1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The mastery of a subject is determined by the performance of the students in such a subject at a prescribed examination. Any interactive activity between a teacher and the students is expected to produce learning outcomes in the learners. When such an activity failed to produce a change in behavior (learning) in the learners, then, there is a problem. The performance of students in science generally is a major concern to science educators. Aghyeneku in Sakiyo and Sofeme (2008) noted that students’ performance in science subjects is low in both national and state examinations. A number of reasons can be identified to be accountable for the poor performance of students in sciences. These include the science curricula, teachers’ methods of teaching, parents, government, lack of science facilities and others (Ahiakwo, 2003). Survey from schools (Ajayi, 2007) revealed that inadequacy of good instructional materials, equipment and laboratory facilities in the schools also affect negatively the effective learning of Physics in the schools. One of the purposes of education is to develop the competencies within a learner and to enhance his/her knowledge, as well as to equip him/her with the skills that he/she could use while tackling challenges beyond the classroom setting. Central to the acquisition of knowledge and skills is the teacher who actively engages the learners, as critical co-investigators, in the teaching and learning processes (Gultig, Haodley & Jansen, 2002:56). Thus, a more democratic relationship is cultivated between the teacher and the learners. The knowledge and skills acquired by the learners are embedded in the subjects that they specialize in as they progress with their education. Some of these subjects are perceived as ‘sacred’ or vulnerable strategic subjects (Murphy & Whitelegg, 2006:282) since, as the learners progress with their learning, their numbers gradually decline, resulting in the pyramid pattern enrolments (Government of Swaziland, 2011:6). The natural sciences fall within the subjects that experience a decline in the number of learners who pursue them at tertiary level. In the researcher’s view, it is essential that educationists ascertain the reasons behind the decline in the number of learners who specialize in the sciences, in particular, at tertiary level, since this affects the availability of science specialists, for example, specialist Physics teachers. The shortage of specialist Physics teachers is one of the nagging issues for governments and educationists alike globally (Rundquist, 2009:1; Boutelle, 2010:1; Mathews, 2011:1; Woolhouse & Cochrane, 2010:607; the Government of Swaziland, 2011:25). In Swaziland this shortage was echoed by the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) (Government of Swaziland, 2011:25); Ministry of Education, 2004:43) In the same vein, the science panel members raised their concern in respect of issues emanating from the teaching and learning of Physics, and from examination reports on the performance of learners in the subject. The science panel members noted that learners performed poorly in Physics, and they attributed this to the shortage of specialist Physics teachers. Therefore, the panel sanctioned research that would investigate the causes of the shortage of specialist Physics teachers. The impetus of sanctioning research like this one was that, among the natural sciences, Physics had been the hardest hit, since it was taught by teachers who had not specialized in Physics (e.g. Agriculture, Chemistry and Biology specialists). Apparently, the employment of specialist non-Physics teachers was partly due to non-efficacious initiatives targeted at addressing the persistent shortage of Science and physics teachers in senior secondary schools.
Merriam – Webster Dictionary defines ‘qualification’ as a special skill or type of experience or knowledge that makes someone suitable to do a particular job or activity. Therefore, teachers’ qualification is a particular skill or type of experience or knowledge someone possesses to make him or her suitable to teach. Teachers’ qualifications could, therefore, mean all the skills a teacher required to teach effectively. Such skills include formal education, experience, subject matter knowledge, pedagogy studies, duration of training, certificate/licensing and professional development. Someone might have a teaching certificate at hand but without adequate knowledge of subject matter, this individual has no teaching qualifications yet. Similarly, someone without proper knowledge of pedagogy or someone who spent few years in training  without completing the required years does not possess teacher qualifications. Professional development and experience also count for teachers’ qualifications because several studies have revealed that Qualification is one of the critical factors that drive students’ academic performance observed that one of the most important factors in the teaching process is the qualification of the teacher. The perspective of was that teachers’ qualifications can go a long way to bring about students’ higher academic achievement.
