# CHAPTER lines and surfaces. The knowledge of trigonometry assists

CHAPTER ONE

THE PROBLEM

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1.1     Introduction

Mathematics is one of the core subjects that are
offered in all pre-tertiary institutions in Nigeria. “It is the science of
structure, order and relation that has evolved from elementary practices of
counting, measuring and describing the shapes of objects, it deals with logical
reasoning and quantitative calculation and its development has involved and
increase the degree of idealization and obstruction of its subject matter”
(Encyclopedia Britannica, 2013). Kolawole, Oladosu and Ajetunmobi (2013) opined
that mathematics is an instrument that is used to facilitate the learning of
other formal school subjects, and also very important tool for resolving problem
situations in all disciplines. It is with the realization of the importance of
Mathematics education that compelled the Federal Government of Nigeria made Mathematics
compulsory subject at both primary and secondly levels of the Nigerian
educational system (Mathew and Kenneth, 2013). This compulsory nature of Mathematics
carries with it assumption that the knowledge of the subject is essential for
all members of the society. However, this enables most citizens to acquire the
basic Mathematics knowledge and skills for effective contribution to community
and national development. Okereke (2006) opined that Mathematics competence is
a critical determinant of the post-secondary education and career options
available to young students.

The Nigerian Secondary School Mathematics Curriculum
is developed and structured around six main concepts, namely; Algebra; Number
and Numeration; Geometry; Mensuration; Statistics and Probability; and Trigonometry.
Trigonometry has long been a standard
component of the secondary school curriculum in Nigeria, usually in the latter
half of the secondary years. Table 1.1 shows the Mathematics Curriculum in Nigeria.

Table 1.1 Distributions of the Curricula of
Mathematics at Post-Primary in Nigeria.

Course                                JSI            JSII       JSIII         SSI           SSII           SSIII

Algebra

Geometry

Mensuration

Number and Numeration

Statistics and Probability

Trigonometry

Source: NERDC Abuja (2013) Secondary School Mathematics Curriculum

Trigonometry is an important branch of school Mathematics
that has everyday application in the life of the child, especially in
estimation, construction, technology and astronomical relationships (Sidhu, 2006).
Trigonometry is the aspect of Mathematics involving the measurement of
distances, angles, lines and surfaces. The knowledge of trigonometry assists
the students to appreciate the shapes and situation around their environment
and helps to develop their inductive reasoning skills that become necessary
ingredient for learning Mathematics, unlike geometry, trigonometry constitutes
a substantial part of the senior secondary school Mathematics, which form a
great part in their assessment (Abakpa, 2011).

Despite
the importance attached to trigonometry to our-day-today activities and as
agents of nation’s development and wealth creation, student’s attitude and
performance towards trigonometry has not been encouraging. Many factors have
been identified by Ahmad (2014) as reasons for the poor performance of students
in trigonometry; such factors include government policies, curriculum planners,
examination bodies, teachers’ attitudes, students’ attitudes, home, and lack of
qualified mathematics teachers that will handle the abstract curriculum that
does not address to immediate use of trigonometry in everyday life. Apart from
these, other factors have also been identified, such as poor primary school
background in Mathematics, lack of interest on the part of the students, students’
attitude towards trigonometry, lack of incentives for the teachers, lack of
qualified teachers in primary schools, students’ perception that trigonometry
is difficult, large class size syndrome, psychological fears of the subject and
poor method of teaching. Massive and consistent failures of students in
mathematics have remained a major threat to its learning. Nworgu (2013)
reported that the Federal Government described the poor performance of students
in mathematics as unacceptable and warns that the trend has to be checked if the
country has to move forward. Table 1.2 illustrates the performance of students
in WAEC, 2007-2016