1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The issue of students’ poor academic performance in public secondary schools has become a major concern to parents, government at all levels and the Nigerian society. This concern has been expressed in various ways and times without number by educational experts, planners, researchers and parents have long echoed the awareness of this situation of students’ poor academic performance in public secondary schools.
In recent years, there has been increasing interest of many parents on sending their children to privately owned secondary schools. Many parents seem to believe that the quality of instruction, teachers’ attitude to work, students’ academic performance among others surpasses the quality obtained in the public schools. The shifting emphasis to privately owned secondary schools has prompted increasing interest in the opening and running of privately owned institutions. The proprietress of these institutions feels that they provide alternatives to government owned public secondary schools in terms of the quality of teaching and learning facilities (Usoro, 1998). Most curious parents who want to provide quality education to their ward are willing to pay any cost for the education of their children in privately owned secondary schools.
In spite of recognized increasing number of qualified teachers in public secondary schools, the performance of students seems not to improve to justify this fact. One begin to wonder, whether students in the public schools are not given appropriate attention or what could be the magic performed in the privately owned institutions.
A school of thought believe that school management attitudinal factor influences students’ academic performances. It is observed that in some public secondary schools, the principals’ exhibit laize – affair attitude to work in which the members of the school community are allowed to operate the way they like. In such schools, lack of discipline is observed whereas in schools where there is effective supervision, students’ academic progress could be enhanced. Some privately owned schools take the issue of supervision and discipline seriously. According to Nwoke, (1981) the principal is the chief executive of the school and has a variety of functions to perform. This includes supervising subject teachers to work in strict conformity with the syllabus. Simon (2010) asserted that in a school where the principal cannot co-ordinate, plan and manage whatever resources are available to him, he will not be able to supervise teaching learning activities. The implication is that students in such a school resort to cheating in order to make up for the ineffective academic programme. Ibanga (1982) cited in Simon (2010) maintained that ill managed educational system is bound to produce ill-fated results.
Another factor that academic poor performance has been attributed to has been the lack of availability of learning resources and the degree of usage of those resources. It is observed that in some public secondary schools, there are apparent lack of learning resources compared to the standard observed in some privately owned secondary schools. It is the assertion of Aboderin (1977), that instructional resources facilitate learning influence students’ academic performance. Earlier studies have attributed the attainment of school objectives to the influence of school learning resources. Schools with well equipped science laboratories, technical workshops and libraries cannot compare her students’ with school without such facilities. Those have been the predicament of most public secondary schools while some privately owned secondary schools are enjoying advantage.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In spite of the declaration of free and compulsory education from primary to secondary schools levels by the government of Akwa Ibom State, many curious parents still want to pay any cost to send their wards to privately owned secondary schools. Many parents seems to have the impression that the standard of teaching in the public schools in poor judging from students poor academic performance. The fact that most students of the public secondary schools cannot defend acquired certificates make people to doubt the standard.
Again, the growing incidence of examination malpractices mostly in public secondary schools, give people the cause to imagine what is going on in the public schools system when actually there seems to be a comparative high standard in most privately owned secondary schools. In some cases, it is observed that most students who passed through privately owned secondary schools, find it easier to gain admission into tertiary institutions immediately after their secondary education whereas most that passed through public secondary schools find it difficult to obtain the cut-off-point score to qualify them for admission through unified JAMB admission. The problem of this study therefore is to investigate the influence of school variables on academic performance of students’ public and private secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
This study examined the influence of schools variables on student s’ academic performance in public and private secondary schools in Akwa Ibom State. Specially, the objective were to examine:
(i) Whether there is any significant difference between public and private secondary schools is the availability and utilization of learning resources.
(ii) Whether there is any significant difference between public and private secondary schools management attitudinal factor.
(iii) Whether there is any significant difference between public and private secondary schools management attitudinal factor.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions were posed to guide the study:
1. What is the influence of school learning resources on students’ academic performance between public and privately owned secondary schools?
2. How to teachers in the public schools differ from the teachers in the private secondary schools in terms of attitude to work?
3. How do public and private schools differ in the influence of school management, attitudinal factor on students’ academic performance.
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following hypothesis guide this study:
1. There is no significant difference between the public and private secondary schools on the availability and utilization of learning resources on students’ academic performance.
2. There is no significant difference of the influence in teachers attitudinal factors on students academic performance between public and private secondary schools.
3. There is no significant different between the pubic and private secondary schools in the influence of school management attitudinal factors on students’ academic performance.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will be of benefit in many ways. The state secondary education board will be guided by the findings of the study to see the need of recruiting qualified teachers to ensure that public secondary schools are well staffed. The findings of the study will also provide to the board, to see the compelling need of monitoring public secondary schools system.
Proprietors/proprietress of private schools should be guided by the findings of the study, to reinforce discipline in their schools.
Again, the study will be of benefit to teachers as they would be guided to appreciate the need to devise instructional strategies that would enhance students’ academic performance in secondary schools particularly public secondary schools whose standard seem to be at the decline. School administrator would also find the findings of the study useful as they would be guided to see the need of providing learning resources in public and private secondary schools. Further studies on the subject matter would be enhance based on the findings of this study.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study was delimited to the investigation of senior secondary three (SS3) students’ NECO, SSC in public and private secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area. It was also delimited to the investigation of teachers’ attitudinal factor, learning resources factor and school management attitudinal factors between public and private schools as they influence students’ academic performance.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The study was limited by the reliability of the data as the researcher lacks the ability to control the probability of taking responses.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following concepts as used in the study were defined operationally.
1. School Management Attitudinal Factor: This is used to refer to the principals’ attitude to supervision of teaching and learning in their schools.
2. Learning Resources: These refer to schools facilities like library, well equipped laboratories among others.
3. Teachers Attitudinal Factor: This refers to teachers’ attitude to teaching with respect to attendance at school, punctuality, involvement in maintenance of school discipline, among others.
4. Students’ academic performance: This is used in the study to refer to students’ performance in teachers made test in English language, Mathematics, Economics and Biology.