Abstract: This study investigates Personnel availability and implementation of free and compulsory education policy in public secondary schools in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area. The population for the study comprised all the public primary schools in the study which made up of seventy one (71) public primary school with the population of seven hundred and forty seven teachers (747). The sample sizes of ten (10) in public primary schools with seventy (70) teachers were selected using simple random sampling technique. The instrument used for data collection was questionnaire. Independent t-test was used as statistical tool for data analysis. At the end of the analysis, the study revealed that personnel availability has great influence on implementation of free and compulsory education programme in primary schools Nsit Ibom Local Government Area. The study further recommended that Adequate number of qualified teachers should be made available to schools. Adequate number of health educators should be made available to schools. Adequate number of school health team should be made available to schools. Adequate number of school counselors should be made available to schools.
Personnel availability and implementation of free and compulsory education policy in public secondary schools
1.1 Background to the Study
The fact that education has been identified as a veritable instrument for enhancing individual, community and national development can no longer be disputed anywhere. According to National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004) it is “an instrument per excellence for enhancing national development”. This perhaps could be why the Nigerian leaders have desired so much to make basic education available to the citizens. (Even free education), knowing that 7 out of every 10 Nigerians live on less than U.S.$1 a day, i.e. 70% of Nigerians live below poverty line National Planning Commission (NPC, 2008).
Nigerian leaders knowing the above and realizing that education is not only investment in human capital but also a pre-requisite as well as correlate for economic development (Ada, 2006) have over the years made concerted attempts to make basic education available to Nigerian citizens. As a matter of fact, many landmark events took place that paved way for the emergence of Universal Basic Education (U.B.E) in Nigeria.
Education is a means of liberating the mind and making one a very useful member of the society. It is in the realization of this and its importance that the Nigerian government made education free and compulsory at the basic level. The Nigerian education system is structured with a compulsory nine straight years of basic schooling.
This system of education is captured under the Universal Basic Education (UBE) which was launched by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in September 1999. It is a nine year basic education programme aimed at eradicating illiteracy, ignorance and poverty as well as stimulates and accelerate national development, political consciousness and national integration. UBE came into place as a result of the 1990 Jomtiem Declaration as a strategy to achieve Education for All and the Dakar 2000 Education Conference.
Education is an investment on human being, the investment and characteristics of education given by the society can easily be assessed by the quality of its products. The input is assessed by the output. It is a truism that the success of an education system depends on quality of personnel available to schools. The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, 2004) stated that since no education system may rise above the quality of its teachers, teachers’ education shall continue to be given major emphasis in all educational planning and development.
Schools resources in any situation imply the totality of everything which the school’s system needs for its smooth running and that include money, man and materials available in the realization of the organizational goals. Denga (2006) described educational resources as the human capital and the technical capital used in attainment of educational goals and objectives. The degree of provision and utilization of educational inputs may affect the performance of a school and its programmes. Udoh (1998) stated that the selection and use of educational resources depend on its availability, the characteristics of the resources, the objectives of the educational programmes, and the level of civilization of that society.
Amaele (2012) asserted that free education means the establishment of various kinds of schools and expansion of school curriculum to make each child develop according to his or her ability, age and interest. It includes the establishment and provision of library facilities, technical and vocational equipment, recruitment and retention of qualified and adequate man power. It means tuition free; free feeding, free books, free accommodation, free transportation, uniform and other personal needs.
Over the years, education has been ranked as the best legacy any conscientious leader, government or parent could leave for her/his people. This is increasingly important because the quality of education given to a people determines the standard of growth achieved. This anchors the Federal Government’s statement that education has been adopted as an instrument par excellence for effective national development (FRN, 1981). Education not only eliminates ignorance and superstition from those who pursue it, but also frees their minds for quicker perception of issues; it inspires the spirit of inquiry and experimentation, and stimulates creativity and innovation (Otu, Charles & Akpabio, 2011).
Teachers who are the direct implementers of this programme are not enough or in short supply. According to UNICEF (2005) in Alumode (2010) the pupil – teacher ratio is 1:37 in the secondary school UNESCO (2011) is of the opinion that the programme needs more teachers to take care of the pupils. The federal government in an effort to ameliorate the problem of lack of teaching personnel introduced the Federal Teachers Scheme (FTS). Sadly many states are not cooperating as teachers sent to various states suffer untold hardships – delays in salary payments no accommodation. Moreover after completion of their mandatory two years service, they are not absorbed into the teaching service as envisaged. FTS was established in 2006 to address the acute shortage of qualified teachers in public secondary and junior secondary schools.
