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This study investigated the relationship between principals’ leadership styles and secondary school students’ moral tone in Edo North Senatorial District, Nigeria. Specifically, the study was undertaken to find out the leadership style that was most frequently used among the secondary school students; investigate the leadership styles of principals; determine the level of secondary school students’ moral tone; find out the relationship between three types of principals’ leadership styles (autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire) and secondary school students’ moral tone in order to determine which among the leadership style mostly influences secondary school students’ moral tone in Edo North Senatorial District, Nigeria.
The correlational design was adopted for the study. Two instruments – Leadership Style Questionnaire (LSQ) and Ethic Position Questionnaire (EPQ) were administered to teachers to collect data on principals’ leadership styles and student moral tone respectively. A sample of 308 teachers was drawn from a population of 1, 021 teachers in the 99 public secondary schools in the district. The test-retest reliability was used to determine the reliability of the instruments (LSQ and EPQ); the r-values of 0.84 and 0.78 were arrived at respectively. The data collected were analysed with mean () and S.D while the hypotheses were tested with correlation matrix, bi-variate Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient and linear multiple regression at 0.05 alpha level.
Results showed that principals’ democratic style is the mostly used leadership style among principals, the level of secondary schools students’ moral tone in Edo North Senatorial District, Nigeria is high while the leadership styles (autocratic, democratic and lasses-faire) individually, jointly and significantly influences students’ moral tone in the district (p<0.01). It was recommended that leadership training courses should be integrated into teacher education curriculum at all tertiary education levels. This would afford would-be principals the opportunity of being acquainted with good leadership skills needed to coordinate the affairs of the school system.
|1.||Population and Sample Size of Principals and Students||55|
|2.||Mean Score and Standard deviation score on the leadership styles used by secondary school principals in Edo North Senatorial District, Nigeria||59|
|3.||Mean Score and Standard deviation score on the level of secondary school students’ moral tone in Edo North Senatorial District, Nigeria||60|
|4.||Relationship between leadership style of principals and secondary school students’ moral tone in Edo North Senatorial District, Nigeria||61|
|5.||Relationship between autocratic leadership style of principals and secondary school students’ moral tone in Edo North Senatorial District, Nigeria||62|
|6.||Relationship between democratic leadership style of principals and secondary school students’ moral tone in Edo North Senatorial District, Nigeria||63|
|7.||Relationship between laissez-faire leadership style of principals and secondary school students’ moral tone in Edo North Senatorial District, Nigeria||64|
|8.||Multiple Regression Analysis predictor (leadership styles) and (students’ moral tone)||65|
Nigeria’s educational system has been undergoing various reforms. Among the reforms is the introduction of Universal Basic Education (UBE) which covers the first nine years of schooling, that is, six years of primary education and 3 years of junior secondary education. It also includes adult and non-formal education programmes and junior secondary levels for the adults and out-of school youths (Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), (2013).
This particular reform is aimed at providing free and compulsory education for all Nigerian children. The senior secondary school is for 3 years and for students who successfully completed the junior secondary school programme. The broad aims of secondary education, as stated in the National Policy of Education (NPE), (2013) are preparation for useful living within the society and for higher education. In specific terms, secondary education shall provide all primary school leavers the opportunity for education at higher level, irrespective of sex, social status, religion or ethnic background, offer diversified curriculum to cater for the differences in talents, opportunity and future roles; provide trained man-power in applied science technology and commerce at sub-professional grades; develop and promote Nigeria languages, art and culture in the content of world’s cultural heritage; inspire students with a desire for self-improvement and achievement of excellence; raise a generation of people who can think for themselves and respect the views and feelings of others, respect dignity of labour (FRN, 2013).
In fostering these aims and objectives, the school principals have important roles to play. Among these roles are: enhancing job performance among teachers and coordinating all the elements in the school to achieve the goals of education. Thus, principals’ leadership behaviour determines how far schools can attain their goals. This is why Omolayo (2004) referred to principals as school managers.
