Research Article
Evelyn K Yirbekyaa, Conrad-Joseph W Kuuder*, Issah Mohammed, Joseph Simons
Corresponding Author: Conrad-Joseph W Kuuder, University for Development Studies, Department of Ecotourism and Hospitality Management, Nyankpala Campus, Ghana.
Received: 16 October 2020; Revised: 28 October 2020; Accepted: 05 January 2021 Available Online: 11 February 2021
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This study was undertaken to explore the relevance of fieldtrips/tours to the educational curricula of Senior High Schools (SHS). In view of this, the attractions of interest mostly visited and formed the itinerary of students were sourced. The simple random method was used in selecting three public SHS each from educational circuits within the Tamale and Sagnarigu Educational Directorates. Students in the final year cohort formed the sample frame from which the stratified and simple random techniques were employed to obtain 180 students from whom data were sourced using questionnaire. Within the selected schools, the snowball sampling technique was used to elicit information from 9 teachers through the use of one on one In-depth Interview Schedules. SPSS was employed to analyse data while qualitative data were put into themes. The study revealed that fieldtrips were an efficient method of teaching making abstract concepts easier to grasp by students. Moreover, novelty, seeing new places, fun and socialisation including opportunities of “sponsored fieldtrips” were factors that motivated students to embark on tours. Funding was a noted challenge hampering schools’ ability to organize tours. Recommendations made were that the Ghana Education Service should enforce the integration of fieldtrips and educational tours into the SHS curricula while the Ministry of Education ought to sponsor the fieldtrip budgets of schools to enable many students relate theories learnt in class into real life situation.

Keywords: Senior high school, Fieldtrips, Educational tours, Student, Teachers
            Students have always found fieldtrips valuable as learning tools especially in social studies methodology courses (Cara & Nicole, 2016). Every year, scores of children of school going age and students of senior high schools participate in organized school fieldtrips and educational tours with peers and usually with the guidance of their teachers. These fieldtrips have been widely held as educationally beneficial to school children and can improve a student’s aspiration for science-related careers in particular (Gibson & Chase, 2002). Research has shown that school fieldtrips are important for enhancing school children’s science learning in particular by giving them genuine experiences, direct contact with real objects and simulating their curiosity and interest in the topic (Davidson, 2010; DeWitt & Hohenstein, 2010). Indeed, fieldtrips and educational tours help students interact with what they are learning. For instance in an agricultural science lesson, visiting a farm or a ranch and milking a real cow is a real life learning experience that cannot be replicated by reading a book (Frost, 2017).

A number of empirical studies have confirmed the benefits of fieldtrips both on a cognitive level and on an emotional level confirming the general agreement on the usefulness of fieldtrips as a part of the school curriculum (Zoldosova, 2006). A fieldtrip, which may also be termed as an instructional trip, school excursion, or school journey, is defined by (Krepel & Durral, 1981). as a school or class trip with an educational intent, in which students interact with the setting, displays and exhibits to gain an experiential connection to the ideas, concepts and subject matter. Other fieldtrips are organized for leisure in order to enable students have a break from the hustle and bustle of intense academic work in the school term or semester or normal college life (Smith & Fedesco, 2020).

            Fieldtrips are the typical school trips that most schools plan for their students, lasting anywhere from a few hours to 1-2 days while visiting certain learning sites. Educational tours are professionally planned tours that have been finely crafted based on the needs of the entire group. Essentially, an educational tour is an enhanced and upgraded version of the traditional fieldtrip. While the difference between a fieldtrip and an educational tour may seem unimportant, there are many ways that a professional tour organizer can enhance the learning and overall experience of any trip, making it well worth the time and money of every student involved Junior Tours, 2020. This study however wishes to go by the operational definition given by Junior Tours (2020) which says educational tour is an enhanced version of the traditional fieldtrip. It is quite impossible to engage students in a learning situation if that does not seem entertaining to them. An educational trip does not need to be boring and so much educative. It must help the students to also have a fun time. This fun tour can contribute to a better learning situation in the classroom after returning from the tour. The students need pleasure and relaxation in the midst of hectic and continuous lessons, homework and exams. Very often, if the tour takes place in a wildlife sanctuary or in a heritage city, the amusement of the students will reach a whole new level (Smith, 2019).

