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This research examined agriculture education as a veritable tool for socio-economic development in Nigeria. As the nation is presently experiencing challenges of unemployment, insecurity, and high rate of poverty, the study observed that one of the most efficient ways to empower the youth is through agriculture education. The objectives of agriculture education includes but not limited to equipping individual and creates in the person the mindset to undertake the risk of venturing into something new by applying the knowledge and skills acquired in schools. The paper took a critical look at the roles of agriculture education such as provision of individual with adequate training that will enable creativity and innovative relevance to skill acquisition which encourages self-employment and self-reliant. It reviewed some techniques of acquiring agriculture skills which includes industrial training exercise, workshop/seminar, excursion and this aid in the empowerments of youth and consequently eradication of poverty and extreme hunger. The paper identified challenges facing agriculture education such as inadequate funding, lack of trained teachers, and non- availability of equipment.
- Background of the study
Nigeria, a country with an estimated population of 170 million people (NBS, 2013) is well endowed with abundant human and natural resources and a favorable geographical location in the world map. The current global financial crisis has impacted negatively on the macro and micro levels of the economy of Nigeria. As at present, the situation has poses serious threats and challenges to both government and well meaning citizens. Nigeria like most developing nations of the world is faced with myriad of problems which include youth and graduate unemployment, high rate of poverty, conf lict and diseases, insincerity, over-depending in foreign goods, low economic growth and development, lack of capacity and skills needed to move the economy forward and urbanization. Unemployment has become a major problem bedeviling the lives of Nigerian Youth causing frustration, dejection and depending on family members and friends. The high rate of unemployment among the youths in Nigeria has contributed to the high rate of poverty and insecurity in the country (Ajufo, 2013). More than half of the Nigerian population is under the age of 30 according to the National Population Commission (2013). Awogbenle and Iwuamad(2010) observed from the excepts of statistics obtained from the National Manpower Board and Federal Bureau of statistics that Nigeria has a youth population of eighty (80) Million representing 60 percent of the total population of the country. Sixty four (64) Million of them are unemployed while one million six hundred thousand (1.6 million) are underemployed. According to Ossal and Nwalado (2012) the need for agriculture education started emerging in the mid-1980s, when there were political instability and inconsistencies in the socio-economic policies of successive government, high level of unemployment, large scale lay off of workers and early retirements as a result of structural adjusted policies and bad economic trends. In the face of these challenges there was no encouragement from the federal government for public and private investors to embark on agricultural activities. These situations pose great challenges to the very existence of individuals and the national development. To salvage these situations there is need for the training of educated man and woman who can function effectively in their society in which they live in terms of self-employment and self-reliant which only agriculture education can provide. Based upon this premise, the paper examined agriculture education as a veritable tool for socio-economic development in Nigeria.
Nigeria faces a number of challenges that can only be met if she has innovative, well-educated, and agricultural citizens who, whatever their walks of life, have the spirit and inquisitiveness to think in new ways, and the courage to meet and adapt to the challenges facing them. At same time, given the current socio-economic and political stance of the country, a thriving economy would require a greater number of young people who are willing and able to become agricultural; who can launch and successfully develop their own commercial or social ventures, and who will become innovators in the wider organisations in which they work. European Scientific Journal October 2013 edition vol.9, No.28 ISSN: 1857 – 7881 (Print) e – ISSN 1857- 7431 114 It is a common experience that many graduates from the Nigerian universities find it difficult to get employment every year. This is partly due to the curricula of the universities and other tertiary institutions which lay emphasis on training for white-collar jobs (Osibanjo, 2006). The socioeconomic situation in Nigeria poses serious threats and challenges to both government and wellbeing of citizens of the nation as a whole. The unemployment problems further call for different strategies and actions for it to be ameliorated. Agriculture education has been embraced by almost all the developed countries and its capabilities and efficacy in springing up economies is not in doubt. It is believed that refocusing education system will immensely contribute in developing the spirit and culture of agriculture in country Agricultural education is essential not only to shape the mindsets of young people but also to provide the skills and knowledge that are central to developing an agricultural culture. Agriculture education provides students motivation, knowledge, and skills essential for launching a successful venture company (Cho, 1998). Developing mindsets, generic attributes and skills that are the foundations of agriculture can be achieved through indoctrination from an early age; that is, if it is incorporated into the national educational system with the seriousness it deserves. Because education is key to shaping young people’s attitudes, skills and culture, it is vital that agricultural education is addressed from an early age and up into higher levels of education such as in the universities. Agriculture education should be available to all college students regardless of major courses and choice of studies to enhance competitive advantage, not only for students but the societies and nations where they are involved. The relationship between education and development has been established, such that education is now internationally accepted as a key development index. The importance of education cannot be overemphasized; it is a fundamental human right, hence, the need for incorporating agriculture in the educational system. In line with the above, this paper is discussed under the following heading: conceptual framework, importance of agricultural education, need for agricultural education, rationale for fostering agriculture and its achievements as well as problems for effective implementation of agricultural education in Nigerian universities. Finally, the way forward was highlighted.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The educational system in Nigeria is devoid of the element crucial to averting the surging rate of unemployment in the country, thus the government through its monitoring ministry, and academic agencies made agriculture education compulsory for tertiary institutions (Araba, 2012; Akarue and Adogbeji, 2013). Corroborating this view Araba (2012) noted that Agricultural development through education will advance the economy of the nation and that much credence should be given to it and ingrained with focus on profitable personal development thus translating to overall development of the nation. This action if implemented is believed will reduce the present level of unemployment that is plaguing the Nigeria nation thus reducing the rate of violence, poverty and segregation amongst citizens. The reason deduced for this is due to the fact that the nation’s educational system has fails to empower the young graduate leaving the system thus making them unemployed instead employers of labor.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to ascertain the importance and the role of agriculture education in socio-economic development in Ahoada east local government area River state Nigeria, precisely the study seek to:
- Evaluate the importance of agriculture education amongst socio-economic development of ahoada east local government area River state
- To ascertain how well agricultural education as enhance socio-economic development
- To ascertain the effect of agriculture education on the productivity
- To evaluate how well is agriculture education implemented in our school.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
The following research question was postulated for the successful completion of the studies
- What is the merit of agriculture education?
- How does agriculture education enhance economic growth?
- What is the role of agriculture education on youth productivity?
- How has agriculture education enhance socio-economic development?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is imperative to know that at the completion of this studies the findings will be beneficial to the government (ministry of education in curriculum formulation), the potential agricultural and agricultural in human capital development, and skill acquisition, the academia, lecturers, teachers, researchers and the general public.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of this studies covers agriculture education and socio-economic development in Ahoada east local government area River state. However, this studies has some limitation, which are:
Finance: finance is a major limitation to the study as resources allocated to the study is limited
Time: time is a major constrain to the research as time allocated to the study is very limited.
Research material: availability of research material is a major setback to the scope of the study.
1.7 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
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