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Background of the Study

Personnel management is one of the most important and challenging functions of any organization because it constitutes the ultimate basis for the creation and utilization of the wealth of a nation. Okafor and Udu (2008) perceive management as a set of activities (planning, decision making, organizing, leading and controlling) directed at an organization’s resources (human, financial and physical) with the aim of achieving organizational goals in an efficient and effective manner. Personnel management is the acquisition of personnel or human resources and co-ordination of their performance within the organization. Riches and Morgan in Uche (2009) explain that human resource management in any organization (education or otherwise) is part of the process of management in general that focuses on the people aspect of management, ensuring that the objective of the organization is met. In order words, personnel management is the effective utilization of people at work to achieve the aims and objectives of the organization.

It is in line with the above assertion that Peretomode (2004) asserted that, personnel management acts as the wheel of progress in the realization of educational goals and objectives. It means that without an effective personnel management, an organization may find it difficult to achieve its set goals and objectives. Nwachukwu (2000), argues that for an organization to attain its desired objectives, it must seek to obtain the co-operation of the personnel working under it. It is clear that personnel management is challenging in every organization but far more challenging in educational institutions. This is because most of the activities in education deal with human beings. The management of educational institutions is faced with not only the complexities of characters and behaviour of the staff, but also with those of the students and parents (Okoro, 2006). This means that the way and manner these chains of human elements are managed could affect the success of educational institutions. Developing therefore, a



functional structure that accommodates the diverse needs of all the groups in the educational system remains a challenge to the management in the education sector.

As is the case in other fields of human endeavours, the educational sector depends on active, efficient, effective and reliable workforce to achieve success. To achieve the desired success, the administrators in the secondary school system are saddled with the responsibility of directing, guiding and co-ordinating staff and students appropriately to achieve excellent performance. Agreeing with this, Peretomode (2004), argues that the job of managing the personnel is one of the crucial functions of educational administrators, because of the existing correlation between effective management and achievement of educational goals and objectives.

Personnel management is also called human resource management. Human resources according to Nwachukwu (2000), consists of all the individuals engaged in any of the organizational activities whose potentials such as talent and abilities are combined and utilized with other resources (financial and physical) to procure goods and services. Human resource management comprises planning, forecasting, organizing, controlling and co-ordinating specific activities like recruitment, selection, training, development, motivation, remuneration, and appraisal and employee relations. These activities need to be handled through a systematic and structural approach to achieve organizational goals, and at the same time ensuring delivery of satisfactory services to the general public and the workers.

The importance of personnel management towards the achievement of educational goals cannot be over-emphasized. According to Amstrong (2005), it helps in identifying current and future human resource requirements to avoid shortages of manpower. Its importance is also seen in the areas of ensuring that justice, equity and fair-play are maintained when dealing with staff in the organization; ensuring that organizational goals are achieved through team work and co-operative efforts; ensuring that employees’ needs are recognized in the organizational goals. Personnel management equally helps in assisting personnel in building up a good career, and in selecting and replacing the staff based on laid down principles to avoid favouritism that may mar the


realization of goals. This goes to say that personnel management covers both organizational growth and provides conducive environment for employee development (Onah, 2008).

An effective and efficient personnel management makes for a good school organization that in itself brings academic success. School organization is regarded as good and productive if it is characterized with good personnel management. Such management is recognized by the competency, honesty, loyalty, inspirational stride and co-operation of the staff. Adiotiome and Ekwevugbe (2005) noted that parents and some stakeholders believe that the quality of instruction in the private secondary schools is higher than that of the public schools because of proper management of personnel in the private schools. Private schools are those schools owned by individuals or organization while public schools are those owned by the government. Gobir (2005) asserts that public secondary schools have qualified and experienced staff but the problem of poor performance should be blamed on poor personnel management. This is in line with the observation of the former president of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo who, while launching the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme in 1999, observed that the falling standard of education can be blamed on poor management.

