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1.1 Background of the study
There was no earlier times improvement in the medical field and the paucity of medical personnel within human communities, (especially in the under developing nation of the world) did not make for enhanced health care. This led to the hampered human resource reproduction. The phenomenal decline in death rate over the last three to four decades was not accompanied by a similar decline in the birth rate and hence increase in population become the trend. This manifested itself in an impressive growth of the population size from one billion in the nineteenth century to about five billion in the first decade of nineteenth century.This population growth rate trend is in accordance with Sadips (1988) findings that everyday the world population increases by three hundred and seventy thousand (370,000) people while the united nations projection shows that the world population will be ten billion (10,000,000,000) in the year 2040. Africa is at the cross road of demographic explosion and unless the population trend is addressed and arrested in the new millennium, man is moving towards self distribution or population trap as predicted by rev. Thomas R. Mathus in 1798. Nigeria is the most populated country in the continent of Africa and the tenth in the world as shown by various post independence population census from 1963 to 2006.
This perhaps influence Sudan’s major general Joseph Lafus declaration that Nigeria is the basis for black Africa solidarity and as such she has great responsibility for being the most thickly populated and wealthy nation in the African Continent. The government of the day is afraid of universal problems associated with population explosion some of which are;
1. Overpopulation leading to increase in class size in educational institutions.
2. Overpopulation tending to over utilization of resources.
3. Overpopulation giving rise to mass unemployment with associated criminal activity tendencies such as robbery, terrorism, kidnapping, prostitution, premarital sex etc.
4. Overpopulation affects the economy of a people.
The problems stated above give rise to this study of the effect of class size arising from overpopulation. Class size is the number of students in a classroom and the class size may be overpopulated or crowded when the number of students stipulated for a class is twenty (20) by national standard but in contemporary time students number in class has risen to one hundred and fifty (150) plus. With overpopulated class size, there is difficulty in control or management of the class. The teacher cannot know those among his students who need extra attention and besides, the classroom situation makes no room for teachers easy movement round the class and hence unconducive for teaching and learning will find it difficult to have a good rapport with the students. Population is however not static but dynamic just as a country’s population is not static. So it is either increasing depending on certain health factors. Albeit population is not just a question of number, it is also a question of people.
1.1 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
Class size, which is on the increase in the country’s tertiary institutions due to over emphasis on educational qualification attainment gives cause for students poor mental development these days which in turn have other great and grave consequences on academic performance. A society may rise or fall depending on the quality of the products of its tertiary institutions. Unfortunately, the quality of education acquired in our various institutions gets so low each day as a result of the effect among others, class size which remains on the increase. The problem of students not performing well in their academics when actually viewed critically is not wholly the fault of teachers. The teachers have no choice than to lecture a class with a number of students above one hundred and fifty in a classroom that is built to accommodate fifty (50) students.
The class becomes so overcrowded that most times students are seen standing inside and outside the classroom and also sitting on half built walls around the class receiving lectures with teachers who are constrained to shout and strain their voices in order to be heard delivering lectures/teaching lessons to students. It is satisfactory to the researcher noting the inadequate classroom facilities in the sample secondary schools in Etsako East Local Government Area, Edo State with class sizes negatively affecting to a large extent the student’s academic performance and hence hamper good learning/results obtained.
1.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Based on the stated problem of the study, the following questions were formulated to guide the direction of the study.
1. Is there evidence of class population overcrowding in schools?
2. Does class size affect the academic performance of the students?
3. What are the obvious consequences of overcrowded class population?
4. How may overlarge class size be controlled for better academic performance?
1.3 POPULATION OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of large class size on the academic performance of students in some selected secondary schools as sample of the population in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State.
1. Identify factors that bring about large class size in the junior secondary schools sample in Etsako East Local Government Area in Edo State.
2. Determine the effect of large class size on the student’s academic performance.
3. Develop strategies that would ensure ameliorate class size overcrowding for effective academic performance among students.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The result of the study would be found useful to classroom control or management of students in Etsako East Local Government Area in Edo State, because the study would create avenue for identifying the effect of class size as it relates to academic performance of students. On successful completion of this study, the government especially the ministry of e4ducation and even the management of secondary schools will realize the danger which overcrowding expose students to eventually leading to failure and hence brace up to provide adequate basic physical infrastructural requirement needed to fit learner into the society more easily as the future leaders who will change the society in no distant time.
This study would also help to suggest solutions to the problems encountered and thus bring about improvement in the academic performance of students.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study is class size of some junior secondary school English students in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State, for the 2012/2013 academic session. Some junior secondary schools, five in number were selected for generalization of findings on the effect of the phenomenon in the local government area.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Class Size: The number of students in a classroom for continuous prepared lesson delivery by teachers.
Academic Performance: How well or badly students do in studies at school.
Secondary School: An institution established by law for the training of secondary school students (above the primary or elementary school certificate examination) immediate lower level of the education system.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
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