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INFLUENCE OF NURSERY EDUCATION ON PUPILS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF PRIMARY SCHOOL

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Abstract

This research work “influence of nursery education on the academic performance of Primary school pupils” is aimed at highlighting the impacts of nursery education on pupils. That is to say whether pupils who attended nursery school before primary run a better change of performing better than those who did not have the chance of attending nursery school in Ijebu East and Ijebu North local government areas both in Ogun State. A total number of 160 primary one pupils were randomly selected from 4 public primary schools in Ogun State. The main instrument used for the study was an achievement test comprising of two subjects, Mathematics, and English Language to test the cognitive abilities and social skills of primary school pupils. Four research questions and four hypotheses guided this study. The major instrument used for collecting data was a questionnaire. The data collected were analyzed through the use of simple average mean score. It was discovered that nursery education has a great impact on performance of primary school students. Most meaningful and lasting learning takes place when all the necessary things are positively put in place. Problems facing by nursery education is as a result of lack of qualified teachers in adequate learning materials. On this basis of such findings, recommendation were made that, governments should be involved in the development of nursery education in the Nigerian system of education.

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                                                 CHAPTER ONE

                                                 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Education remains an indispensable tool in nations building is a process of systematic training and instruction designed to transmit knowledge and acquisition of skills potentials and also abilities which will enable an individual to contribute efficiently to the growth and development of his society and nation. It involves all round development of an individual social, physical, moral and intellectually (Osakwe, 2006). It is therefore glaring that early childhood education has influence in a child later academic achievement. This has motivated the development of a number of pre-school institutions. More recently, formal kindergarten programmes have been designed to prevent high drop-out and low levels of intellectual functioning that are found in disadvantaged children as early as two or three years of age (Fafunwa, 2012).

Nursery education is the foundation of learning because children who have a weak learning foundation can hardly perform as exceptionally intelligent students in their entire academic life circle. It is at this early stage of learning that children are developed for higher academic exercises. The foundation of education of the child is the preschools education which forms an integral part of his or her early education which may be formal or informal, usually given in an educational institution to children aged 1 to 5+ prior to their entering the primary school. This educational level of the child provides for the physical, motor, health, nutritional, intellectual, aesthetic, emotional and social development of the pre-school child. If child education can provide these vital necessities which are fundamental in human life, it is not therefore unlikely to have an important and strong relationship with the pupils’ performance at the primary school level and perhaps at the secondary and tertiary levels Nakpodia (2011).

Globally, pre-school is regarded as the first step in the formal education journey of a child. Pre-school education refers to the type of education which is given in a group setting to children aged three to seven years. In other words, a pre-school, nursery or kindergarten is an educational establishment offering early childhood education (ECE) to children between the ages of three and seven prior to the commencement of compulsory education at primary school. Pre-school education is designed to assist in the mental, physical, emotional, linguistic development and social upbringing of the child. Such schools may be government or privately operated (Moreira, Patron & Tansini, 2007).

Learning apart from a very rigorous exercise is procedural. If a child gets a particular step wrong or did not even get it at all, it becomes a very big problem to such a child. This makes nursery education very essential for the overall development of the education sub-sector. Nakpodia arguing further on the importance of early education maintained that the Universal Basic Education Act of 2000 cites Early Childhood Education (ECE), which has to do with pre-primary education given to children between ages one to five, as an integral part of basic education. It represents the first important step in achieving the goals of Education for All (EFA).

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Many researchers have identified that there are many factors that affect academic performance of pupils. These factors include age, sex, teaching faculty, parents or guardians socio-economic status to mention just a few (Shoukat, Haider, Khan, Ahmed, 2013). For instance, various studies and literature on school dynamics have shown that parents’ socio-economic status is associated to the academic excellence of their children (Escarce, 2003 & Eamon, 2005; Jeynes, 2002; Sirin 2005)). It is important to note however, that apart from parents’ socio-economic status being related to the academic performance of children, parental interactive behaviour may have significant effects on the academic achievement of the child as well. Doralia and Wydick (2011) argue that in the context of parent-child interaction, there are varying opinions on what is responsible for academic achievement in the child. On the other hand, Sylva, Melhuish, Samsons and Siraj-Blatchford (1999) found that parental interactive behaviour at home was associated with increased child academic achievement, co-operation, conformity, peer sociability and confidence.

