1.1 Background to the Study
The sustainability of schools relies in part on the availability and utilization of funds available to support recurrent costs for systems upkeep at the school level. Studies (Bada and Oguguo, 2011) shows that heads of schools report shortages of funds which impact on the daily running of school programmes. Almost all institutions and organizations in Nigeria have been affected by recessions (Bada and Oguguo, 2011). During economic downturns, the world seems to focus on managing budgets. Since 2008 the federal government has taken dramatic measures to help the financial state of many institutions struggling with the current recession. Of those measures, massive bailout packages worth billions of dollars have been proposed and passed to help institutions across the nation.
Schools have not been excluded from these tough financial times. Educational institutions historically struggle to get funding, but the recent recession has made revenue building particularly difficult. From state and local governments to the school community, financial support for public schools has decreased dramatically. As a result schools have had to adjust by making cuts in all areas including personnel, supplies, building structures, and programs, (Ijeoma, 2007).
Primary education serves as the foundation in the formal process of ensuring changes in the behaviour of the growing members of the society. The success of any subsequent level depends, to a great extent on the effectiveness of the foundation. Hence, the primary formal education occupies a natural prime of place in any nation’s educational system. In light of this, Mallison (1980) described primary education as the keystone of the whole educational structure. As a foundation, it invariably determines what the outlook of subsequent higher levels of formal education will be.
Primary education deals with young children coming fresh from their homes without any exposure at all to the outside world. This level exposes the child to become an integral part of the society. It exposes the child to adapt to situations out of the home environment. He/she begins to associate with peer groups out of the family setting.
The objectives of the primary education in Nigeria as spelt out in the National Policy on Education (2004, revised) states:
- The inculcation of permanent literacy and numeracy and ability to communicate effectively;
- The laying of a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking;
- Citizenship education as a basis for effective participation in and contribution to the life of the society;
- Character and moral training and the development of sound attitudes;
- Giving the child apportunities for developing manipulative skills that will enable him to function effectively in the society within the limits of his capacity;
- Developing in the child the ability to adapt to his changing environment;
- Providing basic tools for further educational advancement, including preparation for trades and crafts of the locality.
To this end, the government made primary education free and universal by launching the Universal Primary Education Scheme in September, 1976 and proposed to make it compulsory.
In Nigeria, there are four main sources of public funding for the public (non-federal) education sector: direct allocations from the federal government (through the Universal Basic Education Intervention Fund and the Education Trust Fund), state governments, local governments, and private individuals and organizations, including nongovernmental organizations and international donors in some states. There is a huge lack of information on state and local expenditures for education, which makes accurate estimates of total spending difficult.
In essence, funding for education in Nigeria come primarily from federal and local governments finance over the years; state governments have tended to prioritize tertiary education relying on local governments’ finance for primary education (EFA Report, 2014). A general lack of accountability inherent in current practices leads to inefficiency in use of finance. Officials estimate that these challenges account for 40% – 45 % of allocated funds. Recurrent capital expenditure imbalances in budgetary allocations aggravate the challenges and stifle the provision of education infrastructure. The non-inclusion of performance conditions in the criteria for federal matching grants to state governments on basic education may lead to lack of incentives for performance and inefficiency. In Nigeria, parents, local communities and individuals assist in the funding and implementation of basic education programme. Parents deny themselves a lot of things to keep their children in schools. Local communities also often levied themselves to raise enough funds to provide facilities in both primary and secondary the schools like classroom blocks and dormitories. This is because education has been identified by all in the economy as a dynamic instrument of change, hence developed countries and those aspiring to develop have adopted it as an instrument per excellence for effecting national development (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004).
To begin with, the word “finance” has many facets. In some uses of the word it means a source of supply, support or aid that can be readily drawn upon. At other times the word resource is used to refer to a capability or determination to persevere. In the context of classrooms, finance are seen as physical demonstration of aids, pupils contextual understandings, teacher subject expertise, and structured organization of materials, ideas, and activities. The points of contact at which students interact with these finance (noting that students themselves can be a resource) are where knowledge construction can occur.
