Major Factors that Influencing Experiments of Chemistry Courses in Nekemte College of
Teacher Education, Oromia Region, Ethiopia
Chali Abate Jote*
Department of Chemistry, Stream of Natural Sciences, Nekemte College of Teacher Education
Submission: January 15, 2019; Published: April 15, 2019
*Corresponding author: Chali Abate Jote, Department of Chemistry, Stream of Natural Sciences, Nekemte College of Teacher Education, Post Box No. 88, Nekemte, Ethiopia
How to cite this article: Chali Abate Jote. Major Factors that Influencing Experiments of Chemistry Courses in Nekemte College of Teacher Education,
0012 Oromia Region, Ethiopia. Ann Soc Sci Manage Stud. 2019; 3(2): 555610. DOI: 10.19080/ASM.2019.03.555610
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the main factors, which affect the experiments of chemistry in Nekemte College of teacher education. To carry out the study a descriptive survey method was used. The sample consisted of 80 students, 5 instructors, 1 lab-technician and 5 college managements from the study area. Regarding the respondents, the students were randomly selected, while instructors, lab-technician and college managements were purposely selected. Data collection instruments used was questionnaires, interview and observation. Data obtained from questionnaires were analyzed using statistical tools like frequency and percentage. The data obtained from interview was analyzed qualitatively and data obtained from observation was analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively.
The results from the study showed that, factors that affect the experiments of chemistry in Nekemte college of teacher education were absence of well-trained lab-technician, unavailability of chemicals, equipment’s and apparatus, lack of external and internal facilities, inappropriateness and irrelevance of manual, large number of students, shortage of instructional materials, inconvenient learning environment and etc. These problems undermine the quality of the experimentation in science education. Thus, the college and concerned bodies should address these problems jointly. Hence, the researcher forwarded based on the findings and conclusions, recommendations were made to alleviate the existing problems. Accordingly to minimize large number of students, hiring lab-technician and building alternative lab-rooms for each course, equipped with sufficient chemicals, apparatus, equipment’s and instructional materials, preparing relevant and appropriate manual, allocating budgets for laboratory to purchase important materials and other which were assumed to solve the identified problems were recommended.
For higher education the goal is to develop highly qualified, motivated and innovate human resources, produce and transfer advanced relevant knowledge for socio-economic development and poverty reduction with a view to turning Ethiopia into a middle-income country by the year 2017 . Quality is also crucial challenge at higher education level due to the rapid expansion of this sub-sector. There is an increased need to focus on quality improvement with regard to human and material resources as well as reform of process .
Science has been thought by lecturing methods for a long time. In lecture method, the students listen to the teacher, but no any practically done. They learn concepts and theory. This affects their results of chemistry laboratory course as well as other natural science course . In the same way natural science should be supported by experiment in addition to theoretical part. This makes the lesson clear and remembered by the student for a
long period of time. As to Sharma  mentioned, it is important
that experimental work must be a prominent feature in any natural science course and the primary objective in determining a techniques of instruction is to provide for a maximum of pupils performance, provide opportunity for the students, to check their ability to change theoretical learning in to practical and to discover new concept and extend their knowledge.
According to Yadav  no one is disputing that laboratory work should occupy central position in a programme of science education. Similarly, Sharma [5,6] mentioned that, learning by doing is one of the major principles of teaching science. Experiment is also the way of teaching science which is useful to minimize the problems that students face in their learning process. In addition to this Kumar  indicated that most of the achievements of modern science are due to the application of experimental methods. Experiment is also the means by which students proof theoretical principles and facts they have thought in normal class. Kumar [6,7] also mentioned that practical laboratory is helpful on brooding pupils experience and develops initiative, resourcefulness and
cooperation. We do not aim at stuffing the mind of the pupils with
mere facts of science but at developing them the application of
ability, skills of experimentation, improving scientific attitude,
interests and appreciation. These can be achieved only if the
students get the opportunities to work with themselves in a
condition which pervades in science teaching [4,6].
