ATTITUDE OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENT TOWARDS THE STUDY OF ECONOMICS
Background of the Study
Economicsis thesocial sciencethat analyzes theproduction,distribution, andconsumptionofgoodsandservices. The term economics comes from theAncient Greekword (oikonomia, "management of a household, administration") hence "rules of the house(hold)".Political economywas the earlier name for the subject, but economists in the late 19th century suggested "economics" as a shorter term for "economic science" that also avoided a narrow political-interest connotation and as similar in form to "mathematics", "ethics", and so forth.
Economics is concerned withhuman behavioursuch as how people earn their living and make a choice between alternatives to satisfy their wants. It focuses on the study of firms and the government whose activities are geared to the production of goods and services for the satisfaction of human want since economics is concerned with human behaviour. So economics is a social science, and like any science subject, the reasoning procedure in economics is methodological, its analysis is systematic, and the validity of its various theories can be tested.
When economics was introduced into the secondary school curriculum, its popularity grew rapidly because the first few schools which offered it in West African School Certificate Examination [WASCE] had unexpectedly good results. There was a positive relationship between the quality of results in economics and the number of candidates that offered it in subsequent years in the WASCE. In this unit, you will learn the factors that caused the late introduction of economics, and its acceptance in the school system, Economics was first taken in the West African School Certificate Examination as a school subject in Nigeria in 1967. Since school certificate was a two year course, it may be said that economics came into the secondary school curriculum in Nigeria in 1966, much later than most other secondary school subjects. Economics was, however, taken by private candidates in the General Certificate Examination before it became a secondary school subject. It was recognized that economics problems were at the heart of modern society. Ever since economics was first taken, as a school subject in West African School Certificate Examination in 1967, the number of schools that teach it and the number of candidates that take the examination has witnessed a phenomenal increase. For example in 1967, it was 0.07% of the total number of candidates that sat for the examination, in 1969 it was increased to 12.56%, in 1970, it was 17.16% and by 1976 exactly 10years of its inceptions, the population has risen to 76.95%. For further confirmation by more recent entries, we have that in 1985, 441,448 school candidates entered for economics while in the same year English had 373,507. In 1996 it was 711,377 for economics, 748,239 for mathematics, and 748,984 for English language. By this analysis it is probably understatement that English Language and Mathematics top the list of entries. It may be said that economics is probably the most popular subject in the secondary school curriculum if the popularity of a secondary school subject may be determined by the number of schools that teach it and the number of candidates that offer it in school learning certificate examination.
Economic analysis may be applied throughout society, as inbusiness,finance,health care, and government, but also to such diverse subjects as crime,[education, thefamily,law,politics, religion social, war, andscience. At the turn of the 21st century, the expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described aseconomic imperialism.
It may be said that economics comes after English language and Mathematics. Furthermore, when it is appreciated that economics became a secondary school subject in Nigeria in 1966, it may be said that the growth in its popularity as a secondary school subject in Nigeria has been monumental.
An attitude may be defined as a predisposition to respond in a favourable or unfavourable manner with respect to a given attitude object (Oskamp and Schultz 2013). Adu (2012) defined attitude as internal beliefs that influence personal actions which is learned through one’s experience. This has to do with a disposition to act or react in a particular way as the individual responds to a situation (Amoo & Rahman, 2010). Thus, the students’ perception of the teachers’ characteristics could influence their attitude toward Economics or any other school subject. Students more often than not judge their teachers in such areas as the teachers’ knowledge of the subject matter, communication ability, the choice of appropriate teaching method and the general classroom management skills. A persons’ attitude to an idea or object determines what the person thinks, feels and how the person would like to behave towards that idea or objects.
The focus of this project is on school students’ attitudes towards Economics subjects taught in secondary classrooms. The term ‘subjects ‘refers to both theory and laboratory classes in secondary school. Thus, the scope of the present study was limited to Economics as experienced by students in secondary school rather than out-of-school experiences obtained from external sources such as the media, museums, field trips and friends. Attitude towards Economics or science denotes interests or feelings towards studying Economics or science. It is the students’ disposition towards like or ‘dislike’ science while attitude in science means scientific approach assumed by an individual for solving problems, assessing ideas and making decisions. Student beliefs and attitudes have the potential to either facilitate or inhibit learning (Yara, 2014).Many factors could contribute to student’s attitude toward studying science (Economics). Popoola(2011) also reported that students attitudes and interests to sciences, especially Agricultural science correlate highly with their science achievement. Halladyna and Shanghnessy (2012) and Adesoji (2010) have concluded that a number of factors have been identified as related to students’ attitude to science (Economics). Such factors include; teaching methods, teacher attitude, influence of parents, gender, age, cognitive styles of pupils, career interest, social view of science and Scientifics, social implicating of science (Economics) and achievement.
The studies thus reviewed suggest that there is a relationship between attitude and methods of instruction and also between attitude and achievement; and that it is possible to predict achievement from attitude scores. What is needed to complement the results of such studies however is the nature of relationship between students’ attitude and factors related to teaching and learning of Economics? Results of these types of study are likely to broaden our knowledge as how we can influence students’ attitude positively towards Economics as a subject in Orlu LGA of Imo state Nigeria.
Statement of the problems
Despite the greater number of Economics graduates produced by our tertiary institutions; every year there are numbers of s econdary schools where Economics teachers are not competent in the teaching of the subject. Also, the attitude of the students in secondary schools towards Economics as a profession is not encouraging. This makes the teaching of Economics ineffective and inefficient even where there are competent teachers to teach. It is on this premise, that this study is designed to investigate the attitude of students to teaching and learning of Economics in secondary schools.
Purpose of the study
The general purpose of this study was to find out attitude of senior secondary school student towards the study of economics in Orlu local Government area of Imo State. Specifically this study
1. Determine the attitude of students toward the study of economics in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State.
2. Determine the environmental factors positively influence student attitude toward the study of economics in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State?
3. Determine the environmental factors that are negatively influencing student attitude toward the study of economics in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State.
Significance of the study
The study is aimed at looking at the students’ attitudes towards Economicsin some selected secondary schools in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State. The results of the study is hoped to assist Economics teachers to develop new learning experience for the students and reorganize these learning experience in some ways enough to arouse the interest of the students. It would be of good assistance to teachers to create a habit were they would improve on the obsolete teaching methods, use adequate, modern and relevant instructional materials and textbooks at their disposed to the fullest. This study may also assist the students to improve their attitude towards the study of the subject. Finally, the government and parents would benefit from the study of their roles as these would be highlighted at the recommendation column. This study will be useful to researchers, students, teachers, policy makers, curriculum planners, government and virtually everyone who loves the acquisition of knowledge.
After this study, if the suggestions can be applied, then students in Orlu will have a positive attitude towards Economics.
Scope of the study
The study was limited to secondary schools in Orlu Local Government of Imo State only. Based on the time frame and financial constraints in covering all the secondary schools in the Local Government, the study was also limited to the students in Senior Secondary Schools (SS Class).
The following research questions were constructed by the researcher as a guide to this study.
1. What are the attitudes of students toward the study of economics in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State?
2. What are the environmental factors positively influence student attitude toward the study of economics in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State?
3. What are the environmental factors that are negatively influencing student attitude toward the study of economics in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State?.