EDUCATIONAL SERVICES, TEACHER QUALITY AND STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN PUBLIC SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS, NORTH CENTRAL ZONE, NIGERIA
Educational services refer to the services available for teachers to improve their quality and promote teacher effectiveness in the school system, while teacher quality is a degree of excellence especially as it relates to high level of competency and worth of teachers. Specifically, the study examined the extent to which provision and utilization of educational services relate to teacher quality and students’ academic performance.
Correlational survey design was adopted and it was conducted ex-post facto. Simple random sampling technique was used to select 3,360 participants out of 8,800 target population, (3080 teachers and 280 principals). The respondents were selected from 280 (35%) Schools out of the 800 Public Senior Secondary Schools in the North Central Zone, of Nigeria as at the time of this study. Three researcher-designed instruments, namely, Availability of Educational Services Questionnaire (AESQ), Teacher Quality Assessment Questionnaire (TQAQ), and Students’ Academic Performance Proforma (SAPP), were used to collect relevant data for the study. The instruments were validated by six experts in Educational Management, Science Education, Measurement and Evaluation and Statistics. The coefficients of reliability of AESQ and TQAQ after a three week test-retest were found to be 0.75 and 0.78 respectively. Six research questions and nine hypotheses were formulated and tested. Means and Percentage were used to answer the research questions raised. Multiple regression analysis was used to test the main hypothesis. In addition, Pearson Product Moment Correlation Statistical Methods were used to test the operational hypotheses, all at 0.05 significance level.
The findings revealed that provision of library service, computer services and education resource centers services were found to be grossly inadequate (22%, 37% and 38%) as indicated by the teacher responses. The average success rate of students in West African Senior Schools Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) from 2004 to 2008 was 12.0%. The Fitted Multiple Regression Model was significant at α = 0.05, indicating that there was significant relationship among educational services, teacher quality and students’ academic performance (p-value < 0.05, R2 = 0.51). The hypotheses tested indicated that there was significant and positive relationship among the provision of library services, supervision of instruction, teachers’ in- service training and students academic performance (r=0.54, p < 0.05 and r=0.52, p < 0.05 and r = 0.70, p < 0.05) respectively. The results further showed that there was a significant, positive and strong relationship among the use of computer aided instruction, education resource centre services, teacher academic qualification and students’ academic performance (r = 0.54; p < 0.05; r = 0.80, p < 0.05 and r = 0.53, p < 0.05) respectively. The result further indicated that there was a significant, positive and strong relationship among teachers’ professional qualifications, teachers’ experience and students’ academic performance (r = 0.71, p < 0.05 and r = 0.73, p < 0.05) respectively.
The implication of these findings was that students’ academic performance cannot be determined with a single factor of teacher quality alone but may be determined by the extent to which a combination of educational services are concurrently provided for them. Based on the findings of this study, it was recommended, among others, that old students’ association, philanthropists and well meaning individuals in the society should assist in the provision of essential educational services like libraries and computer laboratories for effective teaching and learning. Also the acquisition of computer skills should be the basis for promotion for secondary school teachers. Periodic review of remuneration of teachers should be given top priority but it must be based on teachers’ and students’ performance.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Education is globally-accepted as the most viable tool for sustainable human development. It is equally an indispensable tool for enhancing economic growth and national development. Education is seen as the cornerstone of every development forming the basis for literacy, skill acquisition, technological advancement as well as the ability to harness the natural resources of the state.
Participants in the World Conference on “Education for All” in Jomtien (2006) pointed out that education is a fundamental right of all people, women and men of all ages throughout the world. It helps to ensure a safer, healthier, more prosperous and environmentally-sound world. It is an indispensable key for personal and social improvement. UNESCO (1990) has however pointed out that the current provision of education is seriously deficient and that it must be made more relevant, qualitatively improved and universally available. In recognition of the inestimable value of education,
the Nigerian Government has adopted education as an instrument par excellence for effecting national development. Thus, education is viewed as an instrument for building a free and democratic society, a just and egalitarian society, a united strong and self-reliant nation and a great and dynamic economy (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004).
