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PERCEPTIONS OF STAKE HOLDERS ON THE ACADEMIC STAFF DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES FOR LABORATORY SKILLS ACQUISITION IN NIGERIAN POLYTECHNICS
This study investigated the perceptions of stake holders on the Academic Staff Development Programmes for Laboratory Skills Acquisition in Nigerian Polytechnics. It sought to identify the academic staff development programmes available, ascertain the adequacy of academic staff development programme, determine the accessibility of staff development programmes, ascertain the relevance of staff development programmes to capacity building of staff to teach laboratory skills, and two others. Seven research question and seven hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The study adopted descriptive survey design. The target population was 2495 academic staff and 74,850 students of Science Laboratory Technology Department in all the eighty seven (87) polytechnics offering Science Laboratory Technology programme in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. Stratified Sampling technique is used to sample out twelve (12) polytechnics with a total of 398 academic staff and 1866 students. Simple random sampling was employed to select thirty (30) students and Purposive sampling was used to select twenty (20) academic staff from each of the twelve selected polytechnics. Making a total of 240 academic staff and 360 students that are to complete the questionnaires used for the data collection. Out of these, a total of 234 academic staff and 348 students‟ questionnaire were filled and returned. Data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS Version 20). The descriptive statistics of items frequencies, mean and standard deviations, was used to answer the research questions while the seven null hypotheses were tested using Chi-square (X2) contingency Test at 0.05 alpha level of significance. The findings of this study revealed among others, that participation in conferences, seminars, workshops has enhanced academic staff ability to develop students‟ critical thinking, knowledge of new research developments in his area of specialization. In conclusion, the seven null hypotheses had p values that were lower than the significant value of 0.05alpha level of significance set for the study. In view of this, the null hypotheses were rejected. Based on the findings from this study, recommendations were made among others that: Federal and state government should set up monitoring team to all state and Federal; Polytechnics for regular inspection of laboratory materials, Staff of polytechnics especially the academic staff be made to acquire adequate skill on laboratory practices. Non governmental agencies and rich individuals should assist in complementing government efforts financially.
1.1 Background to the Study
Polytechnic Education is that aspect of educational process involved the study of technologies and related sciences, and the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupations in various sectors of the social economy and social life. They are also seen as technical formal education offering instruction in industrial arts; engineering and applied sciences at adult level to prepare persons for immediate technical knowledge needed for employment and prepare basis for those who aspire for higher education through technology continued education.
Polytechnic education depends on the quality of academic staff in terms of level of training, exposure, potency and opportunities for professional development. The ability of students to acquire practical skills will therefore depend, on the competence of their teachers to pass on such skills. Polytechnic Education is a veritable means of producing the various levels and kinds of manpower required for the industrial, economic and social development of a nation. No economy of a nation will strive without scientist and other professionals of high, middle and lower cadres. The powerful nations of the world, owe their supremacy, military prowess, technological superiority and economic might to education in particular and technical education in general. Generally, polytechnic education, in its generic sense, is offered at three main levels, namely the high, the middle and the low.
Academic staffs in Nigerian polytechnics have received training in their various fields and have been imparting knowledge and skills to students over time. Construction; manufacturing, production industries, and education sectors are in daily need of skilled manpower to carry out one job or the other, in production and manufacturing processes. The growing concern over globalization among other things has made the acquisition of Lifelong skills imperative for all categories of people. When skills are acquired in any occupation, they provide and improve the standard of living with the insurance against poverty, thereby sustaining national development. Though Polytechnics have striven to achieve their respective goals, since this is the parameter for assessing the success or failure, those objectives cannot be accomplished without human efforts through a good staff development programme. These issues combine to make it imperative for polytechnics‟ academic staff to have in- service training and professional continued training to acquire the necessary competence to impart knowledge to their students.
It is in recognition of the importance of staff development in educational institutions that Federal Government declared in its National Policy on Education, that Teacher Education and re-training will continue to be given a major emphasis in the nation educational planning, as no nation can rise above its teachers (FGN, 2013:70).Several initiatives have taken place for the development of academic staff in the polytechnics by government, private initiatives, as well as support from other organisations such as Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and international organisations such as United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) inventions (Yakubu,2010) through attendants of seminars, conferences, workshops, induction causes, meetings, higher degrees, in-Service training, orientation, refresher courses, mentoring etc. The ability of students to acquire practical skills will therefore depend, on the competence of their teachers to pass on such skills. All these are done because polytechnic Education is regarded as a tool for industrial community and national development, and it is regarded as the bedrock of Nigeria‟s technological development. Efforts made by these organisations and regulatory agencies have improved the competences of some academic staff, however, there is still a lot more that can be done to improve the staff development in the polytechnics. This is necessary if students are to acquire practical skills in Science Laboratory Technology Programmes. SLT is a combination of the three basic sciences. Chemistry, which is the chemical science dealing with the composition of substances, their properties and their reactions. Physics is the science of matter and energy and their interactions, while Biology, and is the science that studies the living organisms. Science Laboratory Technology is a prerequisite to many other branches of science, in which, developing appropriate skills in that respect would be an important step to achieving greater height in the field of the Science and Technology programme.
