1.1 Background to the Study
Education is the total process of human learning by which knowledge is imparted, faculties trained and skills developed. Secondary schools not only occupy a strategic place in the educational system in Nigeria, it is also the link between the primary and the university levels of education. According to Asikhai (2010), education at secondary school level is supposed to be the bedrock and the foundation towards higher knowledge in tertiary institutions. It is an investment as well as an instrument that can be used to achieve a more rapid economic, social, political, technological, scientific and cultural development in a country. It is rather unfortunate that the secondary schools today are not measuring up to the standards expected of them. There have been public outcries over the persistently poor performance of secondary school students in public examinations.
According to Nwokocha and Amadike (2005), academic performance of students is the yardstick for testing the educational quality of a nation. Hence, it is expedient to maintain a high performance in internal and mostly external examinations. For some years now, reports on the pages of newspapers and research findings have shown the abysmal performance of students of secondary schools in public examinations. Ajayi (2002), Nwokocha and Amadike (2005), WAEC (2007), The Punch newspaper (September 27, 2008), Adeyemi (2008) and Asikhia (2010) have all shown the extent of poor performance of students in public examinations. The persistent decline in students‘ performance in public examinations is not only frustrating to the students and the parents, its effects are equally grievous on the society. One of the most potent barometers so far, if not the strongest, of measuring school performance of students is through public examinations such as Senior School Certificate Examination (S.S.C.E.) in Nigeria. These examinations are externally moderated and enjoy a lot of public confidence. The form of education children receive after primary and before tertiary stage is called secondary education. Without secondary school products, it is obvious that the basis for any future academic study cannot be laid. From the aims and objectives of the setting up of schools, one would expect that day and boarding senior secondary school students‘ performance in Kano State would greatly improve. Admittedly, no educational system is problem free. However, the decay in Nigerian educational system is becoming embarrassing. Ogunsaju (1990) described it as calamitous. Though, brilliant students can be found even in public schools, the high percentage of failure in WASSCE tends to rubbish the good ones among them.
Initially, Mathematics and English Language were recording poor results, but later this extended to other subjects including the Sciences and Arts. The schools can no longer justify the faith the government and the public have in them or the huge budgetary allocations they consume yearly. Nevertheless, students have not been doing well, and the situation is not improving. For example, in the S.S.C.E of May/June 1992, English Language recorded only 13.8% passes with Distinction and Credit grades, while 59.6% of the total 381,506 candidates failed. For Mathematics, only 9.7% passed in Distinction and Credit grades while 59.4% failed (WAEC, 1994). In the examinations taken in June 1994 by 618,119 students, 14.2% and 13.7% passed with Distinction and Credit levels in English and Mathematics respectively. The failure rates for the two subjects were 56.3% for English and 67.4% for Mathematics (WAEC, 1994). Results in other core-subjects were equally poor with students doing much worse in subjects with practical work. In WASSCE of December 1996, for example, failure rates were 64.6% for English and Biology 58%. Therefore, if education is going to continue to hold on to its old image as an instrument par excellence for achieving national development, it has to be salvaged or resuscitated. The popular practices of changing the curriculum or adding more subjects, changing the duration of schooling or voting more money are not yielding the expected results. A lot more has to be done. Nigerians are quick at pointing accusing fingers at poor teaching facilities, inadequate and poorly trained teachers, parental laxity, under funding and so on. While all these are possibilities, there is an urgent need now to reappraise the schools vis-à-vis all these factors since situations are not static. For instance, the government continues to vote more money into the education sector annually without corresponding improvement in the schools.
This research will be carried out in Kano Metropolis which consists of seven Local Government Areas of predominantly Muslim Hausa and Fulani tribes which are Dala, Gwale, Nassarawa, Fagge, Tarauni, Komboso and Kano Municipal. The area is urban, open to lots of vices and it attracts strangers from all over the world, who settle and trade for a living due to the abundance of mass land. Consequently, the area is always congested, especially in the morning and evening hours, when workers and students resume and retire home respectively. This congestion causes lateness for students who rush to school. The day students are involved in some vices ranging from social and moral decadence. They participate in parents‘ occupation, which constitutes distraction from their studies. The entire area suffers from insecurity and inadequate infrastructural facilities that could enhance reading and learning in schools such as functional and well-equipped library, science, vocational and language laboratories, mathematical tools and instructional facilities. One of government‘s ways of providing for ―a land of bright and full opportunities for all citizens‖ as stated in the FRN (2004) National Policy on Education is the introduction of partial de- boarding in some boarding secondary schools and the establishment of all-day secondary schools in others. The National Policy on Education, as well as, Nigeria constitution (1999) guaranteed equal rights to every Nigerian child to be educated. However, it is argued that government cannot cater for all the educational needs of its populace and simultaneously maintain an expensive and selective boarding system. In an era of economic recession and increasing demand for competing social services, government had to explore ways of providing education to most of its citizens, while at the same time, reduce the cost of financing education to a manageable level. As a result, Kano State government adopted the schooling systems in conjunction with the education policy of the Nigerian government and has designed two secondary schooling systems: Boarding school and Day school.
Although, boarding is expensive to maintain financially, on the side of the government, it reduces the fear of corruption and other vices. The day school was adopted, however because of the high number of students‘ population in schools. This is to ensure accessibility of the young persons to secondary education. A boarding education is geared towards good academic performance combined with personal development to produce a well-rounded individual with the qualifications and skills sought by universities and employers alike. One major argument against the day system in Kano Metropolis is that the academic performance is likely to suffer with the introduction of day schools.
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