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SKILLS REQUIRED BY AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE TEACHERS FOR EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF SCHOOL FARM IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN INI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF AKWA IBOM STATE
1.1 Background of the Study
Agricultural Science is a pre-vocational subject in the junior and senior secondary schools respectively. The objective of this subject is to provide basic knowledge and skills that will prepare students either to perform in an occupation or to make a career in the chosen subject (FRN, 2013). These objective can only be realize when agricultural science teachers possess skills relevant for effective management of school farm. Deficiency of relevant skills in managing the school farm effectively among agricultural science teachers has been a major problem which has contributed to the poor management of the school farm, thereby inhibiting the actualization of the purpose which the school was served.
According to Osinem (2008), school farm is a miniature pilot farm where scientific findings, and innovations can be tried thoroughly and adjustments made before feedback is sent to researchers for improvement. The importance of school farm in skill development and acquisition of basic entry skills cannot be over-stressed. Olaitan and Ogbazi (2008) in support of the above statement, maintained that school farm provides an environment where theoretical aspects of agriculture taught in the classroom in respect of improved knowledge, skill and practices in agricultural production are tried out and put into real life situation. The school farm is also recognized as a laboratory for teaching agricultural practical lessons. It means that teachers are supposed to possess skills required to its effective management. A study by Agbulu (2010) on the management of school farms for improvement of the teaching of agricultural science in Benue State found that the school farms were not managed for improving the teaching of agricultural science. The findings also revealed that teachers taught only the theoretical aspects of the subject in the classroom due to lack of certain skills in managing the school farm effectively. The school farm has been perceived as very important for imparting manipulative skills to students. In achieving these, agricultural science teachers requires some level of competency in managing the school farm effectively.
Okorie (2006) defined skill as expertness, practical ability, dexterity, task and organized sequence of actions, proficiency executed and usually displayed in flexible but systematic temporal pattern.Skill in management of school farm, can be regarded as expertise or accuracy in carrying out tasks and activities that lead to efficiency or perfections in the performance of farm functions. The school farm is a laboratory for agricultural classes and for it to function effectively, it has to be well managed.
Management of school farm is defined as the process of planning, organizing, directing, controlling and evaluating activities in the farm to achieve specific objectives. These objectives include:
- To demonstrate appropriate practices.
- To provide valuable experiences to students.
- To provide opportunities for co-ordinating classroom theory with practices.
- To conduct some experiments.
Thieurauf and Collins (2008) saw management of school farm as a process of allocating the school farm input (human and material resource) through planning, organizing, directing and controlling for the purpose of accomplishing the school farm objectives. Ojukwu (2006) defined farm management as a skillful treatment towards crop and livestock production as well as the art of controlling the resources of producing crops and livestock.
Osuala (2009) explained the skills required by agricultural science teachers for effective management of the school farm to include the following:
- Planning Skill: In school farm management, planning skill refers to the ability of the teacher to make an outline of the activities to be performed in the farm in order to achieve the objectives for which it is established. It is a process of deciding in the present what to do in the future about the best combination of crops and livestock to be raised through rational use of resources. It is deciding what is be done in the school farm and plan to accomplish it.
- Organizing Skill: Organizing skill in school farm management is making arrangements whereby students, staff, space and materials are related to time and instructional objectives in coordinate instructional ways. It is also about deciding how the work is to be divided and coordinated.
- Directing Skill: Directing skill in school farm management is leading, influencing and motivating students and teachers to perform essential tasks. It embraces working with and through others to achieve the school farm objectives.
- Controlling Skill: Controlling skill in school farm management is the process of ensuring that actual activities in the farm conform to planned activities. It requires setting standards, measuring performance against standard and taking corrective action as needed, incorporating specific activities into farm management practices.
- Evaluating Skill: Evaluating skill in school farm management is a continuous process of determining the extent of achievement of objectives, limitation to achievement and further activities to be carried out to improve achieved results.
Olaitan (2006) included maintenance of soil fertility, control of soil erosion, weed, pest and disease control and feeding of livestock as part of farm management. The agricultural science teachers therefore in adding to the possession of these skills are supposed to have skills in soil management, plants and animal production, that would help him or her coordinate and control available resources and activities in the school farm for psycho-productive oriented teaching of the subject. Effective management of school farm therefore requires basic skills for planning, organizing, directing, controlling and evaluating.
