CHALLENGES MILITATING AGAINST THE EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF HOME ECONOMICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN RIVERS STATE ABSTRACT: This study aimed at identifying the challenges militating against the effective teaching and learning of home economics in senior secondary schools in Rivers State, Nigeria. The study was motivated by the alarming rate at which secondary school students were abandoning home economics in preference of other school subjects as they felt home economics is meant only ladies and those who want to go into vocational and technical training after their secondary school education. Therefore, if nothing is done, no student will offer Home Economics secondary schools again and if there are no such students in future, there will be no student offering home economics as a course of study in higher institutions. Data were collected through the questionnaires were analysed through percentage analysis techniques. Based on the result of the findings, recommendations were made in respect to motivating students’ interest. Some of the findings include that inadequate availability of instructional material is a pitfall to both the students and the teachers. Most teachers do not have the necessary qualifications and as well lack the competence to use the available instructional materials. CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION1.1 Background to the StudyHome Economics as a vocational and technical education is among the vital tools an individual can use to be developed. It is training for useful employment in trade, industries, agriculture, business and home making etc. the emphasison vocation, technical; education is to prepare one for self-reliance.American Vocational Association (1991) viewed vocational subjects as those designed to develop skills,abilities, understanding, attitude, work habit and appreciation encompassing knowledge and informationneeded any workers to enter and make progress in employment on a useful and productive basis. Itcontributes to the production of good citizens by developing their physical, social, civic, cultural and economiccompetencies.The introduction of formal education in Nigeria has partially neglected vocational and technical education. Despite all efforts made to recognize it, yet little or no attention was given to it. No meaningful development was made in the area of vocational education until 1981, when the National policy on Education was published. Due to this partial neglect in our educational system, vocational and technical education has suffered a major decline in quality, policy and directive in the country. It was after the oil boom era 1970s that it dawned on the nation that there was acute scarcity of skilled manpower. Osuala (1999) emphasized that the term either technical or vocational education has no single universally accepted definition but what is common is the various definitions is its goals and objectives that remain the same. Technical education has been defined as that phase of education which seeks to help the people, students and the populace acquire specific mechanical or manipulative skills required in industrial arts or applied science.Nigeria, as a developing country has myriads of problems. Besides political problems leading to political assassination and post-election crisis, the frightening dimension is youth restiveness. The youth are restive because majority of them are idle, which confirms the adage that says, “An idle hand is the devil’s workshop”. The youth are demonstrating this by engaging in criminal activities, while the females are into high level prostitution, trafficking in hard drugs etc. Majority of youth have now realized that the certificate they collect after four to five years in school have no additional skills. This is because education, produce an individual who is honest, respectful and cooperative and who would conform to the social norm. To redress the situation, education should be geared towards empowerment. They youth should be empowered with vocational and technical skills which would make them self-reliant or become employable in different sectors of the economy.This is a situation which is true of Cross River State of Nigeria. This is a state universally known for its tourism and hospitality. Because of this, the teaching of Home Economics education becomes very important to meet the requirements of the hospitality industry. At the national level, there is a clarion call for vocation and technical education, because this is utilitarian type of education designed to develop skills, abilities, understanding, attitude, appreciation of hard work and to impact the knowledge so gained in useful and productive ventures. As in other areas of vocational and technical education, the teaching home economics exposes the individuals to experiences that provide the manipulative, cognitive and attitudinal skills that would make them acquire all round education. This study aimed at identifying the challenges militating against the effective teaching and learning of home economics in senior secondary schools in Rivers State, Nigeria.1.2 Statement of the ProblemThere is a general poor attitude of students, both male and female towards vocational education these days as a whole and Home Economics in particular. Even through the female population of school age in the country is large, but they are not attracted to vocational studies. Nsofor, (2003). There is rather a preponderance of female students in the arts and social sciences, while the males prefer the medical and legal areas than the skilled area. Where they offer Home Economics at the junior or senior secondary schools’ examinations, there is always a tendency to drop them when they enter tertiary institutions for reasons that the course is expensive and time consuming.1.3 Research QuestionsThese are some of the questions the study is designed to answer:i) What is the prevalence of effective teaching and learning of home economics among secondary school students in Rivers State?ii) What are the attitudes of teachers in teaching home economics in secondary school in Rivers State?iii) What are the factors affecting students of secondary schools in Rivers State towards learning home economics?1.4 Objectives of the StudyThe objective of the study is to examine the aimed the challenges militating against the effective teaching and learning of home economics in senior secondary schools in Rivers State, Nigeria, and the specific objective are to:i) to survey the prevalence of effective teaching and learning of home economics among secondary school students in Rivers Stateii) to ascertain the attitudes of teachers in teaching home economics in secondary school in Rivers Stateiii) to identify the factors affecting students of secondary schools in Rivers State towards learning home economics1.5 Research HypothesisThe research hypotheses to be tested include:i) there is no significant relationship between teachers and effective teaching and learning of home economics in secondary schools in Rivers State ii) there is a significant correlation between students and effective teaching and learning of home economics in secondary schools in Rivers State1.6 Significance of the StudyThis study will help to sensitise the educational administrators to appreciate the need to make available the necessary materials that will enhance effective learning of economics if they are not available. This study will if need be, direct the home economics teachers’ attention to the need for them to adopt more appropriate teaching method in order to bring about desirable experience in the learners. It will be useful to learners for through this they will be able to identify the factors militating against the proper teaching and learning of home economics in secondary schools throughout the whole nation. It will serve as a foundation upon which further research works to be made.1.7 Scope of the StudyThe study investigated the challenges militating against the effective teaching and learning of home economics in senior secondary schools in Rivers State, Nigeria. It therefore covered secondary school students of northern, southern, eastern and western parts of Rivers State.1.8 Limitation of the study The researcher was only faced with lack of adequate attention by the respondents as they busy and therefore had limited time to answer the questions.1.9 Definitions of TermsThe following terms were used in the course of this study:Challenges:the situation of being faced with something that needsgreat mental or physical effort in order to be done successfully and therefore tests a person's abilityHome economics: field of study that deals with the economics and management of the home and community.It deals with the relationship between individuals, families, communities, and the environment in which they live.Learning: is the act of acquiring new or modifying and reinforcing existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences which may lead to a potential change in synthesizing information, depth of the knowledge, attitude or behavior relative to the type and range of experience.Teaching: the process of attending to people’s needs, experiences and feelings, and making specific interventions to help them learn particular things.REFERENCESAmerican Vocational Association (1991), Report of the committee on ResearchPublication, New York: Harper and Row publishers.Osuala, E. C. (1992), The importance of vocational training in the socio-economic ofNigeria: vocational/Technical Educational and manpower development. Pacific Publishers ltd.Nsofor, C.C. (2003) Vocational and Technical Education: A tool for self-reliance and sustainable democracy in the 21st Century, Kontagora..