The technological advancement of any country depends on the scientific background of such country. Chemistry teaching practical to be précised has been faced with a lot of problems. More atempts have been made to find solutions to these problems. Accordingly, Nigeria students, studying chemistry are expected to be taught what chemistry is (STAN, 1970). They are expected to acquire scientific skills of observing, reporting, organizing of information, generalizing, predicting or speculating and designing experiment to test hypothesis.
The teaching strategies used in carryout chemistry practical prescribed for developing these skills in the laboratory rooms include:
a. The involvement to students in opening ended field or laboratory work.
b. The inclusion of problems-solving activities
c. The use of discovery teaching tactics whenever appropriate.
On the contrary, the inadequacy of basic laboratory infrastructures and technical personnel which are involved in the teaching of chemistry practical, have manned this methods. As a result, the objectives of teaching and learning of practical and experimental exercise which are geared towards improving the preparation of scientific background for technological advancement have not been achieved.
Several difficulties encountered serves as an impediment not only to chemistry practical but also to the teaching of chemistry in secondary school some of these difficulties encountered would be enumerated later in this research.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Chemistry as a science subject is taught in most secondary schools in Uhunmwonde Local Government Area of Edo State. Almost all science students in these school offer chemistry (the practical in particular) because of its vital role as one of the basic science subjects relevant in science profession. Inspite of students interest and reactions towards chemistry practical, they perform poorly in chemistry in their final examination as a result of the way they were been taught by their chemistry teacher. The questions that come to mind are what are the problems of teaching chemistry practical in schools? Could it be as a result of lack of laboratories in schools, lack of laboratory attendance, or lack of qualified personnel or inability of the teachers to use the laboratory equipment in teaching? This has been a great concern to most people. And it forms the essence of this project.
1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY
The purpose of this study is to examine the difficulties encountered by students in chemistry practical in secondary schools in Uhunmwonde Local Government Area of Edo State. And also suggest ways in which the teaching of chemistry practical may be improved.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
Science has been recognized in the nation’s education. Hence the new system of education (6-3-3-4 system of education) lays much emphasis in science. Therefore at the end of this research, teacher trainers should be able to equip the chemistry, teachers with a suitable solution to problems as well as ideas for teachings of chemistry practical in secondary schools. This study will be of great importance to the society as well as the nation at large because of its scientific, social, economic, and technological value particularly the students as their reasoning faculty and their creative skills may be improved through effective methods of teaching.
There are several difficulties encountered by students in chemistry practical class in the secondary schools. The following hypotheses are stated in the alternative form.
1. There is shortage and lack of qualified personnel in teaching profession.
2. School laboratories are inadequately equipped
3. Insufficient time is allocated to chemistry on the time table.
4. There is over crowding/population in classrooms.
1.6 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Laboratory: It is a place for experimental studies.
Inadequate laboratory: Insufficient laboratories
Poorly equipped laboratory: This is laboratory with little or no equipment to carryout the necessary experiment for effective and efficient learning.
Well equipped laboratory: A laboratory that contains all the necessary equipment for experimental or practical learning.
Profession: Career which require advance education and special training.
Final examination: West African School Certificate Examination and senior school certificate examination (SSCE).