An Investigative Study on the Views of Biology Students on the Problems of Laboratory Management and Safety in Secondary Schools

An Investigative Study on the Views of Biology Students on the Problems of Laboratory Management and Safety in Secondary Schools


The purpose of this study is to find out the biology Teachers views on problems of laboratory management and safety in selected secondary school in Lokoja metropolis. The researcher study involved biology teachers only from six selected secondary school. Two independent variables were involved in this research. These variables were teacher’s gender and teacher’s qualification. The researcher designed 30 questionnaires to elicit information.

The data collected were analyzed using percentage and chi-square test, the results showed that several factors are responsible for the problems of laboratory management and safety in secondary schools; therefore, recommendations for improving the status of practical work on biology in secondary schools were given.

The findings revealed that; in all the teachers teaching biology 65% of them were qualified 42.5% were male teachers while 25% were female teachers. It was revealed that teachers with varying qualification have the same view about the importance of laboratory work in biology.

Recommendations made are as follows; teachers teaching biology should attend seminar s and improve their teaching method. Teachers teaching biology should show sense of devotion of their work and develop enthusiasm by improvising materials that are locally made.



1.1 Background of the study

Safety practice can be explained to mean the process of averting danger. According to advance learner’s dictionary, “safety is freedom from danger or risk” (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary of Current English A. S. Hornby, 1982). The importance of safety measure in every activity of individual cannot be over emphasized. It forms an integral part of individual understanding. Laboratory activities demand adequate safety measures in order to overcome danger. This can be achieved either by the teachers or students. Aminu (1982) maintain that most laboratory hazards can be reduced by good value judgment, careful manipulation adequate supervision, and most of all the knowledge of how to use the safety material or device present in the laboratories. It is obvious that anyone who is not alert and safety conscious stand the greater risk of turning a minor hazard into an accident which might be fatal. To ensure safety in our biological science laboratories, students and teachers should be well-informed of the safety practice and how to operate simple safety gadgets during emergency. Also there is the need that these safety gadgets be constantly checked to ensure proper functioning during emergency. Laboratories serve as a training ground for scientist and a means for discovering new knowledge and testing hypothesis. “A school laboratory is an instructional facility for helping pupils learn what science is and how the scientists work” (Archohold, 1977). In the study of biology, the equipments and facilities to which students are exposed are very important. It is believed that students with rich background in terms of exposure to many and varied equipment and facilities have advanced intellectual developments than the less privilege ones (Fafunwa, 1984). Laboratory according to the world book encyclopedia can be defined as a place equipped with scientific apparatus where scientist perform experiment to test hypothesis. Science laboratory is not confirmed to a room with sink and fitting for experiment but rather, it includes any place in the field, stream near school, garden or workshop especially equipped and set aside for the function it is intended to serve (Danazumi, 1992). Practical works and safety practices run concurrently in laboratories. This is reflected in one of the objectives of the adequate practical teaching in biology science, which is to teach public how to handle safety materials that could be dangerous. Child center or activity method is one of the recognized methods of teaching biology. This method of teaching ensures a high degree of student participation. The success of practical lesson and the realization of the positive goals of teaching biology in secondary school depend on the measures taken to measure the safety of both the students and teachers (Ahmed, 2001). Conclusively, many lives can be saved if necessary safety measures are considered or taken appropriate in the biology lessons or practicals. The indispensability of the Biological Science Laboratory Apparatus to the teaching of biology cannot be over emphasized. Science laboratory is an important component in the learning of science subjects but it depends upon the degree to which it is efficiently used, only the availability of Science laboratory is not a guarantee of students’ performance until both the students and teachers actually use Biological Science Laboratory Apparatus facilities efficiently (Lewin, 2000).

The proper use of laboratory and demonstration of experiments are the indicators of student performance. Science laboratories are important only when they are used in the school setting. If Science laboratories are provided to schools, there are three possibilities that they remain unused, used inefficiently and used efficiently. Furthermore, Science laboratories are provided to schools with deficient quality and less quantity of equipments, apparatus, materials, and chemicals owing to limited funds. However, Biological Science Laboratory Apparatus may contribute to higher level of academic achievement if used effectively and properly with national commitment. Hofstein and Mamlok-Naaman (2007) described the concept of the use of science laboratory in these words: “Over the years, many have argued that science cannot be meaningful to students without worthwhile practical experiences in the school laboratory”.