           The notion of travelling for educational purposes is actually not new (Gibson, 1998) and its popularity is only expected to increase (Holdnak & Holland, 1996). In Ghana it is not uncommon nowadays to see busloads of students with heaps of mattresses on the carrier of the vehicle in major towns, cities and districts heading elsewhere for the purpose of an excursion, fieldtrip or aneducational tour. Such organised tripslend credence to the popularity and rise in awareness of the relevance of fieldtours by students in Ghana in recent times. In 2012, for instance, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Artsin conjunction with the Ghana Education Service piloted a tour for 600 students of SHS (150 each) from the Greater Accra, Volta, Northern and Upper West Regions to tourist sites outside their respective regions to promote educational tours and also that of domestic tourism. The programme which was dubbed ‘Promotion of Domestic Tourism through Schools; Every Child, a Tourism Enthusiast’ was expected to expose the Ghanaian student and youth to the tourism potentials of Ghana particular, expose them to places of scientific and industrial interest (educational tours) and in addition promote national unity and cohesion among them as part of promoting domestic tours through School Travels Programme (Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, 2012). This laudable effort also sought to confirm the viewpoint of Margret Mead’s (1901-1978) assertion which says “A traveller who has left his home is wiser than he who has never left his own door steps”.
           Fieldtrips and educational tours are experiential, authentic social events that create a new way of knowing or learning about an object, concept, or operation (Scarce, 1997). Fieldtrips therefore widen the scope of understanding of students from the practical perspective and for that matter appreciate the subject or course taught in class. However, despite the growth of these educational forms of tourism, very little attention or focus has been provided by governments, relevant ministries, schools and education authorities to fieldtrips and educational tours or even excursions (Ritchie, 2003). It is in this wise that this study sought to explore the relevance of such opportunities of embarking on fieldtrips/educational tours to explore phenomena of interest in their fields of study or for adventure, the benefits they derive from visiting study sites, places of interest and the kinds of attractions they patronize. A problem that often debar a lot of students from participating in organised fieldtrips and educational tours is their inability to fund the cost associated with such trips. Alternatively, school authorities are equally unable to organize educational tours especially in subjects that require fieldtrips for the purposes to familiarisation notably in disciplines such as the sciences, geography including other business related courses, all due to funding related challenges. It is therefore imperative to explore whether students are able to afford the expenses associated with such educational tours or fieldtrips when these are organised in school. Finally, it is also worth ‘reconnoitring; whether there are functional institutional measures put in place by school authorities aimed at promoting educational tours to enable students in public SHS benefit? These are the issues this study sets out to uncover.

           Fieldtrips and educational tours make cumbersome and abstract things easy to fathom by students without any ambiguity. The relevance of a successful educational tour organization relies in the fact that there is the need to consult a reputable tour operator in order to help plan so that the objectives of the trip are met (Kamat, 2018). It is expected that this study would expose perceptions on educational tours by both students and teachers alike in the study areas (Tamale and Sagnarigu Educational Directorates) and how the organizers go about their “rendezvous” which would all help inform the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, the Ghana Education Service, including other relevant development partners in education (NGOs) on the kind of management tools and strategies to adopt to enlighten, aid and teach students to develop interest in visiting places of educational interest in the country. Finally, this study adds to knowledge coming from the backdrop of the fact that not much attention and focus is being paid now a days to educational institutions in terms of the necessity of educational tours in our school curricula, thus, calling for the need to “whip up” interest for such “tourism related” school trips, despite the rise in educational forms of tourism in the world (Ritchie, 2003).


Fieldtrips/educational tours are essential components of any serious educational structure for both students and tutors. In fact, fieldtrips have become mandatory for one to embark on in order to “get out of” the confines of the classroom to unique locations for knowledge, to comprehend abstract topics and also for purposes of enjoyment among others. According to Youth Learn Initiative at Education Development Centre (2012), fieldtrips are a great way to bring excitement and adventure to learning. Indeed, educational tours very often are aimed at enriching, revitalizing and complementing content areas of the curriculum by means of first hand observation and direct experience outside the classroom (Aggarwal, 2008; Tal & Morag, 2009). Described educational tours as student experiences outside of the classroom at interactive locations designed for educational purposes. Educational tours take students to locations that are unique and cannot be duplicated in the classroom. Each student observes natural settings and creates personally relevant meaning to the experience. Interactive exhibits help students play with concepts and other activities often not possible in the classroom. Earlier course content suddenly becomes relevant as students assimilate and accommodate new understanding and cognition (Lei, 2010).

           In an attempt to save money and time from preparation and travelling, some educational institutions choose to use their school’s computers and take digital fieldtrips (National Research Council, 2009).Fieldtrips are experiential, authentic social events that create a new way of knowing an object, concept, or operation (Scarce, 1997). Quality experiences lead to deeper learning and interest development (NRC, 2009).According to Randy Wilhelm as cited in (Shakil, Faizi & Hafeez, 2011). “A fieldtrip is a substantive way to expand student’s horizons and allow them to learn experientially.” And every student who directly participates during a field experience generate a more positive attitude about the subject (Nadelson & Jordan, 2012).

