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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Delta State has a large number of secondary schools to cater for the educational needs of eligible school age children. This situation becomes imperative because of the quest to get educated and be prepared for the challenges ahead. Since the creation of the state in the early 90’s, the number of secondary schools have continued to be on the increase, with this increase in the number and size of many secondary schools, the employment of more teachers, changes in school structure, and an enlarged curriculum, the problems of administering the schools would obviously be expected to become more complex. In the setting of most schools, infrastructural facilities were inadequate or even lacking, thus posing special administrative problems.
The expansion of secondary schools meant that teachers were recruited as principals. Some school administrators had less than adequate qualifications and experience since qualified and experience ones were not available or too expensive to be recruited.
Among other constrains found in Delta State’s secondary schools are lack of infrastructural facilities (such as water, inadequacy of classrooms, laboratories, recreational centres and transportation). Inadequate transportation facilities have resulted in truancy and late attendance on the part of the pupils.
The lack of concerted community effort in the educational process, indifference on the part of the parents in their children’s education particularly at the primary level, over-crowed classrooms, shortage of infrastructural materials (textbooks, audio-visual equipment, film and slides), isolated school environment, and the fact that some homes may be too poor to provide reinforcement for the child have all added to the complexity of school administration.
This list does not include the variety of stresses and conflicts accompanying social and psychological conflicts resulting from ethnic and personality differences in the school setting. These limiting factors and constrains tend to make the administrative situation in the state’s secondary schools less than favourable because they place considerable limits on the degree to which school administrators can be effective.
The foregoing is a sketch of the context in which Principals in Delta State are expected to carry out the central task of administration which is the enhancement of teaching and learning. To enhance teaching and learning, the school administrator is required to perform three vital development of goals and policies, to establish and coordinate educational organizations concerned with planning and implementing appropriate programmes, and to procure and manage resources necessary to support the educational system and its planned programme.
Effectiveness in this situation will very much depend on the principals’ knowledge, expertise, and capability and the ability to improvise solutions to problems (Jiboyewa, 1999).
Researches in administrative effectiveness have classified school administrators as either effective or ineffective in carrying out their functions. For instance, Nwankwo noted that the extent to which there is mutuality between the principal’s control behaviour and the students’ acceptance of the behaviour would determine the harmony and low level of student conflict in the school. He also noted that some schools experience more conflicts than others and this attributed among other things to the principals’ effectiveness or ineffectiveness. Mfon also states in his study of the attributes of Delta State Principals to human right laws in the control of student conduct, that school control takes different forms in different schools and among different school heads.
Also writing on differential administrative effectiveness among secondary school administrators in Delta State, Onyenenue noted that discipline in school was the offspring of effective administration while indiscipline was caused by absence of commitment on the part of some principals.
These are instances of effectiveness and ineffectiveness in Delta State secondary schools and are also pointers to the fact that differences in performance exist among the state’s school administrators.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There are apparently several complexities which limit the degree to which school principals in Delta State secondary schools can be effective with large and ever increasing student enrolment for instance, the principals have considerable responsibilities catering for the different inadequacies that come with increased school size. They are also faced with inadequate and sometimes non-availability of infrastructural facilities that should help smoothen the teaching/learning process. Increased enrolment has also meant the employment of less qualified and experienced teachers as principals to man the school system. Nwankwo and Eyike have observed that in the process of managing these constrains, some school principals are more effective than others. The present study is designed to find out if demographic and organizational variables such as age, sex, qualification, school size, school location, and years of experience interact to bring about differences in effectiveness between school administrators in the process of managing educational institutions. Specifically, the following questions were asked to direct the study:
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Principals being the major agents in the promotion of school effectiveness are the pillars of the educational system, hence the maintenance of quality and standards in education depends on the extent to which they effectively carry out their administrative responsibilities. It is therefore necessary for them to be aware of some of the variables that can positively or negatively affect their performance in the process of carrying out their administrative functions. This study, therefore, has two main purposes, first to examine the effects of selected variables on the administrative effectiveness of school principals, and secondly, to examine the level of effectiveness of Delta State secondary school principals.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. How effective are Delta State school administrators?
2. Does age of the Administrators affect their effectiveness as school principals?
3. Is there any difference in the performance of male and female school principals regarding school administration.
4. To what extent does school size affects the principals’ administrative effectiveness?
5. Does professional qualification affect principals’ administrative effectiveness.
6. Does the location of a school affect the principals’ administrative effectiveness?
7. Do years of experience affect the administrative effectiveness of school principals?
HO1: There is no significant difference in administrative effectiveness among principals in the different age groups.
HO2: There is no significant difference in administrative effectiveness between male and female principals.
HO3: There is no significant difference in administrative effectiveness among principals in large, medium and small schools.
HO4: There is no significant difference in administrative effectiveness between professionally and non-professionally qualified principals.
HO5: There is no significant difference in administrative effectiveness between principals in urban and those in rural schools.
HO6: There is no significant difference in administrative effectiveness between experienced and less experienced principals.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is expected that the findings of this study would provide a better knowledge for principals on some of the variables that act as obstacles to the effective performance of their duties; provide the school administrator with an awareness of the variables that could affect their administration and enable them to take these variables into cognizance in their daily administrative routines.
Furthermore, the State Board of Education officials as well as Ministry of Education officials through the findings of this study would be able to plan more objectively how to develop the administrative personnel in the secondary schools through organizing workshops and seminars in order to improve principals’ administrative skills.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will examine only principals’ effectiveness in five administrative task areas, viz: instructional programme, staff personnel administration, student personnel administration, financial and physical resources, and school/community relationship.
The study will be delimited to secondary schools in Delta State and respondents will comprise principals and teachers from selected secondary school.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Effectiveness: For the purpose of this study, the five administrative task domains – instructional programme, staff personnel administration, student personnel administration, financial and physical resources, and school/community relationship would be used to measure principals’ effectiveness. Effectiveness is therefore the principals’ ability to provide leadership in the five administrative task domains.
Experienced Principal: A teacher who has served as a principal for at least five years. Because such a principal must have seen students’ progress from form one to five, with just a year to complete their programme.
Urban Areas: These consist of state and local government headquarters. The 25 local government headquarters in including Asaba fall into this group.
Rural Areas: All towns outside the local government headquarters.
Large School: A school with a population of over 1,000 students.
Medium sized school: A school with a population of 600 – 1000 students.
Small School: A school with a population of less than 600 students.
Professionally Qualified Principal: For the purpose of this research study, a secondary school principal with at least a Bachelor of Education degree Certificate or a Post-graduate Diploma in Education is regarded as a professionally qualified principal.
Non-Professionally Qualified Principal: A secondary school principal without the Bachelor of Education degree certificate or the Post-graduate Diploma in Education certificate is regarded as a non-professionally qualified principal.
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