A COMPARAIVE STUDY OF STUDENT’S ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background of theStudy
Computers are rapidly becoming important components within societies’ and people’s lives globally (Coffin &MacIntyre, 1999). Thus, computer education has become a fundamental curriculum in schools and colleges worldwide. The fact that education plays a major role in the socioeconomic and technological development of any nation cannot be understated. This is because the development of any nation or community depends principally on the quality of education of such nation. It then becomes imperative that a society takes seriously the development of its human resources.
Then again, the academic performance of students impacts their future educational attainment as increase in income and social status is generally associated with increase in levels of education (Ross & Wu, 1995). This associated increase in socioeconomic status affects the students’ access to health care, lifestyle factors such as recreation and nutrition, work environment, and social psychological factors such as self-regard, emotional stability and assertiveness.
Academic performance has been described as the scholastic standing of a student at a given moment. This scholastic standing could be explained in terms of the grades obtained in a course or groups of courses (Daniels and Schoulen, 1970). Simkins (1981) commented on this scholastic standing and argued that performance is a measure of output and that the main outputs in education are expressed in terms of learning, that is, changes in knowledge, skills and attitudes of individuals as a result of their experiences within the school’s system. STAN, (1992) supported this argument and reported that performance is the level of attainment of a person in an examination, that is, how an individual is able to demonstrate his or her abilities in an examination. A student’s attitude towards a subject greatly influences performance. It affects the individual’s organized manner of thinking, feeling and reacting to a study subject (Evans, 1972). Hamachek (1971) observes that an individual’s attitude towards a subject will influence their self-concept of academic ability.
Learning has been so much associated with the school that some people almost think that
learning goes on only in schools. This view of learning has been greatly reinforced by such reference to schools as institutions of learning and to Universities, Polytechnics and College of Education as institutions of higher learning (Okoye, 1987). There is no doubting the fact that much learning goes on in school. The school is particularly and specifically arranged so as to facilitate effective learning. Unfortunately the poor condition of our schools, particularly the primary schools today in the nation raises a lot of anxiety. A cursory look at these school in spite of government efforts reveals schools dominated by dilapidated buildings, school void of good furniture and equipment, schools where instructional materials are either not provided or are inadequate; school that areunder-staffed; schools, where teachers salaries and allowances are not promptly paid, schools that have not been inspected for the last 15 years; schools where there are no discipline among other things. The government, and especially the parents are very much concerned with the quality and volume of learning acquired by their children, wards and citizens as this is related to the quality and quantity of the contribution which the individual can make to his immediate family, community and the nation as a whole. (Thorndike, 1931).
Several studies by Sociologist, Psychologists and Educationists showed that the type of schools a learner attends has profound influence on his academic achievement. For instance, Bibby and Peil (1974) noted that children who attended private primary schools performed better than pupils in public schools. This view is also supported by Lioyd (1966) as he contended further that the public schools which saw education as good thing, tended to leave the question of educational success or failure in the hands of the public and their parents. This implies that the business of education is not taken with all the seriousness it demands in the public schools. This of course is what may be regarded as the general apathy of the citizenry to government’s owned business or property. A situation that has resulted in lackadaisical attitude of government’s workers, including teachers in the public schools tend to believe
that an intelligent child would succeed automatically at school without any active assistance coming from them.
In a study jointly carried out by the Federal Government of Nigeria, UNICEF and UNESCO in 1977 to monitor the learning achievement of primary school pupils throughout the Federation, it was shown that most of the private schools had means in the three areas tested higher than the national means and that of their public counterpart
Fafunwa (1981) however, observed that access to qualitative instruction, thorough supervision in schools, relevant instructional materials, standard school buildings, less-crowded classrooms, conducive school environment are some of the major school variables influencing pupils, academic attainment. He concluded that in areas where private schools are well established, drop-out rates would be drastically reduced and pupils academic performance enhanced. This he said may be due to availability of resources and more importantly to the fact that teachers are positively motivated. In a study carried out in the U.S. by Lubienski (2006), they compared academic achievement among charter, private and public schools. One of the major findings from this study showed that private schools scored higher than charter and public schools.
