FACTORS MILITATING AGAINST THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN GOVERNMENT AMONG THE SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ENUGU EAST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA ENUGU STATE
Background to the Study
Undoubtedly, education is the key to economic and technological advancement, a means of alleviating poverty among the populace as well as ameliorating their lifestyles. In recognition of this, the federal Government of Nigeria has through its national Policy on Education in 1977, 1981, 1998 (and revised in2004) spelt out how education can be utilized to bring about the necessary transformation.
Admittedly, secondary schools which is the foundation of the educational system is expected to produce graduates who should be able to maintain high and sensitive position so that the laudable objectives can be realized. Sadly enough, in recent time the products of this citadel of learning can no longer compete favourable with their counterparts from other parts of the world. The reason for this is not farfetched. It is simple that the quality of education has fallen. To explain this point, (Esu in Mba 2018) opined that there is a near national outcry on the poor quality of Education in Nigeria especially in Enugu east local government area . Also, commenting on this, it is noted that the scripts of some students in external exams like WAEC were unreadable and far beyond comprehension because some students find it difficult to take notes during teacher and also many are unable to have a firm grasp of material taught even after repeated explanations by the teacher.
Education is the key to development and it has the capacity to upgrade teaching effectiveness as well as learning efficiency among learners. Efforts by have being made by school administrators to improve the performance of Public secondary school students. The school environment, which include the classrooms, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, teachers’ quality, school management, teaching methods, peers, etc are variables that affect students’ academic achievement (Ajayi, and Oluchukwu, in Mba 2018). Hence, the school environment remains an important area that has to studied and well managed to enhance students’ academic performance.
According to Jam (2009) academic performance is the ability to study and remember facts and being able to communicate your knowledge verbally or on paper. In other words, academic performance refers to how students deal with their studies and how they cope with or accomplish different tasks given to them by their teachers. Academic performance generally refers to how well a student is accomplishing his or her tasks or studies. There are quite a number of factors that determine the level and quality of students' academic performance. (Scottk, 2002).
According to Hussain (2006) secondary school students in public schools often come from economically poor and average income families. These families face various problems causing emotional disturbance among their children. This singular factor has caused serious damage to the achievement status to secondary school students.
Achievement is generally a pedagogical terminology used while determining learners’ success in formal education and which is measured through reports examinations, researches, and ratings with numerous factors of variables exerting influence. Essentially, the National Policy on education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004) has identified school achievement contents according to school subjects which are classified as core or elective subjects.
Although studies abound on the causative and predictive nature of factors of study habit on students academic achievement. all factors or variables tend to focus on poor study habit while the effects are yet to be fully accessed on the nations educational development.
The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers and even student themselves. The quality of education not only depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties, but also in the effective coordination of the school environment (Ajao 2001). The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to all and sundry. The problem is so much that it has led to the widely acclaimed fallen standard of education in Delta State and Nigeria at large. The quality of education depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties. Over time pupils’ academic performance in both internal and external examinations had been used to determine excellence in teachers and teaching (Ajao 2001). Teachers have been shown to have an important influence on students’ academic achievement and they also play a crucial role in educational attainment because the teacher is ultimately responsible for translating policy into action and principles based on practice during interaction with the students (Afe 2001). Both teaching and learning depends on teachers: no wonder an effective teacher has been conceptualized as one who produces desired results in the course of his duty as a teacher (Uchefuna 2001). Considering governments’ huge investment in public education, its output in terms of quality of students have been observed to be unequal with government expenditure.
In Nigeria, there are so many factors influencing the ability of students to cultivate effective and efficient study habit. Ozmert (2005) emphasized the importance of environmental influence as a major factor in the development of students studying habit. In the same vein, Adetunji and Oladeji (2007) submit that the environment of most children is not conducive for studying; it is in the light of this that made some parents to prefer their children to go to boarding school for proper discipline and to inculcate better reading habit.
The development of any nation or community largely depends upon the quality of education available to its citizens. It is generally believed that the basis for any true development must commence with the development of human resources. Hence, formal education remains the vehicle for socio-economic development and social mobilization in any society. Secondary education is the foundation on which further education is built. Secondary education has two (2) main purposes. The first purpose is to produce a literate and numerate population that can jointly deal with problems both at home and work. It also serves as a foundation on which further education is built (Akanle, 2013).
Poor academic performance of secondary school student has been on the increase in both in internal and external examination. Okeye (2009) defines poor academic performance of the individual or candidate in a learning situation as one in which a candidate fails to attain a set standard of performance in a given evaluation exercise such as test, examination or series of continuous assessment. Usually, that standard is based on a number of stipulated objectives and other school activities. A candidate who scores less or below the standard I regarded as showing a poor academic performance in school. Some people blame students themselves and others blame government while, others blame teachers. That is why Nwana (2010) stated that one may hear elderly parents, retired civil servants and persons say that school leavers of nowadays are not able to speak correct and fluent English, they cannot solve simple arithmetic problem and they do not know their basic time tables.
