performed by business education is to assist student in making the transition from the pursuit of academic training to reality of active participation in the work force. Students who face the need to gain access to the world of work where they will find and ever more complex society and technological and other changes requiring greater adaptability, must be prepared (Erisckson, 1975). Business education provides the base which helps students become employable and adaptable to changing circumstances by exposing them to industrial work experience. It is only in this way that the students can be exposed to experiences in real life situation and so enable them to apply learned concepts, principles, theories and laws to real life work.
The Roles of Business Education
In so many ways, business education helps in manpower development of any nation (Osuala: 1985). He further added that Business education reflects previous education and experience, career needs, learning goals, and personal aspirations of students.
It provides career guidance to adult students to increase their awareness of varied job opportunities and changing requirements for career entry and advancement.
It provides training which reflects changes in business brought about by technological advances.
It gives attention to the development of human relations skills.
It meets the needs of not only youths and adult normal persons but also handicapped, disadvantages and gifted persons.
Business Education maintains a constant, updated check on business requirements and standards; keeps an update on manpower needs with respects to business employment opportunities, especially as they relate to office and distributive occupations and reflects these findings in courses and individual counseling.
According to Osuala, business education performs the following additional roles:
- It educates individuals for and about business.
- It provides a continuous programme of planned learning experiences designed to equip individuals to fulfill effectively three roles.
- To produce and distribute goods and services as workers.
- To use the results of production as consumers and
- To make judicious socio-economic decision as citizens
- It provides career information that helps students relate their interests, needs and abilities to occupational opportunities in business.
- It provides educational opportunities for students preparing for career in fields other than business to acquire business knowledge and skills needed to function effectively in those careers.
Business education is directed towards helping students to understanding better and to act more intelligently in dealing with the capital problems that face their country’s economy. To deal with these problems intelligently they must have an understanding of business economic system.
Any individual making the transition from formal education setting to the demanding world of work, must be able to call upon a range and variety of skills. These are the skills that business education field is uniquely qualified to provide (Eni, 1987). He added that this include the range of knowledge, value, and performance skills required to successful entry into and an advancement in the world of work. He stressed that to help students develop as broad a range as possible of work competencies and other abilities needed to enter the business world, business education includes those components which make up a variety of clusters of business office occupations. Business education curriculum emphasizes those skills, knowledges, and values that relate to a thorough understanding of business, its functions, its intricacies, and its practices along with comprehensive view of the economy and each individual functions moist effectively within the total economic setting.
For a smooth transition into the automated office, there must be positive attitude towards continuous updating of knowledge for everyone in this age of technological advancement to acquire and improve communication and interpersonal skills. In light of this rapid technological advances, students of today and tomorrow more than ever must be capable of excellent oral and written communication skill, computational abilities and satisfactory job adjustment.
Business education should therefore be considered as essential for every secondary school for the inculcation of the saleable skills which will make these student employable in the labour market. The acquisition of effective skills marketable at a level which will satisfy the aspirations of the business community can only be achieved through properly planned courses in business education in the secondary, post-secondary, institutions and universities.
In order to maintain reliance, business educators at all levels should;
- Maintain a constant, updated check on business requirements and standards, keep updated on manpower needs with respect to business employment opportunities; especially as they relate to office and distributive occupations, and reflect these findings in courses and in individual counselling.
- Employ the intensive or integrated method of providing relevant work experience in college office management, office system, and to on-the-job experiences (co-operative Education Method) and at the same time acquaints prospective teachers with this method which the cooperative method, as this is the method which they can apply in their classes.
- Begin employing behavioural objectives (and let students know these objectives) in the courses of instruction.
- Become more familiar with instructional systems, technology and practice in class, the proper methodologies and instructional media techniques and thereby set an example which prospective teachers (in the case of student teachers in business education) and observe and imitate.
- Devote an equal amount of time in the teaching of methods for the special areas in the field – typewriting, shorthand, book-keeping and accounting, basic business economics, and office procedures etc.
This is particularly important for those areas (accounting, business administration and economics) where content courses are usually or most often taught by non-business education faculty member.
- Involve more faculty members in the co-ordination of student teachers’ preparation, thereby keeping college faculty members attuned to the need of business.
- Exert influence in setting nation-wide university teacher education programme in business so that fewer general education requirements are demanded during the first two years of the college programme and so that more of the professional education requirements can be deferred to nearer the time when they can be more relevant.
- Continue to assume responsibility in providing services (programme planning, programme review, career information dissemination, and personal counseling) to business education majors and prospective majors. Continue to stress, during early contacts with new students, business courses and dual career opportunities in business majors – having teaching and business employment options.
- Provide students with as many teaching opportunities as time permits prior to student teaching, practice b utilizing the micro-teaching approach and televised demonstrations with evaluations of play back demonstrations. With all these suggestions, it is hoped that the objectives of business education as enumerated in the first part of this paper will be achieved.