Universal Basic Education Commission acknowledged that there is a shortage of teachers when it stated in UNICEF (2012) Global Initiative, that the “UBE programme is in dire need of 40,000 teachers” given that there were only 590,655 teachers catering for the learning needs of 24.77 million children in secondary schools. The minimum qualification for entry into the teaching profession at the secondary school level of the UBE programme is the Bachelor’s Degree in Education. Ibe-Bassey (2004) reported that effective training and qualification of teachers relate with proper management and utilization of instructional media for instructional communication. The same work also reported that availability of media facilitate effective job performance by qualified teachers. Furthermore, asserted is that availability of school media and their utilization by teachers ensures accountability in education Ibe-Bassey (2004).
The teacher sees to the effective classroom management as well as interpretation and impartation of intended learning outcomes. He considers the individual differences, administers his lessons accordingly, it takes to be an effective teacher for this to be recorded (Mbakwem, 2012). According to Mbakwem (2015), teachers for effective implementation of UBE programme are such that; should be knowledgeable and have mastery of the subject matter of each lesson, possess psychological and emotional competencies, acquire a repertoire of teaching skills and methodology and exhibit proficiency in diagnosing pupils’ learning difficulties and classroom management for effective teaching/learning.
Isuagba (2003) stated that the academic qualification of the teacher is significant in education delivery. The above opinion identifies the need for trained quality teachers in implementing free and compulsory education programme in Akwa Ibom State as a whole and Nsit Ibom Local Government in particular. Isuagba (2012) also reiterated that personnel availability is one of the principal factors for programme implementation and national development in any society.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Mounting evidence abound of the declining pupils’ performances in schools and public examinations in Akwa Ibom State as a whole and Nsit Ibom Local Government Area in particular. This is likely linked to the fact that pupils graduating from the state-owned secondary schools where free and compulsory education programme is implemented perform poorly. This is compared with their counterparts in the private schools where educational personnel are more available and frequently used for instruction. There has been also outcry from the society on examination malpractice, truancy, falsification of result and incessant strike action by the personnel.
As a matter of policy, many states of the Federation not fully prepared for the take-off of the UBE programme or yet to meet up with the requirements of the Federal Ministry of Education and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), as specified in the World Bank Benchmark (Implementation guidelines). According to Ortyoyande (2000), for Universal Basic Education programme to survive there must be a planned and steady supply of personnel (teachers) and infrastructure both qualitatively and quantitatively.
This problem surface because of lack of qualified personnel to man the programme. From the foregoing discussion of the problems of implementing free and compulsory education policy in Akwa Ibom State, the following questions are raised: i. to what extent does availability of qualified teachers influences the implementation of free compulsory education programme in secondary schools? To what extent does availability of school counsellor influence in implementation of free and compulsory education programme in the secondary schools?
Personnel Availability and the Implementation of Free and Compulsory Education Policy in Public Secondary Schools in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose for this study was to investigate on personnel availability and implementation of free and compulsory education policy in public secondary schools in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area. Specifically:
- To investigate the influence of personnel availability of qualified teachers and the implementation of free and compulsory education policy in public secondary schools in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area.
- To investigate the influence of personnel availability of school counselor and the implementation of free and free and compulsory education policy in private schools.
The following research questions were postulated to guide the study:
- To what extent does personnel availability of qualified teachers influence the implementation of free compulsory education policy in public secondary schools?
- To what extent does availability of school counselors’ influence in implementation of free and compulsory policy in the secondary schools?
Personnel availability and implementation of free and compulsory education policy in public secondary schools
1.6 Significance of the Study
It is hoped that the results of the study will be useful to many stakeholders in education including the government, parents, teachers and future researchers.
- The government will be able to speed up the release of the funds to schools and also enroll more teachers for effective implementation of the said scheme.
- Teachers will equally be made by this study to better understand the essential roles they are expected to play if the scheme is to succeed
- Parents will equally stand to benefit from the findings of this research on how the government can improve the quality of education of their children through proper management, control and supervision of human personnel.
- The findings will serves as reference materials those who want to do research on the similar topic.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
The major factors that limit the scope of this study to Nsit Ibom Local Government area include insufficient fund, scarce empirical data, unpredictable school strike and researchers academic work- load.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
This study concentrates on the personnel availability and implementation of free and compulsory education programme in selected public secondary schools in the study area.
1.9 Definition of Terms
In view of the fact that different meaning can be assigned will apply to the following words as used in this research work:
- Education: Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits.
- Free Education: means the establishment of various kinds of schools and expansion of school curriculum to make each child develop according to his or her ability, age and interest.
- Universal Basic Education (UBE): Universal Basic Education (UBE) is a nine (9) year basic education which aims to provide free and compulsory education at the secondary level and junior secondary school level.
- Implementation: the act of putting a plan into action or of starting to use something.