IMPLEMENTATION OF STUDENT PERSONNEL SERVICES IN FEDERAL AND STATE COLLEGES OF EDUCATION IN SOUTH-EAST NIGERIA
The primary aim of this research was to investigate the implementation of student
personnel services in federal and state colleges of education in south –eastern
Nigeria. Student personnel services are regarded very important as they aid in the
all round development of the students, thus, enabling them to achieve their
objectives and those of their institutions. Student personnel services embrace all
those services to students that supplement regular instruction. As part and parcel of
school administration, it is seen as a critical function to the effective operation of
any school. This informed the present study on implementation of student
personnel services in federal and state colleges of education in south-east Nigeria.
The purpose was to ascertain the extent of implementation of these student services
in federal and state colleges of education in south-east Nigeria. Four research
questions and four null hypotheses were formulated for the study. A 51 – items
questionnaire was developed and administered to 770 respondents, comprising of
330 staff and students of federal and 440 staff and students of state colleges of
education. A non-proportionate stratified random sampling technique was used to
sample 10 senior staff of student affairs department and 100 final year students
from each of the seven federal and state colleges of education in the geopolitical
zone. Mean score was used to answer the research questions, while t-test statistics
was employed in testing the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The
study revealed that the student personnel services studied was available, but
inadequate and are of poor quality. Constraints to the effective implementation
include: poor funding of education sector, poor maintenance culture, inadequate
attention to communication between students and management, careless use of
facilities by students, mismanagement of funds by college authorities, poorly
executed projects, among others. There are measures to be adopted for
improvement, they include: the government giving special grants to colleges for
hostels, involving the private sector in the provision of student personnel services,
school authority completing all abandoned projects, students admission being
guided by existing student personnel services, financial assistance to students,
supervision of students affairs personnel more effectively etc. Based on the
findings, the educational implications were drawn and the following
recommendations, among others, were made. School authority should organize
seminars, orientations and talks on how to manage the student personnel services.
Funds should be judiciously used by the college administration. Private sector
should be encouraged to assist in the provision of these services. The education
sector should be adequately funded and admission exercises should be guided by
the available student personnel service.
Background to the Study
The teaching and research functions of higher educational institutions play a very important role in national development, especially in the development of high-level manpower. However, in most cases, the societal expectations in terms of goals are hardly met and part of the explanation is linked to the absence of adequate and conducive environment for effective learning. To achieve this objective, adequate provision of certain services to students should be fostered for effective teaching and learning process. Among these are the student-personnel services. Student personnel services in this context, refers to all the non-academic services rendered to the students at the schools setting outside the formal classroom instruction, for the purpose of healthy, physical, emotional, social and moral development as part of their preparation for a responsible and productive adult life. These services are complementary to the academic programme in making a holistic and balanced education of the students. While the task of intellectual and skill development can be accomplished through curriculum planning and implementation, the task of developing responsible attitudes and morals can only be achieved through the provision and administration of student personnel services.
Although student personnel services has received very little attention in professional literature and social administration, Duffy in Ejionume (2010), Swartz, Russel Hunt and Reilly in Ogbuji (2009), observe that it is an administrative task areas that is critical to the effective operation of any school system. This assertion is also affirmed by Ndu, Ocho and Okeke (1997) when they stress that in addition to curriculum implementation, school administrators have a duty to provide adequate student personnel services in their respective schools as both services are complementary to each other. Consequently, a major concern of any educational institution, colleges of education inclusive, should be the commitment to implement specified student personnel services. These services enhance the achievement of institutional objectives. The absence of these creates situations that constitute obstacles to the achievement of goals and objectives of educational institutions, the level not-withstanding. Some goals of education as spelt out by Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) in the National Policy on Education demand services that are beyond classroom instruction for their actualization. An example of such goal is the inculcation of national values (P.8). The values include respect for the worth and dignity of the individual, faith in man’s ability to make national decisions, moral and spiritual principle in interpersonal and human relations and promotion of the physical, emotional and psychological development of all children.
It is in realization of the symbiotic role of the curricular and co-curricular services in the realization of educational objectives in tertiary institutions, that the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2002) in the National Minimum Standard prescribes mandatory student personnel services that school administration should make available to students that which goes along with the curricular offerings. Service that come under student personnel services are many and varied. They include admission exercises, orientation, accommodation, medical services, library services, student academic records, guidance and counselling, financial aid, municipal services, security services, co-curricular activities. Also, included are adequate classroom blocks, information materials, sports facilities, maintenance of roads and teaching facilities.
Colleges of education contribute a lot to educational system, but students constitute not only the largest input, but, also the reason and the main focus for all the other inputs. All outputs are judged by the quality of graduates from these institutions and all processing activities are centred on the students. For effective teaching and learning, there should be adequate provision, proper implementation of student personnel services and supervision of certain services for the students in order to achieve the objectives of these institutions.