Teachers, students, parents/ and ministry of education, science and technology have different factors that contribute the rapid growth of poor academic performance in schools today. For instance teachers perceive the following as causes of poor performance; non use of verbal reinforcement, poor attendance to lesson, poor method of teaching, teacher work load, emotional problems, study habits, teachers consultation, poor interpersonal relationship, self esteem and motivation orientation. While students perceive the following causes of poor performance; low motivation, students effort, abilities and traits and role perception. Parents perceived low income, illiteracy, nutrition type of discipline at home, lack of role model, finance, poor parenting and poor teaching as causes of poor performance. Finally, the ministry of education perceives the following as a cause of poor performance; attitude of teachers to their work, poor methods of teaching, poor attendance to lesson, performance failure to offer guidance and counseling to students poor management. This became an issue of concern to the researcher and it prompted a research on factors contributing to poor academic performance in government among senior secondary school in Enugu east local government area.
Poor academic performance according to Aremu (2003) is a performance that is adjudged by the examine/testee and some other significant as falling below an expected standard. Poor academic performance has been observed in school subjects especially Mathematics and English language among primary school pupils (Adesemowo, 2005). Aremu (2000) stresses that academic failure is not only frustrating to the pupils and the parents, its effects are equally grave on the society in terms of dearth of manpower in all spheres of the economy and politics.
Education at secondary school level is supposed to be the bedrock and the foundation towards higher knowledge in tertiary institutions. It is an investment as well as an instrument that can be used to achieve a more rapid economic, social, political, technological, scientific and cultural development in the country. The National Policy on Education (2004) stipulated that primary education is an instrument for national development that fosters the worth and development of the individual for further education and development, general development of the society and equality of educational opportunities to all Nigerian children irrespective of any real or marginal disabilities.
The role of primary education is to lay the foundation for further education and if a good foundation is laid at this level, there are likely to be no problem at subsequent levels. However, different people at different times have passed the blame of poor performance in primary school to pupils because of their low retention, parental factors, association with wrong peers, low achievement, low retention, and the likes (Aremu & Sokan, 2003; Aremu & Oluwole 2001; Aremu, 2000). Morakinyo (2009) believe that the falling level of academic achievement is attributable to teacher’s non-use of verbal reinforcement strategy. Others found out that the attitude of some teachers to their job is reflected in their poor attendance to lessons, lateness to school, unsavory comments about pupil’s performance that could damage their ego, poor method of teaching and the likes affect pupils’ academic performance.
The content of Nigeria education must reflect the past present and future of the dynamic Nigeria society in terms of the roles the individual is expected to play in the resent modernalization process.
The Nigeria formal education system is the organized and structured aspect of the education which takes place within the four walls of the school. It however has to be noted that, all emphasis in terms of government budgetary allocation and general planning, is usually placed on formal education. Hence, a discussion of Nigeria’s educational system is almost synonymous with a discussion of the formal educational system. As has been pointed earlier, the formal education system comprises interrelated sub-system or levels. The major levels of the Nigerian educational system are primary, secondary, (post primary), and tertiary (Post Secondary) (Mkpa:2012). Since the introduction of formal education in Nigeria, various conferences and seminars have been held and Commissions set up to deliberate on crucial issues in the Nigeria educational system. Of remarkable significance are the National Curriculum Conference in 1969 which reviewed old, and identified new national goals for Nigeria’s educational system and the 1973 seminar of distinguished educational experts and representatives of all segments of the society under the chairmanship of chief S.O. Adebo which renewed the 1969 paper and made more recommendations.
Besides the numerous other recommendations in this respect, recommendations number 8 dealt with the goals of primary education. It reads thus: “Specifically, the primary school Curriculum must aim at functional permanent literacy to ensure better producers and consumers of goods. It should provide a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking; inculcate citizenship education and a sound moral character and attitude development, help individuals to adapt and a adjust to the changing society, give physical, emotional and intellectual growth, enhance an individual sense of will power, creative and innovativeness, develop their mechanical vocational and manipulative skills and competencies enable them to communicate freely and effectively through any media, imbibe in them a spirit of self – discipline (Fafunwa, 1974:233)
This statement however, is the beginning of redirecting primary education in Nigeria toward a reasonable end, and a way from production of only church teachers and interpreters. it prompted a research on factors contributing to poor academic performance in government among senior secondary school in Enugu east local government area.
Statement of the problem
Some years ago, many graduates from Enugu East Local Government secondary schools were very sound academically and were able to excel in various spheres of life; thereby contributing immensely to the development of the nation.
