FACTORS MILITATING AGAINST THE EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ACCOUNTING IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN OWERRI, IMO STATE
Background of the Study
Everyone is affected by accounting information. It is seen to be an everyday activity, not minding the individual, career, organization etc. Accounting can be seen to revolve around life, as everyone, in one way or the other is involved in one accounting practice or the other. The need to have in place, a system of recording financial transactions, brought the inception of accounting as a profession.(Nolan, 1998, p.6).
Accounting is often called the “language of business” because it is used to communicate financial information. Accounting, as opined by John, Haddock Jr. and Brock (2007, p.15) “is the process by which financial information about a business is recorded, classified, summarized, interpreted and communicated to owners, managers and other interested parties.” The concept of accounting is further defined as the process of recording, classifying, selecting, measuring, interpreting and communicating financial data of an organization to enable users make decision (Longe and Kazeem, 2012, p.5).
The history of accounting as a separate discipline dates back to the end of the Nigerian civil war. Until then, accounting was not a discipline on its own, but was rather treated as an integral part of its parent discipline which was Economics. Okereke (2008, p.3).
The study and practice of accounting, therefore, has a very important role to play in the economic development of any nation. As a measurement and reporting information system, accounting covers both micro- economic activities and it consists of various subsystems which relate to economic events and decisions (Ajayi, 1997, p.7). These subsystems can be identified as the major accounting fields: business accounting, government accounting, auditing and taxation, all of which aid in economic planning, project appraisal, capital formation and a host of other socio-economic activities.Accounting as a subject is taught amongst the numerous subjects taught in the secondary schools. It has several attractive characteristics. The study of accounting in secondary schools in Nigeria came up since the end of the civil war (Longe and Kazeem, 2012, p.21).
The reasons for offering accounting in the senior secondary school level are in four fold as viewed by Nolan (1998, p.27).
i. To enable students obtain a background in bookkeeping and accounting.
ii. To enable the students to obtain a marketable skills by which he/she can earn his/her living in an appropriate business or government job.
iii. To enable students to understand that systematic and accurately kept records are the basis for financialdecision that has to be made by businessmen, government officials and others.
iv. To enable students manage wisely his/her own personal business affairs with particular emphasis on the wise planning of his/her income and expenditure
Danladi (2006, p. 45), views education as a process of teaching and learning, in which students acquire practical knowledge, value and skills for effective participation in the society. He further said that the process of acquiring the relevant knowledge, attitude, values and skills must be made as concrete as possible for easy learning. Teaching and learning of accounting should also follow this same process of acquiring practical knowledge, values and skills for effective participation in the society. Also, the process of acquiring these should be made concrete for easy learning. This gives us the reason for the study as some things required to make learning easy and effective seems lacking.
According to Yusuf (2009, p.19), one of the problems facing the teaching and learning of accounting is lack of good textbooks. He further observed that if accounting is taught in secondary schools by non-professionals and poorly motivated teachers, the students end up not understanding anything and the efforts made for effective implementation of accounting curriculum will be a waste.
Also, from the view of Okereke (2008, p.32), some of these problems facing teaching and learning of accounting in some secondary schools include: poor decline in funding from the government, the rigidity in the syllabus which makes it difficult for flexibility to be achieved and the shortage of qualified staff and teaching facilities.
To add to what has been said by different authors/authorities, from experience as a student, teachers that were assigned to teach accounting had no teaching qualification. This, most likely contributed to poor performance in the external examinations, as they were not equipped with the right teaching skills and methodologies to positively impart the accounting knowledge to the students.
The table (see Appendix I) shows the result of students who took accounting in secondary schools in Owerri Municipal, as an indication of students’ poor performance in accounting.
Having seen the challenges facing the effective teaching and effective learning of Accounting in Secondary Schools and the indication of poor performance in the table above, it therefore motivated the researcher to carry out this research work to find out and proffer solution where necessary.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The primary objective of financial accounting in the secondary school curriculum is to prepare the students for Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) which will enable the holders pursue further education or to go into lower clerical work in the office. This, nevertheless, gave rise to support of government, teachers and parents to help to see that the performance of students in accounting improves.
However, the researcher through discussion with some of the financial accounting teachers in secondary schools and through interaction with some of the students offering financial accounting at secondary school level realized that financial accounting has not recorded a remarkable success. Many of the students that offered the subject in SSCE have failed woefully. Some of them that secured clerical job have not been able to adjust to the practical working of financial accounting and finally some of those that gained admission for further studies have not been able to cope due to their poor foundation in financial accounting. This has been seen in the table given above. Also, from my experience as a student, accounting subject was offered by very few, as some said that the subject is difficult, seeing the poor performance of students who took accounting subject at the external examination level. There was no in-depth knowledge of the subject, which might have led to the poor performance. Could these be said to be as a result of teacher factor, instructional materials, teaching method, teachers’ motivation, unconducive environment for effective teaching and learning or what?It is as a result of the students’ poor performance that the researcher went into investigating the perceived factors that militate against effective teaching and learning of accounting in secondary schools in Owerri Municipal.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of the study is to determine the perceived factors militating against the effective teaching and learning of accounting in Secondary Schools in Owerri Municipal Council. Specifically, the study aims at determining the:
i. number of financial accounting teachers that are qualified to teach accounting in the secondary schools in Owerri municipal Council;
ii. available accounting resource materials in the secondary schools;
iii. teaching methods utilized by accounting teachers in the classroom;
iv. regularity of the accounting teachers in utilizing the available accounting resource materials in the classroom;
v. level of motivation to the teachers by the Ministry of Education/Government.
1.4 Scope of the Study
The research work has been narrowed down to examine the perceived factors militating against the successful teaching and learning of accounting in secondary schools in Owerri Municipal Council of Imo State, using the SS1-SS3 students. Itendeavoured to cover as many as possible, the number of professionally qualified accounting teachers in the schools, the available accounting resource materials, the teaching methods used in teaching and learning of accounting in the classroom, how often the teachers utilize the resource materials and how well the teachers are motivated in their work.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study identified some factors that may have affected the successful teaching and learning of accounting in secondary schools. This study will act as a guide towards solving the problems of providing the necessary human and materials resources for the successful teaching of accounting. It will aid curriculum planners since this work will highlight some difficulties in the teaching of the subjects. It will also in addition, help students of accounting to identify the problems they encounter in the learning of the subject and tackle it. It is hoped that it will help improve the future standard in accounting examinations and managerial roles of accounting to business organizations at large. It will be useful to the government by letting them know some challenges facing teaching and learning of accounting in secondary schools and the possible ways of solving these problems.
It will also help the teachers to know where they are contributing to the causes of students’ poor performances in accounting with the aim of finding corrective measures. The findings will act as reference work for further investigation in this particular area by other researchers.
1.6 Research questions
To guide the process of gathering data for this study, the following research questions are raised:
1. What is the number of professionally qualified accounting teachers in the secondary schools in Owerri Municipal Council?
2. What are the available accounting resource materials for teaching and learning in the classroom?
3. What are the teaching methods utilized by the accounting teachers in the schools?
4. How regular do the teachers utilize the available accounting resource materials in teaching accounting in the classroom?
5. How well are the teachers motivated?.