           Non-school related informal fieldtrips/ educational tours such as those undertaken as family activities, also contribute significantly to children’s science knowledge (Rennie & McClafferty, 1995), although science knowledge and interest acquired at home may be compromised if much of the experience occurs through the media such as television and the internet, in which the children may have difficulty determining reality from entertainment. According to Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) “the knowledge of the world can only be acquired in the world and not in a closet. Books will never teach you but they will suggest many things to your observations”. This statement thus emphasises the relevance of fieldtrips in every educational setting of which every student or pupil must be a prime beneficiary.

           A fieldtrip with a single focus will provide a potential impact to students’ cognitive skills, knowledge, interests and future career aspirations (Hutson, Cooper, & Talbert, 2011). Students on field tours sharpen their skills of observation and perception by utilizing all their senses (Nabors, Edwards & Murray, 2009). Students develop a positive attitude for learning, motivating them to develop connections between the theoretical concepts in the classroom and what has been experienced (Hudak, 2003).Outdoor educational tours for instance provide an opportunity for students to develop increased perception, a greater vocabulary and an increased interest in the outdoors (Hoisington, Savleski, & DeCosta, 2010). These developed interests stimulate curiosity, empowering students to ask questions, discuss observations, consider past experiences, or simply ponder the topic (NRC, 2009).

           When on a fieldtrip, the venue is not the only location that affects students, they also gain knowledge and understanding about their neighbourhoods and communities as they travel from the school to the fieldtrip or educational tour venue (Nabors, Edwards & Murray, 2009). and upon arrival at the venue, students are sometimes disoriented resulting in excited, explorative, and unrestrained behaviour (Falk et. al., 1978). Moreover, personal connections are important in environmental related curricula, not only because students gain understanding through the connections, but also by developing emotional connections to the subject matter. Increasing awareness and care leads to increasing passion for the subject matter, no matter whether it concerns the environment, animals, or a social situation (Tal & Morag, 2009; Variano & Taylor, 2006). With increased interest or passion, learning is promoted as students conduct deeper observations, give in to curiosity and conduct simple investigations, discuss the subject matter with peers and teachers, and construct more abstract connections (Falk & Dierking, 2000).

           It is however also noted that, benefits from fieldtrips/educational tours are not guaranteed. Fieldtrips are not meant to be short term teaching instruments. Students may acquire short term learning, but without reinforcement from reflection or debriefing, the learning or interest development may only be temporary. Short term memory does not constitute learning (Dierking & Falk, 1997). In contrast, (Farmer, Knapp & Benton, 2007). Suggested that one year after a well-orchestrated fieldtrip experience, many students remembered what they had seen and heard, and displayed a newly developed pro-science attitude. If fieldtrips are organized properly, students will build long term memories of the tour experiences, especially among high school and college students (Wilson, 2011).

               Teachers are also beneficiaries of fieldtrips and educational tours. (Aggarwal, 2003). Describes how field trips aid teachers to clarify, establish, co-relate and coordinate accurate concepts, interpretations and appreciations and enable the make learning more concrete, effective, interesting, inspirational, meaningful and vivid. Therefore, educational field tours are helpful in completing the triangular process of learning, which is motivation, clarification and stimulation. (Dillon, Morris, Donnell, Reid, Rickinson, & Scott, 2005). Noted that with fieldtrips, teacher and student relationships develop or improve, and teachers may gain new perspectives and ideas of how to teach the subject matter in a more experiential manner. Students generate greater understanding as teachers develop potential connections through reflection (Kisiel, 2006).

Attractions for fieldtrips will usually cover natural sites, man-made facilities, science research centres, businesses or destinations of provincial scope/ interest that generate visitation from outside the immediate/local area. These attraction sites also offer outdoor, educational, scientific, natural, cultural, heritage or entertainment experiences. An attraction’s primary purpose is to provide the student/visitor with an experiential product designed to satisfy their travelling needs (Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004). A number of commentators agree that attractions for instance provide the core elements for the development of the tourism product of a destination or for students to go on a fieldtrip/ educational tour (Pearce, 1998). Visits to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Wadi Al-Hitan in Egypt and Lake Turkana National Park in Kenya among others arenatural tourist and study sites of interest to students interested in environmental studies (UNESCO, 2014).Such attractions thus serve two key functions in the tourism system: they stimulate interest in travel to a destination and they provide visitor satisfaction (Ngwira, 2018).

