INFLUENCE OF TEACHER-STUDENT RATIO ON THE ENROLMENT OF STUDENTS IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN UYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
This study is an attempt to investigate the influence of Teacher-Student ratio on the enrolment of students in public Secondary Schools in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. The design used for the study is a descriptive survey method. Five research questions were formulated to guide the study, from which the questionnaire was designed. The study adopted both primary and secondary method in collecting data, a sample size of one hundred and thirty three (133) respondents was randomly selected from a population of 200 teachers. The data obtained was analysed using simple percentage and chi square. From the analyzed data, it showed that there is a relationship between the two variables of the study. It is therefore important that the number of pupils per teacher should be taken into consideration by the government and other education sector stakeholders in formulating policies in the schools. It was recommended that to achieve better academic performance, and objectives of free and compulsory education in the State great attention should be placed on teacher-student ratio.
1.1 Background of the Study
Provision of quality basic Education to all school-going children poses a fundamental challenge to education and training systems in most developing countries like Nigeria. In order to meet the challenge of increasing student population, beside the infrastructural facilities, countries will need additional teachers to lower the teacher-student ratio to levels that can guarantee quality education. UNESCO (2006) estimates that more than 30 million new teachers will be needed to meet EFA goal by 2015. The developing countries therefore have these challenges; on one hand they have to endure internal pressure to universalize education and on the other hand, they suffer from serious financial constraints.
Student–teacher ratio is the number of students who attend a particular school divided by the number of teachers in the school. It has been noted that since the introduction of free and compulsory education in public secondary Schools in Akwa Ibom State, many public Secondary Schools have witnessed increased in the enrollment of students (Oleforo & Anugwu, 2014). Most of these students are seen during school hours moving on the street with their uniforms (Akwa Ibom State Government, 2010). The question on the minds of discerning members of the public are: Why are the students, still going to school at odd hours? Why are they not in classes? What are the teachers doing about their movements? Do the school authorities accept these random movements even in school hours? Do their parents know about these? Without being immodest, these sights are easily seen in major public Secondary Schools in Uyo Metropolis, which is the state Capital.
It is also worthy of note that the desire and interest of those wishing to obtain the West African School Certificate is increasing daily, coupled with the declaration by government to make it free and compulsory (Okon, 2014). These issues raised a lot of challenges to the society, the government, stakeholders and interested parties on how to achieve the aims and objectives of the government compulsory and free education. There appears to be a burden to education authorities and planners in that they have to adjust their curriculum, infrastructure, increase the recruitment of teachers and their support staff. The provision of basic infrastructure will increase as the population increases. This is giving a lot of concern to government even in the implementation of its budget on education (AKSG, 2011). Allocation is not less than 60,000,000 per annum presently (Akwa Ibom State education budgetary report, 2011).
Free and compulsory education in Nigeria and Akwa Ibom state particularly is faced with several problems primarily because the poor allocations to the education sector are at variance with the UNESCO provisions (Akpabio and Sammy, 2015). In addition, mounting evidence abound of the declining students’ performances in schools and public examinations in Akwa Ibom State. This is likely linked to the fact that students graduating from the state-owned secondary schools where free and compulsory education programme is implemented perform poorly. This is compared with their counterparts in the private schools where learning resources are more available and frequently used for instruction. There has been also outcry from the society on examination malpractice, truancy, falsification of result and incessant strike action by teachers.
One sure way of believing government interest in free and compulsory education in public secondary schools is in the payment of West African Examination Certificate and National Examination Council fees for its students. The success of the programme on education will be properly evaluated in due course, so it could be adjusted to meet its objectives and expected standard and outcome.
The influence of teacher-student ratio could be positive or negative depending on the policy implemented, observation of any lapses on the government, teachers or students. The parents as stakeholders in preparing their wards are not exempted. Even in Uyo Metropolis; the availability of transportation infrastructure to assist early arrival in schools can constitute an influence. It is an all-embracing subject which must be discussed holistically and solutions proffered. The fact that the position of the state has dropped in West African Examination Certificate and National Examination Council performance in the last couple of years could be a negative influence on the subject matter. Student Financial Department (Ministry of Education, Akwa Ibom State, 2009).
In the area of technical education where subjects like Electrical Installation, Plumbing, Wood Work, Metal Fabrication, and Printing are taught, the ratio of teachers to students could be scary because such teachers are few (Khatti, Killey & Kane, 2007). With the introduction of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Computer studies being also introduced into most public secondary schools. The ratio of teachers to students will definitely become an issue of concern (National Policy on Education, 2013. 6th edition).
What is in vogue now is that nobody should claim to be a teacher without a certified teaching certificate. How are we going to resolve this when some teachers especially in technical colleges are without teaching qualifications, yet number of students keep increasing? Even in the area of equipping these colleges with the right personnel to manage or service equipment for effective use by the teachers, there is still a problem (Khatti, Killey & Kane, 2007).