To acquire scientific knowledge systematically in depth, the
most important means is the teaching of science that should
give an increased emphasis in enhancing student involvement
in scientific investigation through laboratory work and field
study. The emphasis arises from the view that science cannot be
effectively learnt from books and lectures alone and neither can
it taught by simply telling students about science. In order to
learn science, one must do it. That is, a student must be involved
in a real scientific investigation. Real scientific investigation does
dual purposes. On one hand, it gives the student knowledge
of the subjects and on the other; it provides the learner some
understanding of scientific processes . Therefore, if science
studies are to progress, the college should be supported by
laboratory which contain adequate facilities and materials. So,
a major factor that influencing experiments of chemistry in
Nekemte College of Teacher Education has not been studied as
far as the knowledge of the researcher is concerned. This study
is, thus, aimed at the major factors influencing the experiments
of chemistry in Nekemte College of Teacher Education, Oromia
Accordingly, the study is designed to respond to the following
1. What are factors that related to the implementation of
2. Are there enough materials for the conduction of the
3. What is the student’s, Instructor’s and laboratory
technician attitudes look like towards the laboratory
The major purpose of the study is over viewing an investigation
of major factors that hinder practical work of Chemistry in
Nekemte College of Teacher Education. The specific objectives of
the study are:
1. To assess factors that hinder to conduct laboratory
experiments in the Nekemte College of Teacher Education.
2. To identify whether enough materials present or not for the
conduction of the experiment.
3. To find out the relationships among Instructors, laboratory
technician and students during laboratory session.
It is obvious that, research is important for various reasons.
It gives a chance either for development or for improvement of
a given country. Hence, the study becomes useful and timely in
considering the problems of laboratory education. More and more
students are recently coming to college ever year. However, the
necessary laboratory educational inputs and materials are not
at required level. The principal aim of this study is therefore, to
identify the major factors that affects implementation of chemistry
laboratory education in Nekmte College of Teacher Education.
Therefore, the problems discussed in the study have the following
1. The study is expected to contribute in the identification of
chemistry laboratory materials in the Nekemte College of
2. It is intended to create awareness to the problem among
chemistry instructors in particular and among students and
Science instructors at large.
3. It encourages college management to purchase laboratory
4. It is also hoped that it will encourage others to do more and
detailed research on the problem.
The study was concentrated only on major factors that
influencing experiments of Chemistry in Nekemte College of
Teacher Education. Due to time and resource limitation and in
order to make the study manageable, its scope was geographically
delimited to only Nekemte College of Teacher Education.
Furthermore, the aspects were delimited to the attitude of
chemistry department students and instructors related factors.
Sciences have been taught by lecturing methods and
experiments. In lecture method, the students listen to the lesson,
write down notes on their note books but they don’t observe and
hand what they learned in lecture class room. They learn concepts,
facts and theory without practical work. This cast shade on the
quality of knowledge acquired by the students . In other cases,
science subjects like chemistry, Biology and Physics should be
taught with the aid of experiment in which the students observe,
demonstrate and do some practical work in the laboratory, they
have to relate what they learned in lecture class room with
what they did, observed and demonstrated in the laboratory.
This simplifies their understanding and teaching of science. As
Sharma  point out it is, therefore, important that practical work
should form a p8rominent feature in any science course and the
primary objectives in determining a techniques of instruction is to
provide for a maximum of pupils, practical activity (give) provide
opportunity for the students to check, test and discover new
concept and extend their knowledge. It also helps them to explore
their world or environment [10,11].
Chemistry is essentially a practical oriented subject. No course
in chemistry can be considered complete without including some
practical work in it. For proper understanding of chemistry, it
should be thought using many demonstration experiments. For
carrying out demonstration experiments and for the performance
of practical by the students, a chemistry laboratory is a must
for every school offering chemistry as a subject . However, as
Kumar  stated that a special science room set aside for science
faculties and materials is very desirable to an elementary school
even where a self-contained program is conducted. Beside classroom,
students’ desk and chair, particular class-room is needed to
do experiment and for demonstration and project work.