           Ghana has a rich natural treasure made up of about 16 National Parks, Resource Reserves and Wildlife Sanctuaries, which are open throughout the year. From the savannah to the coastal plains, the dense tropical forest and the grassland of the north to the life giving water bodies, which criss-cross the country, distinct forms of wildlife abound. Some of these resources are dispersed all over the country–Buabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary that contains Mona monkeys and black and white Colobus monkeys, the Kintampo and Fula waterfalls and Tano sacred grove all in the Brong Ahafo Region. Boti falls and Aburi Botanical gardens in the eastern region are also key in terms of natural attraction in the country. Probably the most popular park in Ghana is the Mole National Park in terms of animal stock (Akyeampong, 2006). in the northern part of the country which is definitely a top attraction in terms of biodiversity study and the chief patrons of the facility are students from secondary and tertiary levels alike (Kuuder, 2013). In Ghana again, mention can also be made of popular festivals like Homowo, Hogbetsotso, Aboakyer, Odwira, Akwasidae, Damba, Fire (Bugum Chugu) festival, Kobine, Samampeed, Kakube and Gologo. Very often the districts in which some of these festivals are celebrated, the basic and senior high schools are given mid-term breaks to enable them partake. Historic sites in the country include Larabanga Mosque, Larabanga Mystery Stone, the Gwollu and Nalerigu Slave Raid Defence Walls, the Navrongo Catholic Cathedral and museum, Okomfo Anokye’s sword, Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, the WEB Du Bois Centre and the Balme Library which are important centres of learning to the history student on tour (GTA, 2014). Cultural tours and attractions cover a wide range of activities such as: visits to cultural festivals or cultural sites, long duration of tours constructed around a cultural theme (museums, performing arts centres, archaeological and historical sites, religious centres and zoos) and a combination of features focusing on historic, cultural and/or heritage elements (Bonn, Mathews, Dai, Hayes & Cave, 2007). The Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont (Italy), Red Bay Basque Whaling Station (Canada), Monumental Earthworks of Poverty Point (USA), Margravial Opera House Bayreuth (Germany), among others are examples of cultural attractions that are also of interest to students (UNECSO, 2014). Students therefore prefer to expand their knowledge of the world, actually being there, seeing it, touching it and experiencing it (Krause, Hartley, James, & Mclnnis, 2005). In this regard, (Scarce,1997), clearly stated that educational tours can stimulate new both learning, improve attitude towards science, trigger interest development, and provide many rewards to the teacher and the students.

The reasons why people choose a destination over another have been the topic of many researchers and are important considerations for both planners and managers of the travel and tourism industry in particular (Phanthi, 2010). Indeed, one of the factors that influences learning during fieldtrips has to do with novelty, that is, meeting a new phenomenon all together and this serves as an incentive to the youth (Pauw, Hoof & Petegem, 2019). Nevertheless, motives underlined by research of why nature study in particularis the fastest growing segment in particular are; widespread changing environmental attitude, development of environmental mass media and environmental education (Lindgerg, Wood, Stipek & Engeldrum, 1998). Makes a strong case for strengthening the degree of intrinsic motivation students feel for learning. While she does not argue for the complete elimination of extrinsic reward systems, she believes that there are many benefits to maximizing intrinsic motivation and many ways to foster it. She identifies four perspectives from which intrinsic motivation can be viewed: competency motivation, curiosity, autonomy, and internalized motivation. Recently, the average level of formal educational attainment is rising globally for both male and female. Literacy is increasing too, particularly in less developed countries. Higher educational levels are strongly correlated with demand for outdoor recreation activities, and lead to changes in the patterns of recreation and tourism (Eagles, McCool & Haynes, 2002). Also, understanding natural history and ecology-has gained increasing attention in secondary and tertiary level of outdoor education courses in Australia (Müller & Stewart, 2009). Similarly, teaching and learning natural history shares subject matter with the more traditional disciplines of ecology and geography, their approach, in line with a number of authors underlines the need for local specificity in nature-focused programmes as an alternative to the universalist conceptions of nature which usually characterize teaching in formal scientific disciplines (Pyle, 2008).


In as much as fieldtrips are imperative in the educational cycle for both students or pupils and teachers alike, there are barriers to its organization. Michie (1998) identified seven barriers to successful fieldtrips and educational organisation: (i) Transportation; (ii) Teacher training and experience; (iii) Time issues such as school schedule and teacher’s ability to prepare; (iv) Lack of school administrator support for fieldtrips; (v) Curriculum inflexibility; (vi) Poor student behaviour and attitudes; and (vii) Lack of venue options.(Behrendt & Franklin, 2014). Also noted that fieldtrips and educational tours have become less common due to limited funding and limited available time due to each school systems’ focus on standardized testing. Similarly, lack of support from the school administration and parents, curriculum inflexibility, difficulty in accessing transportation (including cost), unwillingness on the part of the receiving institutions and companies to receive visitors, and inadequacy of resources and venues have also been found to be the most important challenges militating against the use of fieldtrips as a teaching and learning strategy (Kwakye, 2016).
(Zaleskienė, Dobkevičienė & Džiovėnienė, 2007), who identified the problems associated with organising excursions or tourism related trips, espoused problems associated with financial expenses, because not every family or foster-parents can afford to send their children on a trip. Some teachers on the other hand have little training or pedagogical knowledge relating to the process of fieldtrip planning and preparation (Tal & Morag, 2009). In spite of these many field experiences, preservice teachers generally are not taught the pedagogy or methods necessary to plan and orchestrate a fieldtrip or an educational tour (Kisiel, 2006). However, once at the venue, even though the majority of the activities are the responsibility of the venue’s exhibits or staff members, the teacher is ultimately responsible for all that happens, so the teacher needs to maintain control of the students and chaperones (Kisiel, 2006). For this reason, teacher education programmes should include experiential education, and fieldtrip preparation and implementation for all preservice teachers, who need to understand their responsibilities and role before, during and after a fieldtrip (Tal & Morag, 2009). Because all aspects of the trip’s success are directly or indirectly dependent on the teacher (Millan, 1995). Finally, just as professional development is necessary to train teachers how to present a new curriculum, professional development focusing upon field tripswould help teachers understand the necessity of preplanning, participation and student reflection as far as preparing to go on such educational tours are concerned (Dori & Herscovitz, 2005).