The importance of skills for effective planning, organizing, directing, controlling and evaluating of the school farm is buttressed by the observation of Okorie (2006) who noted that physical resources of land, labour and capital cannot be productive unless they are organized and coordinated by someone who makes the necessary decisions and carries them out. In the case of the school farm management, the agricultural science teacher is supposed to be the decision maker, the organizer and coordinator of the learning experiences and activities his students will be exposed to, in order to achieve set goals. The extent to which teachers can perform these functions depends on the possession of management skills.
Okeke (2010) highlighted that one of the reasons why available farm resource materials are not utilized by agricultural science teachers in the secondary schools is that they lack necessary skills to operate them emphasizing that teachers should understand how to use and control resource materials such as the school farm and other facilities that could be derived therefrom. Similar observation was made by Nkajemeje (2007) who observed that lack of practical competencies on the part of agricultural science teachers was a factor inhibiting effective farm operations for educational benefits of the students.It therefore, becomes relevant for some concerted efforts to be made towards identifying the skills required by agricultural science teachers for effective management of school farm in public secondary schools in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The school farm has lost its importance which it was meant to serve, this is attributed to teacher's lack of skills to manage the school farm. Lack of skills by agricultural science teachers to manage the school farm has also limited the productivity of the school farm.
The relevant skills possessed by agricultural science teachers for effective management of the school would lead to development of skills necessary for jobs in agriculture by students. Agricultural science teachers lacks the necessary skills in managing the school farm effectively, thereby impeding the realization of the school farm objectives. This also, has prevented students from generating interest in agriculture and acquiring necessary skills.
It is observed that teachers could not identify the underlying principles of the school farm that could help them manage the school farm effectively. This may be attributed to ill-preparedness and incompetency of the teachers who are sometimes trained in schools and colleges that do not have school farm. Thus, depriving them of the knowledge of relevant skills in managing the school farm effectively. It is also observed that many school graduates who have no job could have benefited from making a living in agriculture, if they possess the relevant skills in managing the school farm, as they could be employed to work in any school farm.
However, the Akwa Ibom State Government has now supported a new direction of providing qualitative education by creating opportunity for in-service training of agricultural science teacher on the effective management of school farm. To make government objectives realizable in agriculture, there is need for agricultural science teachers to improve upon their skills to enable them manage the school farm effectively. Such skills can be integrated into the training programme of the pre-service teachers. It therefore, became imperative to determine the skills required by agricultural science teachers for effective management of school farm in public secondary schools in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study was to determine skills required by agricultural science teachers for effective management of the school farm. Specifically, the study sought to:
- Determine the planning skills required by Agricultural Science teachers for effective management of school farm;
- Determine the organizing skills required by Agricultural Science teachers for effective management of school farm;
- Determine the directing skills required by Agricultural Science teachers for effective management of school farm;
- Determine the controlling skills required by Agricultural Science teachers for effective management of school farm;
- Determine the evaluating skills required by Agricultural Science teachers for effective management of school farm.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The following group of people would benefit from the findings of the study. They include the teachers, students, curriculum planners, researchers, teacher trainees, and the state government.
The teachers would realize the farm management skills they lack or are deficient in,and thus undertake a retraining programme to acquire or upgrade them. The acquisition and improvement of these farm management skills would equip the teachers with skills to manage the school farm effectively. Thus, fulfilling the objectives which the school farm was establish.
The students would equally benefit from the study if implemented, as they would be aware of the skills required in managing the school farm effectively, and that would also cause them to develop this skills which would enable them manage their farm enterprises for a living, effectively after schooling. This will make them to be self-reliance and self-sufficient.
The curriculum planners would also benefit from the study. Iffully utilized, it would enable them reform their curriculum in line with the practical needs of the teachers especially in farm management. Researchers would use the body of knowledge provided by the study as reference points for further research in the areas of skills required by agricultural science teachers for effective management of school farm.
The colleges of education and education faculties of universities in charge of training teacher would find the result of the study useful as the information on skills required for effective management of school farm would help them improve their training programmes to equip the prospective teachers with these relevant skills.
The ministry of education and supervisors in the area of agriculture would find the study useful as they would be provided with relevant information on skills required by agricultural science teachers for effective management of school farm and thus, have inputs for organizing retraining programmes for the teachers. This would also help government to have a direction in funding school farm programmes since improvement on teacher's skills would lead to better management of the school farm and consequent increase in output of the farm.
