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1.1 Background of the Study
The history of private ownership in educational administration in Nigeria could be traced to the period when Western education was introduced to the country, in the 19th century. As at the time in question missionaries and churches played dominant roles towards the development and administration of education. Even, when the colonial and self-governments took over the control the significance of education towards national development made private individual, communities and even both the local and international organizations to have interest in the development of education at all level. Thus, Ade-Ajayi (1968) opined that education is the mechanism by means of which a society generates the knowledge and skills required for its own survival and sustenance and which it transmits to future generations through the process of instruction to its youths. Society can only develop and exist decently and wisely if it ensures that its educational system is adequate, relevant and sustainable. Also, against the background of the apparent inertia of government apparatus in providing quality education for the teeming population, it becomes expedient that private initiative in education be facilitated and encouraged.
Formal education begins from nursery or pre-primary education which is the education given in day care centers and nursery schools to children aged between 0 to 6 years. It is enriched by the informal traditional upbringing given to the children of age 0 to 3 years which prepares them for school.
The government is not directly involved in the establishment of daycare centers and nursery schools. The foundation of education of the child is the preschool education which forms an integral part of his or her early education which may be formal or informal and which is given in an educational institution to children aged 3 to 5 years plus prior to their entering into the primary school (National Policy on Education, 2004). This educational level of the child provides for the physical, motor, health, nutritional, intellectual, aesthetic, emotional and social development of the pre-school child. If child education can provide these vital necessities which are fundamental in human life, it is not therefore unlikely to have an important and strong relationship with the pupils‟ performance at the primary school level and perhaps atthe secondary and tertiary levels (Nakpodia, 2003). The Universal Basic Education Act of 2000 cites nursery education (ECE) which has to do with early education of children between ages one to five as an integral part of basic education. It represents the first important step in achieving the goals of education for all (EFA). Since it is the foundation for a life-long education, government is expected to be actively involved in providing it for the younger children. Evidence on the ground, however, has shown that parents, private individuals and religious bodies constitute the largest proprietorship of ECE, while government agencies provide a paltry 10%.
Adenipekun (2004) notes that this abysmally low government’s participation in proprietorship of daycare centers and nursery schools deny the poor, disadvantaged and marginalized groups access to ECE (Early Children Education). In fact, the nursery education which falls under pre-primary education, provides for physical, health, nutritional, intellectual, aesthetic, emotional and social development of the preschool child (Nakpodia, 2003). Primary means first and the first stage of formal education. Primary education studies as a field of study has attracted much attention and concern from the government, educationists and parents because this primary education level is most crucial and fundamental toNigeria‟s future educational stability. It serves as the springboard and holds the key to the success or failure of the whole system of our education. Its popularity is evidenced by the launching of the universal primary education (UPE) by the federal government in 1976. Though its implementation is not without hitches, it has recorded tremendous success hence; federal government has taken various devices and means to protect this level of education. Today, the federal ministry of education has established a National Primary Education Commission (NPEC) with its headquarters in Kaduna. The state ministries of education have their own units of this board. Local government authorities also have their constituted bodies charged with the coordination of primary education matters along the state and Nigeria‟s formulated policies. Primary education studies are also becoming popular in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
A good number of Nigerian universities and colleges of education have units or departments that teach or undertake research activities related to primary education. In fact, two or four universities in Nigeria now offer courses leading to a degree in primary education. Our colleges of education are not left out in this race to improve the quality of education at the primary school level by introducing the course in their curriculum. Most of these colleges of education are of the view that every trainee teacher ought to be exposed to the content, methods, evaluations and administration of education in “the foundation years” of our school system. From these explanations, it thus seems apparent that the study of primary education has gained more attraction and interest among researchers in the Nigerian educational scene.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
One of the shortcomings of private primary and secondary education is that there are unqualified teachers who did not attain their degrees from the university, polytechnics and colleges of education. Also, private primary and secondary education is suffering from lack of finance from the state government. This contributes to the lack of basic instructional materials e.g. textbooks, well equipped libraries, and facilities which include chairs, desks and tables in private primary and secondary schools. In the primary schools, some of the pupils sit on the floor to receive lessons while others stand. Some even have to bring chairs from their homes and after school, they take them back. Some chairs do not have desks to write on, this is common in public schools. Overcrowded classrooms are another major problem. There is not enough space for proper teaching and learning to take place and not enough ventilation. The problem is compounded by the uncontrolled enrollment of children in schools. Further problem is the mushrooming of private primary and secondary schools in the country, which could have been a solution to the problem but their fees are so much that these kinds of schools are meant for the rich only. The average or poor families cannot afford such exorbitant fees.