The main aim of education is to produce quality manpower that can be used to develop the economy. This cannot be achieved in a school system characterized with students’ failure. Ayodele and Ige (2012) observed that the academic performance of students, especially in external examinations is poor. It has also been observed that Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) conducted by West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) showed poor performance in different school subjects. For instance, the performance of students who scored minimum of five credits in WAEC examination in 2005 was 18.68%. The Performance was as low as 9.32% and 7.69% in 2006 and 2007 respectively. The case was not different in NECO as performance declined from 27.42% to 16.47% and 9.71% for 2003, 2004 and 2005 examination respectively (National Bureau of Statistics, 2009).
In 2009 performance seems to have improved in WAEC and NECO with percentage rise to 25.99%, 22.95% and 25% in NECO 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively. Ayodele and Ige (2012) asserted that the overall performance of students in both examinations was poor, especially in key subject areas such as Mathematics and English Language that are necessary for securing admission into tertiary institutions in the country. The 2013 WAEC result from available records improved tremendously with 56.93% of the candidates obtaining 5 credits and above. However, there were alarming cases of examination malpractice to the extent that the results of 6.70% of the overall number of candidates were withheld. With such a percentage rate of malpractice added to others that were not detected, it can be argued that the performance of the candidates for the 2013 had not significantly improved compared with previous years. Again, in 2016 approximately 53% of students who sat for May/June WASCE had credits in 5 subjects and above including English and Mathematics while 8.89% had their results withheld.
Also, it has been observed that the education system at all level is bedeviled with series of problems which include indiscipline, decline in learning culture, indecent dressing, moral decadence, sex abuse, cultism, drug abuse, cheating in examination, truancy, disobedience and other acts of indiscipline. These inherent school problems have compounded the job of school officials. Consequently, they are blamed for the poor academic performance of their students and the general decadence in the character of the students. According to Ajayi, cited in Omoregie (2005), secondary education in Nigeria is riddled with crises of various dimensions and magnitude, all of which combine to suggest that the system is at crossed roads. Ibukun (2008) observed that secondary schools have derailed in the provision of qualitative education expected of them. He further stressed the need to alleviate the persisting problems affecting school achievement, by advocating for the provision of good leadership in the secondary school system.
Leadership is generally defined as the art or process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly toward the achievement of objectives. Leadership is the ability to get things done with the assistance and cooperation of other people within the institution. In the administration of secondary schools, the principal is central to the overall success of the school because he is at the helm of affairs of the school. The style of leadership exhibited by a principal within a school often shapes the way the teachers do their jobs and also the way the students learn and behave within and outside the school. Leadership style consists of a leader’s general personality, demeanor, and organizational and personal goals. Leadership involves a guide that directs activities of individuals in a given direction in order to achieve the goals of an organization.
Different experts have identified different leadership styles with their distinctive characteristics. For example, Avolio and Bass (2002) presented full range leadership theory which identified three leadership styles known as transactional, transformational and laissez- faire. Douglas (1996), Robbins and Caulter (1999) in Yusuf (2012) claimed that decisions by leaders depends on these three leadership styles which are democratic, autocratic and laissez-faire. A democratic style is characterized by co-ordination, co-operation and collaboration. Autocratic leadership style allows no participation in decision and laissez-fair which is also known as free-rein leadership style empowers subordinate to work with freedom and freewill.
Adeyemi (2004), identifying 3 types of leadership styles used in Nigeria schools as autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire styles, argued that autocratic leader is an authoritarian leader who gives orders which is to be obeyed whether or not subordinates have initiatives; the leader is self-centred and allows minimum participation of subordinates in decision making. He directs group members on the way things should be done and does not maintain clear channel of communication between self and subordinates and also does not delegate authority. The democratic leadership style emphasizes group and leader participation in policy making. Decisions are taken after consultation and communication with various people in the organization. The leader makes subordinates feel important and ideas are exchanged between employees and leader and this enhances subordinates’ morale. Contrary to these leadership styles is the laisssez-faire leadership style which allows complete freedom to group decision without the leaders’ participation. Thus subordinates are free to do what they like. The role of the leader is just to supply materials. The leader does not interfere or participate in the course of event determined by the group (Talbert and Mibrey, 1994). On the whole, school principals are therefore assessed by the subordinates for credible performance based on application of these leadership styles.
