1.1 Background to the Study
In many nations of the world, the pride of institutions of learning depends on the quantity as well as more critically on the nature of the product at all levels. Nonetheless, policy makers in some industrializing nations are to focus on the quality of education performance as a prompt need. Specifically, cognizance is being taken of the contention that the arrangement of student and teacher of high quality should be given main concern and that eventually, the success of any educational system relies generally upon the quality of the teacher (Dave, 2008).
The vast majority of the governments of the world spend a lot of their financial plan on resource inputs in the education sector. They make decisions about giving resource inputs to improve student academic performance. Additionally, not every one of these decisions are anything but difficult to take, particularly in the third world nations where mismanagement makes the issue more adverse. Kemerer (2009) commented that assets are scant, particularly in low-income nations; policy makers cannot manage errors in the choice of allocations. To reduce the degree for mistakes, the genuine picture of the determinants of education outcome is alluring. Resource inputs have an imperative part in the education cycle. Student performance anytime is a combined effort of the current and the earlier resource input, for example, family, companions' impact and institutional resource inputs. Nonetheless, every one of these variables are outside the immediate control of an educationist. Hence, an educationist straightforwardly manages and controls the school resource asset inputs.
The badly funding of education in most third world nations does not give room to the educational system to have reasonable class sizes, satisfactory student classroom space and suitable class usage rates. In spite of the fact that these elements decide the efficiency and effectiveness of teachers and students’ academic performance, governments do not show sufficient concern about the weakening in the standard of education in the nations (Flanders, 2007).
Many things affect the quality of education. Such things as teacher educational quality, the pupil intellectual quotient, pupil health condition, quality teaching in the school, location of school, social and environmental factors, curriculum, the type of instruction i.e. teacher-centered (e.g. pupils listen, answer questions, practice, etc.) or pupil-centered, (e.g. Problem solving, creative projects, etc.) as well as students-teacher ratio among other things (Withal, 2009). Every formal education setting involves students-teacher relationship. The nomenclature of the teacher depends on the model of interaction. According to Davis (2002), teacher can be described as a tutor if he gives private lessons to one student or a small group and he is directly paid by them. He is called a director (rector) if he gives instruction to the learners on how to go about the learning process. He is described as a monitor if he observes how the student is learning, and he is called a supervisor if he oversees the students’ learning activity. The nature of the subject also has a part to play in determining the effect of the teacher- student ratio. If the subject is basically theoretical; or basically practical or both; the ratio will not be the same in all the cases.
Over the years, perennial problem of classroom congestion, poverty level and low classroom utilization rates in Nigeria worsen the situation of education. Education in the country is poorly funded, hence most of the public schools experience classroom congestion, low students-classroom-space and low classroom utilization rates; hence these situations may likely affect students’ academic performance adversely. The large number of students passing through the system in Nigeria is a serious problem, particularly with the state government’s inability to provide adequate furnished equipment. For instance, it was recorded that 1,644,110 candidates sat for the 2013 Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Examination and of which only 10 candidates scored 300 marks and above and 127,017 scored less than 159 marks (JAMB, 2013). This infers that the state of education in Nigeria is alarming which require urgent attention of all the stakeholders in the educational sector in order to avert the inconsistency. The National Policy on Education prescribed a limit of 30 students in a class, yet in many schools in the nation, normal class size surpasses 50. The situation has negative effect on the normal classroom space per student. However, these students need to learn in comfort. In a large portion of the government funded schools in the nation, the study classroom utilization rate is unendingly high; this is on the grounds that the greater part of the schools have surpassed the numbers of students they can cater for. The couple of schools that have enough school personnel, on occasion have low classroom use rates, maybe as a result of helpless management. This situation does not support academic learning (Dave, 2008). Students’ achievement in any teaching and learning situation is significant. Unfortunately, students’ performance in secondary schools in Nigeria has not been extremely promising as reliably featured by the moderators and Chief Examiners reports and WAEC and NECO results for past decade.