Primary education is meant to lay a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking in a child. It gives the child opportunities for developing manipulative skills that will enable the child function effectively in the society within the limits of the child’s capacity. Among all, primary education targets at moulding the child’s character, develop sound attitude and morals in him/her. Primary education helps a child to acquire citizenship education that will help him/her to participate effectively in the life of the society. It also helps a child to have a base from which he/she can further his/her education.

Considering the explanations above, the researcher would want to reframe the topic to read, the change brought about by early childhood education on the reading and writing skills or abilities of a child in primary school. It is against this background that this study is undertaken to determine the role nursery education plays in the academic performance of a child in primary schools (particularly in Ijebu East and Ijebu local government area in Ogun State).

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1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Nursery education as an important component of the educational system plays a significant role in the determination of a child’s academic performance in primary school. Nursery education is expected to equip a child with the necessary norms and values of life, but it is faced with these challenges. Nursery education should have the capacity of placing a child on a good academic plane before his/her primary level. It is indeed the pivot around which every academic activity revolves. The argument that female children seem to be brighter in academics looks real but critical analysis reveals that boys tend to outwit the girls later in their academic lives. This could be attributed to some natural and physical factors such as: problems of early childhood growth and development, varying strength, effect of rural and urban areas.

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1.3      PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The specific objectives of this study are:

  1. To determine the role of nursery education on the academic performance of pupils in primary schools in Ogun State.
  2. To indicate that nursery education equips pupils enough to perform better in primary school.
  3. To establish that pupils in rural area do not perform equally well as their counterparts in urban areas who attended purpose nursery schools.
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1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. Does Nursery school education equip pupils well enough to perform better in primary school?
  2. Do pupils in rural areas perform equally well as their counterparts in urban areas who attended Nursery schools?
  3. Does interaction as an aspect of social skill influence the academic performance of primary school pupils who attended nursery school and those who did not attend nursery school?
  4. What is the role of nursery education in academic achievement of pupils in primary schools?
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1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

To aid the completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher

H0: Most children who attended Nursery schools does not perform better in primary school than those who did not

H1Most children who attended Nursery schools perform better in primary school than those who did not

H02pupils in rural area do perform better than their counterparts in urban areas who attended nursery schools

H2pupils in rural area do not perform better than their counterparts in urban areas who attended nursery schools

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1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The findings of this study would be significant in the following ways:

  1. If effectively carried out, it would inevitably contribute to improving the academic life of pupils in Ijebu East and Ijebu North, Ogun State and Nigeria at large.
  2. It shall reveal the role of nursery education in the life of primary school pupils in Ijebu East and Ijebu North LGA.
  3. It will show the extent to which the nursery education has contributed to the development of pupils interest in education.
  4. It will assist the national policy makers in planning for this cadre of education.
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1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study covers the influence of nursery education on pupils academic performance of primary school, the researcher intends to focus only on selected secondary schools in Ijebu East and Ijebu local government area in Ogun State. In the course of carrying out this research, some problems were encountered. The main problem was human.

Often, visits to the schools to administer questionnaire on teachers and headmasters/headmistresses were abortive as some were not readily available. Most often the researcher had to waste many more hours waiting for them to come to school. When administered, retrieval of the completed questionnaires becomes a problem due to the absence of the teachers when the researcher called.

Another problem was the financial constraint involved in the frequents visits to schools to administer and retrieve the questionnaires.

Despite these problems, the researcher was able to carry out the work to its logical conclusion.

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1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS

Education

Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research.

Nursery education

A preschool, also known as nursery school, pre-primary school, playschool or kindergarten, is an educational establishment or learning space offering early childhood education to children before they begin compulsory education at primary school

Academic performance

Academic achievement or (academic) performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals.

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