Science Teachers Urged to Be Positive to Attract Students Towards Sciences

Uchechukwu Nnaike

The Provost of the Federal College of Education, Odugbo, Benue State, Professor Joel Eriba, has urged science teachers to demonstrate a positive attitude towards teaching science to encourage students. This will motivate  students to see science as a discipline they could aspire to participate in.

This was one of the recommendations at his inaugural lecture, ‘Improving Science Enrolment in Nigeria’s Institutions of Higher Learning Using the Persuasive Communication Model (PCM)’, delivered recently at the College of Health Sciences, Benue State University (BSU).

The professor of Chemistry Education regretted that the goal of increasing students’ enrolment in science had remained unattainable for several decades since the enactment of the policy of a 60:40 ratio in favour of science.

For instance, he said that at its inception in 1992, Benue State University had zero enrolment in sciences, whereas 380 candidates enrolled in Arts and Social Sciences courses. 

Eriba attributed the problem to students’ negative attitudes toward science, adding that students who possessed negative attitudes towards science showed that they had rejected the subject internally, and it eventually manifested externally.

He recommended using the persuasive communication model to change students’ attitudes towards science, saying that other researchers had applied the model and that it yielded profound results.

He stated that nothing was more powerful than understanding a person’s belief system, which can predict their attitude.

The provost added that the communication model effectively changed students’ attitudes towards enrolment in science, based on the outcome of his empirical research using 1,840 JS3 students in 44 secondary schools in Benue.

The don also demystified science in logical, simple terms, eliminating the complexities and technicalities of the jargon that may have hindered his audience’s attention, assimilation, and retention. 

The provost recounted his early childhood and educational sojourn heralding the commencement of the lecture, saying that unfortunate circumstances in his formative years almost debarred him from accessing Western education. These, he said,  made him start primary school at the age of 10 years.

While thanking God, he also showered glowing tribute to the human vessels God positioned at various stages of his educational adventures, from his parents, family, and teachers to employers and other destiny helpers.

In his remarks, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Tor Joe Iorapuu, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Simon Ubwa, acknowledged the depth of research and its importance for future enrolments in the sciences. 

He applauded Eriba for choosing the topic and for identifying the critical role attitude plays in everyday life choices. He also highlighted the role of the communication model in improving science enrolment in higher institutions.

Iorapuu, who was accompanied by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Ernest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology (EBKUST), Sierra Leone, Prof Edwin Julius Jeblar Momoh, challenged other professors yet to deliver their inaugural lecture to kick-start the process and enhance the university’s global reckoning and ranking.

There was a joint presentation of a plaque to Eriba by Iorapuu and Momoh.  

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