ASSESSING THE ROLE OF SCHOOL MANAGEMENT TEAM IN IMPLEMENTING UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION IN NIGERIA


1.1  Background to the Study

Education policy implementation as a field of research and practice for decades has amounted to a sort of national search for two types of policies: “implementable” policies—those that in practice resemble policy designs—and “successful” policies—those that produce demonstrable improvements in stu-dents’ school performance. This focus on what gets implemented and what works makes sense especially in education. After all, education has become a high-stakes, big-budget policy arena. Education commands a lion’s share ofstate and local budgets to levels that beg hard questions about the feasibility and value added by education policies. Given its promise to serve as a significant lever of change in an institution intended to serve all children and youth, education policy affects multiple dimensions of social welfare. And given these high stakes, education policy implementation warrants careful scrutiny.

As education has remained a social process in nation building and  the maintenance of  society  for decades  (World  Bank,  1998: 11),  it  can  be  regarded  as  a  weapon for the  acquiring  of  skills,  relevant  knowledge  and  values  for  surviving  in  a  changing world.    Igbuzor  (2006:  4),  in  stressing  the  importance  of  education,  states  that education  is  a  human  right  that  should  be  accorded  to  all  human  beings.    Obani (1996:  5)  also  expresses  that  education  improves  the  development  of  any  society, leading  to  a  strong  nation.    Education  can  therefore  be  seen  as  the  best  legacy  a country can give to its citizens. Based  on  the  focal  position  education  plays  in  achieving  individual  and  societal development, the provision of basic education is of great importance in Nigeria.  The importance  of  basic  education  is  highlighted  in  the  National  Policy  on  Education (NPE) of 2004 and by the Universal Basic Education Commission (1999) as free and compulsory.

According  to  United  Nations  Educational,  Scientific  and  Cultural Organization  (UNESCO)  (2002:  25,  also  Arikewuyo  &  Onanuga,  2005:  1  and Adeyemi,  2007:  159-168),  basic  education  can  be  conceptualised  as  all  forms  of organised  education  and  training,  including  access  to  information  to  equip  the individual  to  cope  better  with  work  and  family  responsibilities.    The  Jomtien Declaration  and  Framework  of  Action  on  Education  for  All  (WCEFA,  1990)  gives  a similar  definition  of  basic  education,  namely  as  a  process  which  encourages  close articulation  of  development  of  human  and  capital  potentials.    In  other  words,  basic education  is  a  life-long  form  of  education  involving  learning  to  learn,  mass  literacy and  adult  education.  As  such,  it  is  assumed  that  an  adequate  provision  of  basic education in Nigeria will serve to further develop human and capital resources in the country.

In order to pursue and bring about free, compulsory and universal basic education in Nigeria, the Universal Basic Education policy (hereafter UBE policy) was launched by the  federal  government  in  September  1999,  but  enacted  as  the  Compulsory,  Free Universal  Basic  Education  Act  in  2004.    As  a  policy  reform  measure  of  the  federal government,  the  UBE  is  in  line  with  Section  18  of  the  1999  Constitution  of  the Federal Republic of Nigeria:

Government shall eradicate illiteracy; to this end, government shall as and when  practicable  provide  a  free  and  compulsory  universal  primary education, free secondary education and free adult literacy programmes.

With  regard  to  free  education,  the  UBE  (2004:  Part  1,  Section  2(1))  states  that “[e]very  Government  in  Nigeria  shall  provide  free,  compulsory  and  universal  basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age”.  The issue of free  and  compulsory  basic  education  is  further  underscored  by  the  UBE’s  vision statement (2004) whereby

[a]t  the  end  of    9  years  of  continuous  education,  every  child  through  the system  should  have  acquired  an  appropriate  level  of  literacy,numeracy, communication,  manipulative  and  life  skills  and  be  employable,  useful  to himself and the society at large by possessing relevant ethical, moral and civic skills.

In view of the above, the UBE is aimed  at enabling children in the  Nigerian  society  to  participate  in  9  years  of  free  schooling  (primary  to  junior secondary  school)  with  the  overall  purpose  of  ensuring  the  acquisition  of  the appropriate levels of literacy, manipulative and life skills as well as the ethical, moral and  civic  values  needed  for  laying  the  foundation  for  life-long,  human  and  capital development.