According to Solomon and Negusse  the general purpose
of chemical experiment should be to give students some
experience in using chemical knowledge, like other physical
science, chemistry needs some experimental work at all level of
educational institution which provides chemistry as independent
subject including primary and secondary schools. Basically, it is
chemical science. The students should be able to do chemistry
experiments, handle chemicals and apparatus, known procedures
of specific experiment, observe analysis and interpret what is done
and observed during practical work. So that teaching chemistry
without experiment is hazards or is not successful. The objectives
of teaching in the school can only achieved when theoretical
aspect of the subject is supported with practical activities in the
laboratory room. To do experiments or to show practical work
for the students, there must be chemistry laboratory room in the
As Kumer  also cited for carrying out demonstration of
experiments and for the performance of practical by the students,
chemistry laboratory is a must for every school offering chemistry
as a separate subject. If there is no chemistry laboratory room
in the school, it is possible to use some mechanism to solve the
problem such as Converting/ improvising/class rooms, parts
of the corridors and even shady corner for effective laboratory
work, individual and small group investigation can also
organized) sharing of costly equipment among schools in the
neighbourhood . Laboratory experiments are characteristic
features of science of teaching at all levels of education. They
served as indispensable parts (components) in this regard since
origin of the use of laboratory methods in science teaching long
time ago . Nowadays, it is rare to find any science course
without a substantial component of laboratory activity in teaching
institutions. During such laboratory experiments, students are
provided with specimens or work guide (manual) and some sort
of equipment’s which help them to investigate scientific problems
in order to understanding theories and principles of science
Many science educators (experts) suggested numerous
benefits of science laboratory activities to students . Some
of these benefits include increasing students’ interest and
abilities in science subjects as well as their achievement in
science . Demonstrations, by instructors, can also be used as
an option to support theories and lectures given in class rooms
without adequate facilities to let students do the experiments
by themselves . However, as stated by Tobin  and other
authors, meaningful learning is possible from a given laboratory
experiments if the students are given ample opportunities to
operate equipment’s and materials that help them to construct
their knowledge of phenomena and related scientific concepts.
There are reports that emphasize teaching a science with
the help of laboratory experiments to be more enjoyable and
stimulating to students than teaching the same subject matter
only through lecture . Use of laboratories also helps students
to develop a positive attitude towards scientific research .
Being one of the science subjects, Chemistry is being taught in all
countries of the world regardless of their level development. It is
offered to students of high school, college and university levels .
Like other science subjects, teaching chemistry is also supported
by laboratory experiments or practical sessions . The original
reason for development of chemistry laboratories was the need
to produce skilled technicians for industry and highly competent
workers for research laboratories . Nowadays, however,
chemistry practical courses are given not only to chemistry
students but also to students in different fields or disciplines that
require specialized knowledge .
Chemistry practical classes (experiments) are believed to help
students understanding theories and chemical principles which
are difficult or abstract otherwise. Moreover, they offer several
opportunities to students. Some of these opportunities include
handling chemicals safety and with confidence, gain hands-on
experience in using instruments and apparatus, develop scientific
thinking and enthusiasm to chemistry, develop basic manipulative
and problem solving skills, gain opportunities to students as
investigators of the experimental work, identify chemical hazards
and learn to assess and control risks associated with chemicals
. It is important to note that designing chemistry laboratory
experiments by itself is not a enough condition to achieve the desire
objectives. It must be relevant. That is, it must understandable by
students of a given education level.
There are two extreme thoughts regarding the importance
of chemistry laboratory experiments. The first one is that in
traditional approaches, little opportunity is given to the student
initiatives or circumstance. In this approach, all the laboratory
procedures are carefully listed in the provided manual, and
frequently the student is simply asked to fill in a well-planned
report template. At the end of a laboratory session, students have
no real opportunity of understanding or learning the process of
“doing Chemistry”. The second one is that a student is given an
opportunity to engage in deep learning . This would provide
an opportunity in identifying the main objectives of the work
and in planning and executing it, of identifying the conceptual
and practical difficulties encountered, recording and discussing
the results and observations and suggesting practical alterations and improvements. The latter, thus, could result in a significant
positive impact on a students’ ability to learn both the desired
practical skills and the underlying theory.
The main purpose of the study was to assess the major factors
that influencing experiments of chemistry in Nekmte College
of Teacher Education. Descriptive survey research method was
employed for this study as it helps to gather a variety of data
related to a problem under the study. Therefore, to have a clear
picture on the existing problems and to accomplish the objectives
stated earlier a descriptive survey becomes appropriate.
