AVAILABILITY AND USABILITY OF CHEMISTRY LABORATORY FACILITIES FOR TEACHING ORGANIC CHEMISTRY IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
This research examined the Availability and Usability of Laboratory Facilities for Teaching ofOrganic Chemistryin Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State.The design was made along the lines of a descriptive survey while the study population comprised 5 secondary schools inPort Harcourt LGA in the State. The sample consisted of 5 secondary schools and 47 students drawn randomly from the study population. The instrument used to collect data for the study was an observation checklist and Availability and Usability of Laboratory Facilities for Teaching of Organic ChemistryQuestionnairewhile the data collected wasanalyzed using mean and percentage. The findings showed thatmany secondary schools have Chemistry laboratory. It has also been observed that teachers do not make use of the availably laboratory facilities in teaching the student Organic Chemistry as pointed out by researcher, teachers teach Organic Chemistry as an abstract knowledge without practical work, they only give attention to Organic Chemistry some days before the external examination and also many factors affects and usability of Chemistry laboratory facilities in teaching students of senior secondary schools Organic Chemistry, therefore the implication of the finding is that if there are provisionsforChemistry laboratories with well-equipped facilities to teachOrganic Chemistry, then the teachers should ensure that these facilities are well utilized to avoid passing on only abstract knowledge to the students. The interviewees` responses agreed with the findings of the study. Based on the findings, it was recommended that the government should promote Science and technology by providing Chemistry laboratories with all materials that can help in teaching Organic Chemistry in all secondary schools and regularly inspect to make sure that these facilities are still functional.The senior secondary scheme of work should be reviewed, and more interest should be put into the practical aspect of Organic Chemistry in Senior Secondary Schools. Chemistry teachers should develop the spirit of professionalism to utilize the available laboratory facilities in teaching Organic Chemistry.
1.1 Background to the Study
It has been recognized that Scienceand Technology play a significant role in the development of many societies. As such, Science is being scrutinized with the aim of improving the lives of humans. In view of the above, Mashi, Inkani, and Yaro, (2014) asserted that many developed countries of the world today achieved their level of development through the adaptation of technology and development of an efficient Science and technology capacity.Many breakthroughs that man has recorded in the quest to improve his life were achieved through the knowledge of Science.(Akambi and Kolawole, 2014).
Science according to the Academic American Encyclopedia as cited in Ugwuoke(2017) is defined as the development and systematization of positive knowledge about the physical universe. On other hand, technology is seen as the art of making things generally useful to man. So,it can be clinched that Sciencegenerates the body of knowledge and understanding which Technology depends on to produce goods and services.
Research conducted in Sciences has led to the departmentalization of Science into different branches such as
i. Physical Science which look at the physical aspects of how things work. The major subsets are Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy
ii. Life Science also called Biology,explore how different life forms work. Common subsets under it are Botany, Nutrition, Zoology, Genetics, Human Biology, and Medicine.
iii. Earth Sciencehave as its subset Geology, Paleontology, Meteorology, Oceanography and Ecology.
However, to ensure that scientific growth and development in the nationit became pertinent that Science be taught at all levels of education. At the senior secondary level Science is departmentalized into Chemistry, Biology and Physics to encompass all branches of Science.
Chemistry is one of the major fields that spearhead the study of Science for national development.It is a natural Science which studies composition, structure, properties and change of matter. (Arokoyu, and Charles-Ogan, 2017).Chemistry is typically divided into several major sub-disciplines such as Analytical Chemistry, BioChemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Materials Chemistry, Nuclear Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry.Organic Chemistryinvolves the scientific study of the structure, properties, and reactions of organiccompounds and organicmaterials, i.e., matter in its various forms that contain carbonatoms(Clayden, Greeves, and Warren, 2012).Matter, from the chemical point of view, consists of the substances encountered in daily life in whatever phase such as solid, liquids, gaseous and plasma, as well as the atoms and molecules of which these substances are composed
For Organic Chemistryto be studied as a scientific discipline one needs to be continuously involved in a series of guided experimentation which can only be carried out under the conditions of a well-equipped laboratory facility. However,despite the prime position Chemistry occupies in our educational system in Nigeria and the efforts made by researchers to enhance performance, students’ performance in Chemistry and Sciences, in general, are still low. Two of the reasons identified for this failure are laboratory inadequacy and the environment. The adequacy and use of educational resources like laboratory facilities enhance the effectiveness of teachers’ lesson and understanding of abstract ideas and improve performance. Chemistry teaching is supposed to be result oriented and student centered, and this can only be achieved when students are willing, and the teachers are favorably disposed to, using the appropriate methods and resources in teaching the students.
