Background of the Study
In most countries of the world, the pride of institutions of learning depends not just on the quantity but more importantly on the quality of the product at all levels. However, policy makers in some developing countries are to target the quality of education performance as an immediate priority. In particular, cognizance is being taken of the argument that the provision of student and teacher of high quality should be given top priority and that ultimately, the success of any educational system depends largely on the quality of the teacher (Dave, 2008). Most of the governments of the world spend a significant amount of their budget on resource inputs in the education sector. They make decisions about providing resource inputs to enhance student achievement and performance.
Moreover, not all these decisions are easy to take, especially in the third world countries where mismanagement makes the problem more adverse. Kemerer (2009) remarked that resources are scarce, especially in low-income countries; policy makers cannot afford errors in the choice of allocations. To reduce the scope for mistakes, the true picture of the determinants of education outcome is desirable. Resource inputs have a vital role in the education process. Student achievement at any point is a cumulative function of the current and the prior resource inputs such as family, peers’ effect and institutional resource inputs. However, all these factors are outside the direct control of an educationist. Therefore, an educationist directly deals with and controls the school specific resource inputs.
The poor funding of education in most third world countries does not enable the school system to have manageable class sizes, adequate student classroom space and appropriate class utilization rates. In spite of the fact that these factors determine the productivity of teachers and students€ academic performance, governments do not show adequate concern about the deterioration in the standard of education in the countries (Flanders, 2007). Many things affect the quality of education. Such things as teacher educational quality, the pupil intellectual quotient, pupil health condition, quality teaching in the school, location of school, social and environmental factors, curriculum, the type of instruction i.e. teacher-centered (e.g. pupils listen, answer questions, practice, etc.) or pupil-centered, (e.g. Problem solving, creative projects, etc.) as well as Teacher-pupils ratio among other things(Withal, 2009). Every formal education setting involves Teacher-pupils relationship.
The nomenclature of the teacher depends on the model of interaction. According to Davis (2002), teacher can be described as a tutor if he gives private lessons to one student or a small group and he is directly paid by them. He is called a director (rector) if he gives instruction to the learners on how to go about the learning process. He is described as a monitor if he observes how the student is learning, and he is called a supervisor if he oversees the students€ learning activity. The nature of the subject also has a part to play in determining the effect of the teacher-student ratio. If the subject is basically theoretical; or basically practical or both; the ratio will not be the same in all the cases. Over the years, perennial problem of classroom congestion, poverty level and low classroom utilization rates in Nigeria worsen the situation of education.
Education in the country is poorly funded, hence most of the public schools experience classroom congestion, low students-classroom-space and low classroom utilization rates; hence these situations may likely affect students€ academic performance adversely. The large number of students passing through the system in Nigeria is a serious problem, particularly with the state government inability to provide adequate furnished equipments. For instance, it was recorded that 1,644,110 candidates sat for the 2013 Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Examination and of which only 10 candidates scored300 marks and above and 127,017 scored less than 159 marks (JAMB, 2013). This implies that the state of education in Nigeria is very poor which demand urgent attention of all the stakeholders in the educational sector so as to avert the anomaly. The National policy on Education prescribed a maximum of 30 students in a class, but in most schools in the country, average class size exceeds 50. The situation has negative impact on the average classroom space per student. Yet, these students need to learn in comfort. In most of the public schools in the country, the classroom utilization rate is perpetually high; this is because most of the schools have exceeded the number of students they can cater for.
Statement of the Problem
The problem of poor performance is apparently assuming a dimension that could affect the entire situation in the country (Onasanya, 2002). Nevertheless, there are many factors that affect student achievement, but the purpose of this study is to explore and analyze the effects of teacher- pupils ratio as well as teacher-pupils interaction dynamics at the primary school level as a determinant of students academic achievement.