The quality of education is directly related to the quality of instruction in the classrooms. It is a fact that the academic qualifications, knowledge of the subject matter, competence, and skills of teaching and the commitment of the teacher have effective impact on the teaching learning process (National Education Policy 1998-2010). Quality improvement in education depends upon proper training of teachers. The teachers cannot play any of the roles unless properly trained (Yadved and Singh, 1988). The performance of students especially in external examinations goes a long way to show the level of preparedness of the student definitely by qualified teachers.
Teaching is an art. It can be refined by training and practice. The availability of competent teachers is central in the reconstruction of the educational system. Christian religious studies have acquired the status of a global language (Crystal, 1997). Keeping in view the growing need and importance of Christian religious studies in every walk of life, in some institution, Christian religious studies is made a compulsory subject from the very beginning of the academic career. This increasingly necessitates good quality initial preparation for non-native speaker teachers in the school system (Cullen, 1994).
Religious studies, alternately known as the study of religion, is an academic field devoted to research into religious beliefs, behaviors, and institutions. It describes, compares, interprets, and explains religion, emphasizing systematic, historically based, and cross-cultural perspectives.
In some schools, however, the teaching of Christian religious studies is done somewhat differently and the proficiency in the language is somewhat inadequate. The traditional grammar translation method is favorite with the teachers and there is hardly any exposure to Christian religious studies inside or outside the class.
The teacher is the facilitator of examinations rather than of learning. The students memorize, translate and retranslate and, finally reproduce the crammed information or knowledge in the external examinations. No creativity is witnessed on the part of the students from this kind of teaching experience (Baumgardner, 1993). The reason is that the teachers themselves are not qualified or competent enough to teach Christian religious studies efficiently. This causes poor results in Christian religious studies eventually leading to highest failure percentage in Christian religious studies at external examinations. Thus Christian religious studies becomes the biggest hurdle (particularly for the students from rural areas) in the way to getting higher education and the key administrative posts. In its annual report, Federal Public Service Commission (1998) reported that Christian religious studies as the medium of expression in the external examination is depriving the students of some poor institutions to compete with their counterparts from highly placed institutions.
Christian religious studies as a language plays a number of roles in the socio-economic, political and cultural development of Nigeria society. The continued slide in the performance of students in the Christian religious studies in external examinations is a course for great concern not only for the teachers but also for all stake holders in the business of education.
For effective teaching to take place adequate considerations must be given to the teacher’s skill, the learners’ preparedness to learn, the teaching / learning environment, and the curriculum in addition to such external variables as government education policies, supervision/ monitoring exercise. These factors combine to give rise to effective teaching of any subject at whatever level of education.
Effectiveness of Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) teaching becomes very important when one considers the indispensable position of the discipline in human socio-cultural, economic, spiritual and moral development. This feat is acknowledged by Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) which placed Religious Studies as one of the core subjects in Group A at the Senior Secondary level. This is probably because Religion goes a long way to determining individual behaviour and aspiration, which in turn determines not only developmental strides of the society but also its internal harmony.
Christian perspective to Religious Studies does not deviate from the general functional roles of religion in the society, such as its efficacy in transcending personal and divisive forces in human society. Through shared symbols, values, norms and doctrines, religion, including Christian religion, provides a forum for people to unite to form integrated groups based on seemingly unfathomable mysteries of human existence.
Specifically, CRK teaching is believed to be capable of instilling in the Nigerian youth the required and desired knowledge, values, behaviours, attitudes and skills that would ensure their effective adaptation in an ever-changing multi-faith and multiethnic society, Nigeria, (Eluu, 2011). Obilom in Eluu (2011) equally holds that CRK curriculum is designed to teach not only the content of the holy book but also the moral lessons desirable therefrom.