Poor management of staff in the secondary school system has been identified as the major cause of anti-social behaviour such as the increasing cases of examination malpractice, truancy, bullying, cultism, extortion and other social delinquencies observed among staff and students. In this period of rapid expansion in the number of schools and student’s enrolment, Ogba (2011) asserts that the job of managing the human elements of the organization is usually very tasking. Under such environment, the management of each educational institution requires both knowledge and application of personnel management principles and practices. The key management task becomes how to get staff to comprehensively carry out the skill development needs of students through the use of the academic curricula.

Identification of the skills and education needs of students is as important as assigning specific teaching tasks towards addressing such issues like examination


malpractice and cultism. Although the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, 2004) is very specific about the needed areas of skill development, enhancing effective personnel management strategies that address students’ needs remains a difficult task in most educational institutions. The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) indentified the major skills required in the secondary level of education to include: equipping the students with the skills that will lead them to scientific growth, technological development, social emancipation, artistic mastery that will lead them to self reliance and respect the views of others and acquisition of vocational knowledge. The above skills can only be achieved through effective and efficient personnel management.

Secondary education is a very crucial level of education. It is a bridge between primary and tertiary levels of education. Secondary education level provides the general training necessary for individuals to acquire skills necessary to programme themselves for future career challenges. According to Ogba (2011), the need to bridge educational gaps arising from primary education and preparing students for specialization in different fields of life, place fresh demands on the managers of secondary school level of education. This is because the number and structure of the workforce expand at this level and there exist some degree of academic independence among teachers and other staff. The importance of personnel management in secondary schools has remained a great concern to parents, managers of education, researchers, students and consumers of the products of education because of the quality of administration, management and achievement of set goals that is declining in education and its attendant student delinquent behavior.

It must be noted that the management of schools in Nigeria before the Nigerian civil war was in the hands of the Missions and private individuals or organizations. Omeje (2006) observed that personnel management practices in educational institutions in Nigeria before and after the war were characterized by general poor conditions of service for teachers in the then Mission and privately owned primary and secondary schools. The effect of mismanagement of schools and very poor conditions of service of their personnel by the missions led the Government of East Central State to take over all


schools within the state. There was no doubt therefore that the then East Central State under the leadership Dr. Ukpabi Asika considered evolving better conditions of service for teachers and other staff in the state school system and enacted the 1970 Edict that created the state school Board. The Board was meant for the management of all primary and post-primary education in the then East Central State. The state school board was however mismanaged and so was dissolved in 1973.

In 1974, the government promulgated Edicts number 25 and 26 aimed at improving personnel management services in the state school system. While Edict number 25 established another state school board charged with the responsibility of managing and controlling all government schools and teachers, Edict number 26 was known as Teachers Service Commission. This commission was assigned with such duties as recruitment, appointment, promotion, dismissal, discipline, grant of pensions, gratuities and other allowances meant to improve condition of service of staff. That did not still settle the issue of poor condition of service until 1976 when the area was divided into Imo and Anambra States. In Imo State, the board became known as Imo State Secondary Education Management Board. The Imo State Secondary Education Management Board was established by Edict number 20 of 1976 and was given the responsibility of recruiting, developing, appraisal and welfare of teachers in the secondary school system.

In the then Anambra State, the Teachers Service Commission and the State School Board were merged under the name State Schools Services Commission in 1978. According to Ukeje, Akabugu and Ndu (1992) the functions of the two bodies were merged and taken over by the State Schools Services Commission. On 27th August 1991, Abia State was carved out from Imo State while Enugu State was carved out from Anambra State. In Abia State the board is known as Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB). This board was established by Edict Number 13 of 1995 and was headed by a Chief Administrative Officer known as an Executive Secretary. Enugu State abolished the State Schools Services Commission (SSSC) and established her own board known as Post Primary Schools Management Board (PPSMB) through Edict Number 10


of 1996. Ebonyi State was carved out from Abia and Enugu States in 1997. She enacted Edict Number 15 to establish her Post Primary Schools Management Board in 1998.

