The study was carried out to assess of the competencies of Business studies teachers in the upper 9-year basic schools in Kwara State. Four research questions and four null hypotheses guided the study. The study employed survey research design. The population for the study was 1,201 Business studies teachers from which 361 teachers were randomly selected as sample for the study. The instrument for data collection was questionnaire titled Business Studies Teachers Competencies questionnaire (BSTCs). Three experts validated the instrument. To obtain the reliability coefficients of the questionnaire, 15 copies of the questionnaire were trial tested on 15 Business studies teachers in Nsukka educational zone of Enugu State, after which Cronbach alpha reliability method was used for data analysis. A coefficient of 0.98 was obtained. Mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions while t-test statistics and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were used for testing the research hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The findings of this study showed that the Business studies teachers in the upper 9 –year basic schools in Kwara state possessed 64 out of the 114 identified competency items while the teachers do not possess competencies in the remaining 50 items required for effective teaching and learning of Business studies. The study also revealed that, there is no significant difference in the mean ratings of the responses of the respondents on the competencies possessed in instructional planning, classroom organization, instructional evaluation and some aspects of the contents of Business studies. Also, the study found out that there is a significant difference in the mean ratings of the three groups of respondents on the competencies possessed by the teachers in the use of office ICT and teaching of computer in the upper 9-year basic schools in Kwara State. Based on the findings, the researcher recommended that Business studies teachers be given opportunities for self development in their profession through study leave with pay, in order to acquire higher degrees for better performance, that workshops, seminar, and conferences be organized by relevant ministries in the state for capacity building and quality assurance of the teachers; that Business studies teachers should be adequately motivated by the State government through promotions as at when due, financial remunerations, and good welfare package for them to develop high morale in carrying out their duties.
Background of the Study
The search for a means of providing the youth with the educational experiences to equip them with skills and competencies is one of the main goals of 9-year basic education introduced in Nigeria. The 9-year basic education is the foundation for sustainable life-long learning because it provides for reading, writing and numeracy skills which must be universally embraced (FGN, 1999). The programme is indented to be universal, free and compulsory (FGN, 2000) through the 9-year basic education (6-years primary and 3-years Junior Secondary). Unagha (2008) stated that the goal of the UBE programme is to provide a functional, universal and quality education for all Nigerians irrespective of age, sex, race, religion, occupation or location. It is hoped that youths who pass through the basic education can leave the school with necessary pre-vocational skills for sustainable livelihood in agriculture, computer education, Business studies and other pre-vocational subjects.
Business studies in the view of Osuala (2004), is an area of study that helps students to gain an awareness of how the labour market functions, the present and future conditions foe employment, in the labour market. Business studies has different areas which are bookkeeping, shorthand, typewriting, office practice and commerce. It is a source of gaining entrance and advancing in the world of work, the laws affecting economic matters and how to make rational decision by applying such economic tools of analysis on opportunity cost, and the law of diminishing returns through Business studies. The expected pedagogy and skills in Business studies are impacted to the students in junior secondary school classes under the guidance of the Business studies teachers.
A teacher, in view of Unachukwu (1990), is a person who helps someone acquire or change some knowledge, skills, attitude, ideas or appreciation. Obanewa (1994) stated that a teacher is someone who has undergone the necessary and recommended training in a teacher preparatory programme and is charged with responsibility of managing the classroom in such a way to enhance possible learning behaviors of the students. The author stated that the following human qualities would make a teacher stand out among other professionals. The teacher needs to be physically fit at all times, committed to his job, an innovator, exercise self control, learn how to take right decisions at all times, must always be sincere, demonstrate democratic leadership and mastery of the subject matter he teaches. A Business studies teacher in the context of this study is a graduate of college of education/university, who must have undergone the necessary recommended training in business studies and has the responsibilities of delivery instruction in Business studies to junior secondary schools students following curriculum contents at that level.
Curriculum in the opinion of Offorma (2009) is a document, plan, or blue print for instructional guide which is used for teaching and learning to bring about positive and desirable change in behavior. Esu (2009), in her own submission sees curriculum as those knowledge, activities and experiences both formal and informal, planned and guided by the school for the benefit of the learners. Curriculum in the context of this study refers to an instructional guide prepared and approved for teaching, knowledge transfer, impartation of skills and attitudes in Business studies to students in junior secondary schools through the teacher. To appropriately implement business studies curriculum in junior secondary school, the teachers must be effective.
