Background of the Study
Since 2003 Nigeria has experienced unprecedented increase in number of pupils in primary and secondary schools. The sudden surge in students’ numbers was mainly due to provision of free primary education in 2003 and later free secondary education in 2008. The increase of school pupils’ population without a corresponding increase in both human and physical resources has brought the issue of education quality into sharp focus. According to Wasanga, Ogle and Wambua (2011), and UNESCO (2010), improvement in the quality of education is achieved by working towards proper school financial management, human resource management, adequacy of physical facilities and learning resources, improvement of teaching and learning process, and improved examination performance.
This study was delimited to quality supervision and management of educational facilities in secondary schools. Educational facilities consist of instructional and physical facilities. Instructional facilities include textbooks, exercise books, writing materials, writing boards, audio and visual aids, and other office consumables. Physical facilities include classrooms, libraries, laboratories, playgrounds, proper lighting and ventilation, water, furniture, kitchen and wash rooms.
It is through Quality Assurance and Standards Officers’ (QASO) institutional supervision and offer of advisory services that the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MOEST) is to ensure quality assurance and standards of education in Nigeria. The impetus to strengthen schools supervisory services came at the behest of a damning report on schools inspection situation in Nigeria by MOEST (2000). The report revealed flaws in the then Inspectorate division. Schools inspectors were found to operate through circulars and guides which were not regular, consistent and had non uniform recommendations. Different officers gave varied directions full of personal whims and prejudices. On the other hand teachers accused inspectors of being autocratic, high handedness and corrupt.
Cases abound, the Nigeria government embarked on measures to remedy the situation. In year 2000 a handbook for inspectors of educational institutions was published. The MOEST Handbook for Inspection (2000) spells out a uniform approach to inspection. Further In 2003 the inspectorate was revamped and its name changed to Directorate of Quality Assurance and Standards (DQAS). In addition the tittle ‘Inspector’ was replaced with Quality Asuurance and Standards Officer (QASO). These changes were effected in line to the paradigm shift in supervision approach. Supervision was to be more inclined to offer advisory services and teacher professional growth as opposed to fault finding. The DQAS has since been transformed to Education Standards and Quality Assurance Council in line with the new Nigeria Constitution (2010) and consequently the Basic Education Act (2013).
According to the Basic Education Act (2013), ESQAC should ensure standards and maintain quality, administer policies and guidelines, and monitor and evaluate standards and quality in basic education. QASO are expected to enhance education quality by among other things ensuring that schools have the basic and vital educational facilities. Asiyai (2012) observes that school facilities serve as pillars of support for effective teaching and learning.
However, despite the massive investment in QASO and change of supervision approach since 2003, cases of students burning in poorly constructed dormitories, students getting severe injuries arising from unsafe school environment, embezzlement of school funds, conflicts between parents and teachers over dismal performance in national examinations have been on the rise (Republic of Nigeria, 2012a; Mwinyipembe & Orodho, 2014). Specifically, this study embarked on finding out the extent of QASO supervision effectiveness in enhancing instructional and physical facilities management as a prerequisite to provision of quality education.
Kajiado North sub county (district) consists of a vast rural area and several rapidly growing cosmopolitan urban centres. A research study done by Nigeria National Bureau of Statistics (2011), found that Kajiado North sub county has been experiencing demographic upheaval since 2008 post election violence in Nigeria. A large section of Nairobi population from hot spot areas such as Kibera slum, immigrated to relatively calm adjacent Kajiado sub county. The increase in number of secondary students as result of internal immigrants coupled with the implementation of Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE) in 2008 has put immense strain to the few schools’ educational facilities.
The high demand for primary and secondary education, has also prompted many unregistered private and public schools to sprout. Most of public primary schools have introduced a secondary section sharing the existing meager resources.This expansion was however supposedly assessed and guided by education stakeholders and in particular QASO in abid to maintain quality and standards.
Therefore, a study to find out the extent QASO supervisory roles have enhanced provision, utilization and management of instruction and physical facilities was urgently needed. This lacuna in knowledge spurred the undertaking of this study.
Statement of the Problem
Since 2003 schools inspection and supervisory services were revamped by hiring supervisors (QASO) at a higher educational level, intensifying further professional training and providing additional material resources (Wasanga, 2004). Further, QASO were mandated among other things to ensure all schools adhere to MOEST guidelines on management of educational facilities. However, despite the empowerment of QASO, incidences of students injuries from harzadious school environment, ailments from water bourne diseases and stake holders complaints about inadequacy and dilapidation of physical facilities has been on the rise in Kajiado North sub County. In order to ensure quality assurance and standards of education in this district, the issue of education facilities warranted urgent investigation.
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