THE INFLUENCE OF GENDER DIMENSIONS IN PERFORMANCE AT JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL BUSINESS STUDIES IN AGO-IWOYE TOWN
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
School, colleges and universities have no worth without student. Students are most essential asset for any educational institution. The social and economic development of the country is directly linked with student academic performance. The students’ performance plays an important role in producing the best quality graduates who will become great leader and manpower for the country, thus responsible for the country’s economic and social development (Ali, Ali and Salami, 2009).
In the world over, gender issues has been a matter of great concern especially among scholars, researchers and policy formulators, both in the developed and developing countries like Nigeria. However, intellectuals are worried about the role of women in the political, social, economic, cultural, psychological, religious, scientific and technological development of nations. For instance, Ibraheem (2001) confirmed that women have physical and mental capabilities to contribute meaningfully to the stability, progress and prosperity of Nigeria.
Afonja (2002), defined gender as a socially constructed concept based on the assumed power and position that group of humans should possess. Jadesola (2002) opined that gender is socially constructed for the purpose of allocating powers, duties, responsibilities, status and roles in any social context. Jekayinoluwa (2005) also confirmed that schools and the nation at large are making profound contributions to the creation of positive learning environment for boys than girls. But, Owuamanam and Babatunde (2007) observed that gender stereotyping seems to promote the belief that women should be traditionally feminine and men are to be traditionally masculine.
In Africa, researches have shown that female’s participation and achievement in relation to their male counterpart in Science and Technology are too low owing to some avoidable reasons, especially in Nigeria. Buttressing this viewpoint, Okafor (2001) argued that health problems such as high rate of maternal and infant mortality, malnutrition and stressful conditions which are associated with developing countries like Nigeria correlate positively with the low level of women’s achievement in Science and Technology. However, Plummer (2000) and Arnot (2003) noted that ethnicity and social class are other factors that combined with gender to have a direct bearing on achievement of women. In support of the above idea, Archer and Yamashita (2003) confirmed that gender inequalities are interwoven with social class, ethnicity, sexuality and disability.
Furthermore, Hyde, Lindberg, Ellis, and Williams (2008) confirmed that females surpassed males in basic computation and understanding of mathematical concepts while males exceeded females in complex problem-solving in the high school. Hence, Sainz and Eccles (2011) discovered that boys in Spanish Secondary Schools have high self-concept of Mathematics and computer abilities than girls.
Similarly, studies on gender dimension to academic performance of students are increasingly featuring across disciplines. For instance, Deepak, Al-Umran, Al-Sheikh and Al-Rubaish (2011) study showed that female medical students outperform male students in overall test assessment. Hedjazi and Omidi, (2008) also found a similar evidence of female students outperforming male students in the field of agricultural science. Aside these research evidences, Bolton and Muzio (2008) and Berry (2007) showed evidence of male dominance in professional career progression and performance in spite of the increase in female membership of some professions. But, Sheard (2009) found that female students outperform their male counterparts, and showed more commitment and control over challenges they face during their study.
Inyang, (1998) argued that business studies is taught as one of the basic subjects that will allow students acquire further skills which are common and fundamental to all personal and occupational activities. Therefore, business activity affects the daily lives of all Nigerians, as it relates to all human activities and commercial purposes in everyday business of life. Business activity influences jobs, incomes and opportunities for personal enterprise. Ekanem, (2008) declared that business has significant effect on the standard of living and quality of life of people, and on the environment in which they live and which future generations will inherit. Udoukpong, Emah and Umoren (2011), opined that academic performance of junior secondary students in Business Studies can be differentiated by many factors as students have many responsibilities with regard to their learning. He further explained that students needed to take responsibility for their own progress and learning, since it is an important part of education for all students, regardless of their circumstances.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Educators and researchers have expressed serious concern about the state of teaching and learning in schools all over the country. However, business studies are not left out as this subject is often taught by non-specialist teachers. In most of the studies as seen in the recent literatures, quite a number of researches has been carried out on comparative studies on academic performance of males and females students’, but studies on gender dimensions and performance at Junior secondary school business studies have been rarely considered. For instance, Roger, Tronsky and Chan, (1999) in their study conducted on gender differences and performance scores in mathematics and science found that, girls earn higher grades than boys across the school years even in mathematics and science, despite not doing well on tests of mathematical ability during adolescence.
