European Journal of Educational Studies 2(2), 2010

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1 European Journal of Educational Studies 2(2), 2010 ISSN Ozean Publication AN ANALYSIS OF TEACHERS UTILIZATION IN URBAN AND RURAL SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN MID-WESTERN STATES OF NIGERIA Vincent.O. Ibadin Department of Educational Studies and Management University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria address for correspondence: Abstract: The study was designed to investigate if teachers in urban and rural secondary schools in Mid-Western States of Nigeria, were under utilized or over utilized. It also sought to ascertain if urban secondary school teachers were more utilized than their rural counterparts. To guide the study three research questions were raised. The study sampled 240 teachers (i.e. 120 teachers each from urban and rural schools). They were selected from 48 sampled public secondary schools (i.e. 24 schools each from urban and rural areas). The Public Secondary School Teachers Utilization Questionnaire (PSSTUQ) was used to collect data. The data gathered were analysed using the formula recommended by the guidelines for the implementation of the Education System. The study revealed that urban secondary school teachers had an average weekly workload of 16 periods, while their rural counterparts had 26 periods. The rural secondary school teachers were not only adequately utilized but they were more utilized than the urban secondary school teachers. Key words: Education, secondary school, teacher. INTRODUCTION The importance of teachers in the education enterprise has been emphasized by philosophers and scholars from ancient times to the present day of science and technology. There is no gain saying the fact that teachers are at the centre of crisis in the education system of many developing countries, Nigeria inclusive. It is first and foremost a problem of quality, that is, how best to get large enough quantity of qualified and experienced teachers for the fast expanding education system. Education is a mass-production and labour intensive enterprise, and as the number of students increases, so does the need for more teachers arise. In Nigeria, the growth of the education system since independence in 1960 has been phenomenal. For example, between 1960 and 1998, primary school enrolment increased from 2,912,619 to 17,942,000 or 516 percent rate increase. For the same period, secondary school enrolment increased from 55,235 to 6,056,700 or 10,865 percent rate increase; while University enrolment increased from 71,095 to 249,287 or percent rate increase between 1980 and 1999 (Okobia, 2002). 87

2 In 1999, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) introduced Free, Compulsory and Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme. This laudable programme characterized by smooth transition from primary education to secondary education further increased primary and secondary school enrolments. For example, table 1 below shows statistics of primary and secondary school enrolments as at Table 1: Shows Statistics of Primary and Secondary Education in Nigeria, (i) Primary School Level (a) Number of Primary Schools = 60,188 (b) Number of Pupils Enrolled = 22,267,407 (c) Number of Teachers = 591,291 (d) Pupils Teacher Ratio = 38:1 (ii) Secondary School Level (a) Number of Secondary Schools = 10,913 (b) Number of Students Enrolled = 6,397,581 (c) Number of Teachers = 153,154 (d) Students Teacher Ratio = 42.1 Sources: (a) Federal Ministry of Education (FME) Basic and Senior Secondary Education Statistics in Nigeria. (b) Federal Ministry of Education (2003), A Handbook of Information on Basic Education in Nigeria. Table 1 revealed that primary and secondary school enrolments increased to 22,267,407 pupils and 6,397,581 students respectively; in From these enrolment figures, one can conveniently say that enormous resources in terms of manpower (teachers and supporting staff), time, fiscal and material resources are utilized at the primary and secondary school levels of education in Nigeria. At this point in time, it is pertinent to realize that manpower is the most important resource in any organization. Hence perhaps, Harbison (1973:3) asserted that: human resources not capital, not income, not material resources constitute the ultimate basis for the wealth of nations, capital and natural resources are passive factors of production; human beings are the active agents who accumulate capital, exploit natural resources, build social, economic and political organizations and carry forward national development. Consequently, a teacher plays an indispensable role in the process of teaching and learning. In other words, he is the change agent that harnesses other resources for production function. In support of this, Nwagwu (1998:182) emphasized that, the concept of education by itself implies the existence of teaching and learning, hence the mention of the word school evokes automatically the picture of teachers and students in an interactive environment. In Nigeria in general and Mid-Western states (i.e. Edo and Delta States) in particular, secondary schools are located in both urban and rural centres. Although these states are endowed with abundant natural resources like oil deposits, limestone and forest resources among others; they are however, poorly developed in terms of infrastructural facilities like good and lack of social amenities particularly in the rural areas. In support of this, the study conducted by Matthews, Carr and Hudson (2001) on teaching in rural and remote areas in Australia revealed that some concerns may detract teaching graduates from working in rural locations in Australia. This aptly summarized the precarious situation in rural areas in Mid-Western states of Nigeria, devoid of basic social amenities. This unwholesome situation seems to have degenerated into teachers militancy and youths unrest. In the same vein, 88