Mgbodile (2003) has identified the objectives of student personnel services to include the making of students think effectively, helping them to communicate their thoughts clearly, enabling the students develop relevant skills in judgement and decision making. Others are to help them play their part as useful members of their homes and families, making the pupils understand basic facts about health and sanitation, helping students to appreciate their roles as citizens of Nigeria and the development of good moral principles as well as the appreciation of their cultural heritage and dignity of labour.
Student personnel services, according to Ozigi in Kalu (2000), are those non-academic duties concerned with pupil’s welfare in a school setting. These services include all the activities of the headmaster/principal and teachers and other staff members geared towards making the students better citizens of the society in which they live (Mgbodile, 1986). Student personnel services according to Ezeocha (1992), is seen as involving all the activities and services that are rendered to the students for the achievement of the educational objectives which are not the normal classroom instruction. Student personnel services have also been defined as those special classroom supporting services outside the curricular offerings that impinge upon the maturation of the self of the students (Okeke, 2002). Student personnel services refer to those school services that supplement and support the instructional programme of a school (Ejionueme 2010).
Akilaiya (2001:28) defines student personnel administration as an attempt to cater for the welfare of pupils with a view of helping them to build a solid future while maximizing their educational pursuit and at the time promoting personal and institutional prestige within and without the educational sphere. According to Ajayi (1992), child personnel services is that total educational programmes of an institution which aid in proving personnel services, is that total educational programmes of an institution which aid in proving personal opportunities and specialized services through each pupil within the school system can develop to the fullest of his potentials and capacities in terms of the democratic ideals.
Uwazuruike (2001):95) classified personnel functions into two mutually interrelating parts, namely; the managerial and operative functions, while the former is concerned with planning, organizing, directing and controlling of personnel generally, the later is specifically concerned with the processes of selection, admission, regulation, enrolment, classification, pedagogical instruction, evaluation, examination, certification and graduation as well as the provision of recreational services and maintenance of discipline.
Also, Njoku (2000) reiterating the rational behind child-education, maintains that pupils must come first because they are the ones to be educated and without them, the teachers will not be employed, neither would communities and various levels of government established institutions of higher learning. This implies that the ultimate goal of any educational system is the fullest growth and development of pupils’ cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain.
Student Personnel Services improve the intellectual, social, emotional, cultural and physical development of the individual. Such personnel services as orientation, information, communication, student records, accommodation, co- curricular activities are effective tools in guiding and directing students to improve their personal sustenance in the pursuit of their careers. The provision of these services is therefore meant to meet the different aspects of human development and adjustment (Francis, 2002). Student personnel services are typically designed to respond to students’ welfare needs and social interest. Student personnel services also buffer faculty members and academic administrators from demands considered peripheral to the institutions’ academic mission. The provision of student personnel services encourages students to take advantage of learning and personal development opportunities outside the classroom, laboratory and library. The essence of student personnel services is to help students realize their potential and become responsible, and self-directed citizens. Student personnel services aim at training the entire person to enable him or her read, write and calculate, and to enable him/her fit into the society. It also aims at developing and training the total man to enable the individual, on graduation, take his place in the society and contribute to its survival.
The general objectives of student personnel services are to assist students to become effective in their social environment, attain maximum self-realization and to complement the academic programme of the institution. To be specific, student personnel services provide orientation for fresh students to facilitate adjustment to college life; perform individual and group counselling; provide assistance to students on finance, food and housing; provide variety of co-curricular activities; perform testing and inventory to help towards self-knowledge and self-realization; provide placement and follow-up services; approve and monitor activities of student organizations; implement student rules and regulations and recommend appropriate disciplinary action to the school authorities (Francis, 2002). Student personnel services enable students to develop love for school, participate in school activities and stimulate regularity and punctuality in school attendance (Anukam, 2001).
Adequate provision of student personnel services is very vital in any educational institution. Adesina and Ogunsaju in Onochie (2003), in their recognition of the need for student personnel services, observed that for effective teaching and learning, provision of physical facilities and educational goals should be viewed as being closely interwoven and interdependent. No matter the strength of manpower resources in the system, the educational process must require conducive physical environment and other facilities and equipment. Apart from protection from the sun, rain, heat and cold, school buildings and halls of residence represent a learning environment which has tremendous impact on the comfort, safety, and performance of the student. Also, staff work better in well-equipped schools with accommodation and facilities than they do where these facilities are lacking (Omu, 2006).