This survey was carried out in the Tamale Metropolis and Sagnarigu Municipality respectively in the Northern Region of Ghana. There are seven (7) and four (4) public senior high schools (SHS) within the Tamale Metropolis and Sagnarigu Municipality respectively. SHS in Tamale Metropolis are shown in Table 1. While SHS, within the Sagnarigu Municipality are listed in Table 2.

Simple random sampling method was employed to select a school from each circuit by equal chance during the survey. Names of schools were written on pieces of paper where schools were chosen by lucky dip. Six (6) schools were chosen out of eleven (11) SHS, three (3) each from Tamale and Sagnarigu directorates respectively. The population for this study was made up of students of the third year cohorts bearing in mind that they had stayed their full length in campus life and therefore should be able to elaborate better on where they have gone to on educational tours and thus better positioned to talk on the challenges and benefits. Stratified sampling was used to select final year pure science and final year arts students pursuing geography. The reason for choosing this strata is that they were more prone to undertaking fieldtrips and educational tours due to the demands of their programme. These classes were again stratified into males and females where simple random sampling was employed in the selection of the male students. The female students in each class were given a preference for inclusion in the study because the total number of male students far outnumbered that of the female especially in the mixed schools. The totals of the cohorts of both programmes (Science and Geography) was sourced in all study schools and a 10% cap was put in order to select respondents. Snowball sampling was used to select teachers where by teachers with fieldtrip experience nominated other teachers with similar experiences to take part in the study. Table 3 shows how the sampling was done for the students in the selected schools.

For the purpose of this research, both primary and secondary data were collected and utilised. Secondary data consulted included reports on number of schools within the Tamale Metropolitan and the Sagnarigu Municipality Directorates of Education. Other secondary sources included literature relating to the study sourced from journal articles and books. Primary sources of data, on the other hand, were gathered through self-administered questionnaires for students and the use of In-depth Interviews for teachers. In all, 180 questionnaires were administered and retrieved. In each school visited, contacts were first established with the senior housemaster who was able to refer the team to at least a teacher who had been involved in organising field tours before. Some of these teachers we contacted were also able to refer us to others (snowball) who had been in the forefront of such related trips. Three teachers each were contacted in each institution and their responses were sought through In-depth Interview.


The study adopted a cohort study design approach, having selected a number of students within same year groups in selected schools within two administrative jurisdictions to explore their viewpoints on the discourse…..fieldtrips, the benefits emanating and the challenges encountered. According to Yin (2003), such study designs involves data analysis consisting of examining, categorizing, tabulating, testing or otherwise recombining both quantitative and qualitative evidence to address the initial propositions of a study (Jackson, 2009). In the current study, quantitative analysis was utilized for the student responses, supported with some verbal explanations. The responses of teachers were qualitatively and themed to augment the quantitative responses.


Demographic characteristics of students
One hundred and eighty (180) respondents were contacted in this study, with 94(53%) being male and 86(47%) female. On age distribution of respondents, the study revealed that44% of respondents contacted were below 18 years, 54% were within the ages of 18 and 20 and the remaining 2% were above 20years. Table 5 illustrates the age distribution of respondents contacted in the selected SHS while Table 6 portrays the parental/guardian backgrounds of the students understudy with Table 7 depicting the professions of parents of the students.

