ESTABLISHMENT OF STANDARD AGRICULTURAL FARM FOR TEACHING AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN AKOKO SOUTH WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ONDO STATE
Background of the study
In Nigerian secondary schools, agriculture has been recognized as a core curriculum subject. Agriculture was introduced into secondary school curriculum in early1960s. With the commencement of 6-3-3-4 system of education, agriculture was made a core subject at both junior and senior secondary school curriculum.
According to Okoli (2011), agriculture is the pillar of the nation’s welfare, and sound economic development and technological advancement. Iwena (2008) explained Agriculture as the deliberate effort made by man to till the soil, cultivate crops and rear animals for food and other purposes. In view of this, Olaitan (1984) outlined certain philosophy regarding agriculture in schools to include:
(a) Honest labour, for example planting seeds and rearing livestock is a worthy activity.
(b)The wholesome food produced by agriculture is essential for good health.
(c) All available land would be utilized.
(d) Standard of living can be raised by improving agricultural input and
(e) The rural environment will be improved by raising the standard of living of the community.
Olakunori and Aneke (2014) noted that in the early 1970 agricultural Sector accounted for about 71.34% of the nation export Value and 60.61% of raw materials for gross national products. In that understanding agriculture was made a school subject and was taught at all levels in Nigerian education system, that is, at primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. At the secondary level it is called agricultural science.
Teaching is a noble profession with good amendable status and dignity. Akinpelu (1981) defined teaching as a body action intended to induce learning.
That is, conscious and deliberate efforts by a matured or experienced person to impact knowledge, information, skills, attitude, beliefs etc. to an immature or less experienced person with the intention that later will learn. Stipler Hicbert (1999) opines that teaching is one process in the educational system that is designed specifically to facilitate student’s learning. In teaching agricultural science, it is very important to make use of school farm to enhance effective teaching delivery.
The school farm is a laboratory, specifically designed and operated, for the purpose of carrying out practical’s in agricultural science or education in order to impart knowledge and managerial skills to students through practice. It is an area specifically earmarked for agricultural activities, usually sited in the school or at a walking distance to the school compound. Olaitan (2001) noted that students acquire agricultural knowledge in classrooms in such areas like crop production, forestry, fish farming, agricultural business, farm management, and livestock production and so on. He stated that the school farm is an agricultural laboratory that interprets the acquired theoretical knowledge into practice through practical activities to gain experience. Students are guided on standard school farms through hands on experience to put the knowledge gained in the classrooms into practice on the school farm under the watch of the teacher. The teacher makes use of different methods and technologies, such as demonstration, observation, imitation, and supervised practice to explain techniques and complement the different learning experience required to teach the practical very well so that it would be effective.
The school farm helps to inculcate into the students the need to value what they could not do or practice by themselves and for themselves. The school farm encourages the use of the head to think, eyes to see and to lay hands on actual operation or techniques to make learning easier and more permanent.
According to Mama (2001), students are made to use their heads, hands and hearts (3Hs) during practical activities on the school farm to produce crops, livestock, keep records and participate in managerial activities. The respect for dignity of human labour is also built into the learners through this process. They also learn how to protect the farm from pests, and diseases, predators, human invaders and how to store farm produce and process them. The effective use of the school farm allows for skill development among the growing youths, and transfer of measures to improve knowledge or experience. For example, students from different background, especially those from farming families with some learning experience in agricultural activities, through exposure to school farm work, would see the relevance of their experience to the agricultural activities of the school and thereby encouraging the transfer of modern ways of farming from their schools to the rural farmers for improvement purpose.
In 2008 the National Education Research Council (NERDC), stipulated that the Agricultural Science Curriculum is set up to ensure the acquisition of productive (entrepreneurial) work skills through prescribed activities and projects which are inherent aspects of the applied technology called agriculture. NERDC specified that for effective delivery of the subject matter, improved achievement by the learners, only subject specialist teachers are to be engaged in the implementation of the curriculum. According to the body, there should be teacher orientation, training and re-training for effective delivery. The school are to provide necessary logistic for the successful implementation of the whole agricultural science curriculum; while the school farm should be seen as a field or laboratory for the training of the Basic Education Learners, with the basic focus on skill development, and self reliant.