In order to attain these national aspirations, secondary schools are expected to provide quality instructions that will be oriented towards inculcating values of respect for the worth and dignity of individuals; ability to make rational decisions; moral and spiritual values in interpersonal relationship and shared responsibility for the common good of society, among others (FRN, 2004). The quality of education of any nation, to a very large extent, determines the development status of that particular nation. Education can be regarded as the heartbeat of any nation. As a man nourishes his heart to be alive, a nation must also cater for her educational system to keep it ‘alive’ technologically, economically, politically, socially and to ensure quality products.
The issue of quality in the educational system has been receiving a great deal of attention in the society in recent times. Parents as well as the
entire society have been clamoring for quality (Nwogbo, 2007). The demand for quality in education is not out of place considering the huge sum of money that goes into the system. Madumere-Obike (2003) was of the view that education consumes a lot of public revenue. Therefore, it is important to note that those who manage schools should be accountable to the stakeholders. The quality of the products of education is part of that accountability.
Education imparted through quality instruction is not only for good grades alone but also for the acquisition of the right values, skills and competences to make an individual a useful member of the society. For education to achieve this objective, it must be of high quality, which, as Nwangwu (2000) opined, “should not only consist of passing examinations (which is usually the first priority) but also include the acquisition of skills (in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains) through improved schools’ ability to facilitate and support the work of teachers and students”. Secondary education is a very critical level of any educational system. This is because it is the bedrock on which higher education is built as the
foundation of whatever a child wants to become in life academically is laid here.
It is sad to note that the academic performance of students at this level is very poor in the northern part of this country (Northern Education Research Project, 2000). In the North Central Zone, for instance, the quality of secondary school leavers has continued to deteriorate. In Kwara state specifically, students look for crooked means of passing their examinations. This is as a result of the fact that success in examination serves as a good motivator to students, teachers, administrators and employers of labour. On the other hand, failure to perform successfully in examination demoralizes all and sundry, especially students. It is the craving to succeed and avoid the frustration and embarrassment associated with failure that makes students engage in examination malpractices which has threatened the very foundation of our educational system (Ijaiya, 2004). Among the causes of examination malpractices are poor condition of service for teachers and inadequate teaching and learning facilities. These have an adverse effect on the quality of teachers as well as the quality of instruction because no educational system can rise above the quality of its teachers (FRN, 2004).
The quality of education of any nation determines the development status of that particular nation.
The teacher is the pivot of the education process. The teacher is the key in the entire education programme and he can make or mar the best educational programme in the world. Education therefore is what teachers make of it. Thus, competent, devoted and professionally-qualified teachers are an essential foundation for a good education system. In other words, the attainment of national objectives for the adequate preparation of students for their examinations and achievement of educational objectives depend largely on teachers.
Obemeata (1996) reported Pope Pius XII (1942) as having stated that: Good schools are the fruits not only of good regulations but primarily of good teachers excellently trained in their respective subjects which
they are to teach and possessing the intellectual and moral qualities which their important offices require (p. 56).
The implication of the above comment is that if teachers are to perform the role expected of them satisfactorily, they should be of the right calibre as well as be adequately-trained in order to be competent in the subjects which they are expected to teach.
In view of the above, and in order to improve teacher quality, efforts should be made to provide adequate and functional educational services for teachers. These services include the provision of library services, distance learning programmes, in-service training, teachers’ resource centres services, and the promotion of information and communication technology. These services tend to facilitate the implementation of the educational policy, the attainment of policy goals and the promotion of effectiveness of the educational system (FRN, 2004).
Taking a critical look at our secondary schools in the North Central Zone, the non-availability of these services have adversely affected the quality of teachers in the schools. The researcher observed that majority of the teachers are not computer-literate and they are not even in the habit of accessing the internet for new ideas about the subject they teach but rather they continue to use and repeat the same note for their students, year in, year
out. The researcher observed that many are unable to develop themselves academically but continue to quote outdated principles of teaching and use archaic or obsolete methodologies for their poor and frustrated students. The staffing position in many secondary schools has been of great concern to many researchers. The teaching personnel in Nigeria’s secondary schools are not only inadequate but also professionally-unqualified (Adebayo, 2007). Teachers should be able to apply and use different methods in teaching strategies, matching methods with current situation and circumstances, thinking ahead, projecting and forecasting for improved teaching and learning.
