The purpose of this study was to see how curriculum development affected the teaching and learning of basic science in junior secondary schools in Nsukka. The study looked at how well teachers’ teaching tactics aligned with the Basic Science curriculum’s instructional objectives. The study also assesses the qualifications of instructors who teach Basic Science in Nsukka’s junior secondary schools. The study will go on to see if the development of basic science curriculum has enhanced students’ basic scientific learning abilities. Finally, the study looks into the extent to which teaching resources are used in the implementation of the Basic Science curriculum. The survey descriptive research design was used in this study. The survey yielded a total of 30 valid replies. The findings demonstrated that teachers coordinate their teaching tactics to fulfill the instructional objectives of the Basic Science curriculum to a high degree, based on the responses gathered and assessed. The teaching of Basic Science in junior secondary schools in Nsukka is also influenced by teacher qualifications. Additionally, the creation of fundamental scientific curricula improves students’ basic science learning abilities. Finally, the use of instructional resources in the implementation of Basic Science curriculum in junior secondary schools is widespread. As a result, the study suggests that the government and ministry of education hold seminars for teachers to update their expertise on how to fulfill curriculum objectives and offer the necessary materials for implementation. Also, the Basic Science curriculum designers and developers should endeavor as soon as possible to establish the extent to which the developed plan or program is actually implemented in the state. Finally, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) should hold more workshops and seminars for Basic Scientific teachers in particular, as well as other science teachers in general, in order to provide them with the essential expertise for implementing the basic science curriculum.
Background of the study
Science is concerned with the natural world. It comes from the Latin word “scientia,” which means “to know” or “to be certain” (Odo, 2012). Science is focused with learning more about our surroundings. Science is an area of study that collects information about our environment and distinguishes itself from other fields by relying on a hypothetical deductive and experimental approach (Millennium Development Goals, MDGs project, 2011). According to Mbajiogu (2003), science is a process of doing, and it is mainly concerned with numerous investigative processes and actions related to producing, acquiring, and controlling information, skills, and attitudes concerning natural environmental elements. Scientific is divided into two parts: science content and science procedure. The content is the knowledge we gain about our surroundings, but the process skills are the methods scientists use to gather information about the environment (MDGs Project, 2011). As a result, science is seen as the foundation upon which any nation can be constructed (Onah, 2003). It is claimed to be such a vital component of man’s life that its importance in societal development has been recognized by many countries throughout the world. No country can achieve worldwide recognition without mentioning its scientific achievements. This can be seen in all aspects of life such as medicine, engineering, industries, education etc. A curriculum guides all of these scientific subjects. This is why, according to Nzewi (2008), the quality of education in any system and at any level is determined by the curriculum. Curriculum is defined as a collection of all experiences and activities (Co-curricular activities) supplied by the school to help the learner change in the desired direction (Ugwu, 2004). Curriculum is defined as a paper, plan, or blueprint for instructional guidance for teaching and learning with the goal of reaching educational goals and linked specified objectives that will compel good and desirable behavioral change in learners, according to Offorma, (2006). Curriculum, according to Offorma, is also the act of identifying and pursuing specific societal objectives through the school’s instrumentality. The researcher defined curriculum as the sum of the environment in which education takes place, based on the above concept. Similarly, curriculum has been defined by Wheeler (2000) as the planned experiences supplied to a learner under the supervision of the school. The curriculum, according to the researcher, is the collection of planned learning experiences that a learner would acquire under the supervision of licensed educational organizations such as family and school in order to fulfill his or her requirements, interests, and aspirations for the benefit of society. According to Adeyegbe (2004), curriculum is the center of all activities in any educational endeavor because it specifies what is to be taught, at what level, by whom, for what purpose, with what equipment, and how it will be tested. The curriculum for a given subject or course of study describes the content, instructional objectives, instructor activities, student activities, teaching techniques, learning resources, and evaluation strategies available. It’s worth noting that education has remained a tool for transformation and national growth, as well as a basis for modernity. Great developments in science and technology demand this upgrading (Okoro, 2006). As a result, in 1968, the Science Teachers Associates of Nigeria (STAN) established curriculum development committees to review and enhance the several science subject syllabuses (Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology) (Okoro, 2006). This occurred as a result of the West African Examination Council’s order (WAEC). Following these efforts on distinct science areas, officials from the core science committees convened joint working sessions to try to merge the fields. The Nigeria Integrated Science Project (NISP), which was approved in Lagos in 1969, was born out of the working sessions (Ezeudu, 2008). In 2005, the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) was tasked with reviewing, re-structuring, and re-aligning the existing curriculum for primary and junior secondary schools to fit into a 9-year Basic Education Program in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, which include value re-orientation, poverty eradication, job creation, wealth generation, and using education to achieve these goals (FRN, 2004). In keeping with the foregoing, Nigeria’s Federal Government released a new Universal Basic Education (UBE) curriculum for Primary and Junior Secondary Schools in 2006. This UBE initiative was formally launched in 1999 as a result of the governments’ signing of a number of international education declarations. In 2004, the UBE Act was signed into law (Madu, 2012). Tahir went on to say that at the end of nine years of continuous education, every child should have an appropriate level of literacy, numeracy, communication, manipulative, and life skills, as well as be employable and useful to himself and society by having relevant ethical, moral, and civic values. As a result, UBE’s vision has addressed all of the requirements for socioeconomic development. The new curriculum is expected to address topics not addressed in the previous version, such as value reorientation, poverty eradication, critical thinking, and entrepreneurial or life skills among her inhabitants. Furthermore, according to Obioma, (2007), the former executive secretary of the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), the new curriculum aims to remedy the flaws in the previous curriculum. As a result, Universal Basic Education aims to provide a universal, free, compulsory, and continuous 9-year education to all school-aged children, regardless of their socioeconomic status (Federal Republic of Nigeria, FRN 2004) However, because Madu (2012) explains that the objective of UBE is to bring about socioeconomic development, the role of science and technology in the UBE Programme cannot be overstated. It is widely agreed that development can only be significant if and when it is driven by science and technology. Primary science and integrated science, as previously mentioned, are being phased out in favor of what is now known as Basic Science and Technology for primary schools and Basic Science for junior secondary schools, which, according to Obioma (2007), adequately prepares a child for higher studies by providing a solid foundation on which to build. Information and communication technology (ICT) has also been included to the primary school curriculum, along with culture and creative arts, all in the hopes of making a child strong enough to handle future challenges. Basic science is a branch of science that studies the most fundamental objects, forces, and relationships between them, as well as the laws that govern them.
