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school environmental factors and academic performance of students in government in secondary schools

SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN GOVERNMENT IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

It is generally accepted that education enables individuals to contribute to the development and improvement in the quality of life for themselves, their communities and the nation as a whole. Secondary education is no doubt the foundation of education and has prominently been regarded as the fundamental human right. It is an essential component of human capital and it plays an important role in the economic growth and development of a country. Secondary education, therefore, remains an important area that should be carefully managed.

School environmental factors refer to factors within the school that influence the teaching/learning process and the academic performance of the students generally. The school environment includes classrooms, library, technical workshops, teachers’ quality, teaching methods, peers, school location among others factors that can affect the teaching–learning process and the student academic performance (Ajayi, 2001). The extent to which students learn could be enhanced depending on what the school environment provides to the learners and the teacher. 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/learning process and academic performance of students.  Relating this study to international occurrences are the assertions of Williams, Persaud and Turner (2008) quoting Marsden (2005) which reported that safe and orderly classroom environment, school facilities are significantly related to student’s academic achievement in schools.

School environmental factors and academic performance of students in government in secondary schools

In developed countries like the United Kingdom and the United States of America, teaching and learning may not be affected by similar challenges as in the developing countries. As the developing countries talk of awareness and wastage due to illiteracy of the parents, the developed countries have concentrated in funding their education without fear of any wastage or poor enrolment (MOEST: Report on Sector Review and Development, 2003).

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In Nigeria, the government has put up measures to ensure all public schools have all the required physical facilities and instructional materials among others variables that may lead to effective teaching-learning process and student performance generally. Instructional materials are a major component in the process of teaching and learning and textbooks are often the most cost effective means of improving academic achievement and increasing the efficiency of schools (Psachropoulous and Woodhall, 1995).In the developing countries, poor learning environments have always been identified as key factors that lead to poor performance in public secondary schools (UNICEF, 2003). This is due to overstretching of the available resources due to increased enrolment. In Uganda, physical characteristics of the school have a variety of effects on the teachers, students and the learning process. Poor lighting, noise, high levels of carbon dioxide in classrooms and inconsistent temperatures make teaching-learning process difficult. Poor maintenance and ineffective ventilation systems lead to poor health among the pupils and higher absentee rates among students (Frazier, 2002 Lyons, 2001 and Ostendorf, 2001).

Beyond the direct effects that poor facilities have on student’s ability to learn, the combination of poor facilities which creates uncomfortable and uninviting workplace for the teachers combined with frustrating behaviour by the students including poor concentration also have an effect on the teaching/learning process. The situation is not any different here in Nigeria where several schools suffer due to lack of or inadequacy of physical facilities and instructional materials (UNICEF, 2003). Unless schools are adequately provided with physical facilities and instructional materials, effective teaching and learning may not take place. Class size has also been an issue that affects the teaching-learning process in most schools in the developing countries. In Nigeria, since the inception of Free Secondary Education (FSE), programme there has been increased enrolment which leads to overcrowding in classrooms making the work of the teacher difficult since he/she cannot easily move around in the classroom Wabuoba (2011) quoted in Chuma (2012).

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School environmental factors and academic performance of students in government in secondary schools

1.2 Statement  of the Problem

The Nigeria’s educational system is dominated by examination oriented where by passing examination is the only benchmark for assessing  performance as there is no internal system of monitoring learning achievement within an educational cycle.

However, the phenomenon of poor performance of students in government in both internal and external examinations in Nigeria has become a source of worry to successive government. This could be attributed to a number of factors to include the under – utilization of school environmental factors in the school.

Moreover, findings by researchers and leading educators showed that for better performance in Government, several factors should be considered such as qualification of the teaching staff, availability of instructional materials, discipline, and the students’ family background, students’ attitude towards the subject and preparedness as well as subject delivery. Hence, this study is set to examine the extent to which school environmental factors influence the academic performance of students in Government in secondary schools in the study area.

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