Background of the Study

Agricultural Science is an integral part of the economic system and, by means of direct and indirect links, has an important influence on the economic and social activities in general, especially in respect of the industrial sector"(Van Rensburg, 2015). Agricultural science needs to be viewed as important as other subjects in the secondary schools. The effectiveness and feasibility of the teaching of the subject must be proper and various aspects of the instructional materials must be used. FAO (1983 indicated that since 1960, the total school enrolment had grown faster in Africa than in any other developing region. Since the greatest challenge at present is to generate adequate food production to sustain the increasing population, agricultural education plays an important role. It is concluded that there is a need to rationalize the qualifications of agricultural manpower and the utilization of manpower.

Fraser et a (2018) stated that "perception as a didactic principle implies that instinct on and learning can be effective only if representative facets of reality are placed within the reach of the learner. The subject content should be perceptualized in such a way that details to be observed and perceived by the learner are converted into concrete facets of reality. Perception and sensory awareness are requisites for effective and meaning learning. From a global perspective civilization began with agriculture, when our nomadic ancestors began to settle and grow their own food, human society was forever changed (Nova, 2016). Not only did villages, towns and cities begin to flourish, but so did knowledge, the arts and the technological sciences. Agriculture has an immense impact to humanity in terms of global food supplies, hunger alleviation, economic development and provision of employment.

Therefore agriculture can be considered to be a pillar for human survival and hence the importance of agriculture being taught at all levels of education. Formal programs in agricultural education are conducted at secondary schools, community colleges and universities. As a vocational educational program, agricultural education focuses on three major components - formal classroom instruction, career experience programmes and leadership development. These components are delivered through a competency based curriculum in the context of agriculture in the USA (Lloyd and Osborne, 1988). Beyond the secondary agriculture program, community colleges and universities provide excellent opportunities for students to specialize and gain skills and knowledge in agriculture.

Current and emerging trends such as globalization and trade liberalization, rapid advancement of technologies, population growth and urbanization have a significant impact on agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa (Abalu, 2001). In this rapidly changing agricultural environment, post-primary agricultural education and training in Sub-Saharan Africa is being asked to play a crucial role because it is supposed to provide skilled and competent people for social-economic development in rural areas (Ngesa, 2006). This is a clear indication that agriculture is the backbone of many countries.

According to FAO (2007), agriculture education is a program that is designed to provide students with competencies to make them aware of and prepared for the world of work. Agriculture is a dynamic, rapidly changing industry that has an exciting future. The program concentrates on the development of essential technical skills that are vital to the success of people entering a career in agriculture. People are needed who not only have an understanding of the technical aspects of the issues, but who also have an understanding of the ethical and philosophical issues. The clustering of subjects into various groups by the ministry of education specifies the optional subjects the students should choose or not to choose at all based on their interest.

According to Onyango & Owiti (2008) Agriculture education in the secondary schools plays a vital role in integration of theory knowledge and practical knowledge and therefore helps to improve skilled labor. Many studies have been carried out in other countries to find out the explanation for the chronic low minority enrollments in secondary agricultural science programs but none has been carried out to find out the factors influencing enrolment in agriculture subject

Interest of students enrolment in agricultural science s has increased considerably in the last 20 years (Taticchi, 2008). Number of publications on this topic has grown significantly over the last decade. Students enrolment in agricultural science s is not a subject easily addressed. It is clear the need to study and rethink the concept and, in this context, to rethink how performance measurement it is done.

Enrolment in agricultural science probably also be linked to gender in agricultural science examination and school timetabling. Gender refers to the male or female sex (Semela, 2010). Gender difference in interest seems to be sufficiently explained by gender Stereotypic beliefs among boys and girls which have a direct influence on enrolment in agricultural science. There is a very close relationship between enrolment in agricultural science. Improvement in agricultural science is likely to attract higher enrolment and for this to happen, teachers and administrators need to provide a conducive environment which includes providing for resources and innovative teachers.

