The Causes And Effects Of Falling Standard Of Education Among Secondary School Students

The Causes And Effects Of Falling Standard Of Education Among Secondary School Students

This chapter consists of the literature review and theoretical frame work. It centered on different writers and their view regarding the causes and effects of fallen standard of education and the way forward. The theoretical review on the other hand, examines the Structural Functionalism Perspective to explain the problem of the study.

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The fallen standard of education is the decline or reduction in the quality of education in any society when compared with the former status.

There are a number of literatures written on this issue regarding the fallen standard of education and views are expressed with regard to the causes and way out of this menace. These views are given by different authors taken from books, journals, dailies and other means available.

2.2   The Extent of Fallen Standard of Education in    Nigeria

The United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) reported that, there are at present about 170 million young adults in developing Countries who started school but could not attain higher institutions of learning. The above statistics did not include those who were unable to acquire up to the standard required by higher institutions of learning due to numerous factors such as Government callousness to educational sector and also the inability of parents to sponsor their children which is often as a result of their low economic status. (Moriki, 2000 in Baba, 2008).

In primary and post primary schools it is not uncommon to find students who cannot write their names properly, read fluently  or even recite the multiplication table from “2 x 1 to 12 x 12” correctly, while others can hardly distinguish the Unit of Length and that of Mass. Others cannot even sketch the Map of the Country (Nigeria). There are many SS III students in Nigeria who could not express themselves in simple English (Abba, 2000). However, Offorma (1995) added that, the ethical challenges become strongest for evaluators of educational progress of students as all sectors of the Nigerian society hold responsibility for examination malpractices. The situation is such that most candidates in both internal and external examinations believe that it is very, very difficult to pass without cheating.

Kolo, (2005) is of the view that examination bodies simply condone fraud and there is a need to re-screen results obtained from them by conducting screening tests to be sure. In other words, results from GCE, WAEC, JAMB, and NECO put together do not have the good level of credibility and technical confidence that can be trusted for admitting students into higher institutions. And the Universities hinge their argument on the poor academic performance of students (even though they themselves cannot be absolved of the fallen standard of education which some experts choose to rhetoricize).


2.3   Causes of Fallen Standard of Education in Nigeria

2.3.1 The Acute Shortage of Qualified Teachers

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The Federal Government reported that, the fallen standard of education among primary and secondary school students is attributed to unqualified teachers. About 23 percent of over 400,000 teachers employed in the nation primary schools do not possess the teachers Grade Two Certificate, even when the National Certificate of Education (NCE) is the minimum educational requirement one should posses to teach in the nation’s primary schools (Ogbeifum and Olisa, 2001).

However, Dike (2001) added that half-baked teachers employed to teach in the nation schools will significantly produce half-baked secondary school leavers. This is more pathetic with the private primary and secondary schools where most of the teachers do not have teachers training background let alone the N.C.E. They are mostly secondary school leavers who are yet to pass their minimum requirement in their senior Secondary School Certificate Examination. According to Rev. F. Haverty (2000) in Awu (2005), “Education has been in free fall since the mid-seventies, accelerated in pace as it dropped from the heights”. This began with the wolfish (rushed) takeover of schools in April 1972. 1975 saw the introduction of  U.P.E, a sudden unprepared and un-provided for whimsical (odd) decree by an overzealous Head of State granted, it was well intention to shore up the busting bank were immediately embarked on makeshift buildings, half baked teachers, inadequate resources, crash courses on everything. Newly created posts were multiplied at the top and occupied by inexperienced personnel whose only aim seemed to be fixed on their own personal stamp and go away with the large slice of the cake. This highly contributed to the fallen standard of education.