Data sources in this study were based on the information
obtained from primary data sources. The primary data was
collected from 3rd and 4th year Natural Science (Generalist &
Integrated) students, laboratory technician, Chemistry instructors
and college managements in the study area. This primary data
was obtained by using questionnaires, interviews and observation
The sample population of the study was obtained from
Nekemte College of Teacher Education. Chemistry instructors, 3rd
and 4th year Natural Science (Generalist & Integrated) students,
Management of the College and laboratory technician were
included in the study. This is shown here under the following in
Concerning the sampling techniques 3rd and 4th year Natural
Science (Generalist & Integrated) students was selected using
simple random sampling. Because in simple random sampling
every individual in the populations have the same chance of being
selected for the sample. As to Kothari simple random sampling
provides each items of the population equal chance of inclusion
in the sample. Availability sampling would be employed to
select Chemistry instructors, laboratory technician and College
Management. Because, they are few and by virtue of the rich
information they have about the study topic.
The questionnaires were delivered to gather information from
the Chemistry instructors, laboratory technician and third- and
fourth-year Natural Science students (Generalist & Integrated).
Two sets of questionnaires were prepared. The first one is for 3rd
and 4th year Natural Science (Generalist & Integrated) students
and the second one is for chemistry instructors and lab- technician
to get the right feedback. The questionnaires were focused
on major factors that hindering experiments of Chemistry in
Nekemte College of Teacher Education and the methods in which
improvement can be made for performing Chemistry laboratory.
For instance, interview was one of the major tools employed
in this study. This method was employed in the study to acquire
qualitative data about various components of the program and
to complement and obtain relevant data that were not handled
by questionnaires. Therefore, structured interview method was
prepared to obtain information form college management to
cross check the responses made by lab-technician, instructors and
students through questionnaires.
Since the study focuses on major factors that influencing
experiments of Chemistry in Nekemte College of Teacher
Education, the observation was conducted while classroom lesson
delivery in Chemistry Laboratory experiments and to check
experimental room facilities.
The questionnaire is initially developed in the view of the
basic research question of the study. Before it is administered to
respondents, a pre-test is carried out to ensure language clarity
and appropriateness of the item contained in questionnaire
and converted to mother tongue language (Afan Oromo) for the
students only. Experts in the field are consulted and appropriate
change is made depending on comments during the try out. At last,
these questionnaires were explained to respondents to maximize
return of questionnaires. In addition, interviews and observation
were carried out by the researcher himself.
The method of data analysis was based on the type of
instrument employed. In this study collected data were
categorized as per their similarities and presented in table form.In addition, frequency and percentage were used accordingly to
analyse the data collected by questionnaires. Once the data is
analysed, it interpret and discussed. Whereas data obtained from
interview was transcribed and analysed to substantiate qualitative
information. Data from observation were analysed to substantiate
both qualitative information (in the case of centre of status) and
quantitative (in the case class room delivery) information. Finally,
the major findings of the study were reported and realistic and
Under this results and discussion, the data gathered through
data collection instruments were presented and interpreted
according to the following issues. These issues were deals
with different cases that related to the factors that influencing
experiments of chemistry in Nekemte College of Teacher
As it disclosed in (Table 2), majority of the respondents;
instructors/ lab-technician (83.33%) and students (85%) of them
were interested in performing experiments of chemistry, while
about 16.67% of instructor/ lab-technician and 15% students
were no interested. Due to poor facilities of lab (66.67%), poor
support from college (33.33%), inadequacy of equipment’s and
chemicals, and there is no upgrading and modern in-service
training on experimentation for the Instructor/ lab-technician
(66.67%), they were dissatisfied (83.33%) in their regular jobs.
This shows that, it has negative effect on them towards laboratory
As it indicated in (Table 3), chemistry laboratory has
specifically developed manual (100%). The manual was
prepared both by college instructors (50%) and Oromia Regional
Educational Bureau (50%). The prepared manual was not relevant
to meet the curriculum, so it is medium (50%) and low (50%).
The relevance of the manual with students learning module was
medium (50%) and low, it is about 33.33%.
As it asserted from (Table 4), all respondents replied that
students preform laboratory work in a group of 7-9 students in
one group (100%). Thus, did not participate actively and all group
members were not participating in lab-report writing (50%).