3 Ejiogu (1997:35) asked the question: The Nigerian Teacher More Sinned Against Than Sinning? He came to the conclusion that Nigerian teachers are still treated like beasts of burden, no matter their qualifications, status, and the education level where they operate. At times, he said, they are even treated like villains who are responsible for all the problems and crises in the education system. In consonance with this, Nwagwu (1998:187) pointed out that, They are sinned against by government, their employers whether public or private educational institutions, parents, society, and now even their own students who abuse and intimidate them, burn down their offices, cars and houses, or even rape their wives and children. This aptly summarized the precarious situation secondary school teachers in particular and teachers in Nigeria in general have found themselves. From the foregoing, one can conveniently say that accusing fingers are pointing to the teachers as the cause of the persistent poor academic performance of secondary school students. In Mid-Western states, many secondary schools in both urban and rural centres have been derecognized by examination bodies, like the Western African Examinations Council (WAEC), and the National Examinations Council (NECO) among others due to examination malpractices and abysmal poor academic performance. At this juncture, it is worthy of note that a number of factors have been ascribed to the poor academic performance of students. For example, some people blamed the parents for failure to inculcate discipline and learning habit in their children, yet others blamed the government for failure to provide adequate human material and fiscal resources, while others blamed the teachers for failure to teach the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours to students. Some blamed the students and examination bodies for refusal to learn and for their failure to measure adequately the knowledge, skills and behaviours learned by students respectively. Whatever the factors are, the ultimate quality of education is determined by the teacher, as he transmits the value of education to the student. In line with this, Merton (1957) in a paper titled The Self Fulfilling Prophecy, pointed out that, a teacher s expectation can and does quite literally affect a student s academic performance. Similarly, Aghenta (1998:44) emphasized that, what the teacher does and how he does it are important in the determination of quality of education. The teacher is equally important in the determination of quantity of education. Hence, perhaps the National Policy on Education (FGN, 2004:39) declared that no education system may rise above the quality of its teachers. From the foregoing, one can say that teachers as primarily responsible for the persistent poor academic performance of secondary school students in Mid-Western states of Nigeria. Consequently there are allegations and counter accusations that teachers are either under utilized or over utilized. The guide lines for the implementation of the Education System (i.e. 9 years of universal basic education, three years of senior secondary education and fours years of tertiary education) recommended a minimum of 18 periods per teacher per week and a maximum of 24 periods per teacher per week. In the same vein, Aghenta (1983:64) emphasized that, It is true that a few are over worked but when the average is taken we discover that teachers teach 15 periods out of periods a week. Furthermore, he pointed out that, some teachers have no other assignment apart from the few classes they teach, but a few others in addition to heavy teaching loads are charged with games, sports and students personnel administration etc. Generally, however, our teachers are under utilized. Similarly, Oyeka (2002) study titled An analysis of resource management in public Secondary Schools in Edo state revealed that, teachers in urban secondary schools had an average weekly workload per teacher of 20 periods, while those in rural secondary schools had an average weekly workload of 24 periods. In consonance with this, Nwagwu (1998:189) pointed out that, In many states of the country today, some secondary school teachers teach as many as 30 periods a week, that is an average of 6 periods a day. In short, they teach from the time they arrive to the time school closes, thus treating them like primary school teachers. Consequent upon the foregoing, it becomes imperative to ascertain if secondary school teachers in Mid-Western states of Nigeria are either under utilized or over utilized, hence perhaps, the persistent poor academic performance of their students. This study therefore, empirically examined the following research questions. 1. What were the average weekly number of periods assigned to teachers in urban secondary schools? 2. What were the average weekly number of periods assigned to teachers in rural secondary schools? 3. Were the urban secondary school teachers more utilized than the rural secondary school teachers? 89

4 METHODOLOGY The research design of this study was an ex-post-facto. The population comprised of all the teachers in Public (urban and rural) secondary schools in Mid-Western states of Nigeria. Sample and Sampling Procedure: Random and stratified random sampling techniques were used in this study. Random sampling technique was used to select 10 percent of the 42 Local Government Areas in Mid-Western states, therefore giving rise to 4 Local Government Areas. The stratified random sampling technique was used to select 240 secondary school teachers (i.e. 5 teachers each from 24 urban schools and 5 teachers each from 24 rural schools). Instrumentation: Data were generated using an instrument titled Public Secondary School Teachers Utilization Questionnaire (PSSTUQ). The instrument was designed by the researcher after objective criticisms and suggestions from colleagues who are experts in Measurement and Evaluation. It was divided into sections A and B. Section A elicited information on location of school and the demographic data of the teacher, while section B elicited information on the average number of periods per week that were assigned to teachers in urban and rural secondary schools in Mid-Western States of Nigeria. Data Collection and Analysis: Some postgraduate students in the researcher s department, who had been adequately trained as research assistants were used. They administered and collected the questionnaires. The data gathered were collated and analysed using the formula recommended in the guidelines for the implementation of the education system. RESULTS Table 1: Average Weekly Workload of Teachers in Urban and Rural Secondary Schools Location of School Number of Sampled Secondary Schools 2008/2009 School Year Number of Sampled Secondary Schools Average Weekly Teacher s Workload Urban Rural Total Table 1 revealed that a total of 240 urban and rural secondary school teachers (i.e. 120 urban and 120 rural) were sampled from 48 sampled urban and rural secondary schools (i.e. 24 urban and 24 rural schools). Research Question 1: What were the average weekly number of periods assigned to teachers in urban secondary schools? Table 1 revealed that in 2008/2009 school year, the 120 sampled teachers from 24 sampled urban secondary schools, had an average weekly workload of 16 periods. 90

