EXAMINATION OF STUDENTS PERCEPTION ON HOME ECONOMICS AS A SKILL ACQUISITION SUBJECT
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In everyday life, the acquisition of skills is a major component. Anyone who wants to learn a skill can do it by imitation, trial-and-error, or with the assistance of an instructor or instruction manual. Regardless of the method utilized to learn a talent, the process takes time and requires effort from the individual who wishes to learn. Anderson (1982,) proposed in one of the first studies on the idea of skill acquisition that "it takes at least 100 hours of study and practice to acquire any substantial cognitive talent to a tolerable degree of competency." The precise length of time required to learn a skill is difficult to determine and is dependent on a variety of factors such as task features, personal engagement, and capacity. Skill acquisition is a type of long-term learning in which a person might begin to gain knowledge of how to behave in certain situations by repeatedly combining comparable inputs with specific responses (Speelman & Kirsner, 2005).
Today, skill acquisition is a priority in Nigeria's educational system. No other academic field includes as many relevant life skills in its curriculum that will help students thrive regardless of their chosen professional pathways. The importance of skill acquisition is that students will not only learn about topics that are relevant to their current life, but will also be valuable in their future aspirations. According to a research done in Japan, students' own initiatives are crucial in deciding how they would react to changing job settings.
The home economics program exposes students to a wide range of job options. Those who become absorbed in the course subject begin to think about pursuing a career in that field. Individuals with a background in home economics education have been able to pursue careers in nutrition, social service, and hotel management, among other fields. Students are part of contexts such as their family, school, and the community in which they reside, all of which contribute to their learning, development, and survival. Many people mistake home economics for a preparatory class that teaches them how to be good housewives since it covers topics like food preparation, home and environment décor, textile design, and so on. However, student attitudes on the subject differ from person to person.
Many elements, such as attitudes, intentions, interests, experience, expectations, time, social situation, and background, can impact perception. Parents, the student's sex, the instructor, peer group, social image, and family financial position may all impact pupils' perceptions of the importance of home economics. The student' incapacity to envisage their futures is exacerbated by their parents' bad decisions in picking their separate vocations for them. Parents prefer that their children pursue studies in medicine, engineering, accounting, law, pharmacy, and other related fields rather than Home Economics. As a result, most male students dislike home economics because they believe it is a course designed mainly for ladies and that it consists solely of cooking and sewing. The majority of male students choose technical disciplines such as mathematics, technical drawing, and basic technology to home economics. This makes it difficult for teachers to successfully teach their students. Some teachers also do not hold the topic in high regard, resulting in a lack of self-esteem and enthusiasm for self-improvement, as well as inadequate teaching skills. However, I am certain that home economics, as a skill acquisition topic, plays a critical role in today's educational system. No other academic field includes as many relevant life skills in its curriculum that will help students thrive regardless of their chosen professional pathways.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In recent years, enrollment of students in skill acquisition disciplines such as Home Economics, Food and Nutrition in the West African Examination Council (clothing and textiles, Home Management, and Clothing and Textiles) has reduced to a bare minimum. Students have lost interest in home economics as a subject in secondary schools, according to Uko-Aviomoh (2002) and Anene-Okeakwa (2005), and are becoming fewer in colleges of education, where teachers are trained as new teachers to train students in secondary schools in the area of Home Economics, posing a threat to the subject's future. As a result, the issue statement in question form is "may the home economics classroom learning environment be so discouraging that pupils are no longer motivated to engage in home economics lessons?" However, the focus of this study is on students' perceptions of Home Economics as a course for skill acquisition.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study focused on examination of students’ perception on Home Economics as a skill acquisition subject. However, the specific objectives of the study are:
i. To determine the reasons for teaching and learning of home economics as a skill acquisition subject in secondary schools.
ii. To identify are the perception of students towards home economics as a skill acquisition subject.
iii. To investigate factors influencing student perception of home economics as a skill acquisition subject.
iv. To establish the efforts of the state government in ensuring effective teaching and learning of home economics as a skill acquisition subject in all secondary schools.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
i. What are the reasons for teaching and learning of home economics as a skill acquisition subject in secondary schools?
ii. What are the perception of students towards home economics as a skill acquisition subject?
iii. What are the factors influencing student perception of home economics as a skill acquisition subject?
iv. What are the efforts of the state government in ensuring effective teaching and learning of home economics as a skill acquisition subject in all secondary schools?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Findings from this study would be helpful to the students, teachers, school administrators and the State Government as it will expose them to various issues that are affecting our educational system and how they can go about to tackle them. it will also help teachers to understand what is obtainable in the teaching and learning home economics. This study if need be, will direct the home economics teachers’ attention to the need for them to adopt more appropriate teaching method in order to bring about desirable experience in the students. Finally This study will also contribute to academic knowledge and serve as a foundation upon which further research can be made and serve as a reference material to other student and scholars that wishes to carry out similar research on the above topic.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study borders on an examination of students’ perception on Home Economics as a skill acquisition subject. The study is however delimited to selected secondary schools in Ohafia Local Government Area in Abia State. Therefore the respondents covered public secondary school students in four selected secondary schools in Ohafia.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing that it is a new discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size covering only selected secondary school in Ohafia Local Government Area in Abia State. Thus, findings of this study cannot be used for generalization for other secondary schools in other States within Nigeria. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work will impede maximum devotion to the research. Finally, respondent could not return all the questionnaires distributed to the researcher and this has only made the researcher to only work with the ones that got to him. Howbeit, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.
1.8 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Home economics: field of study that deals with the economics and management of the home and community.It deals with the relationship between individuals, families, communities, and the environment in which they live.
Perception: the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.
Secondary school: is the next step up from primary school. Secondary schools are often called high schools in the United States. In Britain, secondary schools may be public schools, grammar schools or comprehensive schools