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PROJECT TOPIC: THE EFFECTS OF QUALIFICATION OF CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS STUDIES TEACHERS ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN EXTERNAL EXAMINATIONS (A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED SCHOOLS IN NSUKKA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA)

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   INTRODUCTION

        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.

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