Prof. Lamido (2003) observed that, the problem of education started immediately after the attainment of independence, the legacy of management of the western handed over to the Nigerian educated elite. At initial state things went on smoothly as there was steady growth of education particularly due to increase in demand for manpower. More primary and secondary schools were established with good facilities and well trained qualified teachers. There was also adequate teachers’ welfare and salaries were paid in good time. There was commitment on the side of teachers coupled up with good efficient supervisory roles by native authorities. In 1970’s; the Federal government introduced the universal primary education (U P E). During the period, there was massive building and expanding of primary schools and there was tremendous increase enrolment of pupils in primary schools which consequently increased the number of students. These later over stretched the facilities available in primary and secondary schools, which has an adverse effect on the performance of students both in primary and secondary schools.

Dan (2005), in Baba (2008) argued that, what happened over the years in the Secondary Level was a situation where graduates who because they had been unemployed for a period, decided as a last resort to take up teaching. “Teaching became garbage-in, garbage-out” because you cannot give what you do not have. Afe, (2006) observed that suddenly things nose-dived; standard began to fall, especially with the advent of military in Civil Governance of the Country. The system was militarized; the schools were deprived of adequate funding, old infrastructure’s were not replaced or repaired, teachers who had previously been well remunerated suddenly became over-worked and under-paid.

The fact still remains that principals of secondary schools are also part of the causes of declining standard of education. This is as a result of the frequent cases of examination malpractice in our secondary schools. If all principals and teachers, as well as parents played their role in the up-bringing of the children, non-conformist attitudes among students would be greatly minimized (Ezekwesili, 2006).



2.3.2 Poor Budgetary Allocation to Education Sector in Nigeria

Over the past four decades, various Nigerian Governments have increased University subvention at the expense of investments in primary and secondary education (Saint and Strassner, 2004). Christopher, (2002) argued that, government must be blamed for the fallen standard of education, for not creating an enabling academic environment through prioritization of  funds and the creation of necessary employment to justify the establishment of so many secondary schools as well as universities. The teacher as well as the lecturer also must take the responsibility for deciding to play financial politics instead of proudly teaching the students. He further observed that students share part of the responsibility because they worked so hard to purchase certificates in cash or kind without mastering what it takes to be worthy of  degree or O’level certificate’s. He maintained that, parents fail to monitor the progress of their children against morally, socially, academically accepted standards. According to him, all must share the blame for the state of the nation’s educational system.

Dike (2001) observed that the Federal Government Budgetary Allocation to education stood at 7.2% in 1995, 12.33% in 1996, 17.59% in 1997, 10.27% in 1998, and 11.12% in 1999. While in 2000 and 2001 were allocated 8.36% and 7.00% respectively and which is like to continuously decline over the years. Taking a comparative analysis of some Countries in Africa, Nigeria still remain lower in the allocation of subvention to education. Nigeria stood at 0.76% compared to Angola with 4.9%, Cote d’ ivoire 5%, Ghana 4.4%, Kenya 6.5%, Malawi 5.4%, Mozambique 4.1%, South Africa 7.6%, Tanzania 3.4% and Uganda 2.6%. It is to this fact that the allocation of 186 billion naira for the educational sector in the purposed budget for 2007 did not go down well with the stake holders; they out-rightly said the amount was not enough for the sector (Dike, 2007 as cited in Baba, 2008).


2.3.3        Poor Monitoring System.

Most often than not, the compromisation of standard is usually a product of silence in the monitoring of responsibilities of teachers (Made, 2000). However, Ezekwesili (2006) added that retired principals of secondary schools would be used for the quick inspectorate work, adding that her investigation showed that the Federal Inspectorate Service of the Ministry of Education charged with the duty of quality assurance in secondary schools reached only 394 out of about 11,000 in the Federation. According to her, the quality audit became more imperative because even providing incentives for teachers, as currently demanded might not automatically result in a better quality teaching in secondary schools. There is the need to keep the teachers on check to ensure quality delivery in the primary and post primary school education.