Students by nature are curious; they need to be actively involved in the learning process in which they are continuously experimenting, testing, speculating and building their own personal construct and knowledge. It is only by personalizing such knowledge that it becomes valid, meaningful and useful to them. Knowledge is actively constructed through the action of an individual. Clayden; Greeves, and Warren, (2012),propose thatall Science must be underpinned by evidence. According to Watts (2013), Practical work is formative as it helps the students to understand Science and how the scientific ideas are developed. To achieve the goals of Science education, it is imperative that an attempt is made to balance emphasis on both theory and experiments. The skills normally emphasized in Science practical include procedural and manipulative, observation, drawing and reporting and interpretative skills. The purposes of practical work include:
i. motivation of students;
ii. excitement of discovery;
iii. consolidation of theory;
iv. development of manipulative skills;
v. knowledge of standard techniques;
vi. general understanding of data handling;
vii. development of other skills like analytic, evaluative, planning, applied and mathematical; and developing an understanding of how Science works through concept of scientific process, collaborative working, reproducible results and fair testing.
Experiments are the essence of Science. And all such experiments must be performed in the school Sciencelaboratory.
Laboratory has been a distinctive feature in the teaching of Science. Nbina (2013), defined a Science Laboratory as an instructional facility used by Scienceteachers to help the students learn about Scienceand how the scientists investigate the world around them. It is a place set aside for scientific inquiry. To him the laboratory experiences provide opportunities for students to interact directly with the material world or with data drawn from the material world, using tools, data collection techniques, models and theories of Science. Examining the role of the laboratory and its potential for contribution to Science education. The laboratory can provide students with an understanding of procedures for scientific investigation, including control of certain variables, careful observation and recording of data and the development of conclusions. In summary, the study of Science through laboratory experience serves a dual function. The students learn the concepts of, and facts of the Science itself and, in addition, learn how to grow in their knowledge and understanding of Science.
A Chemistry Laboratory offers the environment and resources for teaching practical Chemistry skills, which help students handle examination; and their day-to-day affairs. When the students are given the chance to learn through more senses than one, they can learn faster and easier. Indeed, the identification, manipulation, and overall use of laboratory equipment are integral parts of the subject of Chemistry. Many, if not most of the concepts and principles common in secondary school Chemistry, can be demonstrated or delivered through experiments performed with simple apparatus. The Chemistry laboratory represents a wonderful opportunity for making the connection between the unseen microscopic world and the observable macroscopic world in which we live. Laboratory experiences provide opportunities for team building, inquiry-based learning, hands-on activities, and exposure to standard laboratory equipment and technology (Arokoyu, and Charles-Ogan, 2017).
The foundation of a child’s education is built from the primary and secondary level. However, today more students are entering post-secondary education with diversity of learning styles and varied stages of preparedness to further their studies and contribute to the substantial development of the society. Teachers are therefore hard pressed to bridge this gap that hampers equality in education for all children. The absence of properly equipped and functioning Chemistry laboratories in many Senior Secondary Schools in Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State, as well as the underutilization of the available ones as identified earlier impede the proper teaching of Organic Chemistry which is one of the requirements for Science students to gain a certificate at this level. This results in a lot of undergraduates finding it difficult to do well in Chemistry and its related discipline in the Higher Institution. Therefore,an extensive investigation on the availability of Chemistry laboratory facilities in senior secondary schools as well as its usability to teach Organic Chemistryin schools becomes very necessary.
1.2 Statement of TheProblem
When one has the knowledge of Chemistry you not only benefit yourself but also benefit the people around you because Chemistry helps you to understand the world you live in. Everything you touch, smell, or taste is Chemistry related. It explains the everyday things we encounter like what causes water to solidify when cooled as well as dry up when heated, why you fry egusi in palm oil before adding water and the other ingredients. In fact, knowledge of Chemistry helps you to make educated choices about every day products that you use.
Our nation Nigeria has seen how necessary Chemistry is for our development. Therefore, it is one of the essential subjects required for certification in Secondary Schools as well as compulsory for admission into certain fields of study like Medicine, Science, and Engineering in many Higher Institutions. Organic Chemistry being a sub-set of Chemistry is very vital for building a solid foundation in Chemistry at the secondary level. However, there are certain concepts in Organic Chemistry that may be difficult for the students to understand fully if they were only taught theoretically. There are a few topics in secondary school Organic Chemistry that require laboratory work. According to Ababio (2010), these topics include:
i. fractional distillation of crude oil and testing the properties of each fraction;
ii. cracking of medicinal paraffin;
iii. hydrolysis of an ester (ethyl ethanoate);
iv. preparation of soap from castor oil;
v. hydrolysis of starch by an enzyme;
vi. preparation of Perspex.
The Practical lab work conducted on these topics will make the concepts less abstract and more real to the students. Emphasizing understanding by doing, in other words, experiencing them through laboratory activities. This can only be achieved when the facilities for these activities exist, are well equipped and utilized. Hence, the need to investigate the availability and usability of Laboratory Facilities for the teaching of Organic Chemistry in Secondary Schools.