Evidence abounds to show that many school leavers are without jobs and those employed are inefficient. These are pointers to problems in quality and this raises the question of whether quality instruction is given to students. Also, one wonders if the stakeholders in education are doing what is expected of them (Nwogbo, 2007). There is the need therefore to examine the various ways by which our secondary school teachers can be kept abreast of time and thus improve their quality. It is against this background that this study examined the relationship among the provisions of educational services,
teacher quality and students’ academic performance in public secondary schools, North Central Zone, Nigeria.
Statement of the Problem
Research studies have shown that many secondary school products in Nigeria are poor in reading, writing, computational and vocational skills. Many of them also perform woefully in various examinations (Foster, 1999; Uzoka, 2000). Two parameters that are commonly used to determine school effectiveness are students’ results, especially in standardized tests, and their behaviour or performance after school (Ijaiya, 2008). In the recently-released 2009 WAEC’s Senior Secondary School Examination results, only 25.99%, that is, 356,981 out of 1,427,924, had five credits including Mathematics and English Language. For the National Examinations Council which was released in 2009, only 10% or 126,500 of the 1,200,765 candidates had five credits that could qualify them for admission into higher institutions (Unilorin Bulletin, Nov. 2009). If only 10% of the total candidates are qualified to proceed to higher institution, then the remaining 90% or 1,080,000 candidates would drop out and majority of them would become political thugs, hooligans and fraudsters who terrorise the population.
Since one of the purposes of education is acquisition of knowledge and skills, students’ performance after graduation can be seen as a reflection of their performance in school. This also borders on the quality of human and material resources which are available during their schooling. For many years, educators and researchers have debated on which school variables influence students’ achievement. As policy-makers become more involved in school reform, greater attention is given to the role teacher quality plays in students’ achievement. The government has stated that no education system can rise above the quality of its teachers (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004).
There has also been persistent outcry from educational unions, parents and concerned individuals about poor provision of facilities that provide essential services for teaching and learning as well as their utilization. The genuineness of this outcry is depicted by the progressive poor performance of students in examination as earlier mentioned.
Although several attempts have been made at improving teacher quality and teaching facilities, these efforts have not been proportionately reflected in students’ overall performance. Rather, such attempts have only sustained the highly bookish curriculum inherited from the colonial masters
and made the educational system consumptive rather than productive (Jimoh, 2008). Therefore, there is the need for teachers to acquire enough skills to make them relevant technologically. Also, the relevance and adequacy of educational services and their effective utilization to students’ academic performance cannot be overemphasized. Thus, the specific problem of this study centres around investigating the extent to which provision, utilization and maintenance of educational services can influence teacher quality and in turn influence students’ academic performance in North Central public senior secondary schools in Nigeria.
Purpose of the Study
Educational services facilitate the implementation of educational policy, the attainment of policy goals and the promotion of effectiveness in the educational system (FRN, 2004). The main purpose of this study is investigating the relationship among educational services, teacher quality and students’ academic performance in public senior secondary schools, North Central Zone, Nigeria.
Specifically, the purpose of the study is to:
1. determine the influence of educational services on teacher quality and on students’ academic performance;
2. determine the extent to which the provision of library services enhances teaching and learning;
3. determine the influence of teacher quality on students’ academic performance;
4. determine the extent to which supervision of instruction influences teaching and learning;
5. find out the level of students academic performance in public senior secondary schools, North Central zone, Nigeria.
Significance of the Study
The problem of poor academic performance among public senior secondary school students is a serious issue that requires continuous and systematic investigation. A growing body of research shows that students’ academic performance is more influenced by teacher quality than by standard, race, class, academic record or the school a student attends (Sanders, 1997). There have been several research studies carried out on
improving teacher quality for quality instruction but very little has been done in the area of provision of services that can enhance teaching and learning.