A number of several subjects can be identified in the curriculum of our schools at all levels of Nigeria education, the subjects are included with the expectation that when properly taught, a more effective learning will result and this will bring about the realization of the goal of Nigeria education as stated in the National Policy on Education (NPE) (Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) 2004). At the primary and secondary levels, there are certain subjects that are classified as core subjects, while others as known as electives (Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) 2002). Core subjects are those subjects which students compulsorily offer, while subject, called electives consist of subjects from which students can freely make a choice based on their preference and future career interest.
The objective of agricultural science for secondary schools as stipulated in the National Policy of Education FRN (2013) includes:
- To stimulate and sustain students interest in agriculture.
- To enable students acquire basic knowledge and practical skills in agriculture.
- To enable them become self reliant.
These objectives could be achieved if the students are taught by competent teachers of agriculture. A teacher of agriculture was described by Olaitan, Asogwa and Umeh (2009) as someone who has undergone a teacher preparatory programme in the area of agriculture and is charged with the responsibility of managing the learning behavior of the students.
Aneke (2012) described a teacher as somebody who teaches especially as a professional in the area of agriculture. This implies that teacher of agriculture could be a male or female who is a professional in carrying out agricultural teaching tasks to enhance learning. Being a teacher is a responsibility and the teacher of agriculture is a pivotal figure in implementing any agricultural programme at any level of education, more especially at the secondary school level where the students’ are youths who are innovative and zealous to learn.
Owodunni (2010) stated that the onus of learning rest with the students, whether he learns or not depends on the teachers’ effectiveness in giving instructions in the way that augments and promotes learning on the part of the students. It is therefore, paramount that any teacher of agriculture who wants the students to learn and become skillful must have good grasp of the knowledge. He is required to be well trained and equipped in the methodology to guarantee his effectiveness in instructional delivery in any location-rural or urban, he is posted to teach. The agricultural science teacher cannot promote learning if he is ignorant of what it takes to learn or to be conversant with strategy or method which can promote learning.
In school farm where production agriculture is taught, school farm make it possible to carry out demonstration as showing and doing are more effective than telling. School farm can be used for experimental purpose in which students can compare the experiment treatments and arrive at certain conclusion.
Pimpa and Suwannapirom (2008) who reported in their various studies that inclusion of agricultural science and other vocational skills into the school curriculum will lead to further employment after graduation from the institution.
A holistic implementation of agricultural science curriculum in secondary schools is expected to embrace classroom instruction and practical experiences which the students in agriculture are exposed to. (Adegeye and Dittoh, 1985). Besides, adequate and qualified agricultural science teachers, adequate classrooms, agricultural science laboratory and school farms are prerequisites to teaching and learning of agricultural science in schools.
Though the above requirements are complementary, school farms draw more attention in view of the fact that West African Examination Council (2006) recommended that schools must keep school farms where crops are grown with at least one species of livestock, from each of the following two group: pigs, rabbit and poultry; goat, sheep and cattle and where feasible fish pond.
School farms are expected to have adequate equipment, farm implements/tools, farm structure and regular supply of inputs in addition to farm space to accommodate crops and livestock managed by students under the supervision of their teachers (Ani, 1997). These are the fundamentals of an operational school farm on which students could transfer classroom instruction to practical experiences in the field. In line with this, the school farm offers students the opportunity to acquire knowledge, skills and competencies, and demonstrate farm principles and practices, carry out field experiment which cannot be accommodated in the laboratory (Ani, 1997). In the overall, it caters for the interest of the rural dwellers whose major occupation is agriculture.
They aim at giving a utilitarian and comprehensive education to the youths, farm families and others who might be interested in agriculture as a vocation (Adesina, 1982; Grubb and Lazerson, 2005). In order to establish a well equipped school farm that effectively fit into the above roles, places significant demand on the students, teachers, school management, parents and the immediate community in terms of resources Pimpa and Suwannapirom,( 2008). In response to its increasing stakeholders, school farms in various secondary schools in Nigeria, with the special emphasis on Ondo State, are expanding their activities, roles and proceeds to reach its vested interest.
Consequently, school farms are not just for practical experiences but embracing several other benefits. In view of this background, the study is aimed at establishment of standard agricultural farm for teaching agricultural science subject in secondary schools in Ondo State.