Mohammed (2000) in Baba (2008) argued that, the level of commitment on the part of those implementing educational policies at both the Federal and State Government level is much to be desired. It is true that most of the funds allocated to education by the two tiers is shamelessly stolen, misapplied or mismanaged through frivolous contracts. But most importantly, do officers entrusted with the responsibility of improving the quality of education in Nigeria really have anything to lose considering the fact that hardly have any blood relation attending a government day secondary school or boarding schools or a Local Education Authority (L.E.A) primary schools.

However, Edukugho (2007) added that the latest ranking of corrupt institutions in Nigeria has placed the Ministry of Education (Higher Institutions and Examination Bodies) in the fourth position, according to the 2007 Nigerian Corruption Index (NCI), put together by Independent Advocacy Project and Anti-Corruption group. About 74% of the respondents polled in the survey affirmed that the Ministry of Education was highly corrupt as verified in conduct of functions and activities involving secondary schools, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, Teachers Training Institutes, NECO, WAEC, JAMB, etc. the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) particularly scored 47% in corruption ranking 2007.

According to Bogoro, (2003) in Awu (2005), the standard in our secondary schools are presently low and there is no denying it. He said that the manifestation of the very poor-standard in our post primary schools today are best captured by the ever declining performance of students in both WAEC and NECO examinations. To him, another major parameter of confirming the embarrassing decline in the standard of education at secondary school level is the performance of these students when they are admitted into tertiary institution. It must be quickly observed that, when ever candidates makes the minimum requirement of five (5) credits for admission into the universities, the failure rate does not correlate with the number and quality of the ordinary level credits secured by the candidates in WAEC and NECO in the first place. He observed that, the problem have been attributed largely to the rampant and unchecked examination malpractice’s which leads to students scoring fantastic result which unfortunately they are unable to defend in tertiary institutions. In any case, the ever-declining standard and quality of graduates in Nigeria is definite of fallen standard at all levels.

Bogoro (2005), further contended that, to properly comprehend the causes of these problems, we must however, look beyond the students. If for example, standards have fallen for between 10-20, the implication is that understand primary school pupils have proceed to secondary school and graduated as substandard students into the university and so the negative impact of poor students climbs up to the level of even professor . This is the bitter truth about the profile of fallen standard of education in Nigeria.

2.3.4 Other Causes of Fallen Standard of Education in Nigeria

It is now obvious that class instruction is reduced to mere attendance by the teachers, possibly in order to secure his or her monthly salary. The resulting effect of the instruction is the massed learning in the schools in pretence that the teacher completes the stipulated syllabus (Attah and Timku, 2002).

However, Ezekwesili (2006) added that the average Nigerian child has the potentials to excel academically but that the environment in which the educational system operated created a hitch for the child’s academic achievement. Durosaro (1995) further stated in his research that 95% of the students agreed that teachers are wicked and 85% hold that teachers are not patient to listen to them when they come to the teachers with their academic problems. Furthermore, Bature (2006) maintained that the problem is that the right candidates for external examinations are not allowed to write but rather unprepared students are promoted to examination class without being adequately prepared.

Hassana, (2006) added that no matter how good a curriculum may be, if the delivery of the content is not properly handled, learning may not take place, thus, giving rise to failure to attain expected standard. Teachers are catalysts in establishing educational enterprise and any deficiency in their ability to deliver is bound to have a devastating effect on the standard of education.

2.4   The Effects of Fallen Standard of Education in Nigeria

In recent times some professionals have observed that declining standard of education could stampede economic and social vibrancy. Where a doctor is groomed under such circumstances, it implies that people would be killed of their illnesses rather than being cured, it also implies that our infrastructures would be experiencing lack of durability since those involved in the structural planning and development are half-baked (Rousseau, 1994).

Bollang (2002) observed that fallen standard of education promote high rate of crime. This is basically a fact that those who are qualified for most of the existing private and state owned organizations are on the basis of merit. It is on this basis that only few qualified employees are absorbed thereby leaving teaming of unqualified youths who are unemployed to later become a threat to the public as armed robbers, 419, drunks and so on.

