A STUDY OF GENDER DIFFERENCES IN THE ATTITUDEOF STUDENTS TO SCIENCE SUBJECTS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN OSUN STATE
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.
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).
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
ii Producing scientist for national development.
iii Serve studies in technology and the causes of technological and the causes of
Therefore with all these definition and goals of science education is the study of science and
technology to bring about technology and development.