Vol 5, No 1

Table of Contents

Research Articles

Investigation of Academic Self-Concept of Undergraduates in STEM Courses PDF
Lawrence O. Flowers, James E. Raynor, Jr., Erin N. White
Academic self-concept is an important component of undergraduate student success. Academic self-concept refers to an individual's perception about their academic aptitude in a particular academic field. The purpose of this science education research study was to examine the effects of online and traditional (face-to-face) courses on academic self-concept. Undergraduate students enrolled in online and traditional science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses were administered the academic self-concept scale (ASCS). The ASCS measures students' perceptions of their capacity to attain academic success. Research findings indicate that online students were more likely to report a higher academic self-concept than traditional students enrolled in STEM courses. Future research studies will reveal the factors that underpin academic self-concept for students enrolled in STEM courses. Additional research on the mediators that influence positive academic self-concept are necessary to further inform online and traditional pedagogical strategies.

Small Scale Gold Mining and Environmental Degradation, in Ghana: Issues of Mining Policy Implementation and Challenges PDF
Kwaku Dwumor Kessey, Benedict Arko
Small scale gold mining in Ghana has a long history. It has existed as far back as the eighth century as a household economic activity. It was legalised recently when the Small Scale Mining Law (PNDCL 218) 1989 was passed and public policies were formulated to support the implementation of the law. From then, the industry has become a major contributor to total quantity of gold produced in Ghana. The industry is a major employer of rural labour force. Despite these contributions, the industry has several negative effects on environment. This study was conducted in the Denkyira area which is located in the northern part of the Central region of Ghana, where there is heavy presence of small scale miners. The Offin river, the main source of water for household chores and other activities, which flows through the area is heavily polluted through the activities of small scale gold miners. Some mining sites have also turned into "˜deserts' as the vegetation cover in those areas has been removed. Since small scale gold miners do not have resources to properly manage the environment they have ignored that activity. On the other hand, public environmental regulatory bodies have also failed to carry out their statutory functions due to inadequate resources and poor institutional collaboration, among them. The implication of the action of the small scale gold miners' with respect to poor management of the environment, calls for education for the miners to build collective resource capacity for environmental management. Although, Ghana has several environmental protection laws and policies their implementation, has not been able to address the environmental challenges. Therefore the institution of appropriate strategies to control activities of the miners, especially the illegal small scale gold miners (Galamsay) who are the worst offenders, cannot be overemphasized. Since the Public agencies charged with the responsibility of regulating small scale gold mining are ineffective, the need to search for alternative approaches is crucial. For example, sites where a licensed small scale miner has operated in the past, could be inspected officially, for purposes of environmental management accreditation, before his/her application for renewal of license is considered, that is, if the inspection report is positive, otherwise the application must be put on hold or rejected.

Long-term Determinants of Government Expenditure: A Disaggregated Analysis for Nigeria PDF
Omo O. Aregbeyen, Usenobong Friday Akpan
This study examines the long-term determinants of marked expansion of government expenditure in Nigeria. Using annual time series data for a period of 51 years (1960-2010) and a single equation estimation approach, we overcome an omitted variable bias by testing a wide range of leading hypothesis (on the determinants of government expenditure) in a comprehensive specification. The result yields a variety of interesting and qualified evidence. Among other results, we found that inflow of foreign aid contributes to expansion of government recurrent expenditure at the expense of capital spending; debt servicing reduces all components of government expenditure;  revenue is a major factor that accounts for long-term government growth; openness has a significant negative association over government expenditure; higher population (mostly in urban areas) leads to higher government spending; military regime is favorable to capital expenditure expansion in Nigeria than the civilian administration; election period is associated with higher government expenditure than would otherwise be the case. To ensure fiscal sustainability and the overall growth of the Nigerian economy, some useful policy options have been suggested. These include cautious trade liberalization policy, diversification of the Nigerian economy and internally revenue generation improvement initiative, fiscal restraint on further foreign debt, population reduction programme or legislation, reduction in the cost of election, etc.

