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Title:Distinguishing Reasons for Choice of Science Versus Non-Science Collegiate Majors by Science-Able Secondary School Leavers in Sierra Leone
Author(s):Gbamanja, Sahr Phillipson Thomas
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Sciences
Abstract:This exploratory survey was conducted to uncover some of the main reasons science-able secondary school leavers in Sierra Leone choose not to puruse science beyond secondary school level. Data was collected using structured questionnaires and personal tape-recorded interviews with science and non-science students, and with some science teachers.
The findings show that non-science students decided to pursue disciplines other than science because they were discouraged by the methods of teaching used in their GCE classes, specifically forms 4 and 5, and were not satisfied with the GCE syllabus and examinations (which essentially define the curriculum for the secondary school).
Another factor which entered into students' decisions to pursue non-science studies was the prevalent belief that the science-related careers available to them offered lower socio-economic benefits than those available to arts and humanities graduates. They believed that the only esteemed position the study of science could lead to is the doctor of medicine, but most science graduates would end up in teaching which offered little economic or social reward. On the other hand, arts and humanities graduates could assume and advance rapidly in esteemed positions in the civil service.
The problem of a weak background in mathematics was also raised as a subsidiary reason for students not pursuing science beyond GCE. But this mathematics issue and the socio-economic issue were not seen as compelling as the problem of inappropriate curriculum and teaching methods.
An important finding in this study is that the majority of students felt that men and women are equally capable of learning and understanding science. However, they said that men are more satisfied and successful in science careers than women. The investigator speculated that this is partially due to the already existing myth about science being a masculine subject and suggested that further research be done in this connection, especially to investigate possible roles for girls in science in Sierra Leone.
Despite the unhappy experiences which the students said they had had at school, and their prevalent belief that science careers have little or no socio-economic rewards in Sierra Leone, the students did not lose their interest in science. They had positive attitudes toward science and were interested in it, even though they decided not to pursue it.
The investigator recommends that the Core Course Integrated Science (CCIS), having been preferred by students and teachers in the present study, be expanded to include material suitable for senior secondary school. This expanded curriculum for the senior secondary school should be diversified to incorporate the development of job skills, combined with development of general education based on the needs of the Sierra Leone society. Such a curriculum would provide diverse areas of content which should stimulate students' understanding and interests and thereby encourage them to study science at advanced levels.
Issue Date:1980
Description:213 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8026496
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1980

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