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions were answered by the study:
- What are the planning skills required by Agricultural Science teachers for effective management of school farm?
- What are the organizing skills required by Agricultural Science teachers for effective management of school farm?
- What are the directing skills required by Agricultural Science teachers for effective management of school farm?
- What are the controlling skills required by Agricultural Science teachers for effective management of school farm?
- What are the evaluating skills required by Agricultural Science teachers for effective management of school farm?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance:
ho1: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of male and female Agricultural Science teachers on the planning skills required for effective management of school farm.
Ho2: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of male and female Agricultural Science teachers on the organizing skills required for effective management of school farm.
Ho3: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of male and female Agricultural Science teachers on the directing skills required for effective management of school farm.
Ho4: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of male and female Agricultural Science teachers on the controlling skills required for effective management of school farm.
Ho5: There is no significant difference between the mean responses of male and female Agricultural Science teachers on the evaluating skills required for effective management of school farm.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
This study was restricted to Agricultural science teachers in public secondary schools in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The study also delimited to planning, organizing, directing, controlling, and evaluating skills for effective management of school farms.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
This chapter is concerned with the review of literature related to the skills required by agricultural science teachers for effective management of school farms. The review is organized under theoretical framework, conceptual framework, related empirical studies and summary of reviewed literature.
2.1 Theoretical Framework
The following theories were reviewed to backup the study
- Management By Objective theory by Peter Drucker
- Hierarchy of Need Theory by Abraham Maslow
2.2.1 Management By Objective Theory by Peter Drucker
Management By Objectivetheory was propounded by Peter Drucker in 1954.Drucker (1954) postulated that "Management By Objective theory is the process of defining specific objectives within an organization that management can convey to organization members, then deciding on how to achieve each objective in sequence". This theory attempts to increase productivity by goals setting and objectives feedback through participative management. The central feature of Management By Objective is that objectives and goals should not be imposed but established and agreed upon through participation of subordinates with superiors.
This process allows managers to take work that needs to be done one step at a time to allow for a calm, yet productive work environment. This process also helps organization members to see their accomplishments as they achieve each objective, which reinforces a positive work environment and a sense of achievement.
Management By Objective (MBO) has been widely used for performance appraisal and employee motivation, but is really a system of managing. It requires that objectives must be stated in measurable terms. Thus the result of each skills employee, each unit or department can be measured against the stated objectives of the firm. Objectives are the end points towards which activities are aimed.
In line with the above, Management By Objective (MBO) process as seen by Drucker at the highest level of the organization involves, clarifying the specific roles of those responsible for achieving the goals, setting and modifying the objectives for subordinates. This theory has some benefits as well as defects as stated by Drucker. The benefits include:
- Improved management
- Clarification of organization
- Encouragement of personal commitment
- Development of effective controls
Management By Objectives theory suggest that effective management of school farm requires the agricultural science teachers, stating the objectives of the school farm in measurable terms, clarifying the specific roles of those responsible for achieving the goals, setting and modifying the objectives for subordinates. These cannot be achieved if agricultural science teachers are not versed with the skills required for management of the school farm.
This theory can be in this study through the setting of objectives of the school farm in measurable terms. Organizational goals (school farm) and planning flow top-down through the organization and are translated into personal goals for organizational members (students). Management By Objectives involves the managerial functions of planning, organizing and controlling the operation of the school farm over time through the use of economic and other principles and administrative procedures. Management By Objectives corresponds to the analytical and decision-making activities necessarily undertaken by the (Agricultural science teacher) in his or her role as manager.
2.1.2 Hierarchy of Need Theory: by Abraham Maslow
This is one of the most widely mentioned theories of motivation by psychologist Abraham Maslow in 1943. Maslow saw human needs in the form of a hierarchy, ascending from the lowest to the highest. He mentioned that when one set of needs is satisfied, this kind of need cease to be a motivator.
Maslow placed the basic human needs in an ascending order of importance and grouped them into five, namely, physiological needs, security or safety needs, affiliation or acceptance needs, esteem needs and needs for self-actualization.
Physiological needs: These are the basic needs for sustaining human life, such as food, water, warmth (clothes) and shelter. Maslow maintained that until these needs are satisfied, other needs will not motivate people.
Security or safety needs: These are the needs to be free from physical danger and from the fear of losing a job, property, food or shelter.
Affiliation or acceptance needs - since people are social being, they need to belong, to be accepted by others.
