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PLANNING AND UTILIZATION OF SCHOOL PLANT AND STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
The study investigated planning and utilization of school plant and students’ academic performance in selected secondary schools in Lagos State. Three research questions and five hypotheses were raised and analysed in the study. The study adopted the cross sectional survey research design which included public, private and federal schools in Education District IV in Lagos State. Four hundred and twenty three (423) subjects were randomly selected across the schools in the district and used as the sample of the study. Questionnaires were major instruments used to facilitate data collection from the respondents. The study was limited to junior secondary school (JSS III), senior secondary school (SS III) classes and teachers of English, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies, and Economics in 22 schools in the Education District IV of Lagos State due to financial constraints. Data collected were analyzed using the simple percentage and Chi-square method of statistics. However, the study revealed that a significant relationship exist between adequate provision of school plant and academic performance of studentsin secondary schools in Lagos State; adequate provision and functional school physical plants are good strategies for enhancing a high level of academic performance and rapid increases in the school enrolments without a corresponding increase in the provision of educational facilities contributes to poor performance of students in education. The study therefore recommends among others that material resources for all subject areas should be sufficiently supplied to all the secondary schools in Lagos State and Philanthropists, Parent-Teachers Association should be encouraged to contribute their own quota to the development of secondary schools in the state.
1.1 Background of the Study
Education is regarded as primary responsibility of government to its citizens based on widely accepted concept of mobilizing for development through education.
It is therefore not surprising when in the 1970s, the government of Nigeria at the federal level took over hitherto schools established and managed by missions outfits in the country. Given the importance of education in the life of a nation, researchers observe that its management cannot be left in the hands of those who have no wherewithal and expertise to handle it. Several researchers are of the opinion that the factors that influence scholastic achievement of students at school should be seriously looked into, these include a child’s natural ability, physical environment, available educational facilities, motivation and socio-economic background. In order to make a positive influence on the school system, therefore, the government should make available the necessary educational facilities, which include the buildings with other physical facilities such as library, laboratories, recreational centres, instructional materials, funds and provision of teachers and non-teaching staff. A cursory look at the educational records of students’ performance in the senior secondary certificate examination reveals a downward trend in students’ academic performance. Available WAEC records show that between 2010 to 2012, only 38.5% of the total candidates who wrote the West African School Certificate Examination had five credits passes including English and mathematics. Year 2013 and 2014 results from WAEC also revealed a drop in performance in SSCE.
This deplorable condition when compared to the huge sum spent on education annually demands an urgent attention aimed at redressing the abnormality.
This situation informs many research efforts to be preoccupied with factors that are responsible for the dismal state of education in the country.
Among the reasons adduced for this mass failure of students in public examinations include inadequate classrooms to meet the ever increasing number of students as well as inadequate number of students as well as inadequate and differential distribution of resources resulting from lack of foresight and adequate planning.
West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) explains that the fluctuating trend in the performance of candidates in various examinations conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) has been due to lack of adequate teaching and learning facilities in schools.
Education sector like the industrial sector require the use of human, material and financial resources for production to take place. Adeogun (2007) noted that Human resources in education are the students, teaching staff, non- teaching staff, bursar, librarian, laboratory attendants, clerks, messengers, mail runners, gatekeepers, gardeners and cooks as well as educational planners and administrators.
Material resources include textbooks, charts, maps, audio-visual and electronic Other category of material resources consist of paper supplies and writing materials such as biro, eraser, exercise books, crayon, chalk, drawing books, notebooks, pencil, ruler, slate, workbooks and so on.
Physical resources include classrooms, lecture theatres, auditoriums, typing pools, administrative block, libraries, laboratories, workshops, gymnasia, assembly halls, special rooms like sickbay, staff quarters, students’ hostels, kitchen, cafeteria, lavatory and toilet. Financial resources are the monetary inputs available for and expended on the education system. These include money allocated to education by the government grants, PTA levy, and donations from philanthropists and internally generated funds.
Peretomode (1995), also had earlier noted what school plant resources are to include educational facilities and “things of education”. These include school buildings (classrooms, assembly, halls, libraries, laboratories and workshops), teaching aids and devices such as modern educational hardware and their software in the form of magnetic tapes, films and transparencies. Educational facilities therefore are the material things that facilitate teaching and learning process in the school.
School plants consist of school buildings (such as classrooms, administrative blocks, libraries, laboratories, workshops, lobbies, staffrooms, sickbays, dinning halls, assembly hall and dormitories) equipment (such as equipment for science, tools for woodwork, games equipment and office machines) grounds (such as gardens, playgrounds, orchards and swimming pool) and transportation. Ovwigho (2004) opined that school plant consists of buildings, playgrounds, sports fields and outdoor equipment. The school plant according to him can be grouped into the school areas and the housing areas. The school area is made up of classrooms, laboratories, workshops and libraries. It is sometimes categorized into buildings and open space. Such buildings include premises used for teaching and learning and administration or those premises that are used for other related purposes. Open space in the school area is made up of playgrounds, sports fields and parking lots.
The housing area, on the other hand, consists of the areas where accommodation is provided for both students and staff members. In some schools, dispensaries or clinics and stores are also located in the housing area.
National Policy on Education (2004) pays considerable attention on the importance of the provision of educational facilities. Governments are also aware of the important role they play on the teaching-learning activities in the school system. Without adequate provision of educational facilities or school plant there would be no adequate education.
A well designed functional school building with a wide array of teaching aids therefore provide effective delivery of the students’ curriculum and are positively related to academic achievement.
School plant therefore not only include the general and special service rooms, the equipment but the site, and other facilities which may be needed for a satisfactory educational programme. Therefore, school plant refers to physical facilities available in the school and all other associated materials that will facilitate instructional educational programmes.