The curriculum of Science Laboratory Technology are developed for the purpose of imparting the right skills needed, using the right human and material resources, to be a major driver in economic developments, that are expected to produce graduates that can skilfully used their hands to perform all forms of task using the scientific process skills. Diplomats that would not only be job creators, but transformers and reformers of the society where they belongs, who are the beneficiaries of the skills acquired. Diplomats that can are active and confident players in the global and competitive economy. Practical skills in relation to the Science Laboratory Technology are carried out in the Laboratories to reinforce learning and acquisition of skills (Yakubu, 2005). These laboratories are called Basic Science Laboratories.
The questions to ask is, what is the perception of stake holders on the suitability of Science Laboratory Technology Curriculum in teaching laboratory skills, how has it impart the desired knowledge in the graduates of the Programme and how well are the academic staff trained to teach the skills acquisition needed in the programme. Since the goal of staff development is to assist each employee to improve performance in her or his present position and to acquire personal and professional abilities that maximize the possibility of career advancement and professionalism.
It is in the light of these, the researcher, intends to examine the perceptions of stake holders on academic staff development programme on students‟ ability to acquire skills using the right laboratory with appropriate human and material resources.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Stake holders viewed staff development as means of equipping employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to enable them perform their job better and as a way of solving employee problem of self-improvement, advancement and better placement. The efficiency of any organization depends directly on how well its members are trained. Newly employees usually need some training before they take up their work: Older employees require training to keep alert to the demands on their present jobs and to prepare for transfer, and promotion (Rashid, 2008). Stake holders should recognize staff development as an on-going continuous process because new knowledge and new jobs are constantly creating the need for staff to be developed.
Development cannot be achieve unless stake holders of Polytechnic education open more access to in the production of high quality of academic staff in terms of level of training, exposure, potency and opportunities through attendance of In-Service Training, Conferences, Seminars, Workshops, Induction Courses, Orientation, Refresher Courses, and Mentoring etc of professional development. The ability of students to acquire practical skills will therefore depend, on the competence of their teachers to pass on such skills. Polytechnic Education should be seen as a veritable means of producing the various levels and kinds of manpower required for the industrial, economic and social development of the nation.
Many literatures have certified the claim that effective staff development is essential for success of a good educational reform. This implies that academic staff development is critical for the improvement of educational standard. (Nassari, 2013; Aslam, 2011). The National Policy on Education (FGN, 2013: 68) states that continuous training of staff in all educational institutions shall be encouraged. The training and development of these academic staff in the polytechnics would enable them to perform their duties of teaching the practical skills that would turn around the National Economy in a positive way in Nigeria.
It is also recognized by educational planners in Nigeria that no educational system can rise above quality of its academic staff. This then implies that academic staff development is critical for the improvement of educational standard. The quality of academic staff has a direct impact on the learning outcomes of students and the quality of education. In educational training, investing in development of academic staff through continuous exposure to development processes by inductions, mentoring, conferences, seminars, workshops and higher educational trainings are imperative for promoting quality of education in the world. Failure to do these to staff, knowledge acquired could become obsolete, which eventually would lead to ineffectiveness in discharge of duties. However, these efforts are not reflected in staff performance, to the extent that teacher‟s productivity is at the lower end. These in turn has a lot of consequences on students‟ learning efforts. Students passed through the system with very little knowledge and skills that would enable them perform effectively in the larger society.
With the stated problems, the researcher finds it appropriate and imperative to examine the impact of staff development programme on students‟ skills acquisitions in Nigerian Polytechnics, with a view to provide solution to the problems that have been highlighted. Also considering the fact that, it is generally believed that the more effective academic staff are, the better the performance and the better the students they produce.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This study was carried out with the following objectives to:
- assess the perceptions of stake holders on academic staff development programmes in Nigerian Polytechnics;
- assess the impact of academic staff development on laboratory skills acquisition by students in Nigerian Polytechnics;
- ascertain the adequacy of resources in funding academic staff development programme in Nigerian Polytechnics;
- determine the role of stakeholders in accessibility of staff development programmes in Nigerian Polytechnics;
- ascertain the relevance of staff training and development programmes to capacity building of staff to teach laboratory skills in Nigerian Polytechnics;
- determine the potency of staff development in the implementation of Science Laboratory Technology (SLT) curriculum in Nigerian Polytechnics.
- find out student‟s opinion about the design of SLT curriculum, in skills acquisitions processes in the basic science laboratories in Nigerian Polytechnics..
1.4 Research Questions
This study aimed at finding answers to the following questions, based on the objectives
- What is the perceptions of stake holders on academic staff development programmes available in Nigerian Polytechnics;
- What is the impact of academic staff development on laboratory skills acquisition by students in Nigerian Polytechnics;
- How adequate is the resources provided for funding academic staff development programme in Nigerian Polytechnics;
- What is the role of stakeholders in the accessibility of staff development programmes in Nigerian Polytechnics;
- What is the relevance of staff training and development programmes to capacity building of academic staff to teach laboratory skills in Nigerian Polytechnics;
- What is the potency of staff development, in the implementation of Science Laboratory Technology (SLT) curriculum in Nigerian Polytechnics?