The study indicated that 80% of the respondents contacted had ever embarked on a fieldtrip/tour before. All 80% indicated they had an opportunity to go on an educational tour organised at the school level by the students themselves but accompanied by a subject master. From each school, all have indicated science students have had opportunities to travel out to places of scientific research interest. Others indicated they had an opportunity to go on tour but that opportunity came under the auspices of their family or church, while others had sponsorship opportunities by some NGOs that sponsored the trip. However, 20% of the remaining respondents had never travelled for the purpose of fieldtrip or tour on campus but had benefitted from such at home with their parents and were very sure they could respond on the relevance of fieldtrips in contemporary times.
About 80%of respondents attested to the fact that fieldtrips and educational tours were beneficial, and should be included in the SHS curriculum. Close to 9% of the respondents were not sure if they benefited from the trip while the remaining 11%indicated they did not benefit from the trips they undertook. A teacher in Tamale SHS during an IDI on the benefits of fieldtrips dropped this hint:
As a teacher, there were instances whereby I noticed average performing students doingbetter than the brilliant ones during fieldtrips and its subsequent impact on performance in class. There are instances when we go on fieldtrips, students who are always quite in class are noted to be in the forefront asking relevant questions to grasp concepts taught. I witnessed this when we went on tour to the Navrongo Research Institute.


The study revealed that most students took much interest in visiting natural attractions and close to 57% affirmed this. Other attractions visited dubbed man-made attracted (32%) whilst places of scientific or research interest enticed 11% of respondents (Table 8). The natural attractions most patronised were listed as Kintampo Waterfalls, Kakum National Park, Kumasi Zoological Gardens, Mountain Afadjato, Buabeng Fiema Monkey Sanctuary and Lake Volta all in the southern half of the country. Natural sites visited in northern Ghana included Larabanga Mystery Stone, Paga Crocodile Pond and Mole National Park. Others had also taken trips to, Tongo Hills, the Black Volta, the White Volta, Gbelle Game Reserve and the Wechiau-Hippo Sanctuary. These responses came largely from students pursuing geography.

Man-made attractions visited were Larabanga Mosque, Tamale Sports Stadium, Nalerigu Naa Jaringa Wall, Salaga slave market, Nannia Slave Camp in Paga all in northern Ghana while the made-made attractions visited in the southern part of Ghana were noted as follows: Cape Coast and Elmina Castles. Tarkoradi Harbour, the National Theatre, Parliament House, Flag Staff House, Accra Sports Stadium and the Manhyia Palace. The Centres of Scientific Research listed as places visited for science based learning were the Nuguchi Memorial Research Centre in Accra and for the northern sector field trips were reportedly made to Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) and the CSIR Water Research Institute. Table 8 shows the attractions visited by students and teachers while on tour.

About 43% of the respondents were motivated to go on tours due to their quest for novelty (seeing new places and things) while close to 20%travelled for educational purposes. Some travelled just for fun and socialisation (15%) while 14%travelled due to influence from peers and encouragement from their teachers as well as advertisement made within the school grounds about the impending fieldtrip or tour. Finally, 8% of the respondents travelled because the fieldtrip or tour was sponsored by an NGO/Government/or from their parents. Figure 1 depicts the factors motivating students to travel.

Students gave reasons for the non-participation of their peers in fieldtrips or for the purposes of educational tourism both at home and in school and attributed it mainly to lack of financial capability because the fares associated with such trips were usually expensive and their parents could not easily afford. Moreover, the students who also had the opportunity to join their peers on tours never found it easy because they had difficulty convincing parents to buy into their decisions. Some students explained as follows:
“It was so difficult convincing my daddy to send money to register for our last educational tour we undertook. They often indicated that times were hard and reminded us of the fact that we had other siblings who were equally schooling at the basic level and for whom they had to pay fees and also feed at home”
A teacher interviewed at the St. Charles Boys SHS explained some of the problems encountered as follows:
Organising tours for our students is not easy. Some of the problems we sometimes encounter include; lack of funds, transportation problems due to the fact that sometimes the buses do breakdown in the middle of the trip. Sometimes difficulty in obtaining permission from the ultimate authority, tight school schedules and bad attitude of students when on the tripall   serveas disincentives to organising such educational tours.

Despite the difficulties however, some tutors knowing the difficulty associated with accessing funds for such trips are able to manoeuvre and work through development agencies that have vested interests in youth education to attain solutions. A tutor at the Northern School of Business (Tamale) explains as follows:
In terms of accessing external support, we sometimes write to some organizations (NGOs) to support some school based clubs organise fieldtrips and tours to places of interest.  We have received support from some benevolent NGOs in that effort and such payments come either in full coverage of the budget or sometimes they cater for half the fare for the excursion/tourand the students cater for the rest.