The up-surge of the number of the students entering into secondary schools has resulted in the increase of secondary school enrolment. This could therefore bring about infrastructural problems and create need for building of more schools, which will require better management, and supervision of the school plant. The effect of availability of school plant and its utilization on the academic performance of students has generated a great deal of interest and discussion for a very long time now and this has made people from all nation of the world to show great concern about the future of their children’s education. A study of the management of school plant refers to management of space, curriculum time tabling and school buildings, because of the impact of the facilities on educational process and programs, the school plant has to be managed efficiently in order to increase students’ performance in schools.
School plant brings substantial costs on the school system for their establishment and if not properly managed and maintained would dilapidate and wear out faster than their normal life span. Also if not properly utilized the school units would not derive optimum benefits from their use and this can greatly affect the students’ performance.
In schools where there are inadequate school facilities, both teachers and students would not be able to benefit from the teaching and learning experiences and this would result in human, material wastage. Children cannot work effectively in an inefficient building and would not develop regard for cleanliness and tidiness. School facilities promote the educational programme that the community so desires as well as teach pupils the meaning of beauty and utilization of space.
Thus, if our secondary schools are to function effectively their school managers should be able to manage the school resources effectively. This is because the success of education system is based on the availability and effective utilization of resources.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of the educational system to facilitate learning by creating the ideal situation for the child to discover things for himself especially through adequate provision of school plant. This indicates that the school plant would surely have a great impact on the students. The school facilities may indicate a great deal of cooperation among the groups in the school setting while some might not even want to learn at all. This implies that the school plant will affect the performance of both the teachers and the students either positively or negatively.
This study therefore aims at encouraging school administrators to apply modern techniques in the management of school plants. It also suggests that school administrators and managers should be constantly trained and retrained on the modern tools of management.
Thus, the standard of education will improve greatly if the resources allocated to education and the available school plants are optimally utilized.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Cursory Observation reveals that majority of students in public secondary schools in Lagos State perform below desired outcomes in the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination especially when results of previous years are compared. This observed poor performance motivated this research, which investigated the observed problem and found the relationship that exists between optimal utilization and deployment of educational resources (which include animate and inanimate objects) and students’ academic performance in selected public secondary schools in Lagos state.
A student’s academic performance is measured by his or her scholastics achievement. This scholastics achievement is known through the use of instructional evaluation and other associated invisible but real influences that affect performance such as school plant among others.
The causes of poor performance in our public secondary schools have been blamed on several factors. Critics have apportioned blames on teachers, society, parents, school inspectorate and the government respectively about learners’ inability to perform outstandingly well. However, issues that bother on inadequate and most times insufficient school plant have the major blame in students’ academic performance as the sociologist are quick to observe that the environment makes the man.
School plant optimization is therefore so important and contribute significantly to students achievement so much so that it cannot be neglected in the development of the education sector. As rightly observed by Oni (2005), the availability and adequacy in quantity and quality of the physical/material facilities make possible a school’s smooth operation and enhance effective teaching-learning activity thereby resulting in achieving higher educational attainments by the students.
1.3 Purpose of Study
The main purpose of the study was to examine the planning and utilization of school plant and student academic performance in Education District Iv of Lagos State
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Research Hypotheses
5 There is no significant relationship between principals’ perception of the utilization of school plant and academic performance of students in English, mathematics and science subjects.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will go a long way in enhancing the standard of education and motivate educational managers, school plant planners and administrators in the management of educational system to bring about regular maintenance, reconstruction, where necessary of school plants and deliberate addition of school plants to make for conducive atmosphere of learning and giving of instruction by teachers for the benefit of the students and the society at large and thereby determine adequacy or inadequacy and utilization of school plant on students’ academic performance.
This study is therefore provides an appraisal of the utilization of the school plant in some secondary schools in Lagos State and how this is related to students’ performance in core subjects upon which standard evaluation is often made by external examining bodies.
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The study was limited to 21 (twenty one) secondary schools within the Education District IV randomly selected for the administration of research instruments for the study. Time and funds were major constraints. The administration of the questionnaires and contact with respondents to verify responses in the administered questionnaires was limited as at the time of administration as a result of redeployment and movement of staffers of the district and the Ministry of Education in general.
1.8 Definition of Terms
WAEC: West African Examination Council is the external examination body with the responsibility to conduct terminal secondary school certificate examination in Nigeria and in some other parts of West Africa. It’s major examinations include Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE), General Certificate in Education (GCE) mainly for private candidates, that is students who are not in regular school setting but desirous to obtain a qualifying certificate to proceed to other level of education attainment.
PTA: Parent-Teacher Association is the body of set up by schools to foster interaction between parents, guardian and teachers with the primary aim of obtaining cooperation of all concerned and also get the desired support to improve the school infrastructure and intervene in scholarship when and where necessary in order to give the students desired and conducive atmosphere for learning.
JSS: Junior Secondary School: post primary period designated by the revised National Policy on Education as junior secondary which accommodates pupils from ages 10 to 11 for a three-year session after which the student transits to Senior secondary school but with option to pursue vocational studies if he/she is not endowed intellectually to pursue rigorous academic pursuit.
SSS: Senior Secondary School, a post junior secondary school period lasting three years which terminates with SSCE and prepares the student for a tertiary academic pursuit.
School Plant refers to all identifiable materials in a school setting that aid learning; such would include physical structures like classrooms, assembly hall, laboratories, play field, dormitories, offices, conveniences, cafeteria, library as well all teaching and learning materials and the personnel (academic and non-academic staff).
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