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A STUDY OF GENDER DIFFERENCES IN THE ATTITUDEOF STUDENTS TO SCIENCE SUBJECTS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN OSUN STATE

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A STUDY OF GENDER DIFFERENCES IN THE ATTITUDEOF STUDENTS TO SCIENCE SUBJECTS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN OSUN STATE

                                  CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

Sex differences in humans have been studied in a variety of fields. In humans, biological sex

is determined by five factors present at birth: the presence or absence of a Y chromosome, the

type  of gonads,  the sex  hormones,  the  internal  reproductive  anatomy  (such  as  the uterus in

females), and the external genitalia. People with mixed sex factors are intersex. People whose

gender identity (their internal sense of their own gender) differs from their biological sex are

transgender, transsexual or genderqueer.

A distinction is sometimes made between sex and gender. Sex differences generally refer to

traits  that  are sexually  dimorphic.  Such  differences  are  hypothesized  to  be  products  of  the

evolutionary process of sexual selection.

By contrast,  the term gender differences refers to  average  group differences between males

and  females  that  are  presumably  based  on  sexually  monomorphic  (the  same  between  the

sexes) biological adaptations—and these group differences are presumed to be due primarily

to differential socialization.

Gender differences  in  education are  a  type  of sex  discrimination in  the  education  system

affecting both men and women during and after their educational experiences.

The introduction of the 6-3-3-4 system of education is one of the most important steps taken

by the Nigerian government to ensure the country’s scientific and technological development.

Even  the  modified  9-3-4  system  is  modified  landmark  by  the  government  to  bring  about

scientific and technological development.

2

The  awareness  of  the  vital  role  of  science  and  technology  in  national  development  has

prompted  both  the  developed  and  developing  countries  of  the  world  to  include  science  and

technology subjects in their school curricula to carry out various educational reforms in such

areas. In Africa, for example, the African Primary Science Program (APSP) was developed.

With more national consciousness and the continued pressure of modern scientific demands,

the  Federal  Ministry  of  Education  in  Nigeria,  for  example,  started  adopting  a  more  science

oriented  policies  and  programmes  in  education.  Through  the  help  of  such  organs  as  the

Nigeria  Educational Research  Council  (NERC)  and  the  Comparative  Education  Study  and

Adaptation Centre (CESAC), better-oriented curricula efforts began to emerge.

A  number  of  the  new  curriculum  projects  initiated  were;  the  Core  Curriculum  in  Primary

Science, the Nigeria Secondary School Science Project, the Primary Education Improvement

Project, the Nigeria  Integrated Science Project,  and the Federal Ministry of Education Core

Curriculum Project for both Primary and Secondary School Science.

In  Nigeria,  the  National  Policy  on  Education  stipulates  that  secondary  school  education

should  equip  students  to  live  effectively  in  modern  age  of  science  and  technology  (Federal

Ministry  of  Education – FME  2004).  The  proper  teaching  and  handling  of  science  and

technology  subjects  in  schools  will  result  in  the  training  of the  minds  of  students  in  the

understanding  of  the  world  around  them  in  the  acquisition  of  appropriate  skills,  capacities,

competencies necessary for them to live and contribute to the development of their society.

In pursuance of this, governments of many nations have planned that science and technical

subjects should be taught in such a way as to ensure that every secondary school student has

access to science and technology irrespective of sex and creed.

In  Nigeria  for  example,  as  a  follow  up  of  the  Adebo  commission,  the  6-3-3-4  system  of

education was put in place.

The three year junior secondary school education took care of pre-vocational subjects while

the three year senior secondary catered for sciences and vocational subjects (Oriaifo 2002).

3

The concept of science education is Science has been defined variously by different authors.

Shapin (1996) defines science as the study of the physical and natural world and phenomena,

especially by using systematic observation and experiment. In the view of

Aigbomian and Imhanlahimi (1997), an operational definition of science is that advanced by

the  National  Science  Teachers  Association  1963,  which  states  that  “Science  is  an

accumulated and systemised learning in general usage restricted to the natural phenomenon.

What science does is to expose one to the knowledge of the natural phenomenon and to the

use of practical efforts to transform it to reality.

A  nation’s  school is  particularly  suited  for  the  education  of  the  people  through  science

because it is the only organized societal institution that holds the largest number of youth and

anytime. Nigeria needs an educational system which can provide scientific literate persons.

However,  the  new  system  of  education  placed  emphasis  on  academic  according  to  the

national policy on education (2004); science education shall emphasis on teaching of science

processes and principles. This will lead to the fundamental and applied research in sciences at

all level of education the goals of science education shall be too;

i Cultivate inquiring and knowing and rational mind for the conduction of a good life

and democracy.

ii Producing scientist for national development.

iii Serve  studies  in  technology  and  the  causes  of  technological and  the  causes  of

technological development.

Therefore with all these definition and goals of science education is the study of science and

technology to bring about technology and development.