From the study, about 53% of the respondents were male students and the remaining 47% surveyed were female. The increase in female enrolment in recent times in secondary education may be attributed to the awakening of the importance of education in the life of every individual. It may also be due to the support from NGOs such as Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) in the form of scholarships to needy but brilliant female students at the basic level. Again governments’ flagship policy of free SHS might also account for the rise in females accessing education at the secondary level. This confirms the findings of Eagles et. al. (2002) that the average level of formal educational attainment is raising globally for both male and female and the northern region is no exception. The study also found out that near equal proportion of females took interest in going on educational tours.
With regard to age distribution of respondents, and for instance in Tamale Girls SHS, majority of the respondents contacted (60%) were below 18 years. This seems to confirm the finding of Crompton (1979) that majority of those travelling from the USA and Europe are those below age 18. The remaining 40% were between the ages of 18 and 20. However, the trends in the other SHS showed the opposite whereby majority of the respondents were between the ages of 18 and 20 followed by those below 18 and with those above 20 years being the least. This may due to late start of formal education by these respondents. On the educational background of the students’ parents/guardians, the study revealed that 38% of the parents/guardians had no formal education, followed by 34% who had tertiary education, while 20% had secondary education with the remaining 14% who had only basic education as showed in table 6. Close to 38% with no formal education means that only few would have been in formal government employments and so a possible difficulty in doling out money to wards for such educational journeys.
Taking a cursory look at profession of parents/guardian of the respondents, the study revealed that 37% were traders, constituting the majority, followed by 31% being civil servants, with 26% being farmers and the remaining 6% were “others” such as driver, carpenters and masons As a result of the fact that all students at the second cycle institution were totally dependent on their parents or guardians for financial sustenance, coupled with the fact that most parents were found to be on irregular income gave a clue that the situation will have an effect on the student’s financial disposition and their ability to pay for organised educational tours. This seems to corroborate the finding of (Zaleskienė, Dobkevičienė, & Džiovėnienė, 2007), who identified the problems associated with the organisation of excursionsnotably financial expenses, because not every family or foster-parent could afford to send their wards on a trip.
The study revealed that all respondents (students) contacted had gone on an excursion or tour with their families, churches, school club or had benefited from a tour that is organised by an NGO. Close to 20% of the students surveyed in the study had never travelled with any of the groups above for the purpose of a tour or fieldtrip but have had an opportunity to travel with their parents for other occasions which they classify as a tour. The travelling for educational purposes lends credence to the notion that travelling for educational purposes is not new (Gibson, 1998). and its popularity is only expected to increase (Holdnak & Holland, 1996).especially amongst students interested in travels for purposes of knowledge acquisition, enlightenment and excitement that comes with such trips. From the study, close to 89% of the respondents attested to the benefits of excursion/ tours being enormous while 11% indicated otherwise. In explaining the benefits of engaging in educational tours/fieldtrips, a final year student of geographyin Kalpohin SHS explained as follows:
“I realized the difference in vegetation between the northern sector of Ghana and that of the southern sector. We have learned about the savannah vegetation and the forest vegetation, but our journey to parliament house offered me an opportunity to see the forest vegetation at first hand when we transited through the savannah vegetation into the forest belt”.
This students’ explanation goes to support the viewpoint of (Nabors, Edwards & Murray, 2009). Who noted in the literature that students on fieldtrips and other educational tours sharpen their skills of observation and perception by utilizing all their senses? It further goes to support the assertion of (Hudak, 2003). Who noted that students develop a positive attitude for learning, motivating them to develop connections between the theoretical concepts in the classroom and what has been experienced in the larger environment when on tour. In buttressing the discussion, (Hoisington, Sableski & DeCosta, 2010). Also noted that outdoor fieldtrips provided an opportunity for students to develop increased perception, a greater vocabulary, and an increased interest in the outdoors and these developed interests stimulate curiosity, empowering students to ask questions, discuss observations, consider past experiences, or simply ponder over the topic.
Lastly, students also gain knowledge and understanding about their neighbourhoods and communities as they travel from the school on a fieldtrip. In an IDI with a teacher from Tamale Girls SHS, he explained the benefits of fieldtrips as follows:
Science students saw practically what was taught theoretically in the classroom when we had the opportunity to go to Nuguchi Research Centre in Accra, they were taken through the practical demonstrations. This stimulates their interest in learning.
The assertion of this teacher seems to confirm the findings of (Aggarwal, 2003). Who posited that fieldtrips aid teachers to clarify, establish, co-relate and coordinate accurate concepts, interpretations and appreciations and enable them make learning more concrete, effective, interesting, inspirational, meaningful and vivid. Therefore, educational fieldtrips are helpful in completing the triangular process of learning that is motivation, clarification and stimulation. Again, students generate greater understanding as teachers develop potential connections through reflection as stated by (Kisiel, 2006). Indeed, fieldtrips make abstract concepts real, solves the struggles of teachers in teaching those concepts and makes their work easier, clarifies the ambiguity of students and above all, they are an effective and efficient teaching tool.