However, despite the adoption of the UBE, several researchers (Madugu, 2000: 68-77;  Adebola,  2007:  53;  Labo-Popoola,  et  al.,  2009:  252;  Ejere,  2011:  221-226;  and Duze, 2012: 38-44) have observed that many years after the policy was launched,  it is  still  poorly  implemented.    They  also  identified  various  factors  that  may  have contributed to the failure of the implementation of UBE.   These factors include  inter alia  inadequate  and  poor  data;  inadequacy  of  policy  resources;  fragmentation  and conflict  of  roles  or  responsibilities  due  to  many  agencies  involved  in  the implementation; and a dearth of high quality personnel in the implementing agencies at  the  state  and  local  government  level.  Often time, teachers look at politicians as implementers of the UBE programme. This study looks at the school management team as well as teachers as primary implementers of the UBE scheme.

School management practices covers to a large extent the management of human and material resources. Human resources are the teachers, parents, pupils etc while the material resources includes instructional spaces planning, administrative places planning, circulation spaces planning, spaces for conveniences planning and accessories planning are essential In teaching-learning process. The extent to which these spaces could enhance teaching and learning depends on their location within the school compound, their structure, and accessories. It is believed that a well  planned school plant will gear  up expected outcomes of education that will facilitate  good social, political and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process and academic performance of the students.

Emphasizing the importance of school plant planning to students academic performance (Oluchukwu, 2000), asserted school plant planning as an essential aspect of educational planning, he went further to explain that “unless schools are well suited, buildings adequately constructed and equipment adequately utilized and maintained,  much teaching and learning may not take place.

Corroborating these, Ajayi (2007), maintained that high levels of students’ academic performance may not be guaranteed where instructional  space such as classrooms, libraries, technical workshops and laboratories are structurally defective. They also emphasized that structural  effectiveness, proper ventilation and well sited instructional space lead to successful teaching and learning process in Nigeria  secondary schools.

Relating this study to international occurrences are the assertions of Williams, Persaud, and Turner (2008) which reported that safe and orderly classroom environment (aspect of instructional space), School facilities (accessories) were significantly related to students ’ academic performance in schools. Supporting these findings are Duncanson and Achilles (2008), who affirmed teachers and the physical environment (plant space) are two major tools that can bring about new outcomes. They submitted that unintentionally and non-verbally, teachers expose their educational  philosophy in the way they use space.

In essence, a well-planned facility will be able to accommodate changes in use (e.g., class size, technology upgrades, and perhaps flexible-use rooms), be easy to maintain and upgrade, be energy efficient, and address the safety concer ns of the occupants. The custodial staff needs to be trained to maintain and operate the facility, and costs associated with this need to be include d in the costs budgeted for operating the building.

Nigeria as a nation strives to experience real growth and development. This requires a clearly defined development strategy that allows intensive utilization of resources which is endowed. These resources are the various school physical facilities that are indispensable in the educational process. They include the sitting, the building and physical equipment, recreation places for the achievement of educational objectives (Oluchuckwu, 2000).

School management with its attendant features of instructional spaces planning, administrative places planning, circulation spaces planning, spaces for conveniences planning, accessories planning, the teachers as well as the students themselves are essential in the teaching-learning process. The extent to which student learning could be enhanced depends on their location in the locality, within the school compound, the structure of their classroom, availability of instructional facilities and accessories. It is believed that a well planned school will gear up expected outcomes of education that will facilitate good social, political and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process and academic performance of the students.

            The physical characteristics of the school management have a variety of effects on teachers, students, and the learning process. Poor lighting, noise, high levels of carbon dioxide in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures make teaching and learning difficult. Poor maintenance and ineffective ventilation systems lead to poor health among students as well as teachers, which leads to poor performance and higher absentee rates (Frazier, 2002 Lyons, 2001; and Ostendorf, 2001). These factors can adversely affect student behavior and lead to higher levels of frustration among teachers, and poor learning attitude among student.

Beyond the direct effects that poor facilities have on students’ ability to learn, the combination of poor facilities, which create an uncomfortable and uninviting workplace for teachers, combined with frustrating behavior by students including poor concentration and hyperactivity, lethargy, or apathy, creates a stressful set of working conditions for teachers. Because stress and job dissatisfaction are common pre-cursors to lowered teacher enthusiasm, it is possible that the aforementioned characteristics of school facilities have an effect upon the academic performance of students.

Previous studies have investigated the relationship of poor school environment including problems with student-teacher ratio, school location, school population, classroom ventilation, poor lighting in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures in the classroom with student health problems, student behavior, and student achievement (Moore, 2002). To complement these studies, the present research examines the aforementioned areas of school plant management such as location of the school itself, class size, school facilities, and school population affect the effectiveness of schools in Nigeria.