This study may hopefully provide some insight for educational planners and policy-makers by highlighting some basic but apparently neglected educational services such as education resource centre services, library services, in-service training, computer services and internal supervision of instructions.
The suggestion of this study may positively assist teachers and school administrators to re-examine the educational services that are available to them and identify the services which are essential for quality teaching and learning.
The findings of this study may also hopefully contribute to existing literature by extending the stock of knowledge on the influence of educational services on teacher quality in the secondary schools of the North Central zone. It will also provide some useful reference materials for future researchers who might be interested in conducting similar studies elsewhere. Furthermore, the study places much emphasis on the fact that teachers should
be academically, physically and intellectually sound to be able to produce quality students which the nation needs in this millennium.
Finally the study is expected to guide educational planners on the provision of educational services that may improve the quality of secondary school teachers.
Scope and Limitation of the Study
This study was concerned with the relationship among educational services, teacher quality and students’ academic performance in public senior secondary schools, North Central zone, Nigeria. There were six states in the North Central geo-political zone. These were Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau States as at the time of study. The study covered four out of the six states (representing 66% of the population) to keep the volume of work within manageable proportion. In each of the sampled states, 35% of the Local Government Areas were involved in this study. This study concerned only public secondary schools. Private secondary schools were not included in this study because they were not directly under the control of the state governments.
The following indicators were established for teachers and students to improve the quality of education in Nigeria:
(a) Provision of teachers resource centres where teachers would meet for discussion, workshop and conferences.
(b) Establishment of education resource centres which shall provide for the need of special education and serve as foci for educational innovation.
(c) Provision of Library service. The virtual library which acts as a platform for sharing knowledge should improve the quality of teaching through the provision of current books, journals and other library services. Functional libraries must be provided in all schools.
(d) Radio and television educational broadcasting that forms a feature of the educational support service system.
(e) Provision of in-service education courses for the upgrading of teachers. Distance learning opportunities should also be provided for teachers who cannot afford to attend full-time schooling.
(f) Provision of career officers and school counselors in adequate number in our schools to guide students in their choice of careers.
(g) Provision of information and communication technology: a network of educational services centres in Nigeria (NESCN) is set
up to provide a forum for exchange of ideas on the development and use of innovative materials for the improvement of education.
(h) Provision of effective supervision of teaching and learning.
Out of these indicators, only five which directly enhanced quality teaching were included in this study. They were:
(1) Provision of library services;
(2) Provision of internal supervision of instruction;
(3) Provision of information and communication technology;
(4) Provision of in-service training for teachers;
(5) Provision of education resource centre services.
School inspection was left out in this study because inspection came up occasionally in schools and it was not a regular exercise like supervision. The provision of radio and television services and availability of career officers and school counselors in schools were also left out because they were more relevant to students than teachers.
The indicators of teacher quality included:
(a) Teachers’ qualification. (Academic qualification and professional qualification).
(b) Teaching experience. This is the length of time one has put into teaching after graduation.
Definition of major variables and terms
The following variables and terms are defined operationally as they are used in this study:
Dependent variable: The dependent variable for this study is students’ academic performance.
Independent variables: The independent variables are educational services and teacher quality.
Educational services: These are the services available for teachers to improve their quality and promote teachers’ effectiveness in the school system. In this study, educational services are library services, in-service training, education resource services, information and communication technology (ICT) and educational supervision.
Teacher quality: This means a degree of excellence, especially a high degree of goodness and worth of the teachers. In this study, teacher quality refers to teachers’ academic qualification, professional qualification and years of experience.
Library services: This term refers to the provision of functional libraries in the school with current and relevant books and journals.
In-service training: In this study in-service training means on-the-job training such as correspondence courses, sandwich programmes, distance learning programme, etc. Also, seminars, workshops and conferences constitute in-service training.
Academic performance: Examination result at the end of an academic programme in the school. In this study, the West African Senior School Certificate examination result is used..