Atkinson et al. (2007) opined that enrolment in agricultural science should help the economic entity to understand and assess the value received from suppliers and employees, the value provided by the stakeholders and the effectiveness of processes implemented in the economic entity and its Strategic properties. Therefore, we can say that enrolment in agricultural science plays the role of Coordination, monitoring and diagnosis of economic entity's activities.

Sometimes, the school also has the role to go through the students evaluation records, judge lecturers, effectiveness, assess the curriculum in general and supply the ministry of Education with findings to enable necessary adjustments be made in the curriculum.  Students cumulative record when gone through can be analyzed and interpreted to the areas of needs of the students.

Strong agricultural education and training systems are fundamental to the quality of human resource capacity and ultimately to the agricultural productivity gains that are necessary for economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries. Among secondary school students, interest in agriculture is declining. As a career choice, agriculture is burdened with misperceptions and lack of information and awareness (Kruijssen, 2009). The sector also has a negative image in that it is seen as dusty, dirty, and poorly paid.

Amusat and Awoyemi (2007) believed that gender  difference has influence on students’ level of achievement in school. Practical work as any teaching and learning activity. Laboratory experience promote manipulative skills, cognitive abilities like critical  thinking, problem solving etc. It enhances positive attitude toward science such as curiosity, interest, risk  taking etc. It is for better understanding of the nature of science.

According to Millar (2002)practical work is  essential for giving students a ‘feel’ for the problematic of measurement, and an appreciation of the ever- presence of uncertainty (or measurement error).It is also an important tool for teaching about experimental  design. in Millar (2002) said the role of practical work in the teaching and learning of agricultural science  content is to help students make links between two ‘domains’ of knowledge: the domain of objects and  observable properties and events on the one hand, and the domain of ideas on the other.  Practical work is an integral part of the study of agricultural science; it will initially be assessed through the medium of the  written examination paper. An element of practical assessment may be included as part of the overall  assessment at a later stage.  Bello (2013) opined that laboratory method in agricultural science is designed to assist students acquire some basic scientific  skills and techniques to develop problem solving ability.

Kallats (2000) sees practical works as a means to verify agricultural science principle, or theory already known to the students, a means of determining the relationship between  cause and effect and a means of obtaining and learning scientific information. Practical work is an essential part of teaching agricultural science in most  countries around the world. The importance of practical work in school science is that it  provides learners with opportunities to use scientific equipment to develop basic manipulative skills and  practise investigative or inquiry activities, and develop problem solving attitudes needed for future work in  science.

Awoderu (2014) laboratory experiments offer students the opportunity to study along with their classmates, abstract concepts and generalizations through using real chemicals and other laboratory equipment  under the guidance of their lecturers.  Omosewo (2008) affirmed that a deeper understanding of the science and technology process can be achieved  through laboratory activities, which encourage active participation and serve to develop critical thinking; they  provide concrete experiences to substantiate the theoretical aspect that has been taught.

The effect of this abandonment of agricultural science is more than expressible because it triggers a chain of consequences on our national outlook as a whole. It stalls our technological advancement, leads to inadequate number of agricultural science teachers for the present and future generations, leads to a proliferation of the arts subjects and excessive demand for admission and jobs in those areas, while such demands in the area of agricultural science remains low and sometimes totally lacking. The repercussion of the neglect remains prominent, as people who avoided agricultural science  often, later in life, operate or supervise the use of gadgets that require basic knowledge of agricultural science. Such people eventually get frustrated or muddle up things, and this in turn leads to inefficiency, low output, or even disaster. Thus the low enrolment of students in agricultural science is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good. The root causes of the problem are investigated in this study, so that proper solutions can be proffered for its remedy.


