Background to the Study
As school population increases, class sizes also increase, the performances of students become an issue. According to Dror (1995), class size has become a phenomenon often mentioned in the educational literature asan influence on student’s feelings and achievement, on administration, quality and school budgets. In his words henoted, that class size is almost an administrative decision over which teachers have little or no control. Mostresearchers start from the assumption that size of the class would prove a significant determinant of the degree ofsuccess of students. In fact, with the exception of a few, many studies have reported that under ideal situation,class size in itself appears to be an important factor.
Class size refers to an educational tool that can be used to describe the average number of students per class in a school system (Adeyemi, 2008). This varies from country to country. Kedney(2005) saw it as a toolthat can be used to measure the performance of theeducation system. In relation to size, Stepaniuk(2008) reported that the rational utilization of classroom spacedepends upon class-size. This in turn would depend uponthe area of the classroom. He argued that there areapproved norms of class-size, 40 pupils per class forgrades 1 to 8 and 35 pupils per class for the seniorclasses; while the standard allocation of class space perpupil is 1:25 square metres. In this regard, Dean (2004)compared class-size in some countries and found thatTurkey, Norway and Netherlands had class-sizes of 20more; the UK, USA, Japan, Canada and Ireland hadclass-sizes of between 15 and 20 while France, Sweden,Denmark, Austria, Italy, Luxembourg and Belgium hadsizes of below 15.
In Nigeria, however, Okoro (2005) reported that theclass-size in secondary schools ranges between 35 or40 students while for higher institution ranges from 40 to 60. He argued that few students per class areuneconomical, as they do not make full use of space,teachers and teaching materials.Adeyemi (2000) too,reported that average class-size influences the cost ofeducation while capital cost could be reduced byincreasing the average class-size in schools whileNwadiani (2000)argued that the higher the class-size, thelower the cost of education. He contended however,that most classrooms are over-crowded spreadingresources thinly and thereby affecting the quality ofeducation. Ajayi(2000) supported the viewpoints andargued that in order to control rising capital cost ofeducation, the average class-size could be increased.These points were also supported byTothand Montagna (2002) who reported that the increase in enrollmentin many institutions which has become major concernsof students could definitely lead to an increase in classsize. Commeyras(2000) however, disagreed with thesearguments and reported that effective teaching seemsimpracticable for teacher educators having large classsizes of 50, 75, 100 or more.In terms of outcomes, Schultz (2003) classified theoutcomes of education into two categories from theeconomic point of view. These are consumption andinvestment. Cohn (2005) referred to the consumptionaspect as that related to benefits derived by students.He regarded the investment component as including avariety of outputs related to the enhancement of anindividual’s or society’s productive skills. Thus, Blaug(2003) argued that the extension of education tends to raisethe earnings of those who benefited from it. In this regard, Simkins(2001) reported that output “represents theimmediate results of the system’s activities.” Accordingto him, “the main outputs in education are expressed interms of learning, that is, changes in the knowledge,skills and attitudes of individuals as a result of theirexperiences within the educational system.” He arguedthat the educational system is a productive system inthe very sense that it produces outputs especiallyvarious forms of learning. He expressed that thecomponents of the system could be represented in a model viz: Input Process Output. Explaining themodel, he alleged that the various inputs are processedin the production of outputs.Examinations in Nigerian schools dated back to theadvent of formal education. Since then examinations haveoccupied a central place in the Nigerian educationalsystem .According to him, examination has been “thesole criterion of quality” in Nigeria and “once a higherpercentage of the pupils pass their external examinations,the school is considered to be of a high quality.” Theimportance of examinations in Nigeria even extendedbeyond this point. This importance as entrenched inthe Federal Government of Nigeria National Policy ofEducation was in the fact that all secondary schoolsshould gear their programmes to meet the requirements ofmodel, he alleged that the various inputs are processed examinations being conducted for the School Certificate. Toward this end, Fafunwa(2004) argued that “it is an educational truism that examinations control the curriculum and whoever controls a country’s examination system controls its education.”
The foregoing review hasshown that class-size is a controversial educationaltool that has varied from one country to another. Thus,this study was embarked upon to determine the influenceof class-size on the quality of output from higher institutions in Nigeria with a focus on the Accounting Department of University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Statement of the Problem
It has been observed that secondary schools in Ekiti State appear to be densely populated while classroomsseem to be over-congested. It has shown the views of previous researchers on class-sizein various countries. In view of the divergent opinions, the problem of this study was to determine what influence class-size had on the quality of output from secondary schools in Ekiti State, Nigeria. This situation seems to be impairing effective teaching and learning process in the secondary schools in the state and hence the reason for embarking on this project.