The Importance of Learning Materials in the Learning Process

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CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
The chapter presents the background information, statement of the problem, study purpose, objectives, and hypotheses to be tested, scope and lastly the significance of the study regarding the impact of using instructional materials in enhancing student’s performance in sciences within selected secondary schools in Luwero District. 1.1 Background to the study

In secondary schools and other educational institutions worldwide successful teaching and learning is measured by academic performance. Academic performance refers to how well a student meets standards set out by education ministry and the institution itself. Academic performance is as a result of psychological, socio-economic and environmental factors (Syed & Raza, 2006). It relates to a number of interacting factors among which is ethnicity, gender, age, learning abilities, learning support, motivation of learning and achievement as reflected by Patricia et al, (2006) and is very much dependent on the type and location of the institution as well as the socio-economic background (Yvonne & Kola, 2001). In Uganda following the launching of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in accordance with the government White Paper on Education to provide ‘free’ education to a maximum of four children from each family which later changed to all children of school-going age (Opolot-Okurut, 2002), the student’s academic performance began to be compromised due to a high number of students joining secondary as a result of pupil enrolment figures increases from nearly 2.5 million in 1996 to nearly 6.8 million in 2000 (Ministry of Education and Sports, 2001). This increase was mainly due to the backlog of school age children who had not been accessing school and were now being able to do as noted by Aguti (2002). In order to enable eligible primary school graduates enrol in tuition free secondary and vocational training institutions, Uganda extended the Universal Primary Education programme by launching the Universal Post-Primary Education and Training programme in 2007 which increased Senior One enrolment by 33% between 2006 and 2007 (Bugembe, 2011). Though the Ministry of Education and Sports early acknowledged that due to the massive increase in enrolment figures in schools without commensurate expansion in facilities and teachers could have compromised the quality of education (Ministry of Education and Sports, 2002). The launch of Universal Secondary Education which sought to improve access, quality and relevance of post-primary education has led to a decline in performance of students in 2010 compared 2009 (Naturinda, 2011). This is blamed on challenges such as inadequate classroom space, shortage of qualified teachers and instructional materials (Bugembe, 2011). There emerging questions regarding unanticipated consequences of shortages of textbooks, classrooms and teachers (Murphy et al., 2002), which have had important implications for quality of public education in Uganda. The available school libraries are unable to provide reading materials to the “newly literate” as a major roadblock in the fight against illiteracy (Parry, 2004). It’s currently accepted that many secondary schools in Uganda lack the necessary performance requirements due to inadequate funds and even poor facilities as noted by Namirembe (2005) prompting a study regarding the impact of using instructional materials in enhancing student’s performance in sciences within selected secondary schools in Luwero district. 1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Despite government efforts and various interventions by policy makers and implementers to ensure the delivery of quality education in Ugandan secondary schools, academic performance especially in science subjects remains poor. The situation remains alarming despite the important development role played by science. While both the White Paper on Education and the National Development Plan (2010) for 2010/2011 to 2015/15 focus on the...
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