This indicates that the students have no interest to perform
experiments because of the large number of students in a group as
well as experiments are most of the time done by lab technician/
instructor as demonstration. This is because of the result of
unavailability of materials and equipment’s for each group in
the lab room. The relationships among students, instructors and
lab-technician were medium (100%) in terms of facilitating and
implementing the experiments. This due to no enough facilities in
the lab room and the room was too small to help each group.
As it indicated in (Table 5), the average ratio of lab-technician
to students for one class was 1:50 (100%). This due to the absence
of other laboratory classes and enough trained technician. But as
Yadav (1995) noted that in case of a large class, it is convenient
to divide the class in a suitable number of smaller groups,
experimental work. A practical work group in no case should
have more than 20 students. Teaching load of instructors besides
laboratory work was about 66.67% and 33.33%. This means that
majority of the instructors have class teaching of the theoretical
parts beside the laboratory classes. So, the laboratory work was
not effectively performed (80%) due to the results of unavailability
of instructional materials for experimentation and teaching load.
As it presented in (Table 6), respondents replied that, labenvironment,
conformability of lab room for experimentation
and arrangement of the stools and tables in lab were good (50%)
and medium (50%). This is when we compare only with other
natural science lab-class in our college. According to the data
obtained through interview from Nekemte College of Teacher
Education process owner of human resources replied that;
Chemistry laboratory experiments room is not conducive enough
for the practice/implementation of the lab-work. This is because
of chemistry laboratory room lucks a lot of things to implement
different experiments (April 25, 2017).
Lab-technician/ instructors replied about air conditioning
of the lab room, arrangements of chemicals and apparatus and
cleanness of the lab room were good (33.33%) and medium
(67.7%) while students replied good (30%) and medium (70%).
This because of the lab room was not build according to chemistry
As replicated in (Table 7), all respondents replied that,
instructional materials such as chalk/marker, black/white board
were available not adequately (66.7%), whereas chemicals,
apparatus, manual, were inadequacies (83.33% and 85%) and
instructor lab-guide/syllabus was totally not available (100%).
This indicates that there were shortages of most of instructional
materials for the experimentation. During the materials, the
vice dean of the college confirmed that there was no adequate
chemicals and apparatus in chemistry lab. This understood from
the view of the vice dean the college when he said:
There is a shortage of chemicals and apparatus for chemistry
laboratory and adding, inadequacy of lab-manual has been one
of the factors that hindered the experiments of chemistry (May 4,
As it shown in (Table 8), materials like stools and tables, water
supplies, gas supplies, shelf and drawers, wash basin and sink,
waste disposal, storage of chemicals and apparatus were available
(66.7% and 72.5%) as instructor/lab-technician and students
replied respectively, but not adequately. Glove and gown, dressing
room, fire extinguisher, hood and first aid box were not totally available (100%). Regarding this, one of the college management
responded generally, about the internal facilities of chemistry labroom
It is fair in order to perform chemistry experiments but there
is a shortage (scarcity) of different materials like apparatus for
distilling water, fire extinguisher, chemicals, apparatus and other
materials/equipment’s for chemistry laboratory (May 8, 2017).
Furthermore, both the process owners of human resources
and finance head of Nekemte College of Teacher Education also
shared the same ideas. This indicates that there was inadequacy
with all materials and shortage of such materials in the market.
As indicated in (Table 9), instructors /Lab-technician replied
that time allotted for lab was somewhat enough (66.7%) and they
support and give feedback to their students was good (50%) and
medium (50%), the way in which they gain the desired practical
skills during performing laboratory was medium(100%). And,
students replied that time allotted for lab work was good (68%),
we get support and feedback (50%) from instructors and labtechnician
was good and understandably of each procedure in
experimentation was medium (50%). This shows that they are
gaining desired practical skills in some extent.