It is generally believed that leadership determines the progress and survival of any organization, including the school. However, it seems that many principals do not know that their style of leadership determines, to a great extent, the level of goal attainment in their schools. The school principal is the manager or administrator who controls school resources for the purpose of actualizing school goals, which include among others, independence, cooperative spirit, good learning habit and general discipline, respect, conforming to societal norms and value.
School goal actualization is the extent to which a school is able to accomplish its stated goals; it determines its quality or level of effectiveness. Effectiveness in this context transcend beyond students passing examination, it encompasses students’ attainment in the affective and psychomotor domains. Bamidele (2002) posited that the combination of the three domains of learning make the recipient of education live a fulfilled life and contributes meaningfully to the society. The cognitive outcome deals with the acquisition of knowledge, demonstrated at six levels, which include, knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Osunde (2008) agrees with Bamidele (2002) that the major instrument for assessing behaviour in cognitive domain is the test/examination. The affective domain describes changes of interest, attitude and value. Under this domain come feelings, emotions, opinions, interest value belief and reactions (Osunde, 2008). Psychomotor domain deals with activities such as good handwriting, speaking fluently, drawing, manipulating laboratory equipment, maintaining farm tools, weaving and making baskets, performing dance steps, etc.
Babayemi (2006) identified behaviour of leaders as one of the major factors influencing the productivity of subordinates in an organization. For goals to be actualized in schools, school leaders need to make the environment conducive for their subordinates. In other words, school principals are expected to apply appropriate management skills in order to elicit cooperation of subordinates. The principal has a crucial obligation in discharging management duties in school to attain the school goals.
Education cannot be an instrument for achieving national development when secondary schools are not effectively managed to accomplish their aims and objectives. The success or failure in secondary school administration depends largely on the influence of the school principal. School principals are expected to exhibit some leadership qualities that will enhance teaching and learning in schools. Ukeje (1992), points out that the success of a leader depends on the style and skills of the leader. It also depends on three identifiable leadership styles, namely: autocratic leadership, democratic and laissez-faire leadership styles. There is therefore a growing interest to determine which of these styles is capable of ensuring organizational goal attainment. Adeyemi (2012) and Omeko and Onak (2012) in their studies found a correlation between principals’ leadership style and goal attainment (performance level). They identified some dimensions of principals’ leadership capacities to include school discipline, delegation, executive behaviour, managing time and resourcefulness.
This work intends to investigate whether there is a relationship between principals’ leadership styles and the attainment of secondary schools’ broad aims of preparation for useful living and higher education. This work will focus on useful living. Useful living is conceptualized as moral discipline, respect for constituted authority and adherence to societal values and norms.
The major concern of school administration is the success or effectiveness of teaching-learning process. It has been observed that principals’ leadership styles have direct bearing on the overall effectiveness of schools because both teachers and students are to perform under the leadership of school principal (Yusuf, 2012). Secondary schools seem not to be living up to expectation in the discharge of their obligations. Omoregie (2005), lamented that the products of today’s secondary system can neither usefully live in the society nor move to higher institution without their parents’ aid or cheating. They cannot think for themselves or respect the views and feelings of others. They have no iota of dignity of labour except for things that will give them quick money. Education cannot be an instrument par excellence for achieving national development where the secondary education is not effectively managed to accomplish their goals.
Personal experience and happenings both in the school and larger society have shown that personality traits like, honesty, hard-work, punctuality and self-discipline which are necessary conditions for effective citizenship seem to have disappeared in the secondary schools. Students these days appear to be lazy, dishonest and always search for short-cut to success. It has also been observed that very few graduates of secondary schools are able to communicate effectively or exhibit evidence of good and solid education background. Also, many of the students have poor mastery of English language, oral and written communication. The reality of the time now is that many students come to school reluctantly when they do not have a choice. Some who cannot help it wrongly run away from school at the slightest opportunity. The result is that many of the students lack the required knowledge and skills to be able to function well in the society. Abolade, cited in Omoregie (2005) listed some of the problems manifested in secondary schools to include examination malpractice, cultism, sex abuse and drug abuse.
