THE EFFECT OF SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT ON THE BUSINESS STUDIES STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
Background to the Study
Business studies is the study of the methods and techniques of setting up and running a business venture profitably.
Simply put, Business Studies is a subject which provides us with the knowledge, understanding and skills needed for productive work or activity. Productive activity involves using business resources to make goods and services that satisfy human needs and wants.
The main objective of going into a business is to make profit. Business studies could be referred to as that area of vocational education that offers to courses in economic, commerce, book keeping, accounts, business mathematic typing and shorthand. The international dictionary of education (2009) refers to it as both commercial studies and business studies. The dictionary sees the commercial studies of education as the area that comprises such school subjects as typewriting, shorthand, book keeping and elementary accounting at defines business studies as study of commerce and management subjects.
Some years back, government policy on education was indebted to train more business personnel, so – that business subject can be introduced in the secondary school curriculum, with the aim of providing capable and competent hands to handle the finances and administration of the country.
Business studies are integrals part of general education that is concerned with education for business and education about business. Business studies can be traced from the time when commercial secondary modern school were established in some part of the country and commercial subject such as typewriting shorthand commerce principle of account and the use of English were being offered at the moment in the secondary schools in the country.
The national policy on education 2004 revised education stipulated that business studies should be taught at pre – vocational level in the secondary schools, like wise business education subject schools, like wise business education subject are being taught in tertiary institution such as college of education college of technology, polytechnics and in universities.
Education is an important aspect of economic development. When citizens of a country are educated that is a key to social, economic and political stability (Ojiambo, 2009). The Nigeria government has considerably invested in education which is evidenced by the free primary education and the free day secondary education (Ojiambo, 2009). The main purpose of education is to transmit wisdom and knowledge from one generation to another, this prepares young people to be members of the society, maintain it and develop it. Education also has positive influence on population, health nutrition and also increases value and efficiency for labour (Kising‟u, 2012).The unemployment problems facing the country can best be addressed through equipping the young people with skills that can lead to self-employment, the curriculum therefore should equip the learners with skills and more so enterprenuaral skills and this therefore indicates the importance of business education in the school curriculum.
The business study which was earlier referred to as Business education was introduced into public high Schools in the U.S.A by tax payer’s demand during last part of nineteenth century. Parents insisted that public schools should provide Business education, otherwise they would take their children to private business colleges. Many district school introduced Business education courses, shorthand, typewriting and book keeping. Since then Business education has been undergoing scrutiny and transformation (Popham et al, 2005).
In Nigeria Business Studies in Junior Secondary School curriculum, came about as a means of laying the foundation for national technological and economic advancement, as articulated in the National Policy on Education (Federal Ministry of Education, 2011).The designers of the Business Studies curriculum apparently considered that, in line with the current Nigerian vocational curriculum philosophy (National Board for Technical Education, 1984), the obvious way to develop a curriculum that would give a broad introduction to the field of business was to do away with the traditionally compartmentalized single subjects.
Consequently, five such subjects (book-keeping, commerce, office practice, shorthand and typewriting) were brought together as units of a new subject to be called Business Studies’ (Ekpenyong 2006).The curriculum aimed at giving students knowledge and skills that should enable them to adapt to changes in office technology and develop a broad understanding of business activities, the structure and functions of business institutions and their inter-relationships.
In Nigeria a numbers of education commissions and education committees have been put in place to review the education system in Nigeria. The commissions have seen the business studies evolve to its current status in the Nigerian education system. Fraser Report (2009) on Education recommended introduction of industrial education in schools as a means of providing skills to native labourers and artisans in large numbers for various purposes. During the colonial period, the colonial government opened a number of industrial schools in areas not effectively served by missionaries, some of the courses offered included carpentry, agriculture typing and blacksmithing (Kisingu, 2012), typing and office practice is a constituent of business studies currently. After second world war there was general believe among Nigerians that vocational education relegated natives to manual workers for colonialists and therefore academic education was gaining predominance over Industrial Education (Bagonko, 2012).