In a related study carried out also in the U.S. by Braun, Jenkins and Grigg(2006), they compared the performance of pupils in private and public schools in both reading and mathematics involving grades 4 and 8, results showed that the private schools performed better than the public schools not only in reading and mathematics, but also in the two grades (4th & 8th) involved in the study. Overall, findings indicated that the average private school mean score was higher than the average public school mean score, and that the difference was statistically significant.
However, in the study comparing students’ academic performance in Computer science in public and private Secondary School in Ikere Local Government Council Area of EkitiState, Nigeria, conducted by Igbinedion and Epumepu (2011), it was revealed that there was significant difference in the academic performance in business studies between the public and private schools from 2008 to 2011. Results further showed that the percentage performance trend of public schools were higher than those of the private both males and females.
Consequent upon the discussion above, more parents and guardians who can afford it are daily withdrawing their children and wards from the public schools to the private fee-paying primary schools despite its expensive nature even in this hard time. Many of the private schools are growing bigger and fatter at the expense of the public ones whose enrolment is daily dwindling. It is in this context that this study is set out to compare students academic performance between the private and public secondaryschools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State, Nigeria.
Public secondary schools are supported and controlled by the government of the state. Adeyinka (2010) stated that public schools are those schools that were established, managed, financed, as well as supervised by the government. He further opined that those schools were established with the tax payer’s money in order to educate the generality of the people irrespective of their economic, social or political status in the society. Public secondary schools are neither controlled by individuals, private interest groups, or agencies but by the government.
After the creation of Nigeria, all the schools that were established were under the management and control of either the federal and state government. All subjects were taught at the schools. But after some years most public schools started suffering repercussion of neglecting the teaching of some subjects in public secondary schools, subjects like French, history, computer science among others. MojeebAlabi in National mirror of September 23rd 2012 opined that History as a subject seems to be receiving less attention; he attributed the problem to constant changes in government policy. He stated that Nigeria’s educational policy is seriously unfriendly to local contents in the curriculum, this notwithstanding, lack of adequate funding, poor teachers salary among others adversely affect the teaching and learning in most public schools. As a result of this, private individuals, private groups and organizations
started to establish, manage and finance private schools to educate children and also make profit. The owners and proprietors of those private schools are profit earners due to the fact that they invested their money in building the schools, providing all the necessary facilities and equipment, employment of qualified and competent teachers forthe purpose of giving good education to the children and also making profits. These private schools include in their curriculum all the subjects especially those not done in public schools.
Nwangwu (2000) stated that the private schools offer what the public schools cannot provide and that they relive parents the burden of having their children stay at home for long periods of time as a result of continuous strikes by teachers in the public schools. He stated that private schools run without disruption in the schools calendar thereby providing steady and quality education unlike the public schools.
Okpara (2000) observed that in NECO Examinations, the performances of students in private schools are better than the performance of students in public schools. He also stated that private schools are closely monitored and supervised by the school management boards, as a result; they perform better in external examinations.
Computer science is the study of the theory, design, use and analysis of computer devices. This entails knowing the computer itself, its operation, what it can do, how it can do it and why it’s doing it, these form the basis of computer studies curriculum in secondary school. Therefore, computer studies, a recently introduced subject in the senior secondary school curriculum in Nigeria which introduces students to ICT needs to be given due recognition because of its unquantifiable significance to introducing students to ICT on a wider scope.
According to the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (1970) Nigeria Integrated Science, now Basic Science should enable students to be able to:
Observe carefully and thoroughly
- Report completely and accurately
- Organize information acquired
- Generalize on the basis of acquired information
- Predict as a result of the generalization
- Design experiments (including controls, where necessary to check the prediction).
Statement of Problem
The importance of Computer Science as the basics to other science disciplines cannot
be over stated. It lays the foundation to other science subjects. However, a look at the academic performance of the public secondary school students and private secondary school students in Ikere local Government Area of Ekiti State. Thisreveals that public secondary school academic performance in Computer Science shows unimpressive performance of students in Computer Science. There is also the tendency of some parents to prefer privateschools to public schools for their children.