It is important to note that all the aforementioned Edicts in the 5 States (Anambra, Imo, Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi States) of the South East Nigeria were promulgated to ensure effective and efficient management of all the secondary schools in the region as well as their human or personnel resources. All the Edicts, among other things, were to see to the proper management of all personnel (teaching and non-teaching staff) of the boards. The functions of the boards in the area of personnel management as outlined in all the Edicts include appointments, promotion, posting, transfer and discipline of all cadres of school teachers as well as other staff of the board. The Boards were also empowered to establish conditions of service for its entire staff, subject to the approval of the Commissioners for Education. It has also the duty to pay all its staff personal emoluments and to ensure that staff development matters, including approval of study leave with pay and special leaves like maternity and sick leaves, are taken care of.

It is necessary at this stage to point out that the Boards in charge of the management of secondary schools in the 5 Eastern States of the Federation answer different names and each is being guided by an Edict except Abia State. The Abia State Secondary Education Management Board was established by Acts 1992, No 6 and Amended Acts 15 of 2004. This amendment necessitated the preparation of a manual known as Personnel Management Manual aimed at improving the management of all Cadres of personnel in the secondary school system of Abia State. Mkpa (2011) maintained that one of the functions of the board is to undertake periodic review of the terms and conditions of service of personnel in public secondary schools in the State. The goal of the review is to bring terms and conditions of service in tandem with Abia State Public Service and those of sister institutions. This is expected to ensure that the secondary education attracts and retains quality teachers and professionals.

According to the Abia State Secondary Education Management Board Reversed Personnel management Manual (2010), Personnel management functions of the Secondary Education Management Boards in the South Eastern States of Nigeria involve


recruitment of staff, through proper advertisement that will not be less than six weeks and selection of qualified candidates for employment, orientation of newly employed staff by way of in-service training, provision of welfare schemes, appraisal, promotion and discipline of staff. When recruitment has been effected, the next function is orientation. Orientation is designed to help newly employed staff become familiar with the environment. Oboegbulem (2004) stated that orientation helps new staff have good impression on the work environment, the nature of the community in which they will work, and the type of colleagues they are going to work with.

In-service training is a personnel management function which is essential for professional growth and to keep abreast with changes in teaching techniques and methods which are not static. Onu (2012) described in-service training as a consciously designed programme to improve the professional growth of employees for the achievement of organizational goals. Welfare of staff is also an important personnel management function. It deals with conditions of service and provision of social amenities at work place. Agu (2009) maintained that welfare of staff include such issues like adequate and prompt payment of salaries and allowances, grant of study leave, grant of maternity leave and sick leave, among others. Appraisal of staff is also a personnel management function. Appraisal means the assessment of the worth or value of an undertaking. It is judgment of value performance. Adeyemi (2009) viewed performance appraisal as a

systematic and formal assessment of both employers and employees, made in a prescribed and uniform manner at a specified time to identify both individual and group weaknesses and strengths so that weaknesses can be converted into strength. It is the assessment of individual task performance based on some set standards.

Promotion is another important aspect of personnel management; it elevates staff to the next level. According to Adeyemi, promotion is the elevation of someone’s status as a result of having satisfied the required conditions. Waziri (2014) perceives staff promotion as the positive progression of staff in rank or position in recognition of their contributions towards the growth of their institution or establishment. When staff get promoted, they are motivated to work harder for the advancement of their establishments.


Each of the five states in South Eastern Nigeria has Secondary Education Management Boards. In Abia, Ebonyi and Imo states the Boards are called the Secondary Education Management Boards. In Anambra and Enugu states, however, they are called the Post Primary Schools Management Boards. These Boards perform similar functions. The major difference is that only Abia State has a Manual guiding the staff of the Board in personnel management functions. This is why the researcher deemed it necessary to appraise the personnel management functions of the Abia State Secondary Education Management Board.

In Abia State, in order to ensure that the Secondary Education Management Board discharges its personsnel functions effectively, the Ministry of Education came-up with a manual titled “Personnel Management Manual. The man ual among other things stated that all vacancies for academic and administrative staff must be advertised for a period of six weeks before interview and that interview for the various posts should be held at the Board’s headquarters. The manual states that recruitment of teachers shall be based on professional qualifications. It states that postings and transfers of teachers shall be based on felt need.