The revised Basic Science curriculum lays out the following goals for students to achieve:
• Foster a passion for science and technology.
• Learn the fundamentals of science and technology.
• Take advantage of the numerous professional prospects afforded by the study of science and technology and apply their basic knowledge and skills in science to satisfy societal requirements.
• Get ready for additional science and technology courses. Basic Science Objectives appear to be wide, specific, and sequential in nature, with interest in science and technology preceding basic knowledge and skills in science and technology. Nonetheless, at various levels of the Nigerian educational system, the Basic Science curriculum topics are carefully organized and put in a sequential order. The curriculum reflects the content’s richness, appropriateness, and interconnectedness. In light of the foregoing, it is important to note that, despite the government’s, NERDC’s, curriculum specialists’, teachers’, parents’, and other relevant stakeholders in the education industry’s tireless efforts to achieve the above admirable goals, the basic science curriculum appears to be producing disappointing results. Poor implementation of the basic scientific curriculum could be to blame for these disappointing results. However, when the project (basic scientific curriculum) was first implemented, many schools lacked qualified basic science teachers, lacked a laboratory, lacked suitable instructional materials, lacked adequate classrooms, and so on. Despite the fact that several workshops and conferences have been organized, That is why, despite the workshops and annual conferences, Osuala and Ogomaka (2005) found that students’ basic science performance remains poor due to inadequate teaching methods utilized by teachers who are geared toward implementing the new curriculum.
Statement of the problem
The Basic Science Curriculum, which was created a few years ago, does not appear to be yielding the expected results (Madu,2012). Many people believe that the curriculum’s outcomes have had little influence because of the persistently low academic ability of kids and students in science-related disciplines, particularly in fundamental science. Due to the unimpressive results of the new curriculum, the issue has recently become a major source of concern for the government, NERDC, curriculum specialists, teachers, parents, and other relevant stakeholders in the education industry (Madu,2012). It is sufficient to mention that government, scientific educators, and other key stakeholders’ efforts to reverse this tragic trend have largely failed. Many scholars believe that the inadequate execution of the fundamental science curriculum is to blame for the low results. Many people believe that the real implementation of the basic science curriculum began with many schools lacking trained basic science teachers, laboratories, suitable instructional resources, and sparse classrooms (Ugwu,2004). Aside from that, many studies have found that students regard the subject as an abstract field and cognitively demanding, which can affect their performance in the subject. Furthermore, recent studies have indicated that teacher competencies, instructional materials, school infrastructure, and financial resources all influence the implementation process’ outcomes. As a result, science educators and academics have focused much of their research on the causes of this discouraging tendency. Despite numerous workshops and conferences, the curriculum outcomes remain a major concern. Furthermore, most academics believe that in order to establish the viability of any program, evaluation should be a continual process. To put it another way, empirical investigations are required to determine whether the aims of any educational program are being met, in order to determine whether the creation process was effective in meeting the curriculum’s expectations (Obioma,2007). As a result, to the best of the researcher’s knowledge, no known study has been conducted on the subject matter of this study, and the above is based on that. As a result, the purpose of this study is to provide empirical evidence by analyzing the impact of curriculum development on basic science teaching and learning in junior secondary schools in Nsukka.
Objective of the study
The study’s main goal is to see how curriculum development affects basic science teaching and learning in junior secondary schools in Nsukka. The following is the precise goal:
- To see how closely teachers’ teaching practices fit with the Basic Science curriculum’s instructional objectives.
- To assess the qualifications of instructors who teach Basic Science in Nsukka’s junior secondary schools.
- To see if the growth of basic science curriculum has enhanced students’ basic science learning abilities.
- To determine the extent to which instructional resources are used in the implementation of the Basic Science curriculum.
For this study, the following questions have been written.
- To what extent do teachers link their teaching tactics with the Basic Science curriculum’s instructional objectives?
- Do teachers’ qualifications have an impact on how Basic Science is taught in Nsukka’s junior secondary schools?
- Has the creation of basic scientific curricula enhanced students’ basic science learning abilities?