Presently, the performance of students at secondary school has dwindled tremendously and the situation has become worrisome to all stakeholders of education in Enugu East Local Government Area. Products of our educational system can no longer compete with graduates from other parts of the world. The increasing nature of poor academic performance of secondary school students especially in external examinations like WAEC or JAMB, tend to shift the blame on the teaching methodology adopted by the teachers and lack of fund from the government to provide quality textbooks. However, these might not be the main reasons why students perform poorly in examinations because it is yet to gather adequate research evidence to prove that it is a key factor on why students fail. Emphasizing the importance of school environment to students academic performance.
Academic performance of students in secondary schools has received much attention of late in the Nigerian educational system. It is pertinent to understand that the so – called academic performance of primary school pupil is a Canker worm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our primary schools today. However, in environment where such an ugly situation is found, tention, conflict and anarchy dictate the tone of relationship between pupils, the teachers for a smooth and effective school management. Since the end of the Nigeria Biafra Civil War in 1970, academic excellence has been on the decline. This appears to be more pronounced in the primary schools. Poor academic performance has constituted a big problem not only for schools but the dynamic Nigeria society. The secondary schools in Enugu East Local Government have been faced with the problem, which is mostly reflected in common WAEC Results. Millions of Naira being pumped into education in Nigeria in general and in Enugu State in particular not withstanding this issue of poor performance in education has continued to persist.
The question therefore is what is the factor that is responsible for fallen standard and poor academic performance of students in secondary school? Is the fault entirely that of teachers or students or both of them? Is it that students of today are non-achievers because they have low intelligent quotient and a good neutral mechanism to be able to act purposefully, think rationally and deal effectively with academic tasks? Or is it because teachers are no longer putting in much commitment as before? Or is it in teachers’ method of teaching and interaction with pupils? Or is the poor performance of students caused by parents’ neglect, separation and poverty?. This made the research to embark on this research to find the factors militating against secondary school students academic performance in Enugu East Local Government.
Purpose of the Study
This study examines the factors militating students poor performance in government in secondary school with a particular reference to Enugu East local Government Area .The specific objectives of this study are:
1. To find out the role poor foundational factor play in students poor academic performance in senior secondary school
2. To find out if there are enough qualified Government Teachers in Secondary School in Enugu East Local Government Area.
3. Find out the extent of teachers method of teaching a contributory factor to poor performance in government in the secondary school in Enugu east local government.
4. To find out suggested way or solution to improve students academic performance in the secondary schools.
Significance of the Study
This study will be useful to students, researchers, scholars, educationists, parents, educators and school administration who will use it for further studies. It is hoped that this study will provide information for parents, educators and school administrators to reflect upon various factors that help students in achieving their academic goals. In so doing, they can investigate the possibility of introducing those factors to their school, which may consequently lead to enhancing students’ educational outcomes in school. This study provides a valuable reference for other schools to reflect upon the school environment as it affect the academic performance of student in secondary school. It will serve as resource materials for others who want to carry out research in related field.
This study is very important to students teachers and professional teachers in the field of government, the knowledge gained from this study would enable prospective school administrators, examiners, writers and students to understand various reasons why students perform poorly academically and find ways of solving the problems.
This study will help in finding out the role school environment factors play in student’s poor academic performance in government in senior secondary school in Enugu east local government area. It will also help to find out educational administration issues that contributed to the poor achievement of students in Enugu East local government.
This study sheds more light into the causal relationship among school environment, home, teacher, educational administration and student related variables under investigation and achievement of students. The outcome of the study is therefore expected to assist all stakeholders in the district, particularly at the basic education level, to fashion out appropriate strategies that would enhance the regard, the study would be useful to secondary schools in Enugu East local government area in analysis of the causes of poor performance in both internal and external examination.
Finally the significance of this study mainly is to battle those factors militating against secondary students academic performance in government in Enugu state with a particular reference to Enugu East local government.
Scope of the Study.
The study will be delimited to factors militating against students poor performance in government in secondary school in Enugu East Local government. This local government is made up of 8 communities, which are Amangwu, Ibagwa, Umuchigbo, Ugwueke, Amorji, Edem, Alulu, Onyoho, and Esema.
They are many students in this local government with over 40 secondary schools but five (5) selected for this study. Each school has about 1000 students but 10 percent will be taken from the each population of the school The reason for concentrating this study in 5 secondary schools was due to high poor performance in government as a subject is more pronounced without reservation and it has become typically a barrier to the art students in the school and development in terms of their individual personality development
This study was restricted to poor performance in government in secondary schools located in Enugu East LGA.
The following research question will guide the study:
1. To what extent is poor foundation a contributory factor to poor performance of students in secondary school?
2. Are there enough qualified Government Teachers in Secondary School in Enugu East Local Government Area.
3. What extent are teachers method of teaching a contributory factor to poor performance in government in the secondary schools?
4. What are the suggested way or solution to improve students academic performance in the secondary schools..