The purpose of this study was to compare students' enrolment and graduate output in Home Economics with other Vocational subjects in the Colleges of Education in Nigeria. The target population included twenty (20) Federal Colleges and twenty-seven (27) State Colleges of Education offering eight Vocational and Technical disciplines during the 2001/2002, 2002/2003 academic sessions. Two research questions were formulated. The design of this study was ex-post-facto and descriptive in nature. The instrument used was the data got from the digest of statistics on Colleges of Education in Nigeria for 2001/2002, 2002/2003. The data was analysed using means, frequencies and percentages. Findings revealed an increase in students' enrolment from 39426 to 43168 in the eight Vocational/Technical subjects for the years under review. 55.9% (24115) of the students were females. Findings also revealed that Business Education, Agricultural education and Home Economics ranked first, second and third respectively. Woodwork ranked last, with Metal Work, Electrical Electronic, Secretarial Studies and Technical Education in that order. Findings also revealed an increase of 1710 (14%) NCE graduates in the period under investigation. Finding revealed a 96% female graduate output in Home Economics in the two years under review, followed by 76% for Secretarial Studies. The last was Metal Work with an average graduate output of 09%. Following these findings some recommendations were made.
Access in terms of students' enrolment in tertiary education is a major area of concern in Nigeria today. A look at the demand for and the supply of places at the university level revealed that only 10.75% of the 467,490 candidates who applied for admission during the 2000/2001 school year were granted admission (Edu. Sector Status Report, 2003). The same report revealed that only about 25% of the 130,000 applicants were offered admission at the Polytechnic level. The situation was remarkably better at the College of Education level where about 75% of the 6,672 applicants were admitted. From this report it becomes clear that University Education is the first choice of most Nigerian students seeking admission into Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria. The second choice is Polytechnic Education and College of Education is the third choice.
At the College of Education level, low participation of men is reflected in pronounced gender inequity to the disadvantage of men. This has been supported by data provided by Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB, 2004) from 1996 to 2002. At the University and Polytechnic levels of education, the reverse is the case, what we find is a low participation of women as against men in most of the academic disciplines.
In Colleges of Education in Nigeria, Home Economics is one of the Vocational and Technical subjects offered. The other subjects include Agricultural Education, Business Education and Secretarial Education. Others include Electrical Electronics Education, metalwork, Technical Education and Woodwork. The first three subject areas including Home Economics are referred to as the "soft" areas of Vocational Education while the other four subject areas are best described as the "hard" Vocational subject areas, (Arubayi, 2003). In terms of gender access, there appear to be more female representation than males in the "soft" Vocational subject areas while the reverse is the case in the "hard" Vocational subject areas.
This assertion is supported by the fact that women are predominant only in the non-scientific and non-technical disciplines in the universities (Educ. Sector Report, 2004). This is also the case at the Colleges of Education level. Even amongst the "soft" Vocational subject areas, Home Economics stands out as a discipline with high gender barrier to male entrants when compared to other subjects, (Arubayi, 2004). This therefore creates a real educational development challenge to curriculum experts and educational planners in Nigeria. …