Having noticed problems with the implementation of free and compulsory education, it is important to research the consequences of the extent of the implementation of  the  UBE  policy.    The  value  of  this  study  subsequently  lies  with  the  possibility  of highlighting not only the problems related to the implementation  or the extent of the implementation of the UBE, but also with the proposing of recommendations relevant for  consideration  by  policy-makers  and  policy-implementers  for  a  more  informed actualisation of the aim and objectives of free and compulsory education.

 

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Nigeria’s educational system has witnessed a catalogue of changes in educational policies and programes. Some of the changes have appeared to a number of people desirable while others have not been able to meet the desired target. Many of the changes in educational policies in Nigeria have been a product of inadequate planning. There is therefore, a high level of uncertainty which is bedevilling the implementation of this programme in Nigeria schools. This situation call for much concern as the young ones is the future leaders of this country. This study aims at carrying out a research on assessing the roles of the school management team in implementatin of the Universal Basic Education in Nigeria.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the role of school management team in implemeting Universal Basic Education in Nigeria. Specifically, the study seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To examine the relationship between school management team and policy implementation
  2. To examine the impact of school management practices on the implementation of Universal Basic Education
  • To investigate the extent to which school management affects the effectiveness of the UBE scheme in Nigeria

1.4       Research Questions

  1. Is there any relationship between school management team and policy implementation?
  2. To what extent would school management practices impact on implementation of Universal Basic Education?
  • Would the school management affect the effectiveness of the UBE scheme in NIgeria?
  1. Does Universal Basic Education Progrmmme provide adequate facilities at the primary level of education?
  2. Does the Universal Basic Education Programme provide adequate instructional materials to enhance teaching/learning effectiveness in all the primary schools?
  3. To what extent has the monitoring unit (i.e Inspectorate division) been effective?
  • Are these schools charging fees in spite of the government policy?
  • Are there library provision in the primary schools?
  1. Are the pupils exposed to computer training in this modern technological age?
  2. Do the primary schools possess adequate sporting equipment?

1.5       Research Hypothesis

Ho1        There is no significant difference between school management team and policy implementation

Ho2        There is no significant difference between school management practices on the implementation of Universal Basic Education

Ho3        There is no significant difference between school management practices and the effectiveness of Universal Basic Education

 

1.6       Significance of the Study

It is hoped that this study will provide information for parents, educators and school administrators to reflect upon various factors that can aid the school to be effective in helping students to achieve their goals. In so doing, they can investigate the possibility of introducing these recommended factors to their school, which may consequently lead to enhancing students’ educational outcomes in school. In addition, the fact that this study is conducted in public schools, it shares quite a lot of similarities with  many other counterparts. In this connection, this study provides a valuable reference for other schools to reflect upon the school environment, the school facilities, class size and school plant management as it affect the academic performance of student in secondary school.

The problem therefore is that school facilities negatively impact student learning and faculty, and administrators were not properly supporting stronger facility management. The poor condition of some schools raised serious concerns about teacher and student safety. When providing quality equitable and efficient education for students, lawmakers and educators must take in consideration of the role school facilities had played in the educational and learning environment. Educators must understand and find ways to help increase student performance. Therefore, educators must understand the relationship that existed between learning and school facilities.

This study will be of great importance because it will examine the challenges associated with the implementation of Universal Basic Education in primary schools and it will also provide valuable strategies of curbing these problems.

 

1.7       Scope of the Study

This research work focuses on school plant management as determinants of students’ academic performance. This research work covers all public basic schools’ head teachers, heads of departments, the vice principals that make up the school management team in Nigerian primacy schools.

1.8  Limitation of the Study

Apart  from  time-frame  and  shortage  of  finance,  the  major  limitation to  this  research  is  the  inability  of  the  researcher  to  cover  the  whole public primary schools in Nigeria as the scope of the study suggest.

1.9       Definition of Terms

Academic Achievement – Knowledge attained or skills developed in school subjects by  test scores.

Educational facility. The process of conceiving and selecting the structure, elements, arrangement, materials, and so on for a school building or facility; the plan or layout of the building (Australian Council for Educational Research, 2008).

Learning environment. The context for informal and formal curricula and the matrix that nurtures or inhibits learner growth (Robins, 2005).

School design patterns. Physical arrangements of the environmental components with which students interact (Tanner, 2000).

Secondary school (also”high school”)is a term used to describe an educational institution where the final stage of schooling, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age, takes place. It follows elementary or primary education, and may be followed by university (tertiary) education.

School: A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students (or “pupils”) under the direction of teachers

School Location: A school’s physical environment includes the school building and the surrounding.

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