The Role of Women in Nigerian Politics: Conceptual and Theoretical Issues for an Enhanced Political Participation in the Fourth Republic PDF
S.M Omodia, Erunke, Canice Esidene, Shuaibu Umar Abdul
This paper is an exploration of the role of women in the Nigerian politics. The inferiority complex of women regarding active political participation and representation constitute the bane of this study. However, it could be argued  it was argued that the inferiority nature of women generally was a function of chauvinistic nature of men to perpetuate their domination on them in all ramifications. This gender bias in Nigeria's political system is often traced to the advent of colonialism in Nigeria. Thus, the western cultural notion of colonialism woven around male superiority reflected in their relations with Nigerians. The authors adopted both conceptual and theoretical analysis of issues of political participation and representation to ascertain how women are generally dominated by men in the scheme of things. The most critical element of this discourse is however that women are, and have been sidelined in the political scheme of things in Nigeria and this state of affairs spells a dangerous omen for the Nigerian system which is now literally dominated and controlled by men. In the past, experience has shown, of course as demonstrated in the study, that women's political roles have contributed immensely in the shaping of the Nigerian politics not only in democratic governance; but also during the pre-colonial era. So, it will be unthinkable to wish away the critical efforts of women in the making of Nigerian state while arrogating political powers to the male folk. It is also unhealthy to ascribe political powers strictly to men in this era of globalization where the role of women in global politics is considered to be relevant in overall world peace, tranquility and mutual co-existence. In line with the above discovery, the authors recommend that there should be equality in the sharing of political offices on the basis of quota system between competing candidates. This will enable both men and women have equal chances of control in such public offices.

Social-Academic Climate in Online Learning Environments PDF
Nitza Davidovich, Roman Yavich
This paper is based on a study that examined students' perceptions of social-academic climate in several faculties and departments at the Ariel University Center over five years. Findings indicate the significance that students attribute to various dimensions of social-academic climate. Findings also show that students attribute greater significance to instructors' attitude to students and less significance to course organization in faculties and departments that are characterized by positive inter-personal interactions between students and instructors. In faculties and departments in which interpersonal interactions between students and instructors are not intensive, students attribute significance to scholastic aspects of courses. Even in the technological era, social-academic climate has not lost is importance, and its contribution to students' sense of satisfaction is critical.

Literature and Society: A New Reading of Sembène Ousmane's Le Mandat. PDF
Sikiru Adeyemi OGUNDOKUN
Literature is an essential platform for socio-political, cultural and economic struggles among other things. This creative art called literature is a source of dialogue, debate, exchange and innovation. A form of creativity which enhances transfer of culture and knowledge that are useful for coping with societal tasks In other words, it paints life with a view to share human experiences, feelings, imaginations, observations, findings, predictions and suggestions for prevailing social realities. However, as open and flexible literature is, practitioners; writers and critics alike are advised to desist from arbitrariness. We conceive literature as something more than art for art sake not because such stance is wrong but because literature has other potent roles to play in human society. In this paper, we attempt to decode Sembène Ousmane'sLe Mandat with a view to unmasking the representations of a society in literary work. In other words, we demonstrate the relationships between Literature and Society, using faction as our theoretical back-up. The paper concludes that literature is a functional weapon for social criticism which will bring about sustainable developments in various human societies.

Analysis of the Relation between University Students' Life Positions and their Positive-Negative Affectivity PDF
Ahmet Ragıp ÖZPOLAT, İsa Yücel İŞGÖR, Sırrı AKBABA

This study aims at comparing relation between life positions and positive-negative affectivity of university students in Turkey. 271 university students participated in the study; 147 of these students were female while 124 of them were male.  Age range was 19-22.  Life Position Scale developed by Boholst, and adapted to Turkish by Ä°ÅŸgör, Özpolat and Kaygusuz was used in the study besides Positive-Negative Affectivity scale which was developed by Watson et al.; reliability and validity study of the scale was made by Gençöz. It was seen that Positive-Negative Affectivity changed according to Life Positions.

Beautifully Imperfect: Applying the Western Civil Society Model to Africa PDF
Mustapha Hashim Kurfi
The thrust of this paper is to show how theories of civil society may be altered by the inclusion of the case of Africa. In order to have a nuanced understanding of the subject matter, the article first traces the concept to some classical scholars, illustrating its dynamism by presenting postulates on the subject matter, and operationalizing it for discussion. It then provides some background to the African civil society, describing how it differs from the global North's, thereby having the potentials for altering the crude Western model when the case of the continent is included. Citing examples from Nigeria (West Africa), Egypt (North Africa), Somali (East Africa), and Zimbabwe (Southern Africa), the paper posits that the theories of civil society that are historically Western secular are beautiful and best fit in the societies where they were embebbed; yet, they alter by inclusion of the case of Africa. This is due to a number of factors including differences in history, nature of the states and their role, regime type, value-orientation, worldviews of the citizens, autonomy of the civil society, and the living conditions of the people. The essay concludes by demonstrating how expanding the study of civil society beyond Europe and North America changes how we look at African contexts and why it matters for societal outcomes. Thus, while studying civil society in the global South, we need to recognize multiple modernities, complexity of the target society, as well as differences in histories and cultural values.