SCHOOL SIZE AND FACILITY UTILIZATION AS CORRELATES OF STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN IKERE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, EKITI STATE

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Education is the primary agent of transformation towards sustainable development. It increases people’s capacities to transform their visions for society into reality. All countries strive for quality education for their sustainable development. At any education level, the quality of education depends upon several factors such as: school facilities, teachers’ qualification, teachers’ motivation, management and administration, e.t.c. In other words, a quality school is schools where students respect their peers, teachers, and the school management have a voice in decision making, and also interested in their learning; accept responsibility; receive feedback and encouragement from their valued teachers. In addition, teachers work together and share ideas, feel valued and are given support to be innovative, employ teaching strategies that are varied and personalized to meet the need of all learners. Others are that administrative and support staff work as valued partners with principals and teachers to ensure that students are supported in their learning and that school system work effectively to support teaching and learning. The school as a whole is committed to continuous assessment improvement and forms learning partnerships within and beyond the school. A student’s educational outcome and academic success is greatly influenced by the type of school that they attend; school factors include; school structure, school composition, and school climate.

Schools can only be what it is supposed to be if only proper steps are taken in the provision of all that will make teaching and learning effective. It is a statement of fact that people all over the world are day by day becoming aware of and sensitive to the benefit of formal education.  Though the process of formal education is usually long, it is not without immediate and long-term profits, this awareness can be seen as one of the reasons for the annual increase in students’ enrolment at all levels of education in many countries of the world.  School size is an important issue in educational practice.  Large number of students passing through the secondary school system is a serious problem especially in Ekiti State where it was observed that government is not able to provide facility that commensurate with students’ enrolment.

It seems principals of most secondary schools in the state deliberately want an increase in the enrolment of students in other to get more grants from the state government without considering the aftermath effect like students absenteeism from school, physical conflict among students, verbal abuse of teachers etc.  All there could affect the academic performance of students’.   It has been observed that smaller schools made it easier for students to get involved in activities and helped to prevent students from becoming marginalised and overlooked by the bureaucratic and impersonal environment often found in larger schools.  Under a normal condition as schools get smaller they produce stronger students’ performance as measured by attendance rates, test scores, extracurricular activity participation and graduation rate which will also bring about effective utilization of the available facilities. A smaller school appears to promote greater levels of parent participation, satisfaction and increase communication between parents and teachers and also provide a safer environment for students (Ikotun, 2014).  It appears that the larger the school, the greater the routine operational practices of the teachers on the difficulty of assessing class integration.  A smaller school is likely to produce better academic results and a better climate.  Supervision and effective management of students becomes easier in schools with small class size.  Nigerian secondary schools are becoming increasingly large and complex, attempts need to be made in order to keep the size at a level that will ensure that the basic interests of individuals are not submerged.  If students’ interests are cared for, their academic performance is likely to increase.

Within an age of increasing accountability and limited educational funding, finding the right ratio of teachers to students is critical for the academic achievement of students and the success of schools.

Finding and engaging highly qualified teachers to instruct classrooms of students is simply not enough; the number of students assigned to a teacher is also important. Class size affects classroom management, classroom instruction, and the academic achievement of the students (Blatchford, Russell, Basset, Brown, & Martin, 2010; Deutsch, 2013; Finn, Pannozzo, & Achilles, 20013; Smith, Molnar, & Zahorik, 20013). Dilution of the instructional potency could occur if the student to teacher ratio is high, yet many school districts would cite that the current lack of educational funding mandates larger class sizes.

Determining the most effective class size is a debate fuelled by necessity; with limited available funds, school districts must decide which interventions are the most effective while deciding where costs can be decreased without sacrificing the educational attainment of the students (Kennedy, 2011).