Societies all over the world, according to Mgbodile (1986), have established schools for achieving a wide variety of educational goals. They commit a great deal of resources towards the achievement of these goals. Unfortunately, in most cases, social expectation in terms of goal achievement is hardly ever met due to the absence of student personnel services. Over the years, institutions of higher learning, including colleges of education have been grappling with problems of students’ unrests, or riots, or demonstrations. Some students are known to protest on issues that encroach upon their welfare from both within and outside of their institutions (Ejionueme, 2010). Such protests have ranged from those against wide communication gap between students and school authority, delay in meeting student’s demand, failure on the part of the school authority to guarantee security of lives and property, inadequate facilities such as lecture room, laboratories and equipment, drastic obnoxious rules and regulations and students’ reaction to harsh government policies. Others are known to be due to frustration and uncertainty from the larger society, academic stress, students non-involvement in decision that concern their welfare and students being forced to pay a special fee.
Personal observations from tertiary institutions of higher learning appears that these personnel services are inadequate. For instance, in “The Guardian Newspaper” of 24th January, 2010, there was a reported case of rioting of undergraduates of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where the students revolted against the school authority because of an alleged increment in school fees (Okonta, 2010). On February 24, 2011 “This Day Newspaper” reported that there was a massive demonstration at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, as a result of increment of fees and health insurance scheme, which led to the closure of the school. Thus, there have been cases of protests by these students against issues such as lack of accommodation, lack of water, lack of seats in the lecture rooms, lack of laboratory equipment and poor quality food. Nkwocha (1990) observed that students are often alienated when certain decisions concerning students’ behaviour, academic activities, social life and press activities are being taken. He also stressed that participation in school administration means getting the students involved in discussions and seeking their views on the solution of problems affecting their welfare. The occurrence of such demonstrations, perhaps, have very unfavourable effects on the school system as they may hinder the attainment of their objectives. There may be loss of lives and wanton destruction of property during these demonstrations. It was observed that in most cases, students’ violent assaults are on their fellow students, lecturers and administrative staff of the institutions. In general, most strike actions are as a result of failed promises or distrust between the authorities or administrators and students.
In our colleges of education today, students face various problems; students attend various lectures, write term papers, do written and oral examinations, projects and other academic matters. Far from academic matters, students face various social, psychological and financial problems. In this bad state of economy of the nation, the students are the most affected. Meal subsidies have been withdrawn. There are no more scholarships, no bursary award, and even parents of the students are indebted to their salaries and wages as and when due.
Today, the student personnel services appear not only to be inadequate, but appear to be neglected and in effective. For instance, the hostel accommodation are deplorable and unconducive and this affects the students’ academic performance and their all-round development (Ejionueme, 2010). School buildings are seen with cracked/decaying walls, sagging roofs, blown-off roofs and bushy surroundings (Mboto, 2000).
Generally faced with these problems, the students may loose confidence in themselves and others, have little or no sense of personal value, become tense, introverted and emotional, mostly expressed through hostility and aggression or involvement in clandestine activities like secret cults, robbery, riots and demonstrations. Anolue (2000) observed on a survey of the factors that influence student crises in higher institutions of learning in Nigeria, that lack of regular water supply, poor accommodation facilities ,poor classroom facilities, inadequate medicare, poor literacy facilities forced students to protest against their authorities. Colleges of education in Nigeria, like any other institution, face the challenge not only to survive, but also to attain the level of sustainable development necessary for them to achieve the objectives for which they were established. The attainment of these goals depends not only on the right type of personnel but, also, on the availability of adequate student personnel services and financial resources. Hence, the need for adequate funding of our colleges of education. Eze (2006) also observed that the financial problems of the colleges of education are increasing because of financial mismanagement, embezzlement and fraud. Although, the provision and administration of student personnel services are supposed to rank paripasu (go along) with the curricular services (teaching and learning), it appears that the personnel services have been relegated in school administration. The apparent relegation of student personnel services in school administration is the fact that the entire school system is examination - centered. The premium placed on implementation of academic curriculum at all levels of education, with emphasis on academic performance as determined by examination results, explain why majority of school administrators seem to pay less attention to the provision of student personnel services in their respective schools. It should be noted that student personnel services are basic needs which must be satisfied to a reasonable extent before students can be expected to make any meaningful achievements in their academic pursuit.
The problem of poor funding of education sector, poor maintenance culture, careless use of facilities by students, non-participation of private sector in the provision of student personnel services and others, are among the constraints for effective implementation. Funds management simply refers to management of cash flows, in and out of the organisation, within the organisation, and the balances held by the organisation (Ogbonnaya 2005). The commission disburses funds to the colleges in the form of capital grants and special grants. Funds should be properly disbursed and internal control on the use of such funds should also be meticulously discharged. From the foregoing, the researcher wanted to empirically determine the proper implementation of student personnel services. This necessitated the study.
