Teachers and Students' Academic Performance in Nigerian Secondary Schools: Implications for Planning

Article excerpt

Introduction

In Nigeria public discussions frequently focus on educational standards.. The public's unhappiness becomes more prominent following the annual release of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination results. Student outcomes do not match the government and parental investment. All stakeholders are concerned about why the system is turning out graduates with poor results. To them, it is questionable whether or not teachers in the public secondary schools, the most important factor in the effectiveness of schools and in the quality of a child's education are competent to teach effectively. The National Policy of Education states, "No Education system can rise above the quality of teachers in the system" (FGN, 2006). Ogunsaju (2004) states that the academic standard in all Nigerian educational institutions has fallen considerably below societal expectations. Blumende (2001) corroborated this view when he reported that the decline in the quality of education cannot be ignored by anyone who is aware of the significant role of education as an instrument of societal transformation and development. There is a need to focus on teachers' adequacy and competency in respect to their pedagogical practices and strategies and mastery of the curriculum and subject content (Chall & Popp, 1990; Stuart, 2004; Rodgers, 2001). In support of the aforementioned scholars, Ekwesili (2006) institutionalized the Private Public Partnership (PPP) and School Based Management Committee (SBMC) to manage secondary education and to promote school effectiveness since students' success depends on the amount of learning that takes place in the classroom and other related 'how effective and efficient the teacher performs in schools'. Ijaiya (1998) concurred and opined that improving the quality of the teaching force in schools is seen as the key to raising student achievement. Thus, raising educational standards should be the government's number one priority. Similarly, Lassa (2000) and Guga (1998) claimed that education can not be provided by just anybody, it requires a teacher who plans and delivers the lessons or instruction in such a way that objectives can be achieved. An uncertified teacher cannot prepare students for WASCE/GCE because it is unlikely that they could pass. Corroborating this, Owolabi (2007) stated that government should find all possible means to retain veteran and experienced teachers who are still willing to serve so that they can contribute their wealth of experience to improving the system. The Baguada Seminar Reports on Quantities and Qualities in Nigerian Education (NERC, 1980) as cited by ESA, (2005) also shared the consensus that teachers are the main determinants of quality in education:

   If they are apathetic, uncommitted, uninspired, lazy, unmotivated,
   immoral, and anti-social, the whole nation is doomed. If they are
   ignorant in their disciplines and thus impart wrong information,
   they are not only useless but dangerous. Therefore, the kind of
   teachers trained and posted to schools may well determine what the
   next generation will be like.

Based on the aforementioned statement, this study examined the relationship between the quantity and quality of teachers and students' academic performance. Teachers can make or mar the school curriculum; therefore, their adequacy and quality for better service delivery needs to be assessed on a regular basis. Findings of this study will provide educational planners and administrators with adequate information about teachers' availability and how this affects productivity in public secondary schools in Osun State. It will likewise assist in establishing corrective measures with respect to some disadvantaged schools to ensure equity and uniformity in posting of teachers to schools in the state and improve the system productivity.

Review of Literature

In their study on "'Measuring and Targeting Internal Conditions for Schools Effectiveness in the Free State of South Africa", Abraham and Keith (2006), used a questionnaire as the basis for constructing an index of school effectiveness. …