Background of study
Agriculture is the main stay of the economy of most
countries the world over – providing food, employment, income, revenue,
improving the countries’ balance of payment etc (Baffour-Awuah, 1987). In 1987,
the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) drew attention to
the immersed problems and challenges facing the world’s agriculture, if present
and future food needs are to be met for new approach to agriculture
development. In the remaining years of this century about 1.3 billion people
will be added to the human population. The global food system must be managed
to increase food production by 3% to 4% yearly (WCED, 1987).
Global food security depends not only on increasing global
production but on decreasing distortion in the structure of the world’s food
market and on shifting the focus of food production to food deficit countries,
regions and households. This shift in agriculture production will be
sustainable, enhanced and where it has been diminished/destroyed, restored
according to WCED (1987) pg 128-130.
By this, agriculture has been placed on a high agenda of
governments of Ghana. One of the priorities of the present and past governments
is to make Ghana self-sufficient in food production (Addo-Quaye et.al, 1995).
Example, the National Redemption Council, NRC, in 1972
introduced the Operation Feed Yourself Policy in order to increase food
production (Baffour-Awuah, 1987). Schools were therefore made to establish mess
farms to feed the students.
However, most agriculture production in the country is
subsistence and small scaled with low yields. Even medium and large scale
farmers use the common tools like hoe, axe, cutlass etc since most farmers
cannot afford mechanization aside the over reliance on rainfall instead of
In 1987, the government of Ghana initiated a reform in the
education programme with wide ranging objectives. Wheeler (1980) commented
about reform in education – if a curriculum remains static in a dynamic society
especially in a period of rapid social change, it is likely that the education
which is meant to induct the young into the society and to promote an
intelligent understanding of it will cater only for the needs and values which
no longer exist.
to Awuku et.al (1991), one major means by which Ghana’s agriculture can move
from the subsistence to commercial is by intensifying Agricultural Education.
Dotse (1994) also said introduction of agriculture into the educational
institution are essential components of the curriculum and indicates strongly
that policy makers have realized that the problem confronting Ghana Agriculture
can partially or if not completely, solved through agriculture education.
The study of agricultural science in the Senior High Schools
is divided into General Agriculture, Crop Husbandry and Horticulture, Animal
Husbandry, Fishery and Forestry. This means that the teacher who teaches the
students should prepare the students adequately for the task of positively
influencing the student’s attitude, perspectives and habits of mind especially
as they affect the theory and practice of agricultural science. The teacher’s
approach to the subject can stimulate his students to develop in and
subsequently results in good performance.
According to Awuku et.al (1991), the performance of the
students in agricultural science should match student’s interest and practice
of the subject. He further stated that lack of textbooks, poor management, poor
funding etc as some of the many factors among others that influence the outcome
of the teaching –learning process. It is therefore imperative for all
stakeholders in the educational system to ensure that practical agriculture is
encouraged in schools to help the nation achieve its goal in food security.
Statement of the Problem
Though Agricultural Education has been a priority of the
government, the teaching and learning of Practical Agriculture at pre-tertiary
levels leaves much to be desired. According to Baffour-Awuah (1987),
Agriculture Education in Ghana at the pre-tertiary level is faced with much
problems hindering achievement of its goals.
There is low interest in both teachers and students
(Akinmade, 2002). This low interest could be attributed to the usual approach
to teaching this practical oriented subject which is no longer enticing enough
to boost the required interest.
The best way the youth in school can be taught agriculture
is by “doing” (Awuku et al, 1991) but the common sense is that most of the
youth who completed SHS and were not able to pursue further studies in
Agriculture show disinterest in agriculture and rather drift to urban centres
to find jobs. There
Awuku et al (1991) indicated that one objective for
Agriculture education in the school curriculum is to make teacher and student a
supplementary extension officer to local farmers. But most students learn
Agriculture in the school mainly because it is one of the examination
requirements (Baffour-Awuah, 1996). Therefore what is the future of Ghana’s
Agriculture? It is therefore imperative for such issue to be addressed.