However, with everybody chasing the shadows of money and with the pittance (small) sum invested yearly on education how could the system produce the critical and creative minds Nigeria need to guide and manage democratic system and survive as a viable nation? If the society continues to neglect her schools and could not educate her citizens properly, consequently the political landscape would be littered with illiterate politicians and the society would be incapable of gathering and maintaining a reasonable data-base for national planning and other development programmes (Rouseau, 1994).

2.5   Opinions on How to Raise the Fallen Standard of Education in Nigeria

The most strategic way forward is to begin to address the problem of quality in our educational system today which is to strengthen the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Teachers Registration Council (TRC) and the National Teachers Institute (NTI). Each of these parastatals of the ministry of education must work out their respective agenda for teachers’ education and teachers’ professionalism (Kolo, 2006).

Majeed, (1999) portrayed that the lack of confidence by students during examination either due to inadequate preparation as a result of not attending lessons promptly, non-coverage of syllabus by teachers or general feeling of inadequacy by students as they face examinations, are factors that leads to poor performance of students and the causes can be attributed by the negative tendencies by candidates and the low standard of education in our country today.

However, Mudashir (2006) is of the opinion that the only way to build capacity in educational sector is to ensure that those who are called teachers have something to offer. “That is why we need good teachers who understand their subjects and who are abreast of development in the sector.” This re-training exercise is a first step towards producing such good teachers that will address the declining academic standard, low admission capacity, outmoded curriculum and archaic methods of instructions. It is in view of this that the Federal Government employed about 40,000 N.C.E teachers to rural areas in the various states of the Federation. Those with the former requirement of Grade II teachers Certificate are currently issued options to upgrade their certificate to the N.C.E level or be faced away (Ezekwesili, 2006).

Similarly, F.M.E (Federal Ministry of Education) (2007) is of the opinion that proper implementation of the following measures will go a long way to address the issue of declining standards of education. These measures are as follows:

  1. Operation Reach All Secondary Schools (GRASS)
  2. Read to be Educated, Advance and Develop (READ) Campaign,

iii.    TAP (Tracking Assets for Progress)

  1. Universal Basic Education (U.B.E) Curriculum Reform.
  2. Teacher Quality Development and Teacher Celebration
  3. Fight Against Cultism and Examination Malpractice

However, if the above opinions are given due consideration, it will go a long way in addressing the fallen standard of education in Nigeria, thereby enhancing socio-economic development of the citizens of Nigeria.

  • Theoretical Framework
  • The Structural Functionalism Perspective

This section examines the Structural Functionalism Theory in the explanation of the problem of study. This perspective assumed that society is a self contained system composed of mutually inter-connected and interdependent parts which collectively functions in other to ensure the equilibrium of the whole society which is linked to an organism like the human parts of the body which functions for the survival of the whole, though often understood in relation to the function they perform in maintaining the society.

Qualitative education can be looked at as a part of the society that connects with other parts for the function of the whole. For example, (Education) is interconnected with the social, political, health, economic and cultural sector of the society. The educational sector could be seen as a base and provider of human wants which functions for the survival of the society. A fault in flow of good quality of education would bring about a corresponding fault in the general system of the society. Therefore, a consensus on proper boosting of the quality of education would enhance the quality of the people in every aspect of their lives. Functionalism is based on the assumption that fundamental needs are to be met such as food, shelter, clothing, education, protection and employment if man is to survive. These needs are otherwise called functional prerequisites of the society.

In view of this assumption, we must value the multiple functions of qualitative education in our society if we are to successfully raise the fallen standard of education. The educational sectors are not just sources to be exploited but a speed track for the achievement of socio-economic development. The functionalist analysis has helped us to examine and focus on how social systems are maintained with a special point at good educational attainment. Thus, functionalists have concentrated on functions rather than dysfunctions which have resulted in many institutions being seen as beneficiary and useful to the society. In view of this, the functionalist perspective has been adopted for this study.

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