Similarly, Popoola (2002) agreed that girls are very good in English spellings, writing and Arts, but Science, Technology and Mathematics are masculine. Raheem (2010) also concluded that there is no significant difference between the performance of male and female students in Social Studies. Similar to the above findings, Croxford (2000) in his research carried out in London, confirmed that the average levels of attainment for boys are lower than those of girls at all stages and across almost all areas of the curriculum. Contrary to findings above, in a study conducted by Ekanem (2008) on students’ academic performance in Business Studies by gender, used a total of 600 junior secondary students (300 males and 300 females). He found that there is no significant difference between performance mean score for the males and the females’ performance mean score.
Owing to this observation, this research work is set to fill this gap in existing literatures and therefore, investigate on gender dimensions in performance at junior secondary school business studies in Ago-Iwoye town.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of the study is to assess the influence of gender dimensions in performance at junior secondary school Business Studies in Ago-Iwoye town. Specifically, other objectives of the study are as follows:
(i) To examine if there is any significant difference between male and female students’ performance in Business Studies.
(ii) To establish from the students those factors causing differences between male and female students’ performance in Business Studies.
(iii) To make necessary recommendations on how to improve overall students’ performance in Business Studies at Junior Secondary Schools in Ago-Iwoye.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
To achieve the research objectives, the following research questions will be answered:
(i) Is there any significant difference between male and female students’ performance in Business Studies?
(ii) Are there any significant factors causing differences between male and female students’ performance in Business Studies?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
In order to provide solution to the problem statement, and to achieve the research objectives, the following hypotheses shall be tested and validated:
H01: Is there any significant difference between male and female students’ performance in Business Studies at Junior Secondary Schools in Ago-Iwoye.
H02: Gender has no significant impact on academic performance in Business Studies at Junior Secondary Schools in Ago-Iwoye.
H03: Is there any significant difference among the factors affecting performance of male and female students in Business Studies at Junior Secondary Schools in Ago-Iwoye.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is paramount because it is set to examine gender dimensions in performance at junior secondary school Business Studies in Ago-Iwoye. Moreover, the findings of this study would be important to teachers and educators who need to understand the factors which may affect students’ academic performance in school subjects, especially Business Studies. It will help them to work towards providing experiences that are motivating to students against the backdrop of gender and performance differences. This will help contribute to students’ interest, self-confidence and effective learning as individual differences are considered in the course of planning and delivery of academic instructions.
Furthermore, it is observed that earlier researches have only analysed the past and current academic results of students in Business Studies, to draw the factors which could be causing gender dimensions in academic performance, without any consideration to their views. However, this research study is tasked to examine the views of students on factors influencing gender dimensions and academic performance in Business Studies at junior secondary school. Therefore, the results of the study will be insightful to business studies’ educators and career counselors on what is required to effectively educate both genders.
The findings of this study will have important implications for understanding the role of gender dimensions and students’ academic performance differences in Business Studies as a subject which provides rich opportunities for real-world experiences. The findings of the study will also create deeper insight into how the variables or factors causing differences in students’ performance could be manipulated to improve academic achievement of junior secondary school students in Business Studies. Lastly, the identify variables will help explain differences in junior secondary school students’ academic performance in Business Studies which can aid experts who may wish to develop a curriculum on entrepreneurial studies for schools.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is focused on gender dimensions in performance at junior secondary school Business Studies in Ago-Iwoye. In accordance with this focus, a selected sample of two junior secondary schools in Ago-Iwoye, Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State will be chosen as representatives, using a purposive sampling technique. However, these selected sample junior secondary schools being considered in this study include: Methodist Comprehensive High School and Fowoseje Comprehensive High School.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The study only considers the public junior secondary schools in Ago-Iwoye, Ijebu North Local Government Area; hence its limitation is evidenced as it fails to incorporate the private schools in the study area. In addition to the above limitations, the following shortcomings are presumed: envisaged biased nature of respondents in answering the structured questionnaires to be administered; financial constraint that is likely to be faced by the researcher. The time given for the completion of this research work may be inadequate; and the materials with relevant information needed for the study may also be scarce.
1.9 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
Gender Dimension: Gender is the range of physical, biological, mental and behavioural characteristics pertaining to and differentiating between masculinity and feminity.
Education: Education is the imparting and acquisition of knowledge designed to develop a broad range of abilities, knowledge and skills of general application.
Business Studies: Business Studies is taught as one of the basic subjects that will enable students acquire further skills which are common and fundamental to all personal and occupational activities
Performance: refers to the outcome of the evaluation of an event, a learning task etc..