The MacKay report of 1981 laid the foundation for the 8-4-4 system of education. The aim for this system of education was to replace the academic form of education system with an education system that could equip learners with technical skills that could make them gain self-employment after school (Kising’u 2012). Implementation of the Mackay commission report led to the introduction of business education at the secondary school level. The secondary school business education comprised of Accounting, commerce, Economics and office practice. Each of these subjects was taught and examined separately at the secondary schools, it therefore meant that each of the subjects was taught by different teachers and also allocated its own time on the school time table, this therefore called for more teachers and more teaching and learning resources for effective implementation. The curriculum faced challenges due to constraints of resources which led to its reorganization.
The curriculum was oriented towards white-collar jobs in the new independent state, neglecting practical skills. Eventually many school leavers lacked enough skills to serve the society (Kisingu, 2012).The lack of skills called for the incorporation of practical oriented subjects into formal education, this was seen as a way of equipping learners with basic knowledge and skills for self-employment (Republic of Nigeria, 2006).
The introduction of secondary Business Education programme was based on the results of the manpower survey and its aim was to produce highly skilled manpower required for the growing commercial enterprises in the country (Onywoki 2011). Specifically, the project was aimed at introducing business education subjects in selected general secondary schools in Nigeria, for example accounting, shorthand and typing with office practice and commerce. Because of the success of the project, there were about 1200 secondary schools teaching business education in Nigeria by 2000s (Oluoch, 2012).
The report on the inquiry into the education system in Nigeria (Republic of Nigeria, 2009) led to the reorganization of the Nigeria education curriculum. Individual business subject areas were fused into a broad field called business studies. IBSC consists of concepts from accounting, commerce, economics, office practice and entrepreneurship education (KNEC, 2007). The rationale was to reduce the overloaded 8-4-4 curriculum, reduce cost of implementation, and make the curriculum more relevant to the needs of the society. The key issues behind the integration of the business subjects i.e. Accounting, Commerce, Economics and office practice was mainly to allow for a broader coverage of subject matter and the elimination of excessive and factual details, to save time on the school time table because instead of allocating four lessons, with IBSC it would be only one lesson. Integration was also considered to enable learners see the relationship among the subject clearly Shiundu and Omulando (2012). Through integration the number of teachers required to teach the subject also reduced and this was a relief to the side of government as it had to employ few teachers to implement the integrated curriculum.
According to Shiundu and Omulando (2012), integration of subjects emphasizes the relationship between various curriculum areas in an attempt to interrelate content or learning experiences in order to enable students perceive a unity of knowledge. Anuda (2000) asserts that by integrating the aspects of these disciplines, overlaps and costs have greatly been reduced. Business studies aims to provide the learner with opportunities to acquire basic business knowledge, skills and positive attitude for development of self and nation, being a dynamic subject it takes into account the need to address contemporary issues, trends in business and current economic issues in society (K.I.E, 2007).The content in the Business Studies syllabus incorporates the acquisition of both academic and practical skills that may help the students to become self-employed after completing form four.
The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers and even student themselves. The quality of education not only depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties, but also in the effective coordination of the school environment (Ajao, 2001). Education is an essential factor for effective development of any country like Nigeria. The western education adopted by Nigeria is highly based on individualism, socio-economic and internationalization which are geared towards national development.
According to Ada (2005), one of the major obstacles to the development of secondary schools in Ekiti State is the persistent poor academic achievement of students. Based on this fact, people believe that the standard of education is falling in Ekiti State and Nigeria in general. Poor academic performance as recorded in recent years was so great that many students fall short of the requirements necessary for admission into secondary schools.
Tsavga (2011) maintains that the learning environment plays a vital role in determining how students perform or respond to circumstances and situations around them. This implies that no society is void of environmental influences. The learning environment determines to a large extent how a student behaves and interacts, that is to say that the environment in which we find ourselves tend to mould our behaviour so as to meet the demands of life whether negatively or positively.