At the heart of this debate is the need for contemporary empirical data to either support or refute the expenditure of additional funding to hire more teachers to provide smaller class sizes. Beyond the world of educational finance, the class size reduction debate is important as it is really about more than just a school area ensuring a positive rate of return. It is about a nation ensuring that its tax revenue is being used efficiently and effectively to provide children with the best possible educational opportunity. It is this opportunity for a quality education that should resonate within the hearts of every

Levin, Wasanga and Somerset (2011) reported that the academic performance of students at secondary school level is not only a pointer of the effectiveness of schools but also a major determinant of the well-being of youths in particular and the nation in general.  The performance of students in any academic task has always been of special interest to educators, parents, and society at large.  Academic performance of senior secondary school students has been largely associated with many factors.  Most students in senior secondary schools in Nigeria are daily confronted with challenges of coping with their academic under a serious emotional strains accustomed by long walk to school, class size, facilities utilization, laboratory, library, lack of good textbooks, and being taught by unmotivated teachers couple with this, is an uncooperative-to-study attitude of parents who more often fail to provide for the needs of the family.

Class-size is described as the average number of students per class. It has been observed that average class-size influences the cost of school.  According to the National Policy on Education (NPE 2012) prescribed a maximum of 30 students in a class, but in most secondary schools in the state, the average class size exceeds 40. This implies that some classroom is likely to be congested.   As school population increases, class size also increases and the performance of students becomes an issue.  Class size has become a phenomenon often mentioned in the educational literature as an influence on students’ academic performance.  It has been observed that the size of a class would prove a significant determinant on the degree of success of students.   A situation where more students are admitted to study under a limited space, there is the tendency that the students’ academic performance will be affected negatively because the atmosphere will not be conducive for teaching and learning.  Increase in enrolment without corresponding increase in facilities could affect teaching and learning.  Enrolment explosure could make the available classrooms inadequate.  On the other hand, utilization is tied directly with square footage and number of classroom.  Utilization analysis identifies the number of classroom needed to accommodate a given student enrolment. The inputs needed for the analysis are the existing number of classrooms, and classroom schedules.

Another area of concern as regards secondary schools in Ekiti state is in the area of facility utilization. Olagboye (2004), viewed utilization of school facilities as the extent of usage of school buildings, laboratories, library, assembly-ground, flower garden, school garden, volleyball field, chairs, desks, chalkboard, and so on. However, too much pressure on their use could result in over utilization, a situation that could lead to rapid deterioration and breakdown. For instance, when a classroom built to accommodate 30 students is constantly being used for 50 students then the returns from these facilities may not be maximized in terms of teaching and learning. Comfortable learning facilities will not only boost the morale of teachers and students but will also ensure the realization of the set educational objectives in secondary schools.

It has been observed that many secondary schools are without a well-equipped and functioning library.  Even when they have, the condition of libraries in schools usually discourages students from making use of it.  Consequently, their reading habit is killed and similarly they end up developing a negative reading culture, a situation which permeates Nigerian society. Information revolution is sweeping across the world and to provide basic information, the library disseminates information that will keep its user well-informed and up-to-date in their field of interest as well as in their related subjects.  It has been observed that the falling academic performance and the influence factors include the size of the school, class size, location and level of attainment of students in an examination.  Hence, this calls for the study on school size and facility utilization as related to accounting students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Ekiti State.

Statement of the Problem

Student’s academic performance in an examination is not a question of the student’s ability alone but an interplay between his ability and certain other factors which play significant role in the learning process of the student ever before examination takes place. It has been observed that the continuous decline and abysmal failure of senior secondary school students in both internal and external examination in the recent years has become source of worry and concern to parents, teachers and educational administrators. It seems principals of most secondary schools in the state deliberately want an increase in the enrolment of students in other to get more grants from the state government without considering the aftermath effect like students absenteeism from school, physical conflict among students, verbal abuse of teachers etc.  All this could affect the academic performance of students’, the general appearance of facility utilization constitute the basis upon which members of the public pass their judgments about the academic performance going on in the school.

However, overcrowding class room situation has led to the rapid deterioration and breakdown of students’ performance in most schools. For instance, when a classroom built to accommodate 40 students is constantly being used for 60 students then the returns from these facilities may not be maximized in terms of teaching and learning process. Comfortable learning facilities will not only boost the morale of teachers and students but will also ensure the realization of the set educational objectives in secondary schools. Those schools without adequate facilities like good classrooms, sciences laboratories and library appear to be recording falling academic performance. Therefore, this study sought to investigate the school size and facility utilization as correlates of students’ academic performance of secondary school students in Ekiti State.

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Updated: 8th February 2018 — 7:27 pm

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