1.3 Objectives of the study
Against the background to the study, this study is aimed at achieving the following objectives;
1. To highlight the challenges confronting private primary and secondary schools in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa state.
2. To trace the historical antecedent of private primary and secondary schools in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa state.
3. To analyze how lack of school facilities pose a problem in the management of private primary and secondary schools in the state.
4. To highlight the prospect of privatization of education in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa state.
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions were raised in the study:
(1) Are there challenges confronting private primary and secondary schools in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa state?
(2) Can the historical antecedent of private primary and secondary schools in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa state be traced?
(3) Does the lack of school facilities pose a problem in the management of private primary and secondary schools in the state?
1.4 Research hypotheses
Ho: There are no challenges confronting private primary and secondary schools in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa state.
Hi: There are challenges confronting private primary and secondary schools in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa state.
Ho: Lack of school facilities does not pose a problem in the management of private primary and secondary schools in the state.
Hi: Lack of school facilities poses a problem in the management of private primary and secondary schools in the state
1.5 Significance of the study
The experience over the years is that public educational institutions in Nigeria have been poorly managed and administered in terms of poor funding, low morale of teachers and inspectors,hence, the call by public-spirited individuals and educationists that a state of emergency to be declared on the Nigerian educational system. Hence, the recognition of the private ownership to help towards salvaging the problems of educational sector. In relation to this Akintayo and Oghenekowho (2008) argued that the private ownership in education could help in the attainment of the following goals:
(i) qualitative research and development;
(ii) access to advanced educational needs for technological development;
(iii) efficiency in resource generation through partnership and cooperation;
(iv) enhanced capacity-building relevant for the needs of the economies;
(v) moderation of university carrying capacity for observation of qualified and trainable human resources and
(vi) combating the threats of the global challenges of illiteracy, poverty, disease, war and insecurity (p.509).
1.7 Scope/Limitations of the study
This study on the challenges confronting operators of private primary and secondary schools in Bayelsa Sate, Sagbama Local Government Area to be precise.
Limitations of study
1. Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
2. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Challenge:A call to someone to participate in a competitive situation or fight to decide who is superior in terms of ability or strength.
Private:Belonging to or for the use of one particular person or group of people only.
Primary School:a school for children between the ages of about five and eleven.
Secondary School:It is often referred to as a high school, is a school which provides secondary education, between the ages of 11 to 19 depending on location, after primary school and before higher education.
Adenipekun O (2004). “Government Falters in Early Childhood Education” In: Adefaye G (Ed). Vanguard Newspapers, Apapa 20:56565.
Chukunweiken SE (2002). Introduction to Primary Education Studies, Ibadan: End-time Publishing House Ltd.
Ifechukwu S (1986) Introduction to Educational Management, Warri: Jonakase Publisher.
Lawal A (2006).A cybernetic appraisal of reforms in the Nigerian educational sector (1999-2006). A lead paper presented at the 3rd National Conference/Seminar of the School of Education, Kogi State College of Education, Ankpa.
Nakpodia ED (2003). The role of Nursery Education on Primary School Pupils, Journal of Teacher Education and Teaching, Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma 6(1&2):20.
Nakpodia ED (2004). The Application of Bureaucratic Principles in the Administration of Secondary Schools in Delta State. African Journal of Education and Development Studies (AJEDS) 1(1):89-96.
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