Esteem needs - According to Maslow, once people begin to satisfy their need to belong, they tend to want to be held in esteem both by themselves and by others. This type of need produces such satisfactions as power, prestige, status and self-confidence.
Self-actualization: Thisis regarded by Maslow as the highest need in his hierarchy. Need of self-actualization is the desire to become what one is capable of becoming; to maximize one's potential and to accomplish something.
For effective management of school farm by agricultural science teachers,Maslow hierarchy of need theory demands that, the needs of the agricultural science teachers be met accordingly as this would lead to motivation of the teachers to put in their best in managing the school farm effectively.
It is based on these theories that the need for skill required by agricultural science teachers for effective management of school farm in public secondary schools in Ini Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State is important. Government should never neglect the motivation of agricultural science teachers for effective management of the school farm. The researcher recommends Management By Objectives theory because it requires that objectives be stated in measurable terms. Thus the result of each skill can be measured against the stated objectives of the farm.
2.2 Conceptual Framework
2.2.1 The Concept of Skill in Effective Management of School Farm
The concept of skill has been variously explained by many authors. Hornby (2010) defined skill as the ability to expertly carry out an operation. Hull (1992) in Obi (2006) defined skill as the manual dexterity through repetitive performance of an operation. Okorie and Ezeji (2009) remarked that the possession of skills is to demonstrate the habit of acting, thinking or behaving in a specific activity which has become so natural to the individual through repetition or practice such that it becomes automatic. Elijah (2006) describe skill as a well establish habit of doing something. It involves the acquisition of performance capability.
Management is described by Obi (2007) as the process by which those in authority plan, organize, and control a business in an effort to make it successful. Management is the guidance, leadership and control of the efforts of a group of individuals toward some common goal. Osuala (2005) also saw management as an art of getting things done through people. Nwoye (1994) in Akpan (2010) saw it as the process of employing diverse resources of materials, finance, people and time in a manner as to achieve a set objectives of an organization. It involves good planning, staffing, organizing, directing and controlling of workers and materials. These five functions are inseparable, and a manager must coordinate them. Plans cannot be carried out without acquiring human resources and organizing work group. Controls are acquired to access plans progress while directing subordinate(s) on how to complete the plan.
Effective management is viewed as a process undertaken by one individual (agricultural science teacher) to coordinate the activities of the school to achieve a better result.School farm is regarded as an educational facilities where students receive experience and instruction in agriculture in the school. Osinem (2005) explained that school farm is a miniature pilot farm where scientific findings and innovations can be tried thoroughly and adjustment made before feedback is sent to researchers for improvement.Adams (1980) in Elijah (2006) defined school farm as a piece of land where students are taught the art of farming such as crop production and animal husbandry. It may be a vegetable garden, demonstration plot or an experimental plot. It may involve only keeping of animal or cultivation of crops or both.
Olaitan and Mama (2008) stated that a school farm is an area specially earmarked for agricultural activities in the school. These areas usually possess the potentials required for agricultural productivity. School farm is one of the government properties in the school and therefore should be handled in accordance with government laid down policy. In the school farm, students are provided with adequate equipment, farm space, farm structures, supply of fertilizers and animal feeds in order to carry out actual practical skills in agriculture.
2.2.2 Planning skills Required by Agricultural Science Teachers for Effective Management of School Farm
Planning is the business of identifying goals and objectives and working out ways and means of achieving them. It is a process of setting out in advance a process of action.
Planning is the first function of management. According to Drucker (1980) in Ezeocha (2006) It is where management begins. It involves making decisions that will be implemented. Planning is a mental activities which involve skillful use of imagination, foresight and sound judgement to identify and evaluate business opportunities and hazards, and the determination of the best course of action to achieve selected goals. This implies that it involves thinking through the general form and details of farm operations, so that present goals can be accomplished with certainty and economy.
In school farm management, planning involves an outline of the activities to be performed in the farm in order to achieve the objectives for which it is established. Objective connotes a desired or intended outcomes of an activity or organization. Thierauf and Collins (2008) viewed planning as a process whereby the individual responsible for carrying out the objective should have a role in setting them because they are closer to the situation and generally have the best information concerning what can be achieved.This implied that the agricultural science teacher should be skillful in formulating objectives of the school farm in order to plan well. School farm planning is a deliberate attempt by the teacher of agriculture to arrange and document school farm activities in order before implementing them