The academic performance of students in the Senior Secondary School Examination (SSCE) conducted by West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) has not been encouraging. In the general analysis of SSCE result over the years from 2008 to 2012 shows that 50% of the students who sat for WAEC and NECO Examination were unable to attain a minimum of 5 credits at a sitting (School Evaluation Report, 2013). Also qualities such as hard-work, good morality, order and respect for elders are on the decline, many reasons might have accounted for this among which is perhaps the observed style of leadership of school principals. Many have blamed the principal for not providing the necessary leadership in schools to warrant the actualization of school goals. It is against this backdrop that this study investigates the relationship that exists between principals’ leadership styles and secondary schools students’ moral tone in Edo North Senatorial District.
The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between principals’ leadership styles and secondary school students’ moral tone in Edo North Senatorial District, Nigeria. This study specifically seeks to:
The following research questions were raised to guide the study.
The following hypotheses were formulated and tested in the study:
The study will be of benefit to secondary school principals, students, education stakeholders, government, parents, teachers and other researchers interested in a similar academic venture. The finding of the study will be significant to secondary school principals in the sense that it will guide them in selecting the best leadership style to enhance students’ moral tone, and raise them to ideal ethic position in the society. It will also prepare principals in area where they are blamed for non-performance of their duties and failure to exhibit appropriate leadership behaviour to solve perennial problems besieging education system. It can lead to improvement in the principals’ preparation programme that will consequently enhance teachers’ and students morale.
This study is significant to the students because appropriate leadership style will prepare individuals for useful living within the society, make them to love hard work, instill discipline, prepare them for higher education and also make them moral upright, reduce cheating in examination, it will also improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning since one of the duties of a principal is to ensure effective teaching and learning.
It will aid the federal and state governments to actualize the goals of secondary education, since good leadership is a requirement of achieving organizational goal. To parents, it is significant because the recipient will become useful to themselves and the society, and parents will have graduates who can move into higher education without aid. The research will build on already existing knowledge relating to the topic, it will enable researcher to know areas that need further investigation, so that others can continue from where it stopped.
The study will also help the government and other education stakeholders in successful implementation of Universal Basic Education (UBE) since any reform of teaching and learning should focus attention on school principals, who as leaders of schools, are responsible for ensuring effective learning culture in the school it will also provide the government and education stakeholders information about what kind of leadership style is employed in secondary schools, and give feedback to principals. Findings of this study will enable education policy makers, managers and administrators to identify leadership styles that are necessary when planning for strategies that would help head teachers in public secondary schools to carry out administrative and management that would assist them to attain quality result in examination by maintaining discipline in school. Other researchers will find this work useful as a guide to further research studies.
This study will help the teachers in the sense that leadership style affects teachers’ job performance in the school area. Unless fruitful and appropriate leadership style is used the achievement of school goals will be in vain.
This study covered all the public senior secondary school principals and all the senior secondary school students in Edo North Senatorial District of Edo State, Nigeria. North Senatorial District of Edo State consists of six (6) local government areas, namely: Akoko Edo, Etsako Central, Etsako East, Etsako West, Owan East and Owan West. The study focused on only three principals’ leadership styles namely: autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire leadership styles. Moral tone covered expression of individual goodness, principals or rules of right conduct and distinction between right and wrong. The content coverage focused on the relationship between the aforementioned leadership styles and student moral tone in the district.
The following terms were defined operationally in this study:
Leadership Styles: This is the leadership behaviour of a secondary school principal that foster relationship within the school community. It is captured in this work as autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire leadership.
Autocratic Leadership: This is authoritarian leader who gives order which must be obeyed whether or not subordinates have initiatives.
Democratic Leadership: This leadership emphasizes on group and leaders participation, decision are taken after consultation and communication with subordinates.
Laissez-faire Leadership: This leadership is also known as free reign, it allows complete freedom to group decision without the leader’s participation. Leader does not interfere in course of event determined by the group. It is hands-off approach to leadership.
Student moral tone: Expression of individual goodness, principals or rules of right conduct and distinction between right and wrong among students.
Level of students’ moral tone: This refers to high and low student moral tone.
High student moral tone: This refers to a mean score of 3.00 or higher on students’ perception on the expression of individual goodness, principals or rules of right conduct and distinction between right and wrong.
Low student moral tone: This refers to a mean score of 0 to 2.99 on students’ perception on the expression of individual goodness, principals or rules of right conduct and distinction between right and wrong.
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