Learning has to do with the application and integration of the knowledge acquired in a particular unit of instruction. Learning outcomes according to Obanya (2004) are statements that describe significant and essential learning which learners have acquired and can reliably demonstrate at the end of a course or program. The desired or expected learning outcomes of CRS study is on the attainment of ethical and moral behavior of school pupils, in other words, building up the moral character of an individual using example of Christian religion values rather than mere precepts. The main aim of including CRS into Nigerian education curriculum therefore is to advance Christian moral virtues in the lives of school pupils. Most often those desired outcomes do not manifest in some students’ behaviours judging from the rate of immorality observable in schools and the society at large.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Formal instruction does not work in vacuum. School environment, teacher qualifications, curriculum and instructional approaches, and many other factors interact to produce growth in student academic skills and knowledge. There is sufficient empirical evidence that suggests that the academic performance of students relies substantially on the teachers they are assigned. Classroom based research is valid enough to determine whether the learners are receiving appropriate content instruction or not. Pennington (1989) says that the quality of teaching must be considered in determining what results can be expected. He further states that teachers make decisions about classroom management based upon the achievement gains. Thus we can say that findings about the relationship between teacher characteristics and student academic performance scores are important in determining the policy about the teachers. It is assumed that only those who have professional training in Christian religious studies teaching should teach Christian religious studies. The Christian religious studies teacher should be the one whose competence and proficiency in all the language skills are in a good measure. The Christian religious studies teacher should have a good knowledge of current usage and the theoretical aspects of religious studies. In Nigeria today, most students in secondary schools and in fact even in universities lack the knowledge about God. This is still the major problem faced by Christian religious studies students today. It is therefore important to find out if the qualification of the Christian religious studies teachers has any effect on the performance of the students in external examinations.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to investigate the effects of qualification of Christian religious studies teachers on the performance of secondary school students. The specific objectives included;
1. To determine the effect of qualification of Christian religious studies teachers and academic performance of secondary schools in external examinations at Nsukka local government area.
2. To examine the criteria for producing a qualified Christian religious studies teacher.
3. To determine the factors that can improve the academic performance of secondary school students in external examinations.
4. To make useful recommendations based on the findings of this study.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Are there any effect of qualification of Christian religious studies teachers and academic performance of secondary schools in external examinations at Nsukka local government area?
2. Are there any criteria for producing a qualified English teacher?
3. How could the challenges be curbed to ensure effective implementation of the curriculum among secondary school students in external examination?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significance relationship between qualification of Christian religious studies teachers and academic performance of secondary schools in Nsukka local government area.
H1: There is a significance relationship between qualification of Christian religious studies teachers and academic performance of secondary schools in Nsukka local government area.
H0: There are no challenges to effective implementation of Christian religious studies curriculum in secondary schools.
H1: There are challenges to effective implementation of Christian religious studies curriculum in secondary schools.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be beneficial to students, teachers, religious instructors, curriculum planners, educational administrators, researchers and textbook authors. To students, the study would help to improve their understanding of CRS and thus adjust properly in the society through active participation in the classroom leaning which stimulate their interest and change the negative perceptions they already have in learning CRS and this invariably help them to develop the affective domain of knowledge in secondary schools. They would equally perform better in internal and external examinations without depending on examination malpractice which have been the problem in the educational sectors. This is because the student stands a chance of becoming masters on their own through involvement in different roles in the classroom. The findings of the study would help teachers to have an insight into the meaning, application and problems of using role play method of teaching and thus change their method when the need arises for proper students’ achievement and interest in CRS in secondary schools. The relevance of effective method in the implementation of Christian religious studies in secondary school would be made known to teachers as they are the chief implementer of planned curriculum of schools. This could be done by teachers observing the students performing their roles and equally identifies the individual’s problem in using the method in the teaching and learning of CRS in secondary schools.
Religious instructors and bodies are not left out as they would understand the best way to educate children in the principles and practice of Christianity which invariably will promote peace and harmony as well as co-existence in the Nigerian society. Curriculum planners or designers would be made to understand curriculum problems that affect the application of effective teaching method like Role-play in the implementation of CRS curriculum in secondary schools especially in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The findings of the study would expose the educational administrators to the importance of conducive environment in teaching and learning and thereby put these environmental conditions such as classroom building, learning materials, quality library etc, in order for proper implementation of Christian Religious Studies curriculum. They would equally be meant to understand the interactional effects of gender and role-play method and thus help teachers to initiate change where appropriate. The findings of the study as well as the concepts, theories and methods would be reference materials for researchers especially those that specialize in Christian Religious Studies. Finally, the textbook authors on education would benefit from the study by updating their knowledge on the techniques and besides disseminate the findings through textbooks they publish.
The larger society would equally benefit from this study. This is because, the effective teaching and learning of CRS will bring desirable change in behaviour of students and this invariably would help to reduce high level of religious intolerance, hatred, killing, conflict, terrorism, militancy, and other insurgences that is ravaging Nigerian society.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is on the effects of qualification of Christian religious studies teachers on the performance of secondary school students in external examinations with a particular reference to Nsukka local government area.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
There is no study undertaken by a researcher that is perfect. The imperfection of any research is always due to some factors negatively affecting a researcher in the course of carrying out research. Therefore, time constraint has shown no mercy to the research. The limited time has to be shared among many alternative uses, which includes reading, attending lectures and writing of this research, also distance and its attendant costs of travelling to obtain information which may enhance the writing of this study was a major limitation.
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