The federal government (FG) makes nationwide policies and runs primary, secondary (both junior and senior) and post-secondary institutions, including universities, polytechnics, and colleges. The FG funds these through annual budgetary allocations and several targeted interventions funds, including the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), debt relief grant (DRG/MDGs), and constituency projects of federal legislators. These funds also benefit state government schools. In addition, the FG funds the construction of several Almajiri (Tsangaya) schools and participates in nomadic education and adult education campaigns. The FG’s main intervention instrument in basic education is through a special Universal Basic Education (UBE) Fund, which makes matching grants to state governments. FG education spending averaged nearly $2 USD billion annually between 2010 and 2014, which amounts to 7.8% of aggregate FG spending or 0.5% of real GDP (EFA Report, 2014). Spending started above this $2 billion average and rose steadily each year, except in 2012, when it dipped sharply to less than $1.2 USD billion. The sharp fall in 2012 was not specific to the education sector; all government functions were affected due to the implementation of the FG’s fiscal consolidation regime aimed to streamline spending and eliminate waste. The reduction was reflected in education’s share of aggregate spending and GDP, which dipped significantly in 2012, but picked up thereafter.
State Governments (SG) use Local Governments’ (LG) finance to meet their counterpart obligations for accessing federal matching grants, pay primary school teachers, and pay other costs of basic schools or, at least, primary schools. SGs’ base their stance on the Local Government Decree of 1976, which “assigned formal responsibility for providing and maintaining primary education to LGs, subject to necessary assistance from the states.” However, the situation changed in the 1999 constitution, which “… envisages that, in the primary and secondary education sub-sectors, the Federal Government’s main role is to determine national policy, set standards (including curriculum) and monitor performance, while the States design, develop and deliver the services” (FMoE, Education Sector Status Report, May, 2003, p. 24). The Supreme Court interpreted the constitutional provisions as follows, “In so far as primary education is concerned, a local government council only participates with the State Government in its provision and maintenance. The function obviously remains with the State Government”. News reports suggest that the 19 northern SGs’ agreed in a Y2000 education summit with then VP of the country to devote at least, 25% of their budget to education in order to bridge the education gap with southern states, but they failed to honor that agreement (FMoE, 2013)
The role of local governments (LGs) in education is “participation in…the provision and maintenance of primary, adult, and vocational education.”31 A 2002 Supreme Court decision interpreted this to mean that primary education is a state responsibility in which local governments may participate. In practice, states use federal allocations to local governments to pay for primary school teachers’ salaries, and use local government funds to pay their counterpart contributions to UBEC grants. In addition, local governments contribute to the funding of state universities, especially in the northern states. Consequently, LGs make a huge contribution to education financing in Nigeria, but it is difficult to determine the level due to non-publication of LGs’ financial statements
It is imperative for individual schools to begin analyzing the most efficient methods of allocating finance, paying close attention to student and program assessments, working with diverse student populations, and the intentional use of effective learning and instructional strategies. “More money is needed to achieve equivalent outcomes with high need students…while this complicates analyses of funding and finance, there is no logic under which it provides a justification for spending less on the education of children in poverty.” (Darling-Hammond, 2010) However, evidence continues to show that the proper allocation of finance has the potential to improve student achievement, even in areas where students have historically underachieved (Odden & Archibald, 2009). This study will analyze resource allocation strategies in primary schools in Benue State with scarce finance that have consistently contributed to the achievement gap, yet have the potential to outperform schools that have similar demographics and pupils populations.
- 2 Statement of the Problem
Educational leaders have long sought to understand how to allocate finance to improve school and pupils’ learning outcome. Schools receive funding for the sole purpose of improving educational opportunities and achievement for students. Yet the benefits of increasing that finance are widely disputed. Research conducted outside Nigeria indicates that the level of finance in a school does make a difference in student achievement (Odden, Goertz, & Goertz, 2008). However, limited research exists in Nigeria on whether increases in funding, utilized effectively and efficiently, does increase student achievement. Financing is often challenging to study because of the lack of disaggregation of district and school level expenditures. Educational boards have not historically kept track of categories of expenditures and are unable to aide researchers in their quest for financial data separated by theme.
