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Implementation of the Senior Secondary School Chemistry Curriculum

Extent of Implementation of The Senior Secondary School Chemistry Curriculum Contents in Ebonyi State



1.1 Background to the Study

Chemistry is the study of matter, the stuff with which the universe is composed. It is being recognized by the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, 2004) as one of the three core science subjects for study in senior secondary school curriculum to provide functional Education for the Nigerian child. Among other core science  subjects, which are; physics and biology,  chemistry occupies a unique position as a result of its requirement as pre-requisite to the study of courses like medicine, Biochemistry, Pharmacy, Agricultural Science Geology, Nursing etc (Jamb Brochure, 2013/2014).

Chemistry as a discipline plays significant roles in the development of the nation. It is in this light that (Omiko, 2012) in his advocacy for chemistry education for job orientation noted that the content of chemistry education has something to do with the transformation of the society. Apart from its contributions to national development, chemistry also help to develop in the individuals the skill of critical observation, experimentation, manipulation of variables and equipment, critical analysis and deduction making which are playing important role in our day to day life. The study of chemical structure of matter had made it possible for manufacturers to produce essential materials like dyes, clothes, soap, creams cement, medicines and concrete for our buildings to help man live more comfortably.

Like all the other subjects, chemistry is expected to be effective towards the attainment of our national goals (Emmanuel 2013). The goals of chemistry Education according to National Policy on Education (2004:11) includes:

–         To provide knowledge and understanding of the complexity of the physical world, the forms and the conduct of life.

–         To cultivate inquiry, knowing and national mind for the conduct of a good life and democracy.

–         To produce scientists for national development

–         To service studies in Technology and cause technological development.

To achieve these scientific goals and objectives, provisions should be made towards achieving the aims and objectives of senior secondary schools curriculum which are:

–         To acquire basic theoretical, practical knowledge and skills.

–         To develop interest in science, technology and mathematics.

–         To be adequately prepared for further studies in chemistry (NERDC, 2007).

–         To be positioned to take advantage of the numerous career opportunities offered by chemistry.

–         TO develop interest in the subject area (NERDC, 2007).

As the country develops, the demand for skills man power also increases. Many job opportunities aboard for chemistry students abounds should the objectives of chemistry curriculum be met. The public and private sectors that can offer such opportunities include; food processing industries, Health services, Agricultural sector, and teaching services (STAN, 2011).

Despite all the opportunities and the importance of chemistry in national development, how to use the contents of chemistry curriculum to achieve the above objective has called to question the extent of curriculum content coverage in our schools, which are based on the teaching methods use in our schools, the competency of the chemistry, teachers, time allocated for teaching, remuneration of teachers, strike actions, (urban and rural positing and reposting of teachers, school location, among others). Other factors as students performance in external examinations have been dwindling. The table below seems to proved it.

Table 1: Analysis of students performance in the May/June WASSCE (2009-2012) in number and percentages in chemistry

    Total Credit Pass Fail 9
Years Total Entry Sat 1-6 7-8  
2009 478235 468546 (97.97%) 204725 (43.69%) 114020 (24.33%) 119260 (25.45%)
2010 568291 565643 (97.97%) 236059 (50.70%) 109944 (23.61%) 98165 (26.08%)
2011 666588 654835 (97.45%) 289476


223,218 (34.70%) 130586 (20.30%)
2012 687365 671615 (97.65%) 285038 (43.46%) 167,507 (25.55%) 137735 (21.00%)
2013 432230 422681 (97.97%) 194284 (45.96%) 104680 (24.77%) 111322 (26.34%)
2014 428523 428423 (97.65%) 185949 (44.44%) 114697 (27.41%) 119260 (25.45%)
Average Percentage        

Percentages in parenthesis

Source: West African Examination Council (WAEC, 2009-2014) annual reports

The result above reveals that only 45.71% of the students who sat for the examination are qualified to secure admission into science related courses in higher institution.    This implies that deficiencies exist in the implementation of the stipulated chemistry curriculum and achievement of the objectives. The deteriorating performance of students has posed concern to teachers, parents, students, curriculum planners and the society at large. It is these deficiencies in the performance of students that warrants the researcher to check out the extent of the curriculum coverage in chemistry in various schools in Ebonyi State and to determine of the maximum coverage of the curriculum content using appropriated teaching methods, instructional materials; putting other factors into consideration could help to reduce the rate of students poor performance in chemistry and the level of achievement of the set curriculum goals in chemistry.

