Availability and use of instructional materials in the teaching of A-Level Biology in Lira District
Odiya, Joel Patrick
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This study was carried out in selected secondary schools in Lira district, in Northern Uganda from October 2004 to November 2005. There had been reported shortage of instructional materials at all levels of education in the country particularly for the learning and teaching of science including Biology. Despite the overwhelming shortage of instructional materials in the country, traditional schools in the central region continue to excel in examinations compared to upcountry schools. The objectives of the study were to find out whether there was a significant difference in the availability of; the basic instructional materials, maintenance and repair facilities for instructional materials and the use of the basic instructional materials by teachers in government aided and private schools. The study therefore focused on the availability, use, maintenance and repair facilities, of instructional materials for A’-level biology in Lira district. It covered six A’-level secondary schools out of which four were government aided and two private. It dealt with responses from teachers and class observations in the six schools. A chi-square test was used to establish the significance of the data obtained in two out of the three hypotheses, formulated in accordance with the study. The instructional materials were categorized into; basic apparatus, chemicals, reagents, dyes, reference books, other resources, and maintenance and repair facilities. The results showed that there was no significant difference in the availability of the basic instructional materials in government aided and private schools. There was also no significant difference in the availability of the maintenance and repair facilities in government aided and private schools. In other words the extent of presence of the maintenance and repair facilities was the same in both government aided and private schools. The same trend in the use of instructional materials was reflected for both government aided and private schools. The strategic use of the instructional materials was limited to practical lessons only. In the normal classroom teaching, there was no strategic use of instructional materials but interactive methods dominated the lessons compared to positive reinforcement in government aided and private schools still reflecting the same trend in the use of instructional materials in government aided and private schools. In light of the above findings, the following recommendations were formulated; 1. There is still need for needs assessment and provision of instructional materials to both government-aided and private schools by the Ministry of Education and Sports, International donors, Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the local community as this will solve the lack of instructional materials. 2. There is need for provision of repair and maintenance kits for instructional materials to both government-aided and private schools coupled with skills training workshops for all the science teachers, laboratory technicians/assistants and librarians/library assistants organized by the Ministry of Education and Sports, National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) and NGOs. 3. To ensure effective use of the instructional materials by the teachers, there should be retraining programme for all the science teachers from both government-aided and private schools organized at regional and local levels with subsequent constant supervision and monitoring of the schools’ progress.