Causes of Decline in the Number of Students Registering for History at the Senior Level Certificate Examination

CAUSES OF DECLINE IN THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS REGISTERING FOR HISTORY AT THE SENIOR LEVEL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Education over the world is generally accepted as the process by which individuals acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes which enable them to develop their abilities in full. One of the benefits of good education is that it helps individual to contribute to development and improvement in the quality of life for themselves, their communities and the nation as a whole (Adey and Biddulph, 2001).

According to Adeyinka (1990), History at the Senior High Schools is intended to help students learn about the history of Nigeria and Africa as a whole. It is also important in building national and patriotic feelings that will enable them to use the lessons of History in planning for the present and the future of the country. History is often said to be the mother of social sciences, it outdates the other social science and it is the basis of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Any subject of study needs justification: its advocates must explain why it is worth attention.

In the twenty-first century, there were clear indications that History had lost its privileged position and that interest in the subject was rapidlydecreasing. With the abolition of the Middle School system, History was removed and Social Studies introduced at the Senior High School level. And at the Senior High School level, the Government and the reformers did not recognize the centrality of History as a subject of national importance and therefore made it elective instead of a core subject (Adeyemo, 2005).

It is observed that a general increase in the number of students who believed that History was a useful school subject. Nonetheless, even though more students recognized the utility of studying History, few could express why it was useful, and few expressed the utility of History in terms of the purposes of school History stated in the curriculum (Fafunwa, 2005).

Today History as a subject has become one of the dullest subjects taught in most Senior High Schools and it is losing its popularity and former glorious position in schools. Even in schools where History is one of the subjects studied; there has been a decline in the number of pupils offering it as compared with attendance to lessons in the other Arts subjects. This development is quite unfortunate and needs some potent remedy. It is therefore necessary to find out the causes of decline of History as a subject in the senior level certificate examination (Agyeman, Baku and Gbadamosi, 2000).

 1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

History as a subject has an important role to play in the development of a society. In spite of the numerous advantages that the study of History offers to the student and society as a whole, it seems the subject has not achieved its desired aim. It is also obvious that, most students perform badly in History and so only a handful of students offer and even register the subject at the final examination (WASSCE).

1.3       PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

This research seeks to find out the causes of decline in the number of students registering for History at the Senior level certificate examination. Specifically, the study is geared towards fulfilling the following objectives:

  1. to investigate the factors that influence students’ choice of History as a subject.
  2. to examine ways by which parents/guardians motivate their wards in learning of History as a subject.
  3. to find out reasons why students prefer Government, Economics, and Geography to History
  4. to find out the challenges that students encounter in the learning of History as a subject.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following research questions have been formulated to guide the study:

  1. What are the factors that influence students’ choice of History as a subject?
  2. In what ways are students motivated by their parents/guardians to study history?
  3. What are the job prospects of History students?
  4. Why do students prefer Government, Economics and Geography as a subject of study to History
  5. What are the challenges students’ encounters in the learning of History as a subject?

1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

HO: Students choice of History subject cannot be influenced by peer group.

H1: Students choice of History subject can be influenced by peer group.

 1.6       SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The research work examines causes of decline in the number of students registering for history at senior level certificate examination. The research is confined to the Basic 9 students of selected Senior Secondary Schools in Local Educational District (LED) IV, Yaba, Lagos.

However, time and financial constraints would not make it possible for the entire students’ population in each school to be included. There is the tendency that, certain vital information may not be relayed to the researcher and this may affect the results of the study.

1.6       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study of the causes of decline in the number of students registering for History at the senior level certificate examination will provide some awareness to curriculum planners and developers, teachers and students of History with information for several purposes.

To curriculum planners and developers, the study will guide them in planning and developing the History curriculum and syllabus in a way that will expose the importance of History and various jobs opening to students studying History.

It will also help students to change their perception of the subject as dull and difficult and help them to improve upon their interest and performance in the subject.

Moreover, it will also provide information to teachers in selecting and directing students to relevant books and materials which will help the students to acquire the interest and pass well in the History subject.

The research will also bring out the challenges that teachers and students encounter in the teaching and learning of History as a subject. This will provide a lot of insight in the nature of the challenges to enable them find appropriate solution.

Furthermore, the study will bring to light the teaching methods and techniques which are significant in the teaching and learning of History as a subject. This will enable teachers and students identify the appropriate teaching methods and techniques that will improve on the teaching and learning of the subject. Finally, the study will add to the existing knowledge on the factors for the causes decline of History as a subject.

1.7       DEFINITION OF TERMS

Student:  Student is a person formally engaged in learning, especially one enrolled in a school or college.

Teacher: A teacher or schoolteacher is a person who provides education for pupils (children) and students (adults).

History: the study of past events, particularly in human affairs.

WASSCE – West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination

WAEC – West Africa Examination Council

S.H.S – Senior High School

 Project Overview

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