Through curriculum implementation and other related studies, research has been carried out on different subjects at the local Government, State and Government political Zones curriculum goals in chemistry. Therefore, since Ebonyi State is a developing State. It is necessary to carry out an investigation of the extent of chemistry curriculum coverage in the state. To the best of the researchers’ knowledge, no current comprehensive work has been done on extent of implementation of chemistry curriculum in Ebonyi State, hence, the rationale for packaging this study.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

For schools to produce sound and disciplined individuals, efficiency, effectiveness and good performance in internal and external examinations are needed.

Reports on the external examinations such as the West African schools certificate, National Examination council, indicate that students’ achievements worsen every year, due to lack of knowledge of some basic concepts in chemistry and in other subjects thus, increasing the rate of examination malpractice.

Many researchers have worked on various problems of chemistry as an academic discipline, especially in the areas of low enrolment of students and poor performance of students in external, examination.  For instance, Ali (2007) linked low achievement of students in chemistry to failure in the curriculum materials provision or poor education system while Jebe (1997) was of the view that instructional materials and facilities are very important in curriculum implementation and that lack of it could cause low achievement in chemistry Ukekwe (2004) attribute non effectiveness of the curriculum to teachers qualifications and poor methodology to implement the contents of subject areas. Okebukola (2005) talked of the difficult nature of chemistry concepts as being a contribution to the student’s poor performances in external examination.

Despite the above instances, there is need to carry out a recent study to know what factors are really responsible for the above mentioned problem of low achievement in the subject. Could it be that the teachers of chemistry are not teaching well and why, or that the programme of study is not covered within a stipulated time?  The problem of this study when put in a question form is: To what extent is chemistry curriculum content being implemented in Ebonyi State? This study will try to provide answers to this question.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the extent of implementation of senior secondary school chemistry curriculum contents in Ebonyi State. Specifically, the researcher seeks to investigate the extent of implementation of:

i         Senior secondary I chemistry curriculum contents.

ii        Senior secondary II chemistry curriculum contents.

iii       Senior secondary III chemistry curriculum contents.

1.4 Significance of the Study

The need for a study that tries to investigate the extent of the implementation of chemistry curriculum contents in senior secondary schools is significant. Ali (2008) had noted that, evaluation of school curricular had received little research attention in Nigeria, unlike elsewhere such as Britain, the United States and other educationally developed countries.

It is necessary therefore to periodically review the curriculum components of any teaching subject in schools, so as to ascertain the effectiveness of achieving the set objectives. If the curriculum contents are inadequate, the students will fail to acquire the required level of knowledge in that field of study. Where the content is satisfactory and the teacher fail to use the appropriate and effective teaching methods, learning may hampered.

The findings of this study therefore, may prove very useful to the following stakeholders: teachers, school supervisors, students, curriculum planners, future researchers and parents.

–         The subject teachers after going through the questionnaire would see where they are lagging behind in terms of knowledge implementation to their students.

–         The findings of this study will enable the school supervisors to discover the appropriate learning and teaching methods and materials that will enhance educational growth and development of both staff and students in the state, in terms of content coverage.

–         Students through the questionnaire would discover the rich content of the subject and its relevance for their social and intellectual development.

–         Curriculum planners and education policy makers are being enabled to identify areas of the senior secondary schools curriculum that need modification or improvement and provide the needed reference.

–         The result of the study would serve as future reference materials for related studies in the area.

–         Parents are by this study enlightened on what is happening in the school system with reference to the study of chemistry and make their inputs towards the improvement of teaching and learning in our senior secondary school.

1.5 Scope of the study

          The study is delimited to the extent of implementation of senior secondary school, the implementation states of chemistry curriculum content in Ebonyi State. It will make use of senior secondary school students and teachers in state public secondary schools in Ebonyi State. Aspects of the chemistry curriculum considered include; SS I, SS II, and SS III chemistry topics or contents.

1.6 Research Questions

The study will be guided by following research questions:

  1. To what extent have the senior secondary school (SS I) chemistry curriculum contents been implemented or covered in Ebonyi State?
  2. To what extent have senior secondary school (SS II) chemistry curriculum contents been implemented in Ebonyi State?
  3. To what extent have senior secondary school (SS III) chemistry curriculum contents been implemented in Ebonyi State?

1.7 Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses will be tested at 0.05 levels of significance.

HO1:  There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of male and female teachers on the extent of implementation of senior secondary chemistry curriculum contents in Ebonyi State.

HO2:   There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of urban and rural teachers on the extent of implementation of senior secondary chemistry curriculum contents in Ebonyi State.

HO3:  There is no significant difference in mean ratings of male and female students on the extent of implementation of senior secondary chemistry curriculum contents in Ebonyi State.

HO4There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of urban and rural students on the implementation of senior secondary chemistry curriculum contents in Ebonyi State.

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