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Background to the Study
The goal of secondary education in Nigeria is to prepare the individual for useful living within the society and for higher education. According to the Federal Republic of Nigeria(2004), secondary education is the education children receive after primary school and before the tertiary stage. The secondary education is of two levels, the junior secondary level and the senior secondary level. The policy document states that the Junior Secondary School (JSS) shall be both pre-vocational and academic in nature, and shall aim at preparing students for useful living within the society, providing high quality education to primary school graduates, equipping students to live effectively in this modern age of science and technology, raising a generation of people who can think for themselves, respect the view and feelings of others and dignity of labour and inspiring students with a desire for achievement and self-improvement both at school and in later life (FRN, 2004).
In order to achieve the above stated objectives, a conducive teaching and learning environment is indispensable. Teaching and learning environment include educational facilities and equipment, infrastructure, class size, teachers and other environmental factors. The importance of educational facilities in the accomplishment of desired educational goals cannot be overemphasized. No matter the efforts expended in the pursuance of desired educational goals, whether through improved funding or qualified and professionally trained teachers, little or nothing may be achieved in the absence of essential school facilities. School facilities are the material resources that facilitate effective teaching and learning in the school. They include school buildings such as classrooms, assembly halls, laboratories and workshops, libraries, textbooks, desks and chairs. Others include teaching aids and devices such as modern educational hardware and software in the form of magnetic tapes, films and transparencies. Costald (1977) describes educational facilities as those things of education which enable a skillful teacher to achieve a level of instructional effectiveness that far exceeds what is possible when they are not provided.
School resources are of two major categories, namely, direct teaching facilities and non-direct teaching facilities. Direct teaching facilities are facilities that have direct relevance to the educative process while non-direct teaching facilities are those that have an indirect relevance to the educative process. Special record books like diaries, log books, admission and attendance registers and tangible structures which serve as shelter for educational activities and furniture and equipment are all essential ingredients of school facilities. The availability, adequacy and utilization of school facilities contribute to the effectiveness of the teaching and learning process. A study by Oni (1992) found out that there was a relationship between utilization of school facilities and academic performance in the Junior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (JSSCE) in three pre-vocational subjects, namely: Introductory Technology, Business Studies and Home Economics.
Availability and effective utilization of school resources are essential to the achievement of school goals. As a social system engaged in production, schools need adequate facilities, equipment, materials, education personnel, finance and students to function effectively. Invariably, adequate provision and effective utilization of educational facilities play a vital role in enhancing the achievement of educational objectives. School facilities are the operational inputs of every instructional programme. More than anything else, school facilities are necessary for utmost learning achievement. Every Instructional programme has its specific demands of facilities. As a result, the educational process requires facilities that are at their utmost workable state in order to achieve quality output production.
Availability of school resources and their effective utilization are important factors that cannot be undermined if the desired educational output is to be achieved. In educational production, facilities are elements that are necessary for effective teaching and learning. They are required by the system for effective and efficient delivery of educational services. As observed by Mgbodile and Onuorah (2000), physical appearance and adequacy of school facilities are striking bases upon which stakeholders of any educational institution make their initial judgment about the quality of what goes on in a school. This they say is not to underplay the paramount role of the human factor in properly harnessing and manipulating these facilities in order to bring about effective learning in schools.
Resources utilization is a measure of the extent to which allocated resources (inputs) are being processed through school production mechanism to ensure optimum performance by reducing wastage to the barest minimum. It is the relationship between the learning inputs and the learning achievement (outputs) of the school system. As a production function, the quality and quantity of inputs as well as ability and capability of the school system to comply with the set standard would to a large extent determine its outputs and the efficiency of the production process.
Adequate resources provision is a precursor to effective utilization as there cannot be utilization without availability of resources. There are expectations of adequate resource provision to schools because resources are inevitable component of the teaching – learning process, like is popularly acclaimed that the benefits of providing functional education far outweigh the investment in the sector. The World Bank (1999) stated that the stakes of providing functional education are high and the choices nations make will lead to divergent outcomes. Thus, countries that respond positively to the provision of functional education would experience progress while those who treat functional education with levity would risk stagnation and even slip backwards, widening the already existing socio-economic gaps, and consequently sowing the seeds of unrest.
Schools require adequate and standard materials demanded by the school curriculum for effective teaching and learning to take place. This is necessary because the present secondary school curriculum is comprehensive and diversified, catering for individual interests and talents, covering an array of arts, social science, science and vocational subjects, that require varying materials. Where the recommended school resources are not adequately provided, the teaching – learning environment will not be conducive and students’ interest may not be sufficiently aroused. This could lead to low rate of attainment of educational objectives and high rate of educational wastage.
The success of any education system depends largely on effective utilization of available resources. Central to effective resource utilization is adequate provision of teachers both in quantity and quality. This is particularly crucial in secondary schools because each subject in the system requires a qualified and specialized teacher. As an important variable in education production, the teacher factor transcends mere availability; it includes adequate quality distribution, utilization and retention. Teacher retention is a crucial factor in effective utilization of teacher resources. However, teacher retention is faced with different problems that lead to constant teacher attrition. Some of these problems include retrenchments, forced or voluntary retirements, deaths, teachers proceeding on further studies, and teachers changing jobs. These problems make the available stock of teachers to vary constantly in number, quality, subject specialty and experience. The Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, (SEDL, 2009) said that although placement of effective and high quality teachers in every school is a critical factor in improving student learning, educational authorities must also focus on supporting and retaining these teachers so that they stay motivated and committed.
