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LINKING QUALITY TO SERVICE DELIVERY: A FOCUS ON ADMINISTRATORS OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background to the Study
Teacher education programme is saddled with the responsibility of nation building for the Nigerian as development society. The quality of the products from teacher training institutions determines the pace of the nation’s development.
Quality in the educational sector is considered in terms of exceptionally high standards, consistency, fitness for purpose, value for money (accountability) and transformative effects (Atanda 2007). Onuh (2006) claims that quality in education is a multidimensional concept which should embrace all functions and activities, teaching and academic programmes, research and scholarship, staffing, students, buildings, facilities, equipment, services to the community and academic environment (UNESCO 1998).
This is why the major concerns of Nigerian educational system is how to ensure quality and high delivery.
According to Chambers Twentieth Century Dictionary of current English, among other meanings, defines quality as “grade of goodness, excellence or degrees (especially high degrees) of goodness or worth”. The educational service delivery system needs substantial human and material resources with adequate and sustained quality assurance measures in order to live up to expectations. The expansion and upgrading of facilities and equipment to enhance capacity utilization of information communication technology (ICT) need not to be over emphasized.
There are five indicators of quality measures in an organization or the school system.
They include Highly trained staff ; Adequate funding; Visionary leadership ; Service to the community/academic environment and Research and academic activities
There are also some elements or indicators of good service delivery in schools or organizations. They are adequate staffing, population (enrolment of students), management of funds, adequate management of infrastructure, accommodation and equipment, provision of adequate information communication technology (ICT) in the library, provision of adequate instructional materials, co-curricular activities, uniform input and output evaluation procedures and provision of scholarship facilities.
In schools that are extremely good, we inevitably found an aggressive, professionally alert, dynamic principles determined to provide the kind of educational programmes deemed necessary no matter what (Gold Hammer, 1986).
In another development, (Hechinger 1989) has this to say “I have never seen a good school with a poor principal or a poor school with a good principal. I have seen unsuccessful schools turned around into successful ones and, regrettably outstanding schools slide rapidly into decline. In each case the rise and fall could readily be traced to the quality of the principal.
The above statements show that it is the leadership of the school that makes the difference between mediocrity and excellence.
A capsule description of the qualities and behaviours that characterize principals in successful schools; qualities that have surfaced again and again in the research literature, runs as follows:
(a) Effective principals have a strong vision of what their schools can be, and they encourage all staff to work towards realizing that vision (Gunge 1990).
(b) They hold high expectations for both students achievement and teacher staff performance.
(c) The observe teachers in classrooms and provide positive constructive feedback aimed at solving problems and improvising instruction.
(d) They encourage excellent and efficient instruction time and design procedures to minimize disruptions.
(e) They use material and personal resources creatively.
(f) They monitor the individual and collective achievement of students and use the information to guide instructional planning (Adamson 1989).
Unfortunately, many less effective principals define their role as managers of the building and budget, keepers of the records, chief disciplinarians and communicators with everyone (Davis 1989). According to Willower (1982); many less quality or effective principals leave teaching to teachers. Research on the activities and behaviours of principals indicate that most school principals spend very little time on curriculum and instructional matters; while few of them have been trained and prepared for instructional leadership.
As Goodhead (1983) puts it, most teachers, parents and interested others are not aware of the pivotal role an instructionally active principal can play in creating an effective school, a school where everyone is concerned with learning and achievement, where expectations are high and educational improvement is a daily concern.
The daily routine of every school principal, although routine is hardly the correct word includes activities which are described as “varied, brief and disjointed”
Lee (1987), and “varied brief and fragmented” by Martin and Willower (1981); While Greenfield concluded that the activities of effective school principals involve “an endless series of brief interpersonal encounters and exchanges with students, teachers, parents, supervisors and others”.
Principals must deal with competing values and expectations along with shortages in space, staff, funds, equipment and materials and miss communications are common (Barnett et al, (1984) The work of the principal is largely verbal.