The influence of teachers-students’ ratio should also be related to the subjects taught. For instance, English, General Mathematics, trade/entrepreneurship, civic education are compulsory subjects for all. Do we have enough teachers even in Uyo Local Government Area? Now that agriculture is discovered to be the best alternative to oil, schools, colleges, universities, and indeed the entire society is set to farm at least to ensure food sufficiency. Again, there will be pressure to supply enough teachers in agricultural science, agricultural extension workers and the like (National Curriculum Reforms implemented, 2014).
It is in the light of the foregoing that this study elicited interest to probe these issues surrounding the implementation of free and compulsory education programme in our public secondary schools in Uyo Local Governament Area. The upsurge in enrollment is noticeable everywhere. What is at stake is the ability of the school authorities to receive, contain and manage the students properly and it is a major topic for discussion since it is bound to create an impact on assessment to government, education administrators and the general public.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Despite the Akwa Ibom State government, effort to provide free and compulsory education there has been a considerable success with regard to increased enrolments but the challenges have been enormous. This euphoric response of free and compulsory education witnessed massive enrolments and deserves praises but of particular concern is the issue of quality which may be reflected in terms of performance. Since recruitment of secondary school teachers have been on the decrease, the available teachers in public secondary schools have had to cope with large classes. This problem has become perennial and concern has now been over poor performance posted by the pupils each year in national examinations. The overburdened teachers due high enrolments are no doubt a concern as the number of teachers has not responded appropriately to the increased pupils’ population. Even though the free and compulsory education programme is a noble idea, its intended gains may be eroded by poor performance due to lack of observance on the ideal number of pupils per teacher resulting from high enrolments and declining number of teachers. These challenges are what the researcher intends to investigate and proffer solutions.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The primary aim of this study is to examine the influence of teacher-student ratio on the enrolment of students in public secondary schools; In specific terms, the study intend to:
- Determine the influence of free education on students’ enrolment in public secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.
- Ascertain the influence of poor class management on students’ enrolment in public secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.
- Examine the influence of indiscipline among students on students’ enrolment in public secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.
- To proffer solutions to the problem teacher-student ratio on enrollment of students in public secondary schools.
1.4 Research Questions
The dimension which the researcher will follow will be based on these questions, which will help in creating an insight into the problem under investigation.
- Does free education influence students’ enrolment in public secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area?
- Does poor classroom management influence students’ enrolment in public secondary schools?
- Does indiscipline among students influence their enrolment in public secondary schools?
- What are the challenges of free and compulsory education implementation in Akwa Ibom state?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated for testing at 0.05 level of significance.
H01: There is no significant influence of free education influence students’ enrolment in public secondary schools.
H02: There is no significant influence poor classroom management on students’ enrolment in public secondary schools.
H03: There is no significant influence of student’s indiscipline on enrolment in public secondary schools.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be significant in the following ways:
It would provide the Government, Ministry of Education and Educational Stakeholders necessary information regarding the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of free education to students’ academic performance. It will spur the state Government, and Ministry of Education to always embark on routine inspection in our secondary schools. It will remind the Government to massively recruit teachers for effective education of the ever-increasing number of students in our secondary schools. It will help in buttressing the fact that lack of adequate funding is a major cause for the poor implementation state of free and compulsory education in Akwa Ibom state. It will help in identifying the challenges to successful implementation of free and compulsory education in Nigeria. The study will also reveal the reason for the poor performance of students in public schools. The study will serve as a useful resource material to individuals and students.
1.7 Assumption of the Study
It is assumed that selected schools in Uyo Capital City with overcrowded population will provide information on the implementation of the programme. It is assumed further that such information will be best applied in the curse of this research for optimum result.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
This study is subjected to limitation and challenges that accompany any research work that make use of questionnaire like; noncompliance of some respondents and inadequate information regarding the problem under investigation. Finally, financial and time constraints were also some of the challenges that pose a lot of limitations on the scope of this study.
1.9 Operational Definition of Terms
Influence: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself. Influence in this study means the effect, or impact of teachers on students.
Teachers: An instructor imparting knowledge or skills to a learner(s). A teacher’s role may vary among cultures. Teachers may provide instruction in literacy and numeracy, craftsmanship or vocational training, the arts, religion, civics, community roles, or life skills.
Students: A student is primarily a person enrolled in a school or other educational institution who attends classes in a course to attain the appropriate level of mastery of a subject under the guidance of an instructor and who devotes time outside class to do whatever activities the instructor assigns that are necessary either for class preparation or to submit evidence of progress towards that mastery.
Teachers’ Ratio: Student–teacher ratio or student–faculty ratio is the number of students who attend a school or university divided by the number of teachers in the institution.
Public: publics are groups of individual people, and the public is the totality of such groupings.
Secondary school: A secondary school is both an organization that provides secondary education and the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools can provide both lower secondary education and upper secondary education, but these can also be provided in separate schools, as in the American middle and high school system.
STR: This is an acronym for Student-Teacher-Ratio as seen in the literature review of this study.