Teachers’ profession relates to competence in instruction and management of students and materials in the classroom.
Several studies have revealed that the performance of Nigerian students in secondary school physics was generally and consistently poor over years (Omosewo, 1999, Akanbi, 1983; Omebe, 2009). Poor achievement in physics could be attributed to many factors ranging from the attitude of students towards the subject, methods of teaching the subject, lack of motivation on the part of the teachers, lack of basic sciences background at the primary school and teacher’s strategy which was considered as an important factor. This implies that the mastery of physics concepts might not be fully achieved without the use of instructional resources. The teaching of physics without instructional resources may certainly result in poor academic performance. Therefore, this study investigates the effects of qualified Physics teachers in senior secondary schools in Nigeria, how they could be retained, and how their number could be increased.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The national policy on Education (1 998:l3) stipulated certain goals for secondary education. Some of those goals are;
1. To provide all primary school leavers with the opportunity for education of a higher level, irrespective of sex, social status, religious or ethnic back ground.
2. To offer diversified curriculum to cater for the differences in talents, opportunities and future roles. In Nigeria for example, majority of the students in public secondary schools perform poorly in West African school certificate examinations
This situation makes it impossible for the attainment of the above goals of national policy. For instance, there are many secondary school dropouts today who can never enter into any tertiary institutions or fit anywhere in the society. In addition, tertiary institutions set up preliminary programs to enable the poorly performed students gain admission. All the above problems are as a result of poor performance of students, which appears deep rooted in inadequacy and or lack of facilities inherent in the secondary schools today. Several studies have revealed that the performance of Nigerian students in secondary school physics was generally and consistently poor over years (Omosewo, 1999, Akanbi, 1983; Omebe, 2009). Poor achievement in physics could be attributed to many factors ranging from the attitude of students towards the subject, methods of teaching the subject, lack of motivation on the part of the teachers, lack of basic sciences background at the primary school and teacher’s strategy which was considered as an important factor. This implies that the mastery of physics concepts might not be fully achieved without the use of instructional resources. The teaching of physics without instructional resources may certainly result in poor academic performance. Therefore, this study investigates the effects of qualified Physics teachers in senior secondary schools in Nigeria, how they could be retained, and how their number could be increased.
1.3 OBEJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is find out the influence teacher qualification has on the performance of secondary school students in the Nigeria the specified objectives are listed below:
1. To find out if there is any relationship between teachers’ qualifications and students’ academic performance
2. To discover to what extent would teachers’ attitude, students attitude, teachers’ workload, teacters’ experience and teachers’ qualifications when taken together predict students’ academic achievement at the SSCE level
3. To examine the reasons for high rate in the increase of non-qualified physics teachers
4. To seek suggestions and proffers measure that will help physics teachers improve.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will guide the researcher during the course of this research.
1. Is there any relationship between teachers’ qualifications and students’ academic performance
2. To what extent would teachers’ qualifications influence or predict students’ academic achievement at the SSCE level?
3. What are the reasons for high rate in the increase of non-qualified physics teachers
4. What measure can be taken to help teacher of physics and other science subjects improve.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This findings is likely to:
• furnish the education stakeholders with the reasons behind the shortage of specialist Physics teachers in the schools;
• provide recommendations on how specialist Physics teachers can be retained in the schools;
• present some measures on how the number of specialist Physics teachers can be increased in schools; and,
• inform the stakeholders on the actual calibre of teachers that currently teach in the schools.
It is also expected that the Nigerian government will offer the anticipated and essential mechanisms and support required by the schools or teachers to address the factors that cause the teachers to leave the teaching profession; after some recommendations, the government will put measures in place for the services of specialist Physics teachers to be employed in schools in order to help the schools to achieve the desired outcomes; the pre-service and in-service teacher training centers will draw up programs that will address the critical need for qualified Physics teachers.