Vandenbosch, (2006) shows that, at best, agricultural graduates end up in the public sector; very few graduates are absorbed into the private sector. Most jobs for agricultural graduates are in the civil service where remuneration is generally not competitive (UNECA 2003). Positions tend to be in government extension services and research institutions, or in teaching, where salaries are also uncompetitive. Graduates compare their salaries to those of colleagues in the fields of accounting, business, and social sciences. After a few years of employment, business graduates, and particularly those in the private sector, have often advanced to management positions with significant remuneration and benefits. By comparison with accounting, business, and social sciences, agriculture tends to be a far more restricted field. The majority of agricultural graduates remain in junior positions for extended periods of time, which is understandably frustrating. It is in these light that this study seek to determine the factors responsible for low enrolment in Agricultural courses.

Statement of the Problem

Agriculture as a subject has been taught before and after independence with the overall purpose being the development of basic agricultural skills and the learners‟ home environment. The aims of teaching agriculture in accordance to secondary school syllabus as reinforcing interest and awareness for opportunities existing in Agriculture and demonstrating that farming is a dignified and profitable occupation; to expand the students knowledge on basic principles and practices in Agriculture, develop students‟ understanding of the value of Agriculture to the family and community with a view of promoting self reliance, resourcefulness, poverty reduction, improved food security, problem solving abilities, an occupation outlook in Agriculture and promote agricultural activities which enhance environmental conservation.

Despite the importance of Agriculture, there is evidence that the number of students taking Agriculture is low. This can be attributed to institutional and non-institutional based challenges. UNESCO (1999) observed that lack of financial resources hindered the expansion of facilities which led to specific problems in vocational subjects like agriculture. They added that lack of funds prevents schools from developing their farms

Purpose of the study

The main purpose of the study is to find out factors responsible for low enrolment of students in agricultural science in secondary schools in Ekiti State.

Specifically the study sought to;

i.                   determine the factors that influence students choice of agriculture subject in public secondary schools in Ekiti State.

ii.                 find out the resources / materials available for the teaching of agriculture subject in public secondary schools in Ekiti State.

iii.              find out the perception of the students about the teaching and learning of agriculture subject in public secondary schools in Ekiti State.

iv.              investigate the challenges facing agriculture students in Ekiti State

Research Questions

          Based on the above stated objectives, the following questions were formulated

i.                   What factors influence the students’ choice of agriculture subject in public secondary schools in Ekiti State?

ii.                 What resources/ materials are available for the teaching of agriculture subject in public secondary schools in Ekiti State?

iii.              What are the perceptions of the students about the teaching and learning agriculture subject in public secondary schools in Ekiti State?

iv.              What are the challenges facing agriculture students enrolment in public secondary schools in Ekiti State?

Significance of the Study

This study is of significance to several groups of people including schools, policy makers, curriculum developers, and international organizations dealing with agriculture.

The findings of the study will give new insights to the teachers and administrators on the factors influencing students’ enrolment in agriculture subject in secondary schools.

The study is of great use to the Ministry of Education in general for decision making purposes concerning agriculture education.

The study will help the decision makers in agriculture to draw up policies that will boost the secondary agriculture education.

The study is of significance to the society because it enlightens them on new agricultural activities taking place in a certain area through the Ministry of Agriculture. Also educates the society on the benefits of Agriculture to them.

The study is also expected to enlighten curriculum developers on the areas of weakness and strength in secondary agriculture education syllabus, and therefore appropriate moderations done.

The findings will also be used by other bodies in agriculture like the NEPAD, WFP, FAO, and MOA to come up with ways of increasing agricultural knowledge among the youth in order curb most of the agricultural related problems.

Scope of the Study

          The study on factors responsible for low enrolment of students in agricultural science will be carried out  in selected senior secondary schools in three senatorial district in Ekiti State i.e Ekiti north, Ekiti Central and Ekiti South.

Definition of Key Terms

·        Agriculture Subject: This term will be used to refer to one of the courses offered in the secondary school curriculum

·        Agriculture Students: For the purpose of the study, this term will refer to the pupils studying agriculture subject in secondary schools.

·        Agriculture Teacher: The study will use the term to refer to a person whose job is to teach Agriculture in a school.

·        Administrator: The study will use the term to refer to the principal of a secondary school.

·        Student Enrolment: This term will be used in the study to refer to the number of students selecting agriculture subject



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