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1.1 Background of the study
School is one of the social institutions that is responsible for the development and training of the mind and skill of man. It is also for the preparation of man for the challenges and responsibilities in the society at large. The importance of education has been well accentuated in all societies whether developed or developing; ancient or modern. It is as a result of this obvious truth that every country accords great emphasis to education both in terms of quality and access. In other for colonial government and the missionaries to have well trained Nigerians as either clerk, clergies, few secondary schools were established; but the increasing desire for salaried job and the acquisition of Western values forced the Nigerian government in post independent era to massively establish secondary schools both in urban and rural areas, Bloodsworth (1993). The role of secondary education in national educational system cannot be underscored. It is the intermediary level between the primary and tertiary education. As a conciliator, it absorbs the product of primary education, and serves as an input unit for tertiary education. As a midpoint in the pecking order of education, the quality of secondary education predicts, and tends to influence the standard of tertiary education and the level of literacy in the country.
In the light of the above, Pascarella and Terenzini (1991) attributed students’ academic performance to school environment. A school located in a rural area, they argue, will have all the characteristics of a rural environment; similarly, an urban school will have an environment-based activities peculiar to its environment but different from a rural location. Thus, as the school environment differs, the level of academic performance may also differ. The consequence is that the quality of education may not be even; and the national policy of education for a democratic, egalitarian society cannot be attained unsentimentally. It is against this background that this study is designed. The study examines school location and class size in relation to academic performance of students in public secondary schools in Rivers State. Determining the factors that negotiate academic performance in Nigerian schools is paramount to both government and educational administrators, Akinanumaju and Oriamalaye (1987).
Location of a market affects buying and selling, location of a church affects it attendance and participation, location of a hospital measures the extent to which it serves the needs of both the users and the operators. Believing the above as correct and undisputable reality, little wonder then whether the locations of schools also contribute to the academic performance of the students. This study is designed to investigate the characteristic factors of school environment and class size leading to high students’ academic performance. Studies by Walberg (1992) reported that there are positive relationships between school variables such as class size, teacher-pupil ratio and performance in examination. Urban schools that are large in class size and higher teacher-student ratio recorded poor performance. Many teachers carry excessive teaching load and thereby, exceed the generally accepted teaching load of 32 hours per week. Urban schools with smaller class size and lower teacher-student ratio performs better in public examination. There is no clear agreement on the dividing line between small and large schools, Thomas (1992). One might note that the term ‘small’ has no concrete numerical limits, Monk (1988). Gottfredson (1985) uses national secondary school survey data to identify relationship, among school size, school disorder, and many other school variables and students characteristics.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There is a great difference between the physical and demographic characteristics of rural and urban areas. The rural areas are characterized by lack of infrastructures, aging population and agrarian orientation Adediji (1998); whereas the urban areas are characterized by increasing industrialization and availability of modern infrastructures. This, however, tend to define class size in both rural and urban schools. The citing of secondary school by the government does not take cognizance of the differing characteristics of the rural and urban areas because of its plan to make secondary school more accessible to the people. Large differences have been found between urban and rural school characteristics in terms of school plant, inadequate resources, managerial capacity and isolation. Fabunmi cited in Owolabi (1987) asserted that students schooling in public secondary schools in Nigeria do so at the risk of their lives because most of the school buildings had no roof, windows or doors, and the walls of some had cracked. He pointed out that the schools lack basic instructional materials and quality teachers. How do these conditions differ in the urban and rural areas and how does these differences influence academic performance of students in two school locations? This study searches for the effect of school location in the academic performance of secondary school students in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to ascertain the effect of school location in the academic performance of secondary school students in Nigeria. But for the purpose of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following objectives;
i) To investigate the effect of school location on the academic performance of secondary school students
ii) To ascertain the impact of school location on student learning habit
iii) To investigate if there is any relationship between school location and academic performance
iv) To ascertain the role of school environment on the learning culture of secondary school students.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: school location does not have any significant effect on students academic performance
H1: school location have a significant effect on students academic performance
H02: there is no significant relationship between school location and students academic performance in secondary schools
H2: there is a significant relationship between school location and student academic performance in secondary schools.
1.5 Significance of the study
It is hoped that this study will provide information for parents, educators and school administrators to reflect upon various factors that help students in achieving their academic goals. In so doing, they can investigate the possibility of introducing those factors to their school, which may consequently lead to enhancing students’ educational outcomes in school. In addition, the fact that this study is conducted in public schools, it shares quite a lot of similarities with many other counterparts. In this connection, this study provides a valuable reference for other schools to reflect upon the school environment as it affect the academic performance of student in secondary school.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This research work focuses on the effect of school location on academic performance of secondary school students in some selected schools; the researcher encounters some limitation to the scope of the study;
(a)Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
(b)Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
(c)Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
School: A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students (or "pupils") under the direction of teachers
School Environment: A school's physical environment includes the school building and the surrounding.
Academic Achievement: Knowledge attained or skills developed in school subjects by test scores.
School location: school location refers to the community in which the school is located, such as a village, hamlet or rural area.
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