1.3 Aim and Objectives
The study aims to investigate the availability and usability of Science Laboratory Facilities for the practical teaching of Organic Chemistry in some selected Senior Secondary Schools in Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The specific objectives of the study are to:
1. investigate the availability of Chemistry laboratory facilities in the senior secondary schools in Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria;
2. evaluate the extent to which Chemistry laboratory is utilized by Chemistry teachers to teach Organic Chemistryin the Senior Secondary Schools;
3. explore the extent to which Chemistry laboratory facilitiesare utilized by Chemistry students in the senior secondary schools; and
4. determine the challenges facing the availability and use of laboratory facilities for teaching Organic Chemistry.
1.4 Research Questions
The research questions were centred on the above rationale of problems and facts inherent to laboratory experiences, and they include:
1. Are Chemistry Laboratory Facilities available for teaching of Organic Chemistry in Senior Secondary Schools in Port Harcourt Local Government Area?
2. To what extent are Chemistry Laboratory Facilities available in the Senior Secondary Schools in Port Harcourt L.G.A.?
3. What is the extent of use of Laboratory Facilities by Chemistry teachers and students in the Senior Secondary Schools?
4. What are the challenges facing the availability and usability of Laboratory Facilities for the teaching of Organic Chemistry?
1.5 Significance of the study
This study will be of immense importance to Teachers, Curriculum Planners, Comparative Educationists, the Government and Society at large. This present research will help in obtaining useful information concerning the availability and usability of Chemistry laboratory facilities for teaching Organic Chemistry in Senior Secondary Schools. The result obtained will provide relevant information on factors that influence the availability and usability of Chemistry laboratory facilities for teaching Organic Chemistry in senior secondary school. It will greatly increase our knowledge about what happens in schools.
In the case of Teachers, it will help them to know the importance of using available Chemistry laboratory facilities for the teaching of Organic Chemistry.To School Administrators it will give room for amendment or correction in availability and usability of Chemistry laboratory facilities for teaching Organic Chemistry. To Comparative Educationists the statistical information can easily be used for comparison while studying different areas during research and can therefore be used to improve on the education system of the country. It will be of benefit to Government towards distributing necessary resources that will help in the effective teaching of Organic Chemistry using laboratory facilities.It will produce statistical information about aspects of education that interests policy makers and educators.This work will also add on to the existing literature on the availability of laboratory facilities for teaching Organic Chemistry in senior secondary schools.
1.6 Scope of the study
The study was limited to investigating the availability and usability of Chemistry laboratory facilities for teaching Organic Chemistry in secondary schools. The study was limited to the sampled schools in Port Harcourt Local government area of Rivers State.
1.7 Area of the study
The research study was conducted in Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State in southern Nigeria. It is situated 52 kilometers (32 miles) southeast of Ahoadaand about 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Bori. It is bounded to the south by Okrika, to the east by Eleme, to the north by Obio-Akpor and to the west by Degema. It has a total size of 109 square kilometers (42 sq. miles). Port Harcourt local government area is included in the Greater Port Harcourt region.
It consists of the following Towns, urban communities and neighborhoods:
Abuloma, AmadiAma, Borokiri, D-line, Diobu, Eagle Island, Elekahia, New GRA, Nkpogu, NkpoluOroworukwo, Ogbunabali, Old GRA, Old Port Harcourt Township, Oroabali, Oroada, Orochiri, Orogbum, Orolozu, Oromeruezimgbu, Oroworukwo, Oromineke, Rebisi, Rumukalagbor, Rumuobiekwe, Rumuwoji, Tere-Ama,Trans-Amadi,Okuru-Ama.
The total population in the area was last recorded at 638,360 people in 2011 from 538,558 in 2006.("Port Harcourt (local government area)".City population, 2015.)Currently, the Rivers State University(RSUST) has its main campus at NkpoluOroworukwo, although plans are in progress to relocate the institution to a new 524-acre (212 ha) site within the Greater Port Harcourt urban center (Howard ,1974). Many private schools including some government schools are in and around this area. Primary education in many cases starts at the age of four (4) for majority of Riverian. Students spend five or six years in primary school and graduate with a first school leaving certificate. At the secondary level, students spend six years, that is 3 years of JSS (Junior Secondary School), and 3 years of SSS (Senior Secondary School).
The following are primary (elementary) and secondary schools (high schools) operating within the Port Harcourt local government area:
Baptist High School, Borokiri; Bereton Montessori Nursery and Primary School, Old GRA; Emarid College; Faith Baptist College, Old GRA; Government Comprehensive Secondary School, Borokiri; Graceland International School, Elekahia; Greenoak International School, New GRA; Holy Rosary College, Old GRA; Methodist Girls High School; Norwegian International School; Our Lady of Fatima College, Borokiri; St. Mary's Catholic Model High School; Starlets Academy, Old GRA; Stella Maris College; Stepping Stone Educational Centre; Tantua International Group of Schools; Randolph Group of Schools, Diobu PHC
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