1.1 Background of the Study
Education is a process where knowledge, abilities and set of values are passed or imparted from a single person to another. In the formal setting, where learning is carried out in schools, the success of education relies on the number of factors amongst which classroom environment is. According to Moyles (1980), one aspect that impacts classroom environment is class size. Class size describes the number of students in any given class. The influence of class size on student outcomes is an aspect of the learning environment which was a subject of much argument amongst parents, politicians, teachers, teacher unions and educationists in many nations.
In many nations of the world, the pride of institutions of learning depends not just on the quantity however more significantly on the high quality of the product at all levels. Nevertheless, policy makers in some developing nations are to target the high quality of education performance as an instant concern. Particularly, cognizance is being taken of the debate that the provision of student and teacher of top-quality ought to be given top priority and that ultimately, the success of any educational system depends mostly on the high quality of the teacher (Dave, 2008).
Most of the governments of the world invest a considerable amount of their budget on resource inputs in the education sector. They make decisions regarding providing resource inputs to improve student achievement and performance. Furthermore, not all these decisions are very easy to take, particularly in the third world nations where mismanagement makes the problem more adverse. Kemerer (2009) mentioned that resources are limited, particularly in low-income countries; policy makers cannot afford errors in the choice of allocations. To reduce the range for mistakes, the true picture of the determinants of education outcome is desirable. Resource inputs have an important role in the education process. Student achievement at any point is a cumulative function of the present and the previous resource inputs such as family, peers' effect and institutional resource inputs. Nevertheless, all these elements are outside the direct control of an educationist. For that reason, an educationist directly handles and controls the school specific resource inputs.
The inadequate funding of education in many third world nations does not allow the school system to have manageable class sizes, sufficient student classroom space and suitable class utilization rates. Despite that these factors determine the efficiency of teachers and students' academic performance, governments do not show adequate concern regarding the deterioration in the standard of education in the nations (Flanders, 2007).
Many things impact the quality of education. Such things as teacher educational quality, the student intellectual quotient, student health condition, quality teaching in the school, location of school, social and environmental factors, curriculum, the kind of instruction i.e., teacher-centered (e.g., students listen, answer questions, practice, and so on.) or pupil-centered, (e.g., Problem solving, creative projects, and so on.) in addition to students-teacher ratio among other things (Withal, 2009). Every formal education setting includes students-teacher relationship. The classification of the teacher relies on the model of interaction. According to Davis (2002), teacher can be referred to as a tutor if he offers 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 referred to as a monitor if he observes how the student is learning, and he is called a supervisor if he supervises the students' learning activity. The nature of the subject likewise has a component to play in identifying the impact of the teacher- trainee proportion. If the topic is essentially theoretical; or essentially useful or both; the ratio will not be the same in all the cases.
Academic achievement is just one of the top objectives and huge challenge for an educational system. According to Cuban (2004), class-size and student-teacher ratio has a great effect on the quality of education and academic success of students. There is no question that student-teacher ratio and per-student outgoings are some of the essential resource inputs for any academic institution. Lesser the ratio of student and teacher in the class better is the possibility of improving the high quality of education and accomplishing the academic objectives of institutions. Quality of education is really essential for strategic planning of academic goals and tag along with the pace of developed world. Nevertheless, the issue at stake is whether student-teacher ratio has any implication for the quality of education. Based on the foregoing, this study is aimed at examining the effect of low teacher-student ratio in teaching basic science in junior secondary school in Atisai communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The relevance of quality and sound education to the development and growth of any community cannot be over-stressed. One might faultlessly conclude that the gap between the developed and under-developed nations is in the difference in the high quality of education available in them. Nwokocha & Amadike, (2005) believed that academic performance of students is the benchmark for testing educational quality of a country. For that reason, there is a need to analyze the factors that impact academic performance of students. Amongst some to the factors of academic efficiency according to different researchers consist of teaching techniques (Ahmed & Abimbola, 2011; Kareem, 2003; Umar, 2011), use of instructional materials (Adalikwu and Iorkpilgh, 2012), socio-economic status, family support, intellectual ability of student, personality of student, confidence, and previous instructional quality have been discovered to also affect students' performance (Starr 2002) to mention just a few. Despite all the various study on the factors of academic performance little or no work has been done on the influence of teacher-student ratio on the learning and teaching of especially basic science subject. Thus, this study investigates the effect of low teacher-student ratio in teaching basic science in junior secondary school in Atisai communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main aim of this study was to examine the effect of low teacher-student ratio in Atisai communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Nigeria, in order to come up with ways and means of improving teaching and learning of teaching basic science in junior secondary school in the communities. The specific objectives however, are:
i) To determine the proportion of students in an average class in Public Secondary Schools in Atisai communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
ii) To establish the correlation between student teacher ratio and class size, and academic achievement of students.
iii) To investigate the influence of student-teacher ratio of secondary school students’ performance in Basic Science in Atisai communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
1.4 Research Questions
This study will provide answers to the following questions:
i) What is the proportion of students in an average class in Public Secondary Schools in Atisai communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State?
ii) Is there a correlation between student teacher ratio and class size, and academic achievement of students?
iii) What is the influence of student-teacher ratio of secondary school students’ performance in Basic Science in Atisai communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
the following hypotheses were postulated for the purpose of this study:
i) There is a significant difference in the proportion of students in an average class in Public Secondary Schools in Atisai communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State
ii) There is a significant correlation between student teacher ratio and class size, and academic achievement of students
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study could be useful to policy makers, educational officials and researchers in education. On the part of policy makers, the data generated from this study may help them assess and evaluate the effects of high pupil-teacher ratio on the teaching-learning process of Basic Science in public secondary schools of Atisai communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. The findings and recommendations arising from this study could also hopefully attract the attention and possible action of both policy makers and educational officials through analysis and addressing of the issues raised. Researchers may also find the study a useful addition to existing knowledge on the effects of high pupil-teacher ratio on the teaching and learning process in general. Additionally, the findings of this study could raise new areas for further research.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study covers the effect of low teacher-student ratio in Atisai communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Nigeria. This study was confined to Public Secondary Schools of Atisai communities in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State only. Public Secondary schools were targeted because they were the ones affected by overcrowding in classrooms.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
This study is subjected to constraints 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
For the purpose of this study, the terms below mean:
Learning: This is a relatively permanent change in behavior as a result of past experiences. It could also be described as an act of acquiring knowledge or skills. It is synonymously called inclination.
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.
Student-Teacher Ratio: it 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.
Teacher: this is the person that impacts knowledge to a learner for the purpose of skills acquisition.
Teaching: This is an act of imparting knowledge /skill to a person /learner about a subject.