5 Research Question 2: What were the average weekly number of periods assigned to teachers in rural secondary schools? Table 1 revealed that in 2008/2009 school year, the 120 sampled teachers from 24 sampled rural secondary schools, had an average weekly workload of 26 periods. Research Question 3: Were the urban secondary school teachers more utilized than their rural secondary school teachers? Table 1 revealed that rural secondary school teachers had an average weekly workload of 26 periods, while their urban secondary school counterparts had an average weekly workload of 16 periods. In other words, the rural secondary school teachers were more utilized than the urban secondary school teachers. DISCUSSION OF RESULTS This study examined whether teachers in either urban and rural secondary schools in Mid-Western states of Nigeria are under utilized or over utilized. It also sought to ascertain if there were variations in their workload. The results revealed that urban secondary school teachers in 2008/2009 school year, had an average weekly workload of 16 periods. This was smaller than the minimum workload of 18 periods recommended by the guidelines for the implementation of the Nigerian education system. In other words, the teachers in urban secondary schools in 2008/2009 school year were under utilized. In support of this, Aghenta (1983:64) asserted that, It is true that a few are over worked, but when the average is taken we discover that teachers teach 15 periods out of periods a week. Contrary to the finding of this study, Oyeka (2002) discovered that urban secondary school teachers had an average weekly workload of 20 periods. The difference may be ascribed to the unprecedented expansion that the Nigerian secondary school system witnessed, which in turn led to the recruitment of more secondary school teachers. As regards rural secondary school teachers, this study revealed that they had an average weekly workload of 26 periods in 2008/2009 school year. This workload is slightly higher than the maximum workload of 24 periods per teacher per week recommended on the guidelines for the implementation of the Nigerian secondary school system as well as the 24 periods discovered by Oyeka (2002) in her study for rural secondary school teachers. The slight increase in the workload of teachers in rural secondary schools may be ascribed to the excess workloads that were assigned to the few teachers in rural schools. It is pertinent to realize that rural areas in Nigeria in general and Mid- Western States in particular are devoid of basic social amenities like pipe borne water, electricity and recreation centres among others. As a result of the unwholesome situation, only few teachers deployed to rural secondary schools stay. The resultant effect of this is that the few that remained, were perhaps, made to teach other subjects that were partly related to their areas of specialization. In consonance with this, Nwagwu (1998:189) pointed out that, In many states of the country today, some secondary school teachers teach as many as 30 periods a week, that is an average of 6 periods a day. From this, one can say that rural secondary school teachers in Mid-Western states of Nigeria in 2008/2009 school year, were not only adequately utilized but they were over utilized, unlike their urban counterparts. CONCLUSION In view of the findings of this study, the following conclusions are being made. Teachers in rural secondary schools in Mid-Western states of Nigeria were over utilized, while their counterparts in urban secondary schools were under utilized. 91

6 RECOMMENDATIONS Since over utilization of teachers does not always give them the chance to do their best work and show their strengths, equitable redistribution of teachers due to imbalances between urban and rural secondary schools is of obvious importance. While under utilization of teachers is an economic waste in the school system, and consequently calls for optimal utilization of human resource in the production function; through the process of compulsory redeployment of teachers from urban schools to rural schools. REFERENCES Aghenta, J.A. (1998), Teacher Recruitment and Retention: Issues and Problems in Teachers and Teaching in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Prospects N.A. Nwagwu (Ed.), The Nigerian Academy of Education Yearbook, No. 2, 44. Ejiogu, A. (1997), The Nigerian Teacher More Sinned Against Than Sinning, in Emergent Issues in Nigerian Education Vol. 2, edited by.a. Ejiogu and K. Ajayi, Lagos: Unilag Consult. FGN (2004), National Policy on Education, Yaba, Lagos: NERDC Press, 39. Harbison, F.H. (1973), Human Resources as the Wealth of Nations, New York: Oxford University Press, 3. Matthew, C., Carr L. and Hudson, M. (2001), Graduate Teachers in Rural and Remote S.A. Schools, A Year Book of First South Australian Chapter, the Australian College of Education. Merton, R.K. (1957), The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Social Theory and Social Structure, New York, Free Press. Nwagwu, N.A. (1998), Teachers Militancy, Productivity and Standards in Education Today and in the Future in Prospects N.A. Nwagwu (Ed.) The Nigerian Academy of Education Yearbook No Okobiah, O.S. (2002), The Educational Imbalance Between the Northern and Southern States of Nigeria: A Redirection of Educational Policies. Inaugural Lecture Series, Delta State University, Abraka, 13th March. Oyeka, C.F. (2002), An Analysis of Resource Management in Public Secondary Schools in Edo State, Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, University of Benin, Benin City; Nigeria. 92

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