Many issues amplify the importance of effective financing and management because of the implications on school funding for primary schools. Funding for basic education has come primarily from federal and local governments finance over the years; state governments have tended to prioritize tertiary education relying on local governments’ finance for primary education. A general lack of accountability inherent in current practices leads to inefficiency in use of finance. Officials estimate that these challenges account for 40% – 45 % of allocated funds. Recurrent capital expenditure imbalances in budgetary allocations aggravate the challenges and stifle the provision of education infrastructure. The non-inclusion of performance conditions in the criteria for federal matching grants to state governments on basic education may lead to lack of incentives for performance and inefficiency.
Schools are under even greater pressure to do more with less and maintain a clear process to decide how to allocate finance in areas that are needed the most and are the most effective. An important concern then, is understanding the connection between resource utilization, data-directed decision-making, and monitoring the use of resource utilization in schools to improve student learning outcome.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The prime purpose of this study was to investigate how financing and school management impacts on learning outcome in primary public schools in Benue State. Specifically, the study seeks to achieve the following research objectives:
- Conceptualize school financial management as they impact on pupils learning outcome;
- Determine the extent to which school funding produce effects, feelings, thoughts, and motivations for learners in relation to their learning outcome;
- Establish the link between government funding and level of learning outcome among students
- Find out if school financial management, with special focus on budgeting have direct consequences on learning outcome of students
1.4 Research Questions
The study seeks to answer the following questions
- How relevant is the proposed three-model variables of resource allocation, government funding, and school financial management to learning outcome?
- To what extent would resource allocation produce effects, feelings, thoughts, and motivations for learners in relation to their learning outcome?
- Is there any link between government funding and level of learning outcome among pupils?
- Would school financial management, with special focus on budgeting have direct consequences on learning outcome of pupils?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
Four null hypotheses were raised in the study.
- There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of school financial management and pupils learning outcome
- There is no significant difference between the mean rating of head teacher and account supervisors on the extent to which school finance would impact on learning outcome of pupils
- There is no significant difference between the mean rating of school management team on the extent to which budget implementation would impact on learning outcome of pupils
- There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of male and female school managers in school financial management as they impact on learning outcome of pupils
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study will be based on Benue State of Nigeria. The target population for this study will be the school management team (SMT) bracket of head teachers, Heads of Departments and others considered essential to the study. However, while the title suggests a state-wide study, it is limited to some selected schools in four local governments’ areas of Benue State.
1.4 Significance of the Study
Due to the emphasis on high standards and fiscal accountability, there is a need to inform the research linking student learning outcome to the allocation or reallocation of finance. Schools and leadership teams need current, reliable research and guidance to make fiscally sound decisions so that students can experience the best education possible. There is a need for studying how primary schools spend their funding, and whether there is a significant correlation to student achievement. Findings could aid schools in deciding which programs should stay, be expanded, be reduced, or cut.
Since there is a paucity of empirical studies of this kind in Nigeria, it is believed that the findings and implications of this study will be of a great importance for the Federal, State and Local governments in terms of assessing their funding of education over the years. Thus, the result of the study could be useful for the education planners to critically review and update funding policy in the area of methodology and content. The findings of this study will also be relevant to the teachers by providing them with information on funding and finance available which can be improved upon to ensure better performance of learners in school. The study will also provide adequate information for teachers as well as counselors of students on some funding from the government can affect their academic performance.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Finance: Finance is a field that deals with the study of investments. It includes the dynamics of assets and liabilities over time under conditions of different degrees of uncertainty and risk. Finance can also be defined as the science of money management. A key point in finance is the time value of money, which states that purchasing power of one unit of currency, can vary over time.
Management: Management is also an academic discipline, a social science whose objective is to study social organization.
Primary School: A primary school or elementary school is a school in which children receive primary or elementary education from the ages of about five to eleven, coming before secondary school and after preschool.
Resource Allocation: Resource allocation is the assignment of available resources to various uses. In the context of an entire economy, resources can be allocated by various means, such as markets or central planning.
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