- What is the opinion of students about the design of SLT curriculum, in skills acquisitions processes in the basic science laboratories in Nigerian Polytechnics.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated in line with the objectives and research
questions formulated for the study:
1 There is no significant difference in the opinions of respondents concerning the perceptions of stake holders on academic staff development programmes available in Nigerian Polytechnics;
2 There is no significant difference in the opinions of respondents concerning the impact of academic staff development on laboratory skills acquisition by students in Nigerian Polytechnics;
3 There is no significant difference in the opinions of respondents concerning the adequacy of
resources provided for funding academic staff development programme in Nigerian Polytechnics;
4 There is no significant difference in the opinions of respondents concerning the role of stakeholders in the accessibility of staff development programmes in Nigerian Polytechnics;
5 There is no significant difference in the opinions of respondents concerning the relevance of staff training and development programmes to capacity building of academic staff to teach laboratory skills in Nigerian Polytechnics;
6 There is no significant difference in the opinions of respondents concerning the potency of staff development, in the implementation of Science Laboratory Technology (SLT) curriculum in Nigerian Polytechnics.
7 There is no significant difference in the opinions of respondents concerning the opinion of students about the design of SLT curriculum, in skills acquisitions processes in the basic science laboratories in Nigerian Polytechnics.
1.6 Basic Assumptions
This study is based on the following assumptions:
- Academic Staff Development are inadequate, unplanned, unstructured to make any significant impact on the skills acquisition of students in Science Laboratory Technology Programmes;
- The participation of Academic Staff of Science Technology Programmes in seminars and workshops does not have any significant impact on the skills acquisition of students in Nigerian polytechnics and
- Adequate teaching facilities, equipment and other teaching resources does not have any
significant impact on Science Laboratory Programmes in Nigerian Polytechnics.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The study is significant to the following:
Federal Government, management of polytechnics, regulatory of polytechnics (NBTE), Curriculum planners, developers, staff and students.
The Federal Government being the owner of the Federal polytechnics has spent billions of naira on staff development programmes but the effectiveness of this investment is yet to be determined. Therefore, this study will provide the data which will be useful for evaluating the various staff development programmes and help to determine whether the programmes are accomplishing their objectives. The management of state and private polytechnics will also benefit from this research in the sense that it will help to determine the effectiveness of staff training and development programmes in producing the expected outcomes and whether or not anything needs to be changed or improved. It will thereby help the polytechnics to come up with effective plans for staff development. In addition the study will help them understand that it is very necessary to provide all academic staff with training so that they could perform their assigned tasks in an efficient way.
The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), will also benefit from the research because, it will have concrete information on the efficacy of their staff development initiatives in order to design better programmes where and when necessary. Lecturers, in order to deal with changing technological environment, need to keep their skills up to date. The findings of this study will help lecturers evaluate their job performance with regards to the developmental programmes they have been exposed to. It might encourage polytechnic academic staff to seek for self-improvement so that the goals of the polytechnic can be achieved. In particular, the lecturers will find the study useful as it will expose them to the expected outcomes of staff development programmes in furnishing them with knowledge and skills about new ideas, new teaching methods and varieties of equipment and instructional materials. It will also reveal whether management support for their development is adequate. The staff of the polytechnics will also be interested in the study as it will highlight the different opportunities available for their development. The study would benefit students and researchers in determining issues relating to development and training on SLT programmes. It is hoped that the recommendations of this research will benefit all the stakeholders in the polytechnics and allied.
It will help the Curriculum Planners to incorporate the Philosophical, Psychological and Sociological needs of the society in the curriculum of the Science Laboratory Technology programmes. Similarly, it will help the curriculum developers to build up the curriculum contents in terms of structures, contents, objectives, methodology and evaluation. Yet, in another way, it would help the curriculum implementers (lecturers) who are the “heart beat” of the curriculum, to teach the required skills and knowledge of the programme of SLT. The study will help the non-governmental organizations, international donor agencies such as United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), African Development Bank (ADB) to make adequate planning on the manpower and material resources needed for the skills acquisitions in Science Laboratory Technology Programmes, for both learners and the implementers of the curriculum.
1.8 Scope of the Study
The study is on the impact of staff development programmes on students‟ Laboratory Skills Acquisition in Nigerian Polytechnics, it comprised of all staff and students of the eighty seven (87) polytechnics offering Science Laboratory Technology Programme, recognized and accredited by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) in Nigeria. The Polytechnics are located in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, namely North-West, North-Central, North-East, South-South, South-West, and South-East. However, due to the large size of the country, the researcher selected two polytechnics, from each zone. Descriptive survey design was employed in the study to seek the opinions of academic staff and students on the impact of academic staff on laboratory skills acquisition by students, the availability and adequacy of staff development in Nigerian Polytechnics. It also set to determine the relevance of staff development to capacity to teach and professional training on job performance of staff of Science Laboratory Technology Programme in the polytechnics. The frame for the study was limited to the years 2005 to 2015.