ABSTRACT: The study was carried out to investigate the availability and utilization of instructional facilities and biology teaching in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The main objective was to find out whether instructional facilities for teaching of Biology are adequately available, and to assess the extent of utilization of instructional facilities in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area. The survey research design was adopted in the study, the study population of 18 biology teachers were sampled from six selected secondary schools in the area. Teachers’ questionnaire was used as the instrument for data collection while the simple percentage was used to analyze scores. This study indicates that adequacy and efficient utilization of instructional facilities enhance effective teaching of Biology. From the finding, it was recommended among others that adequate provision of biology facilities should be made to all secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area.
1.1 Background to the Study
Many researchers have carried out researches particularly on the status of facilities for the teaching of science technology and Mathematics in secondary schools. But not much have been mentioned regarding the extent to which availability and utilization of instructional facilities could influence the teaching process in these fields.
Instructional facilities play significant roles in the teaching of sciences in which biology forms an integral part. Biology teaching is activity–based. This implies that practical exercises must accompany the theoretical aspect of the subject to make the lesson clear and well understood by the learners. This also means that instructional facilities at various levels of the lesson have to be available, accessed and efficiently utilized by the teachers and the students. The use of these facilities will turn abstract reasoning to a true life situation thereby enhancing learning and improving academic performance of students in the subject.
THE AVAILABILITY AND UTILIZATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL FACILITIES AND BIOLOGY TEACHING IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Unfortunately, in spite of the numerous benefits derived from the sue of these facilities in the teaching of biology, there are evidence that there is shortage in the supply of modern textbooks and laboratory equipment for teaching this subject. For instance, in a study of availability and use of human and materials resources in the teaching of ‘Ecology and Genetics’ in Biology in senior secondary schools in Anambra State, Umeh (2006) decries the status of facilities in most secondary schools in the area, saying that, in most cases it is either there is acute shortage of biology textbooks and laboratory facilities or there is complete absence of instructional facilities in some schools. Inyang (2006) also pointed out the unavailability of instructional facilities for the teaching of science in many secondary schools while Oladele and Lasisi (2006) rightly pointed out that inadequacy or lack of instructional facilities in schools is responsible for ineffective teaching. The duo also observed that poor level of utilization is also responsible for poor academic achievement of students in Biology.
It is based on these issues that the researcher seeks to carry out this study to find out the extent to which instructional facilities are available and also utilized in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, with a view to making recommendations based on research findings on the issue.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The researcher observed that in many secondary schools, Biology laboratories are ill-equipped, out dated textbooks are still in use in the lesson class. In some schools, Biology laboratories exist merely as a structure without any Biology equipment in them. In another perspective, where there are facilities in the schools, the students are not interested in their practical work. This condition creates an environment where the facilities are under-utilized. Libraries are also ill-equipped with modern Biology textbooks. The few ones that may be suitable for teaching new concepts of biology are kept in the reference section of the libraries where students cannot easily gain access.
Awosika (2006) therefore complains that, there is noticeable shortage of instructional facilities in secondary schools while in some cases the teachers are not adequately prepared to make full use of these facilities in the lesson class. The author therefore attributes this poor status of facilities in schools and inefficient utilization of instructional facilities in the teaching-learning process to students’ poor academic achievement in Biology especially in public examinations such as the Senior Secondary School Certificate examination (SSCE), and the unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). Consequently, many students have failed to secure admission to read medicine, pharmacy and other biology based courses in the universities, polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
This study therefore, will find out whether instructional facilities are available and if they are effectively utilized in the teaching of biology in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The general objectives of the study are:
- Find out whether instructional facilities for the teaching of Biology are adequately available in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area.
- To assess the extent of utilization of instructional facilities in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area.
1.4 Significance of the Study
Research findings on the issue will:
- Serve as a reference manual for further researchers on related topics.
- Enlighten Biology teachers on the importance of using instructional facilities to teach Biology.
- Also enlighten students on the benefits derived from the use of instructional facilities to learn biological concepts.
- Further help government and related agencies especially educational administrators when making policy statements on human development issues and provision of instructional facilities in secondary schools.