Statement of the Problem
Adequate provision and administration of student personnel services in tertiary institution is not only important but necessary for the achievement of the desired educational goals of inculcating the right type of values, attitude, skills and the development of mental and physical abilities as equipment for producing good quality citizens of Nigeria (FRN,2004). Over the years, colleges of education have been experiencing student disturbances linked to non-availability, inadequacy, and poor quality of some vital student personnel services. Students trek long distances to lecture rooms and this brings about lateness to class, fatigue and sleeping in the class. The libraries in these colleges appear not to have current books/materials, and they appear not to have enough reading tables and chairs for the students. Students either cook inside their rooms or depend on food vendors for their feeding. Students have been reported to repeat a semester or even an academic year due to the fact that the records of results of examinations they wrote and passed got lost. Students stand outside to listen to lectures because the lecture rooms are insufficient.
In most of the colleges, for instance, Federal College of Education, Ehamufu and Nwafor-Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe, students go to streams to fetch water because these institutions depend on water tankers for supply of water. Security is porous, hence, there are cases of rape, murder, phone-snatching, robbery and of course cult activities. Medical Centres/clinics are there without adequate drugs except routine drugs. Guidance and counselling services are non-existent in most colleges of education, and student records are haphazardly kept. Hostels in some colleges are built in form of dormitory (without rooms), and even rooms ear marked for three students now harbour up to six students officially, excluding those that are “squatting”.
This state of affairs suggests that something is wrong with regard to the implementation of student personnel services in colleges of education. Based on this, the problem of this study is, what is the extent of implementation of student-personnel services in federal and state colleges of education in south-east Nigeria?
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to investigate the extent of implementation of student personnel services in federal and state colleges of education in South-East Nigeria. Specifically, the study intended to:
i. Ascertain the extent of availability of student personnel services in federal and state colleges of education in south-east Nigeria.
ii. Determine the adequacy of student personnel services in colleges of education in south-eastern Nigeria.
iii. Identify the constraints to the effective implementation of these services.
iv. Evolve strategies for improving the implementation of student personnel services in federal and state colleges of education in south-east Nigeria.
Significance of the Study
This study hinged on the systems theory. This is because, student personnel services is a very important aspect of administration as a social system.
Theoretically, the findings of this study will provide an empirical data with respect to the purpose of the study that will permit a clear understanding and testing of these findings. It will also be a resource centre for all stakeholders of education, source of information and a reference point, especially in the colleges of education. The findings of the study will be of help to the entire Nigerian society, and agencies and individuals that have stake in education like the NCCE, policy-makers, education administrators and planners, ministries of education and their boards and agencies and students in colleges of education.
It will provide useful information to the authorities of federal and state colleges of education on certain unfavourable attitudes exhibited by students that are caused by the poor state of student personnel services. These authorities will then be geared towards making proper provision for these services.The findings of this study will enable the education planners at the ministries of education and their board and agencies to gain better understanding of the state of student personnel services in these colleges.
The study will also be beneficial to the chief executives and the governing councils of these colleges of education who will have their knowledge enriched and utilize them in improving student personnel services in the institutions. The student affairs department will use the data from the study to improve on the provision, administration and management of student personnel services. The deans of student affairs will also benefit from the study because the findings will enable them appreciate students’ problems relating to inadequate student personnel services. The findings of this study will be of great benefit to the students who stand to gain if problems raised by the present state of student personnel services are handled and especially if adequate and qualitative student personnel services are provided. This will rekindle the interest of students in school attendance and learning. The society at large will benefit from the study because, when there is conducive atmosphere in these institutions, the objectives of education, which include the production of higher level manpower, will be greatly achieved
Scope of the Study
The scope of this study comprised of all the federal and state colleges of education in south-east Nigeria. South-east Nigeria is made up of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states. There are three federal and four state colleges of education in the geo-political zone. The study will investigate the extent of availability of student personnel services in these colleges of education, determine the adequacy of student personal services in these colleges of education, identify the constraints to the effective implementation of student personal services, and evolve strategies for improvement on the implementation of student personnel services in these Colleges of Education.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
1. To what extent are student personnel services available in federal and state colleges of education in south-east Nigeria?
2. How adequate are the available student personnel services in federal and state colleges of education in south-east Nigeria?
3. What are the constraints to the effective implementation of student personnel services in these colleges?
4. What are the strategies for improving the implementation of student personnel services in federal and state colleges of education in south east Nigeria?
The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study and were tested at 0.05 probability level.
H01: There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of staff and students of both federal and state colleges of education on the extent of student personnel services available in federal and state colleges of education.
H02: There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of staff and students of both federal and state colleges of education on the adequacy of these services in these colleges of education.
H03: There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of staff and students of both federal and state colleges of education on the constraints to the effective implementation of student personnel services in federal and state colleges of education in south-east Nigeria.
H04 There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of staff and students of both federal and state colleges of education on the strategies for improving the implementation of student personnel services in federal and state colleges of education in south-east Nigeria..