The manual states that the Board shall encourage in-service training through seminars and workshops as well as approving in-service training in school administration for school principals. The manual states that the Board shall approve in-service training for its staff who intend to proceed for study leave. In this respect, approval shall be given to teachers who wish to attend in-service sandwich programmes. On staff welfare services, the manual stipulates that staff shall be paid their monthly salaries as at and when due. It states that staff of the Board shall be considered in the state’s low income earners’ housing scheme and that medical and health insurance schemes shall be provided for all staff of the Board when this is possible. On staff discipline, the manual, amongst other things, states that the Board shall have an effective disciplinary committee and that those who go against the professional code of conduct shall be disciplined. The manual states that all staff of the Board should be appraised at least every three years and that


appraisal criteria should be made known to all staff. It states that bio-data of staff should be used during appraisal.

It is expected that the Secondary Education Management Board will be able to manage its personnel effectively towards the achievement of the set goals of the Board. However, Ogbonnaya (2009) lamented about the influence of politics in the appointment of teaching staff in secondary schools. Ibeagi (1997) observed that teachers complain of postings to rural areas of Abia State. She also pointed out that many teachers complain about lack of criteria in staff promotion. The personnel management problems of the Abia State Secondary Education Management Board have also been traced to inadequate funds to pay staff salaries as well as the delay in the release of funds to prepare budget estimates. Ogbonnaya, (2005) severally observed that funds are not provided to procure and maintain equipment and stationeries. It has been noted by Okoroafor (2013) that the Abia State Secondary Education Management Board does not pay proper attention to the welfare of both serving and retired staff. Serious concerns have bben expressed by both teaching and non-teaching staff in the secondary school system in the south east Nigeria over the general performance of the secondary education management boards in the south east. Such concerns show that salaries and allowances are delayed, there are lacks of instructional materials and equipments, government seem not to be interested in the welfare staff. The people are also concerned that vacancies are not advertised before interviews are conducted and that the board does not sponsor her staff to conferences in their areas of specialization. These events suggest poor state of affairs as staff always complains of their poor working conditions which often result in strike actions by staff from time to time.

As a result of these issues, it has become necessary to ascertain the extent to which the Secondary Education Management Boards adhere to the Personnel Management Manual provided for her operations. Therefore this study aims at appraising the personnel management practices of the secondary education management boards in the south east Nigeria using Abia state Secondary Education Management Board as a case study.


Statement of the Problem

The importance of personnel management cannot be over-emphasized. First of all, it is through it that personnel are recruited, selected, trained and developed for the achievement of the objectives of an organization. Secondly, without an efficient personnel management, staff welfare, appraisal and promotion will be neglected. The implication of the above is that the Abia State Secondary Education Management Boards in the south east Nigeria are expected to ensure efficient and effective personnel management practices in order to achieve their set goals and objectives.

Serious concerns are being expressed by teaching and non-teaching personnel in the south east of Nigeria secondary school system over the performance of the Secondary Education Management Board. Salaries are delayed. There are lack of basic instructional materials and equipment. The government appears not to be interested in the welfare of teachers’. In most cases, vacancies are not advertised by the board before interviews are conducted. Also the board does not sponsor her staff to conferences in their areas of specialization. All these may be due to ineffective personnel management practices. The major problem of this study is that while other states secondary education or post primary schools management boards depend only on the provisions of the laws establishing them, in the management of personnel only Abia State has a Personnel Management Manual. Despite the fact that there is a manual to guide the board in personnel management functions, both teaching and non-teaching staff are still complaining like their counterpart in other states and the extents to which staff of the Board comply with the provisions is not known and have not been empirically investigated to the researchers’ knowledge.

The problem of this study therefore is to empirically investigate the extent to which the personnel management practices of the Secondary Education Management Boards in the South East are in line with laid down guidelines of the Board.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study was to appraise personnel management practices of

Abia State Secondary Education Management Board. Specially, the study sought to:


1.      Determine the extent to which the Board complies with the Personnel Management manual’s provisions on staff recruitment and posting.

2.      Find out the extent to which the Board complies with the Personnel Management Manual’s provision on staff development programme.

3.      Ascertain the extent to which the Board complies with the personnel management manual’s provisions on staff welfare services.


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