Background of the study
Education is an instrument for the acquisition of appropriate skills, ability and competence both mental and physical also as equipment for individual to live and contribute to the development of his/her society (Lawal,2003). Also, in the views of Usha (2007) it is the process of teaching and training of the child which has to do with imparting and acquisition of skills for a particular trade or profession in which applicable methods are used.
The school environment, which include the classrooms, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, teachers’ quality, school management, teaching methods, peers, etc are variables that affect students’ academic achievement (Ajayi, 2001 and Oluchukwu, 2000). Hence, the school environment remains an important area that should be studied and well managed to enhance students’ academic performance.
The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers and even student themselves. The quality of education not only depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties, but also in the effective coordination of the school environment (Ajao 2001)
School environment which include 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 teaching-learning process. The extent to which student learning could be enhanced depends on their location 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.
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 (aspect of instructional space), School facilities (accessories) were significantly related to students’ academic performance in schools. The three researchers, also quoted Glassman (1994), asserting that a comfortable and caring environment among other treatments helped to contribute to students` academic performance.
The physical characteristics of the school 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.
Every living organism reacts to its physical environment; secondary school students and teacher likewise react to their environment. The environment in question may produce comfort or discomfort; arouse feeling and disquiet and depression of feelings of ration and pride.
It may also encourage or retard learning, allow the easy spread of communicable Disease or safeguard health, may increase or decreases the possibility of accidents. The provision of safe sanitary and attractive physical environment plays an immeasurable role from the stand point of the productively of both the teachers and the students.
The emotional and social dimensions of the school environment are characterized by the harmonious inter personal relationship between teachers and learners on one side and between students themselves. The characteristics of a healthy physical environment include the school building being used, regular classrooms and special rooms with sample space provided to avoid over-crowding and to permit those activities that are included in the educational programme. There must be adequate and proper lighting, careful acoustic measures to minimize noise. Effective ventilation plus suitable and attractive furniture must also be made available. Also, included in the physical environment must be supply of safe drinking water, sufficient facilities for toilet, adequate waste disposal facilities, laboratory facilities, sufficient visual and audio-visual aids and other good instructional materials.
The school environment, having its own cultures that influence the behaviour and performances of students in different ways. Any school environment where the facilities are made available is likely to produce positive on the teaching and learning process for the students. This form of environment tends to encourage teachers to put more effort into their job while it stimulates the learning ability of the students in question.
In addition to the characteristics of the environment of the school are human elements which include the teachers, the students themselves and the peer group. The qualification of the teachers, their readiness to work and their interests in the students goes a long way to either encourage or discourage learning. The students on the other hand as the recipient of instruction also pick important parts in the teaching and learning process. Their level of intelligence which could be as a result of their psychological background, their readiness to learn and their level of cooperation with the teachers matter a lot.
Finally, the peer group as another major element in the environment can affect learning either positively or negatively. This depends largely on the mode of interaction and relationship which exists between these groups
Watts (2002) identifies the classroom and school surrounding jointly as an artificial environment deliberately constructed and managed to facilitate more rapid and effective learning that needs to take place in the society at large. The school environments in consonance with the one expressed above is both physical and human and affects the students physically, mentally and emotionally.
Rattan (2005) is of the opinion that environment affects academic achievement. It is therefore not out of place to determine the effect of rural and urban as well as home environment factors on the performance of secondary school 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 (Crandell & Smaldino, 2000; Davis, 2001; Johnson, 2001; Lyons, 2001;Moore, 2002; Stricherz, 2000; Tanner, 2000). To complement these studies, the present research will examine the aforementioned areas of school environment as it affect students performance in Nigerian schools.
Statement of the Problem
It has been observed in the recent past that secondary schools in Nigeria are not living up to expectation in delivering quality education expected of the system. A lot of problems seem to be bedeviling the secondary school system ranging from inadequate facilities, old and dilapidated structures, inadequate instructional materials and unqualified teachers there by making the system ineffective (Wanjobi, 2011). Schools need to be effective so as to be able to deliver the good things expected of them at every point in time.
Emphasizing the importance of school environment to students academic performance, Oluchukwu, (2000) asserted school environment is 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. The high levels of students’ academic performance may not be guaranteed where instructional space such as classrooms, libraries, technical workshops and laboratories are structurally defective
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