Academic achievement is one of the main objectives and large test for an educational system. As per Cuban (2004), class-size and student-teacher ratio greatly affects the nature of education and academic performance of students. It is certain that student-teacher ratio and per-student outgoings are a portion of the significant resource inputs for any academic establishment. Lesser the ratio of student and teacher in the class better is the likelihood of improving the quality of education and achieving the academic objectives of institutions. Quality of education is pivotal for vital planning of academic goals and objectives and tag alongside the pace of developed world. In any case, the issue in question is whether student-teacher ratio has any effects for the quality of education. In light of the premises clearly stated, this study is aimed at examining the effect of students-teacher ratio on students’ academic performance with special reference to Secondary School students in Uyo metropolis of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
As school population increases class sizes also increase, the performances of students then become an issue. Class size has become a wonder frequently referenced in the educational literature as an impact on students' attitudes and achievement, on organization, quality and school budgets. Class size is just about an administrative choice over which teachers have next to zero control. Most researchers start from the assumption that size of the class would demonstrate a critical determinant of the level of achievement of students. Truth be told, except for a couple, numerous studies have shown that in a normal circumstance, class size itself has all the earmarks of being a significant factor. The principal issue that calls for immediate explanation is what number of students ought to constitute a large group and what should be depicted as a small group? In portraying a small group, the researcher saw that they have not many instructors with little pools of talent; offer limited scope of subjects and distinctively thinking that it is difficult to justify costly investment on libraries… their student's need rivalry and competition with significantly few peers as they get stuck with same teacher for the whole school career.
Large class size then again is regularly indifferent, having more curricula with teachers being given more extensive support, while students may surfer discipline issues as instructors cannot become more acquainted with their students without any problem. They think that it is simple to stream students according to capacity while commitment to work may stand a trial of time. In terms of numerical strength, the National Policy on Education (1977 modified in 1981) specified 20 in pre-primary, 30 in primary and limit of 40 in secondary schools. These mandates seem unreasonable in metropolitan zones because of high population. Hence, thinking about the importance of the issue, this study investigates the effect of students-teacher ratio on students’ academic performance with special reference to Secondary School students in Uyo metropolis of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria.
1.3 Research Objectives
The main objective of this study is to examine the effect of students-teacher ratio on students’ academic performance with special reference to Secondary School students in Uyo metropolis of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. However, the specific objectives are:
i) To investigate student enrolment and numbers of teachers for calculating student teacher ratios and class sizes.
ii) To determine the current teacher-student ratio in public Secondary School students in Uyo metropolis
iii) To assess the effect of student-teacher ratio in secondary school students’ performance in Secondary School students in Uyo metropolis
iv) To outline some guiding principles towards optimal learning outcome in public Secondary School students in Uyo metropolis of Akwa Ibom State.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions shall be provided answers to:
i) What is the student enrolment and numbers of teachers for calculating student teacher ratios and class sizes?
ii) What is the current teacher-student ratio in public Secondary School students in Uyo metropolis?
iii) Is there any effect of student-teacher ratio in secondary school students’ performance in Secondary School students in Uyo metropolis?
iv) What are some guiding principles towards optimal learning outcome in public Secondary School students in Uyo metropolis of Akwa Ibom State?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
i) There is no significant differences between populated classes and students’ poor academic performance.
ii) There is a significant relationship between current teacher-student ratio and required or stipulated teacher-student ratio.
iii) There is no significant differences between teacher-student ratio and student academic performance.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Since the central focus of this study is to examine the effect of students-teacher ratio on students’ academic performance with special reference to Secondary School students in Uyo metropolis of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. It will be of great benefit to teachers, students, government and all other stakeholders in education.
It was assumed that grasping the impact of the identified variables on the students’ academic achievement could lead to a deeper insight into how such variables can be explored to improve the academic achievement in schools. However, the findings of the study would be useful to teachers as they work toward providing learning experiences that are motivating to students. The findings would be of immense value to the schools as they aim at giving better and sound education to the students. It is believed that the findings of this study and recommendations would bring to the fore the need for government to invest more on education. More so, this study would be of immense benefit to the future researchers who intend to work in the area of students-teacher ratio and academic performance.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study covers the effect of students-teacher ratio on students’ academic performance of both junior and senior secondary schools in in Uyo metropolis of Akwa Ibom State.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
This study is subjected to limitation and challenges that accompany any research work that make use of questionnaire like; non- compliance of some respondents and inadequate information regarding the problem under investigation. Finally, financial and time constraints were also some of the challenges that pose a lot of limitations on the scope of this study.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Student-Teacher Ratio: This refers to the number of students enrolled per teacher in an institution of learning. It is obtained by dividing total number of student enrolment by the number of teachers available.
Student Academic Performance: This can be described as the display of knowledge and skills attained by the students as shown by scores or grade gotten at the end of the degree course.
Teaching: This is an act of imparting knowledge /skill to a person/learner about a subject.
Learning: This is a relatively permanent change in behaviour as a result of past experiences. It could also be described as an act of acquiring knowledge or skills. It is synonymously called ‘inclination’.
Teacher: This is the person that impact knowledge to a learner for the purpose of skills acquisition.
Schools: These are institutions for educating children /learners or giving instruction. It can also be described as a place where formal education is being given to the learner.