Professional Training of Secondary School Principals in Nigeria: A Neglected Area in the Educational System

By Arikewuyo, M. Olalekan | Florida Journal of Educational Administration and Policy, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview

Professional Training of Secondary School Principals in Nigeria: A Neglected Area in the Educational System


Arikewuyo, M. Olalekan, Florida Journal of Educational Administration and Policy


Introduction

Secondary education not only occupies an important place in the Nigeria education system, it also serves as the link between the primary and tertiary levels. The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) defines secondary education as the education the child receives after primary education and before the tertiary stage. The Junior Secondary School (J.S.S.) has also become an integral part of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme of the federal government. The junior secondary school is free, compulsory and universal. Statistics shows that while enrolment at public secondary schools was 6,279,562 in 2004, it stood at 6,397,581 in 2005 (Federal Ministry of Education, 2006). However, while enrolment is increasing, the number of secondary schools in both years remains the same. Thus, since the junior secondary school is now free and compulsory, many parents, who, hitherto could not afford to send their children to school, are now doing so. This also means that government at federal and state levels now need to plan more on basic education, especially the junior secondary school level. The total number of secondary schools was 13,846 in the years under review.

The broad goals of secondary education, according to the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004), shall be to prepare the individual for: a. useful living within the society; and b. higher education.

In specific terms, secondary education shall:

a. provide all primary school leavers with the opportunity for education of a higher level, irrespective of sex, social status, religious or ethnic background;

b. offer diversified curriculum to cater for the differences in talents, opportunities and future roles;

c. provide trained manpower in the applied science, technology and commerce at sub professional grades;

d. develop and promote Nigerian languages, art and culture in the context of world's cultural heritage;

e. inspire students with a desire for self improvement and achievement of excellence;

f. foster national unity with an emphasis on the common ties that unite us in our diversity.

g. raise a generation of people who can think for themselves, respect the views and feelings of others, respect the dignity of labor, appreciate those values specified under our broad national goals and live as good citizens;

h. provide technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic development. (pp: 18-19).

At the head of every secondary school in Nigeria is the Principal, who is regarded as the Chief Executive and responsible for all that happens in the school (Oyedeji and Fasasi, 2006). As the Chief Executive, the Principal assigns duties to those who could perform the duties, though all responsibilities still reside in him/her as the accounting officer. However, Obemeata (1984) sees the Principal as a manager, administrator, an exemplary leader, counselor, a public officer, a nurse and even a messenger. In specific terms, Arikewuyo (1999) viewed the functions of the Principal as follows:

1. providing leadership for curriculum development;

2. providing leadership for instruction improvement;

3. creating an environment conducive for the realization of human potentials;

4. influencing the behavior of staff members; and

5. supervising instructional activities in the school system. (p.70).

The Commonwealth Secretariat (1993) also adduced the functions of the Principal to include the following:

1. manage and deploy school resources efficiently;

2. allocate school accommodation appropriately;

3. ensure satisfactory standards of maintenance and cleanliness of school facilities;

4. organize staff development in school;

5. guide curriculum implementation and change;

6. manage the developmental appraisal system, whole school evaluation and new integrated quality management system;

7. …

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