Statement of the problem
Establishment of standard agricultural farms (School farms) is one of the prerequisites for effective implementation of agricultural science curriculum in secondary schools. Despite the fact that many secondary schools in Nigeria have the benefit of been sited on government or community land with relatively good space to accommodate a teaching farm, there appears to be a paucity of well equipped school farms for effective teaching and learning in secondary schools (Ladele, 1998). The high rate of students failure in agricultural science today as a school subject can be traced to this problem, because most students learn theoretically and lack practical knowledge of the subject which against the nature of the subject as a vocational subject that will prepare students for the future investments and provision of nations need in terms of adequate food supply.
In Ondo State secondary schools, it has been observed that many of the existing school farms lack requisite structures, implements and other farm facilities, while in others these facilities are in a state of complete dilapidation consequent to total neglect of practical lessons in the school farms (Ladele, 1998). In some schools, most of the pupils come from rural farm families with knowledge of traditional agriculture gained from their parents. In some cases, these pupils’ expectations from their learning experiences in school agriculture are high. But unfortunately practical experience appears elusive to them due to lack of school farms (Ladele, 1998). According to Olaitan (2010), they lack farm ethics, yet they record success at internal and external examinations in agricultural science. Most students passing out of secondary schools nowadays are “robots”. The situation according to Olaitan would continue to increases the unemployment graph and complicate the problems of youth delinquency because the students are not marketable. They acquire no saleable skills while in school.
In some schools especially in urban areas, pupils have no knowledge of agriculture and so their involvement in practical experiences in the school farm is perceived as a drudge and untidy business. In order to reconcile these extremes of negative attitude calls for establishing standard agricultural farm (school farm) for teaching agricultural science in secondary school in Ondo State.
The purpose of study
The main purpose of this research is to establish standard school farm for teaching agricultural science in secondary schools in Akoko South West Local Government Area of Ondo State. Specifically the study seeks to.
- Identify location suitable for the establishment of standard school farm in secondary Schools.
- Identify facilities and materials needed for the establishment of standard school farm in secondary schools.
- Identify personnel that will manage the establishment of standard agricultural farm (school farm) in secondary schools.
- Determine the management practices needed in the establishment of standard school farm in secondary schools.
- Design suitable plan for the establishment of standard school farm.
Significance of the study
The study is very unique and important. It is my hope that the result would help bring to the awareness of the students, teachers, principals, community leaders, individuals and stakeholders in education sector, the needs of establishing standard agricultural farm in teaching agricultural science in secondary schools. On the part of the students, standard school farm for teaching secondary schools will expose the students of agricultural science curriculum and will be able to merge what is learned in the classroom with the real life situation.
It will also assist the teacher of agricultural to know how to develop standard school farm for teaching agricultural science in secondary schools. This research work will assist the principal to know the facilities and materials needed for equipping standard school farm for teaching agricultural science in secondary schools and ways of financing it.
Also it will enable the three tiers of government, parents and other stakeholders in education sectors to assist the school in financing the establishment of standard school farm.
The curriculum planner will be well informed of the need to include steps in establishment of standard school farm for teaching agricultural science in secondary schools curriculum.
The following research questions are raised for this study.
- Which location is suitable for the establishment of standard agricultural farm?
- What are the facilities needed to equip standard agricultural farm?
- Who are the personnel required for managing the standard agricultural farm?
- What management practices are needed in the school farm?
- What design is suitable for plan of standard school farm in secondary schools?
Scope/Delimitation of the study
The scope of this study is restricted to the establishment of standard agricultural farm for teaching agricultural science in secondary schools in Akoko South West local government area of Ondo State.
Moreover, the study identifies suitable location for establishing standard school farm, facilities and materials needed for establishing standard school farm, personnel required for managing the standard school farm, the management practices needed in a standard school farm, and suitable plan for a standard school farm.
Assumption of the study
In carrying out this research, the following assumptions were made.
- That most of the schools have no standard agricultural farm for teaching agricultural science.
- Teachers of agricultural science are conscious of the constraints in the establishment of standard school farm.
- That the teachers of agricultural science, the school principals, individual, community leader, and the stakeholders in education sectors did not pay attention to the establishment of standard agricultural farm for teaching agricultural science.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
The review of literature for this study is discussed under the following sub-headings
- Location suitable for establishing standard agricultural farm.
- Facilities needed for establishing standard school farm.
- Personnel needed to manage school farm.
- Management practices needed in the school farm.
- Design suitable plan for school farm.
- Summary of literature review.