Effectiveness according to Hornby (2003) is producing the result that is wanted or intended of producing a successful result. Malm and Lofgran (2006) described effective teacher as somebody who set a clear benchmarks for performances to the students in order to have high expectations and to the parents, to clearly share performance results. Mkpa (1987) confirms that there are some criteria for teacher effectiveness which include teachers’ mastery of relevant content of subjects, production and utilization of instructional materials, use of appropriate and strategies, creation of conducive-teaching learning environment and effective instructional evaluation. Kemp and Hall (1992) stated that effective teacher gives systematic feedback to students about their performance. Students achieve more when teachers employ systematic teaching procedures and spend more time working with students throughout the day. Kemp and Hall (1992) stated further that evidence from teacher effectiveness studies indicates that students’ engagement in learning is to be valued above curriculum plan and materials. Studies of teacher effectiveness at the classroom level have found that deferential teacher effectiveness is a strong determinant of differences in student learning. According to Malm et.al (2006) the level of competencies of a Business study teacher determines the degree of success of instruction.
Competency according Hornby (2001) is the ability to do something well, to have enough knowledge or skills, attitudes that can be developed through training and which are adequate for accomplishing specific task. Nwankwo (2004) noted that to be competent means that one is proficient, equipped with requisite skills; mentally and physically to achieve set goals. Competency as described by The Longman Dictionary of contemporary English (1995) is the ability and skill to do what is needed. It is thus having enough skills and knowledge to do something to a satisfactory standard. Competence therefore, involves the demonstration of skills, knowledge and values in accordance with principles of consistency and accuracy; it is a state or quality of being adequately well qualified. Ogwo (2002) explained that competency is characterized by clearly stated, attainable and measurable objectives, followed by identified knowledge and skills that learners have to master within a given time frame. The author emphasizes that demonstration of skill on the job and it is performance oriented. Hammond (2000) viewed teachers’ competencies as the extent to which a teacher has knowledge and skills. Elis (2005) stated that teachers’ competence include three main components which include: Interpersonal skills, Classroom procedures and Knowledge of subject content.
Thus, competence in the context of this study is the ability of teachers of Business studies to demonstrate mastery of content in Business Studies including the ability to manipulate instructional elements in Business Studies in junior secondary schools. If the teacher could perform the expected competencies is viewed to be a competent teacher. The competencies to be accessed in this study in teaching of Business Studies in junior secondary school include planning instruction, classroom organization, instructional evaluation and knowledge in business study content.
Instructional planning, according to Olaitan (2003) is a stage where what is planned is carefully delivered to the learner through the teachers in a school or suitable learning environment. Olaitan stated further that there are two basic areas of instruction.
- Preparations of instruction (instructional planning).
- The-actual instructional or delivery stage.
In the view of Afangodeh (2009) instructional planning is a process of documenting or production of a blue print for instructional guide which is used for teaching and learning, to bring about positive and desirable changes in learners‘behaviors. Olaitan (2003) explained further that instructional planning as the process of deciding what activities (of both teachers and students) contents, allocation and sequential study of the content and the scope of the classroom program me. The author stated that instructional planning contains two broad aspects which include.
- Macro instructional planning such as the course title, course unit, justifications and intended learning outcome.
- Micro-instructional planning includes, units, sub-topics, objectives units’ content, teacher’s activities, learner’s activities, methods, required materials and evaluation.
Instructional planning in the context of this study is activity towards ensuring effective allocation of time and logical sequence in which each topic or course in Business studies is taught to pupils in an organized classroom situation in the 9-year upper basic schools.
The question of the influence of classroom organization on the teaching performance of teachers has remained unresolved. Ingersell and Smilt (2003) stated that classroom organization and teachers competencies significantly influence the persistence of teachers. In the submission of Emmer and Stough (2010) organization of classroom is the ability of teachers to manage the behaviors of their students which is critically achieving positive educational outcomes. Domovan and Cross (2002) observed that inability of teachers to effectively manage classroom behavior often contributes to low achievement of the students. On this note, Emmer and Stough (2002) therefore stated that effective classroom organization requires comprehensive approaches which include structuring the school and classroom environment, actively supervising student engagement and implementing classroom rules during instructional organization, implementation and evaluation in teaching and learning situation.
Instructional evaluation according to Danielson (2000) is the process of identifying and measuring instructional strategies, professional behavior and delivery of content knowledge that positively affect students learning. Olaitan (2003) stated that it is the process by which a teacher makes use of certain techniques to find out whether the learner clearly understands what he was taught and whether the objectives of instruction are being achieved. Nolan and Hover (2005) identified two types of instructional evaluation which include formative and summative evaluation; formative evaluations are meant to provide teachers with feedback on how to improve performance and what types of professional development opportunities will enhance their practice and summative evaluations are used to make a final decision. Stevens (2000) stated that instructional evaluation results create and implement professional development plans. In the views of Offorma (2002) and Brandt (2007) instructional evaluation is the process of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the total programme. Strough (2007) identified current teacher evaluation tools, which include the followings; classroom observation, self assessment, portfolio assessment and student achievement data. The ability of the teachers of Business studies to effectively apply the evaluation tools on assessment of the students depends on the teachers’ knowledge of the content of subject matter.