Background of the Study

Education, either formal or informal continues to shape the three domains of human development. These are the cognitive, affective and the psychomotor domains. Much then is said that formal education remains the vehicle for social-economic development and social mobilization in any society. Therefore, education at the basic level must be of a quality that will help the young ones to acquire skills, knowledge, values and attitudes that will enable them to contribute positively to the social, economic, political and moral development of the society.

Aremu (2013) Poor academic performance has been observed in school subjects especially Mathematics and English language among primary school pupils (Adesemowo, 2005). Aremu (2013) stresses that academic failure is not only frustrating to the pupils and the parents, its effects are equally grave on the society in terms of dearth of manpower in all spheres of the economy and politics. Education at primary 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 the country. The National Policy on Education (2004) stipulated that primary education is an instrument for national development that fosters the worth and development of the individual for further education and development, general development of the society and equality of educational opportunities to all Nigerian children irrespective of any real or marginal disabilities.

The role of primary education is to lay the foundation for further education and if a good foundation is laid at this level, there are likely to be no problem at subsequent levels. However, different people at different times have passed the blame of poor performance in primary school to pupils because of their low retention, parental factors, association with wrong peers, low achievement, low retention, and the likes (Aremu & Sokan, 2013; Aremu & Oluwole 2011; Aremu, 2010).

Morakinyo (2013) believe that the falling level of academic achievement is attributable to teacher’s non-use of verbal reinforcement strategy. Others found out that the attitude of some teachers to their job is reflected in their poor attendance to lessons, lateness to school, unsavory comments about pupil’s performance that could damage their ego, poor method of teaching and the likes affect pupils’ academic performance.

Access to primary schools has improved rapidly throughout the developing world since 1990, but learning outcomes have lagged behind (World Bank, 2006). Despite the fact that it is desirable to avoid a trade-off between quantity and quality, poorly managed rapid expansion approaches can undermine improvement in learning outcomes. In Nigeria, primary education is provided in partnership by the government, communities, parents, private entrepreneurs and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

Primary school education is designed for eight years and the official age cohort is 6 to 13 years although in some cases average children are enrolled. In 2002, there were about 6.3 million pupils (49% girls) enrolled in 18,000 primary schools. At this level, the government meets costs associated with teacher remunerations, supervision, inspection and management in public schools (Onsomu et al., 2014). The Government of Nigeria has heavily invested in education, given its role in spurring national development. The money spent on education has continued to go up over the years to match the increased school enrolment at all levels. In an effort to realize the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA) objectives by the year 2015, the government adopted the Nigeria Education Sector Support Program (NESSP) in 2005.

The content of Nigeria education must reflect the past present and future of the dynamic Nigeria society in terms of the roles the individual is expected to play in the resent modernalization process.  The Nigeria formal education system is the organized and structured aspect of the education which takes place within the four walls of the school.  It however has to be noted that, all emphasis in terms of government budgetary allocation and general planning, is usually placed on formal education.  Hence, a discussion of Nigeria’s educational system is almost synonymous with a discussion of the formal educational system.  As has been pointed earlier, the formal education system comprises interrelated sub-system or levels.  The major levels of the Nigerian educational system are primary, secondary, (post primary), and tertiary (Post Secondary) (Mkpa:2012).

Since the introduction of formal education in Nigeria, various conferences and seminars have been held and Commissions set up to deliberate on crucial issues in the Nigeria educational system.  Of remarkable significance are the National Curriculum Conference in 1969 which reviewed old, and identified new national goals for Nigeria’s educational system and the 1973 seminar of distinguished educational experts and representatives of all segments of the society under the chairmanship of chief Adebo which renewed the 1969 paper and made more recommendations. Besides the numerous other recommendations in this respect, recommendations number 8 dealt with the goals of primary education.  It reads thus:

Specifically, the primary school Curriculum must aim at functional permanent literacy to ensure better producers and consumers of goods. It should provide a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking; inculcate citizenship education and a sound moral character and attitude development, help individuals to adapt and a adjust to the changing society, give physical, emotional and intellectual growth, enhance an individual sense of will power, creative and innovativeness, develop their mechanical vocational and manipulative skills and competencies enable them to communicate freely and effectively through any media, imbibe in them a spirit of self – discipline (Fafunwa, 2014). This statement however, is the beginning of redirecting primary education in Nigeria toward a reasonable end, and a way from production of only church teachers and interpreters.

Statement of problem 

Academic performance of pupils in primary schools has received much attention of late in the  Nigerian educational system.     It is pertinent to understand that the so – called academic performance of primary school pupil is a Cankar worm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our primary schools today.  However, in environment where such an ugly situation is found, tention, conflict and anarchy dictate the tone of relationship between pupils, the teachers for a smooth and effective school management. Since the end of the Nigeria Biafra Civil War in 1970, academic excellence has been on the decline.  This appears to be more pronounced in the primary schools.  Poor academic performance has constituted a big problem not only for schools but the dynamic Nigeria society.  The primary schools in Ikere Ekiti have been faced with the problem, which is mostly reflected in common Entrance Examination Results.  Millions of Naira being pumped into education in Nigeria in general and in Ekiti State in particular not withstanding this issue of poor performance in education has continued to persist.

The question therefore is what is the factor that is responsible for  fallen standard and poor academic performance of pupils in primary school? Is the fault entirely that of teachers or pupils or both of them? Is it that pupils of today are non-achievers because they have low intelligent quotient and a good neutral mechanism to be able to act purposefully, think rationally and deal effectively with academic tasks? Or is it because teachers are no longer putting in much commitment as before? Or is it  in teachers’ method of teaching and interaction with pupils? Or is the poor performance of students caused by parents’ neglect, separation and poverty? The present study therefore sought to find out the factor that is responsible  of poor  performance of pupils in primary schools in Ikere Local government Area.

Differential scholastic achievement of students in Nigeria has been and still a source of concern and research interest to educators, government and parents. This is so because of the great importance that education has on the national development of the country. All over the country, there is a consensus of opinion about the fallen standard of education in Nigeria (Adebule, 2004). Parents and government are in total agreement that their huge investment on education is not yielding the desired dividend. Teachers also complain of student low performance at both internal and external examination. This problem are attributed to poor foundation from primary school due to poor teaching standards as well as other factors such poor funding of education by government as well as negligence by parents. It is against this constraints that the researcher sees the subject matter as an empirical problem worthy of investigation.

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Updated: 10th August 2017 — 8:07 am