Principals dispense information about procedures and politics to veteran teachers, new teachers, substitute teachers, special education teachers, reading specialties, counsellors, school psychologists, maintenance staff, students, parents and others in the community. Well-trained and experienced school principals answer questions about the availability of aids, space, materials and other resources and details about forth coming events in the schools where they are found (Bloomberg 1987).
According to Morris et al (1992), the principals’ activities are classified into monitoring school activities, serving as school spokesperson, disseminating information to school staff, handling resources.
Statement of the Problem
The school principal is the arrow head of the school system. This means that the school principal determines the pace at which things or events move in the school. In this regard therefore, the quality of the school principal to a large extent, determines the services he/she renders to the school.
According to Goodhead (1983), many less effective principals view the role they play in the school as managers of the school building and budget keepers of the school records and communicators with every one. They unfortunately, leave the teaching of the classroom teachers. Most principals spend little time on curriculum and instructional matters. Most principals in the school system today are poor school leaders, inefficient administrators, who lack the required capacity and academic process to keep the school moving ahead. They lack experience and qualification with which high and qualitative services are rendered in the administration of the school. (Ola, 2004)
This study examined linking quality to service delivery, a focus on administrators of senior secondary schools in Lagos State.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to examine the linkage between quality and service delivery among school principals in Lagos State, senior secondary schools.
The specific objectives of this study include:
To examine the effects of leadership quality on service delivery of principals in Lagos State secondary school administration.
To link efficiency with quality service delivery among principals.
To identify the factors militating against service delivery in schools administration.
To profer solutions to the problems of poor service delivery among principals in our secondary schools.
Differentiate between the service delivery of trained/experienced principals and the untrained/ inexperienced ones.
Examine the service delivery of male and female principals.
The following research questions were raised in this study.
- Does experience affect principal’s services delivery in schools?
- How can teacher’s number of years in service be linked to their service delivery?
- What are the constraints that militate against service delivery among school principals?
- Is there any difference between the service delivery pattern as exhibited by male and female principals?
- What are the possible solutions to the problems of poor service delivery among principals in our secondary schools?
- To what extent can service delivery of trained principals differ from those rendered by the untrained ones?
These research hypotheses were formulated in this study:
- There will be no significant effect of experience on service delivery among school principals in Lagos state.
- There will be no significant gender difference in the service delivery of principals in schools.
- There will be no significant difference service delivery patterns of trained principals and their untrained counterparts.
Significance of the Study
This study will be beneficial to the following:
This study will help school principals have better insight on the importance of service delivery in the school. With the recommendations and findings of this study, school principals would be more aware of the importance of quality in service delivery.
This will enable them to imbibe the culture of being exposed to training and retraining in the school in order to achieve maximum quality for effective service delivery in the day to day management and administration.
The findings of this study enables teachers in the school system, who practice teaching on daily basis, the opportunity of knowing that the quality of a teacher to a large extent affect the way at which he/she delivers service in the teaching profession. With this study, practising teachers would be able to imbibe the culture of updating their academics periodically as that will help them to perform their duties creditably well. It also helps teachers to know that it pays to deliver quality services in one’s profession.
This study would help the school authority to be able to provide conducive environment towards the production of personnel who will be able, available, ready and efficient in service delivery in the school system. With this study, the school authority will be able to make policies that would enable staff to be trained and groomed for better performance and higher productivity in the school. The study would serve as a good and important reference material to the public and the upcoming researchers and students in general.
Scope and Limitations of Study
This study will cover the linking of quality to service delivery among secondary schools in Lagos State.
Definition of Terms
The following terms were defined in this study:
Quality: Quality is defined as grade of goodness, excellence or degrees (especially high degrees) of goodness of work.
Service Delivery: The control and effective management and utilization of school population, funds, infrastructures, accommodations, equipment, information communication technology and so on for growth and development of the school system.
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