The author opined that the desire for both qualitative and quantitative education has multiplied the problem of providing an effective and conducive learning environment for teaching and learning. In Nigeria, there is an increase in the number of students’ enrolment in schools with little or no regards to improving the learning environment so as to better their performance. Freiberg, Driscoll and Knights (1999) observed that some of the notable factors that may influence students’’ academic achievement in secondary schools are; school climate, instructional materials, discipline, physical facilities, teacher quality, type of location of school and class size.
In the same vein Abenga (1995), opined that an improved environmental condition leads to higher intelligence scores while poor environmental conditions reduce these scores. Academic achievement in this context simply means the scores students have obtained in either examination or test which has led to their performance. Therefore, this study wants to examine the effect of school environment on the Business studies students’ academic performance in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Statement of the Problem
Several research studies have identified other factors such as school climate, instructional materials, discipline and physical facilities, teacher quality, type of location of school, class size and over population of students in classroom as being responsible for poor academic for poor academic achievement of students.
The researcher has observed with dismay that the school environment in the study area is nothing to write home about. The school climate is not interesting for teaching and learning, instructional material and inadequately provided, Infrastructural facilities are in dilapidated conditions, lack of trained teachers and other facilities that promote teaching and learning are also in short fall which may tend to influence students’ academic achievement in school.
The influence of school environment on academic achievement of students has been an issue of concern to all stakeholders in education. This is evident in the rate of mass failure of students in both internal and external examinations, as revealed by research studies. Despite the Ekiti State government’s effort towards the provision and renovation of infrastructures in secondary schools, students’ performance in West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO)
It is on this premise that the researcher is motivated to appraise the impact of school environment on achievement of secondary school students in Ikole-Ekiti Local Government Area of Ekiti State with specific focus on school climate, discipline and physical facilities. Hence, this study intends to investigate the effect of school environment on the Business studies students’ academic performance in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the effect of school environment on the Business studies students’ academic performance in Ikole i Local Government Area of Ekiti State. Specifically, the study sought to:
- find out the influence of school climate on academic achievement of secondary school students in Ikole-Ekiti Local Government Area of Ekiti State
- examine the influence of discipline of teachers on academic achievement of secondary school students.
- assess the influence of school physical facilities on academic achievement of secondary school students.
Significance of the Study
This study will be significant because the findings will stimulate parents, school managers, teachers, students and the society’s awareness on the importance of conducive learning environment the findings of the study will also assist school administrators and curriculum planners to develop strategies that would reduce negative effects of poor learning environment on academic achievement of students in secondary schools.
The findings of this study shall also be useful to school proprietors, government school administrators and parents in understanding the influence of school environment on academic achievement of students in secondary schools.
This study will also be of importance to students themselves as it will be made known to them the effects of school environment on their academic achievement. Finally, the findings of the study will act as a reference point to other interested scholars interested in this area of research.
It is hoped that this study will provide information for parents, educators and school administrators to reflect upon various factors that help students in achieving their academic goals. In so doing, they can investigate the possibility of introducing those factors to their school, which may consequently lead to enhancing students’ educational outcomes in school.
Scope of the Study
This research work focuses on the effect of school environment on the Business studies students’ academic performance in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State. This research work covers all public secondary schools students in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
The following research questions guided the study:
- What is the influence of school climate on the academic achievement of secondary school students in Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti State?
- How does discipline of teachers influence academic achievement of secondary school students?
- What is the influence of school physical facilities on academic achievement of secondary school students?
Definition of Terms
The following terms were operationally defined in this study:
Teaching: This is the process of transferring ideas through methods by the teacher to the students’ in order to ensure learning.
Learning: This is the process of acquiring new ideas which involve change in behavior after acquiring new concept.
Students: someone who is studying at a university, school etc
Classroom: a room that you have lessons in at a school or college
Teacher: someone whose job is to teach, especially in a school
School: a place where children are taught
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