As shown from (Table 10), all respondents (instructors, lab
technician and students) were strongly agree (100%) with the
importance of laboratory work. Because of it provides theory
with practical work, enables working in groups, an opportunity
to engage deep learning, understand theoretical and chemical
principles, develop the skills of lab reports and develop scientific
The practices/implementation of any science experiment
is affected negatively by internal factors such as absence of
chemicals and apparatus, insufficient of equipment’s, luck of
enough time and well-trained manpower. Considering the major
factors that influencing the experiments of chemistry in Nekemte
College of Teacher Education many of the respondents on the
comment section of questionnaires and interviews forwarded
many varieties of factors associated with it.
a. Unavailability of conducive facilities such as apparatus
for distilling water, dressing room, first aid, alternative labroom/
class, fire extinguisher and separated toilet for boys and
girls and etc.
b. Many of the chemistry instructors and lab-technician
did not take in-service training which equips them with the
necessary skills of performing experiments of chemistry in
order to upgrade with modern chemistry practical work.
c. Lack of budget allotted for the practical work of
d. Unavailability such materials in the market and complex
nature bidding in order to purchasing the materials.
e. Large number of students in one laboratory class/room.
f. Lack of well-trained lab-technicians as the basic
knowledge of the students.
g. Less basic knowledge of the students/trainees and less
involvement of students in performing experiments and
h. While conducting chemistry laboratory less involvement
of the students and all group members are not taken part in
writing lab-report equally.
The result of the study suggested that the students, labtechnician
and instructors were interest of performing the
experiments very highly. But due to the facilities and organizational
structure of the lab-room/class it is difficult to conduct experiments
of chemistry. Discussion with the respondents and information
gathered through different tools identified that experiments of chemistry are entangled with multiple problems. There were a
serious shortage of apparatus, chemicals and other equipment’s.
These shortages were making experiments of chemistry inefficient
and ineffective. Unavailability instructional materials such as
manual, chalk/marker, black/white board, lab-guide/ syllabus
were not as required level. This shortage leads to the experiment
is not implemented as it intended in the curriculum. Many of the
chemistry instructors and lab-technician had not equipped them
with the necessary skills of performing experiments of chemistry
in order to upgrade with modern chemistry experiments. This was
due to the absence of in-service training provided to them and lack
Based on the major finding of the study, the following recommendations
i. Nekemte College of Teacher Education should work on
the availability, relevance and appropriateness laboratory
manual with concerned bodies like Ministry of Education, nongovernmental
organizations, Oromia Regional Educational
Bureau and others college in the region.
ii. Nekemte College of Teacher Education should work in
collaboration with Oromia Regional Educational Bureau to
hire more qualified lab-technician as to overcome the existing
iii. In Nekemte College of Teacher Education, there were
high shortage of chemicals, apparatus and other facilities
normally exist. An instructional material has been in a short
supply. Therefore, the College in collaboration with Oromia
Regional Educational Bureau is recommended to:
iv. Allocating the right budget for instructional materials
and facilities to the chemistry laboratory.
v. Encourage private investors as well as non-governmental
organizations to support the necessary chemicals and
materials for the chemistry laboratory.
vi. The chemistry lab environments in the experimental
work room/class have been found to be unconducive in terms
of inadequacy of the resources like lab-class/room facilities,
instructional materials, etc. Hence, the college with Oromia
Regional Educational Bureau and other concerned bodies
such as the non-governmental organizations, private sectors,
should device mechanism to alleviate the problems such as
developing minimum standard about experimental room
construction and distribution of the required laboratory
materials by Nekemte College of Teacher Education.
vii. The external and internal facilities should be fulfilled by
the college to promote experiments and to encourage active
learning methods that appreciable by students in experiments
viii. Nekemte College of Teacher Education in collaboration
with Oromia Regional Educational Bureau should provide
in-service training opportunities to lab-technician and
instructors on experiments of modern chemistry.
ix. Nekemte College of Teacher Education should understand
the importance of experiments in all-Natural Science
and particularly in chemistry to equip the laboratory with all
necessary instructional materials.
x. Enhancing the relationship among students, instructors
and lab-technician by encouraging the students and by
providing various incentives for the instructors and labtechnician
to minimize the problem.
xi. Instructors and lab-technician should support their
students during experimentation to promote self-learning,
actively participate in experiments, the way they prepare
flow chart and writing lab-report, care should be taken in
the laboratory, teaching safety rules, identifying hazardous
chemicals, promoting equal participation of male and female
students and etc.
xii. Nekemte College of Teacher Education should equip
the students, lab-technician and instructors with gown and
glove and other materials and chemistry laboratory room
should have first aid box and fire extinguisher to minimize
risk that created while performing experiments of chemistry