Unfortunately, the terms ‘school laboratory or lab and practical’ have been used, too often without precise definition, to embrace a wide array of activities. Typically, the terms have meant experiences in school settings where students interact with materials to observe and understand the natural world. Some laboratory activities have been designed and conducted to engage students individually, while others have sought to engage students in small groups and in large-group demonstration settings. Teacher guidance and instructions have ranged from highly structured and teacher centered to open inquiry. The terms have sometimes been used to include investigations or projects that are pursued for several weeks, sometimes outside the school, while on other occasions they have referred to experiences lasting 20 minutes or less. Sometimes laboratory activities have incorporated a high level of instrumentation, and at other times the use of any instrumentation has been meticulously avoided.

According to Raimi (2002) and Adeyegbe (2005), laboratory adequacy was reported to affect the performance of students in biology. Likewise, about the use of laboratory, Farounbi (1998) argued that students tend to understand and recall what they see more than what they hear. Students see when they actually use laboratories in the teaching and learning of science. Similarly, Adesoji and Olatunbosun (2008) found that laboratory adequacy was also found to enhanced achievement through attendance at Biology workshop.

Biological Science Laboratory Apparatus is a very important resource input for teaching science and is an important predictor of academic achievement. Throwing more light on school facilities and moral guiding provision, Fabunmi (1997) asserted that school facilities when provided will aid teaching learning programme and consequently improve academic achievement of students while the models guiding their provision to schools could take any form as rational bureaucratic and or political model. Whichever model is adopted, according to him, there is always a common feature of differing allocation of facilities to schools. In his words, Ojoawo (1990), however, noted that certain schools are favoured.


The study and mastery of Biology is a major objective of Nigeria education. The achievement of this objectives requires the concern of both the government and private owners of schools in collaboration with classroom teachers. There is a great need for proper provision and Biology science Laboratory Apparatus in the Teaching of Biology also utilization of instructional materials in order to achieve the objective of the emphasis laid on the importance of biological science laboratory apparatus in the teaching of biology in senior secondary schools at all levels of our educational system. Provision and improvisation of Biology science Laboratory Apparatus and their proper utilization in delivering instructional on biology lesson, undoubtedly will improve the teaching and learning outcome of the subject and the learners. Despite the consensus on the importance and place of biology in teaching of Biology, there is a glaring absence of these materials and poor utilization by teachers. The resultant effects of the absence of these Biology science Laboratory Apparatus and their poor utilization on students include mass failure in Biology examination in most schools. The problem of this study therefore is the extent of the importance of biological science laboratory apparatus in the teaching of biology in senior secondary schools. It is in view of the above that the researcher intends to investigate the view of students on the problems of laboratory management and safety in secondary schools


The main objective of the study is to investigate the view of biology students on the problem of laboratory management and safety in secondary schools, but to aid the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objectives:

  1. To ascertain the effect of poor management of laboratory equipment on student performance in biology.
  2. To investigate the role of biology teachers in the management of laboratory equipment.
  3. To ascertain the role of student in the management of laboratory equipment.
  4. To examine the relationship between improvised teaching materials and student performance in biology.


To aid the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0: poor management of laboratory equipment does not have any effect on student academic performance in biology.

H1: poor management of laboratory equipment does have an effect on student academic performance in biology.

H02: Biology teachers do not play any role in the management of laboratory equipment.

H2: Biology teachers do play a role in the management of laboratory equipment.


It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the management of secondary schools in the appointment and employment of a qualified personnel to man the affairs of the biology laboratory, the study will also be useful to biology student, as the also have a significant role to play in the management of biology laboratory, the study will also be of great importance to researcher who intend to embark on a study on a similar topic as the study will guide them and serve as reference point to further studies. Finally, the study will be of importance to students, teachers, lecturers, academia’s and the general public as the study will contribute to the pool of existing literature.


The scope of the study covers an investigative study on the views of biology students on the problems of laboratory management and safety in secondary schools. In the cause of the study, there were some factors which militate against the scope of the study;

  1. AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
  2. TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
  3. ORGANIZATIONAL PRIVACY: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.



Management is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or government body.


A laboratory is a facility that provides controlled conditions in which scientific or technological research, experiments, and measurement may be performed

Laboratory Apparatus

The laboratory apparatus depends upon the type of laboratory you are in and the experiment you are going to perform.


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), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is 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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