The remaining 11% of the respondents who claimed they did not benefit from the trips however affirmed the positing of (Dierking & Falk, 1997). Who noted that the benefits from fieldtrips are not guaranteed as students go on tour. They explained it may be attributed to the fact that upon arrival at the destination, students were often disoriented resulting in excited, explorative, and unrestrained behavior or not seeing what they expected (Falk, et al., 1978).
“I did not see what I expected when we went on an educational tour to Kakum National Park. I wanted to see the forest elephant but I was told I had to camp overnight in the park and even if I did camp it was not a guarantee”.
Theafore mentioned were the words of a geography student in Northern School of Business SHS. Students’ anticipation not met might also result in students not benefiting from educational tours and fieldtrips as in the above. It may be due to inadequate preparation on the part of the teacher or school authorities because all aspects of the trip’s success are directly or indirectly dependent on the teacher and the facility to be visited (Millan, 1995). As in the case of Kakum.
The study revealed close to 57% of the respondents visited natural attractions with 32% visiting man-made attractions. The rest (11%) took interest in visiting scientific research centres as shown in table 8. Natural attractions were the most cherished by respondents as a result of their encounter with unique but diverse ecosystem species which seems to exemplify the views of Steele, et. al. (1992) who observed that, beautiful species and ecosystems are what drew people to natural areas. It further confirms that nature-based tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the global tourism industry (OECD, 2009) and this is as a result of widespread changing environmental attitude, development of environmental mass media and environmental education (Lindgerg, Wood, & Engeldrum, 1998). Man-made attractions were also of interest and thus visited by the respondents and this also seems to confirm the notion that understanding natural history and ecology - has gained increasing attention in secondary and tertiary level of outdoor education courses (Müller & Stewart, 2009). Scientific research centres such as the Water Research Institute which were of interest to 11% of respondents served as teaching and study facilities where materials of instruction handled by other experts other than their own teachers also sought to explain concepts and theories and how to practicalize the work they do for the larger society thus helping to stimulate up their interest in learning.
Close to 43% of the respondents are motivated to go on tours as a result of their quest for novelty (seeing new places and interacting with new things) and this confirms the element of curiosity to travel (Stipek, 1988). And motive to experience the environment (Morrison & Rutledge, 1998).About 20% of the respondents travelled for educational purpose and this included those mostly interested in visiting places of scientific interest. Some travelled for fun and socialisation (15% attested). This offered them the opportunity to break away from the bustle life associated with their academic life on campus. This also confirms the finding of (Eagles, McCool, & Haynes, 2002). That higher educational levels are strongly correlated with demand for outdoor recreation activities. Furthermore, 14% of the respondents travelled due to influence from peers and teachers as well as advertisement about a fieldtrip or tour on campus with 8%of respondents utilizing fieldtrips because the tour was sponsored by an NGO/Government/School. This confirms the finding that motivations are thus the basis of all travel behaviour (Fodness, 1994). Including travelling and it is the driving force which compels an individual to take action (Schiffman & Kanuk, 2004). Including students and teachers.
The respondents also indicated that, students who had never travelled for the purposes of educational tours attributed it to lack of money because not every family or foster-parent could afford to send their wards on such a trip if not sponsored as attested to by (Zaleskienė, Dobkevičienė, & Džiovėnienė, 2007). Finally, the financial constraints and tight schools’ schedule, lack of support from school authorities and receiving centres posed problems in fieldtrip organization which corroborates the findings of (Behrendt & Franklin,2014; Kwakye, 2016). That fieldtrips have become less common due to limited funding and limited available time due to each school’s systems.
To students, educational tours and fieldtrips disabuse their minds about a particular people, culture or place whilst appreciating nature, the people and their culture. This study revealed that respondents took interest in natural sites, man-made sites and places of scientific interest. Hence further findings in this study portrayed that fieldtrips are some of the most efficient methods of teaching and the surest way to knowledge acquisition considering the fact that teachers were unable to teach everything with regard to academic and personal life style. To the teacher, abstract things taught in the classroom are better explained to the student on field study or tour. Much was therefore gained practically in the field through such trips. Invariably, novelty (seeing places and interacting with new things), travelling for educational purposes, travelling for fun and socialisation, recommendation about the trip (from peers) and the opportunity of benefiting from sponsored fieldtrips were the factors that motivated them thereby enabling respondents to embark on educational tours. However, the fact that fieldtrips and educational tours presented benefits to both teachers and students alike, did not mean that such trips posed no challenges in second cycle schools. Inadequate financial support from parents and guardians coupled with other transportation challenges such as frequent breakdown of school coaches whilst on the trip amidst tight school/academic schedules made it difficult to plan or even make time for such tours.
The study hereby recommends that:
Fieldtrips should be integrated into SHS curriculum and possibly funded by the free SHS secretariat or the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND). SHS should liaise with the Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education so that they are provided with better means of transport. This can also be done in collaboration with the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of the second cycle institutions who can support second cycle schools in the purchase of befitting transport modes for use by the school. Furthermore, patrons/patronesses of school-based clubs should make these attractive and interesting through seeking sponsorships from organisations in order to meet the travel needs of the club.
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