Closely related to teacher utilization is effective teacher distribution to schools based on qualification, subject specialization and experience. Achieving effective teacher distribution is often made difficult because many teachers prefer postings and transfers to schools in urban locations at the detriment and neglect of schools in rural locations. The refusal to accept postings to schools in rural areas is often attributed to lack of basic social amenities in rural areas and the request of female teachers that they want to be with their husbands who work in urban towns.
Another important determinant in the ability to provide educational resources is finance. Going by the present 13% derivation formula for revenue allocation in Nigeria, Delta State is thought to be rich being an oil producing state. Ordinarily, the expectation will be that education will have reasonable budgetary allocation, especially secondary education, which is a major responsibility of State governments. The expectations are that increased education funding would positively impact on the resources situation in secondary schools, but it is known that funds allocated to education are redistributed to education sub-sectors such as the Ministry of Education, Basic Education Board, Scholarship Board, Library Board, Agency for Adult/Non-formal Education, Education for Migrant Fishermen, Higher Education, among others. As posited by the World Bank (2003), lack of accountability, arbitrary allocation of education resources and limited and inaccurate data for decision making are major problems hindering education resources situation in Nigeria.
The assessment of educational resources situation in secondary schools in Delta State was based on recommended standards in order to make the results of this investigation relevant for decision making. The recommended standards are based on the Federal Ministry of Education (2002) guidelines on minimum standards in schools nationwide as accepted standards for establishment and operation of secondary schools. Areas, such as quantity of each piece of science equipment needed in a standard secondary school laboratory, not explicitly spelt out in the prescribed national minimum standards are spelt out by the appropriate departments of the Delta State Ministry of Education, and are by implication adopted as the recommended standards. This investigation relied on these set standards as the basis for assessment of the educational resources situation in secondary schools in Delta State.
Statement of the Problem
The issue of falling standards of education, at all levels, has been a source of concern to Nigerians. Schools are faced with the challenges of providing functional and qualitative education that will prepare students for useful living in a rapidly changing world of science and technology. Presently, secondary schools in Nigeria seem to exist in the shadow of their glorious past. The secondary school system is characterized by inadequacies in funding, manpower, facilities and equipment and a general decline in standards and quality. The system is plagued by inadequate infrastructural resources, overcrowded classrooms, obsolete equipment, enrolment explosion, shortage of personnel, gross under funding and general neglect. This has manifested in the poor academic performance of students at both internal and external examinations. (Source: Delta State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education manual 2004)
Education in Nigeria seems not to be receiving enough attention. Although efforts have been made to improve the quality of education in Nigeria since independence, yet the system seems not to have been able to achieve its goal of providing functional education for Nigerian citizens (Bajah, 2001). Secondary schools in Nigeria, especially public secondary schools, have the problem of inadequate and decaying facilities, as well as high rate of student drop out. The situation is even more pathetic as some few schools that have sizable number of facilities seem not to be putting them into effective use due to insufficient teachers in some subject areas, to take the students through the process of learning. This could account for the reason why many school children are seen roaming the streets during school hours. There seems to be a high rate of repetitions and dropouts in public secondary schools. This may be attributed to ineffective utilization of available educational resources.
There have been outcries by parents, media and all stakeholders in the educational sector over the decline in standards of operation of the educational system in the country and the quality of the products. For quite some times now, the performance of students in West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) and the National Examination Council (NECO) examination in Delta State has not been encouraging (Statistics from PRS Department, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Delta State). This has created lots of fears in the minds of stakeholders in the education sector especially the government, parents, school authorities and educational managers. As the downward slide seems to continue unabated, reasons have been advanced by stakeholders on what could possibly be responsible for this decline, which to many has nosedived to a pathetic level. While some are of the opinion that the slide may not be unconnected with inadequate or non-availability of learning facilities, ineffectiveness and unqualified teachers, others are of the view that the reading habits of students have declined considerably. This situation is even made worse by the ever increasing students’ population which makes available learning facilities over stretched thereby putting teachers and students under stress (Utulu 2012). It is against this backdrop that this study gives the situation analysis of the educational resources availability, adequacy and utilization in public junior secondary schools in Delta State, Nigeria.
The following research questions guided the study:
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to assess the state of material and human resources in public Junior Secondary Schools in Delta State, Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to:
Significance of the Study
The findings of this study in addition to contributing to the body of literature on education facilities availability and utilization, would benefit government, school management agencies, school heads and parents. Ultimately, the students would benefit from the research especially when the findings are implemented
The result of the findings would provide the government and school management agencies with information on resource availability,adequacy and utilization in schools, as well as internal efficiency and how these affect the academic achievement of students. This would help them to provide the needed resources for schools with dearth of infrastructure with a view to shore up students performance in such schools.
Also, the finding would be beneficial to parents of secondary school students in Delta State as the study would make parents understand the situation of educational facilities in secondary schools, and this can assists them in choice of school for their children. Apart from this, the wealthy parents could also assist some schools in some areas of needs
The findings of the study would provide relevant information to school heads on facilities availability and utilization so that they can make decisions on how best to put into use available education resources in their schools. It would also contribute to the existing body of theoretical knowledge on the availability, adequacy and utilization of material and human resources in the junior secondary schools and finally, the study would serve as a reservoir of information to future researchers in the area of educational resources availability and utilization in public junior secondary schools in Delta State, in particular, and Nigeria in general.
Scope of the Study
The study covered the situation analysis of educational resources in public junior secondary schools in Delta State.
The study was limited to the availability, adequacy and utilization of resources in junior secondary schools because this particular level of education is jointly funded by the three tiers of government, that is, local government, State government and Federal government. Therefore, the expectations were that educational resources would be adequately provided and utilized in junior secondary schools. It also compared educational resources in schools located in rural areas with that of schools located in urban areas.
Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are operationally defined as used in the study: –
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