STUDENTS’ ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE STUDY OF ECONOMICS IN NIGERIAN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek οἰκονομία (oikonomia, "management of a household, administration") from οἶκος (Oikos, "house") + νόμος (nomos, "custom" or "law"), hence "rules of the house(hold)". Political economy was the earlier name for the subject, but economists in the late 19th century suggested: "economics" as a shorter term for "economic science" that also avoided a narrow political-interest connotation and as similar in form to "mathematics", "ethics", and so forth. A focus of the subject is how economic agents behave or interact and how economies work. Consistent with this, a primary textbook distinction is between microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics examines the behavior of basic elements in the economy, including individual agents (such as households and firms or as buyers and sellers) and markets, and their interactions. Macroeconomics analyzes the entire economy and issues affecting it, including unemployment, inflation, economic growth, and monetary and fiscal policy. Other broad distinctions include those between positive economics (describing "what is") and normative economics (advocating "what ought to be"); between economic theory and applied economics; between rational and behavioral economics; and between mainstream economics (more "orthodox" and dealing with the "rationality-individualism-equilibrium nexus") and heterodox economics (more "radical" and dealing with the "institutions-history-social structure nexus"). Economic analysis may be applied throughout society, as in business, finance, health care, and government, but also to such diverse subjects as crime,[education, the family, law, politics, religion social institutions, war, and science. At the turn of the 21st century, the expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism. An attitude may be defined as a predisposition to respond in a favorable or unfavorable manner with respect to a given attitude object (Oskamp and Schultz 2005). The focus of this project is on school students’ attitudes towards Economics subjects taught in secondary classrooms. The term ‘subjects’ refers to both theory and laboratory classes in secondary school. Thus, the scope of the present study was limited to Economics as experienced by students in secondary school rather than out-of-school experiences obtained from external sources such as the media, museums, field trips, and friends. Attitude towards Economics or science denotes interests or feelings towards studying Economics or science. It is the students’ disposition towards like or ‘dislike’ science while attitude in science means scientific approach assumed by an individual for solving problems, assessing ideas, and making decisions. Student beliefs and attitudes have the potential to either facilitate or inhibit learning (Yara, 2009). Many factors could contribute to student’s attitudes toward studying science (Economics). Several studies (including Wilson 1983; Soyibo, 1985; Berg 2005; Adesoji, 2008) report that students’ positive attitudes to science correlate highly with their that, in general, the attitude of Nigeria students towards the basic sciences tend to decrease in the order, Biology, Economics, Physics, and Mathematics. Defiana (1995) found that using integrated science environment activities improved high school student attitude toward and awareness about the environment. Armstrong and Impara (1991) in their studies determined that fifth and seventh–grade students using nature score as a curriculum supplement developed more positive attitudes than those who did not. Abimbola (1983) reported that students exposed to a programmed instruction recorded higher and more favorable attitude towards mathematics. Ayelaagbe (1998) also reported a more positive attitude of studies after exposing them to self-learning strategy. Similar results were obtained by Udousoro (2000) after using computer and text assisted programmed instruction and Popoola (2002) after exposing students to a self-learning device. Popoola(2008) also reported that students' attitudes and interests in sciences, especially Agricultural science correlate highly with their science achievement. Halladyna and Shanghnessy (1982) and Adesoji (2008) have concluded that a number of factors have been identified as related to students’ attitude to science (Economics). Such factors include; teaching methods, teacher attitude, influence of parents, gender, age, cognitive styles of pupils, career interest, social view of science and Scientifics, social implicating of science (Economics), and achievement..