1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Most of the governments of the world spend most of their budget on resource inputs in the Education sector. They make decisions about providing resources inputs to enhance student achievement and performance. However, not all these decisions are easy to take especially in Nigeria where mismanagement makes the problem more adverse. Resources are scarce, especially in low income countries; policy makers can ill aord errors in the choice of allocations. To reduce the scope for mistakes, the true picture of the determinants of Education outcome is desirable. The Government has introduced Education Sector Reforms (ESR) and National Plan of Action (2001- 2015) for the improvement of quality of Education through improving the states of various recourse inputs like revision of curricula, teacher training and provision of better facilities in the public sector schools. Secondary schools not only occupy a strategic place in the educational system in Nigeria, it is also the link between the primary and the university levels of education. According to Asikhai (2010), education at secondary school level is supposed to be the bedrock and the foundation towards higher knowledge in tertiary institutions. It is an investment as well as an instrument that can be used to achieve a more rapid economic, social, political, technological, scientific and cultural development in a country.
It is rather unfortunate that the secondary schools today are not measuring up to standard expected of them. There has been public outcry over the persistently poor performance of secondary school students in public examinations. In most countries of the world, the pride of institutions of learning depends not just on the quantity but more importantly on the quality of the product at all levels. However, policy makers in some developing countries are to target the quality of education performance as an immediate priority. In particular, cognizance is being taken of the argument that the provision of student and teacher of high quality should be given top priority and that ultimately, the success of any educational system depends largely on the quality of the teacher (Dave, 2008). Most of the governments of the world spend a significant amount of their budget on resource inputs in the education sector. They make decisions about providing resource inputs to enhance student achievement and performance. Moreover, not all these decisions are easy to take, especially in the third world countries where mismanagement makes the problem more adverse. Kemerer (2009) remarked that resources are scarce, especially in low-income countries; policy makers cannot afford errors in the choice of allocations.
To reduce the scope for mistakes, the true picture of the determinants of education outcome is desirable. Resource inputs have a vital role in the education process. Student achievement at any point is a cumulative function of the current and the prior resource inputs such as family, peers’ effect and institutional resource inputs. However, all these factors are outside the direct control of an educationist. Therefore, an educationist directly deals with and controls the school specific resource inputs. The poor funding of education in most third world countries does not enable the school system to have manageable class sizes, adequate student classroom space and appropriate class utilization rates. In spite of the fact that these factors determine the productivity of teachers and students’ academic performance, governments do not show adequate concern about the deterioration in the standard of education in the countries (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). 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 aect 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’s.
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 implies that the state of education in Nigeria is very poor which demand urgent attention of all the stakeholders in the educational sector so as to avert the anomaly. The National policy on Education prescribed a maximum of 30 students in a class, but in most schools in the country, average class size exceeds 50. The situation has negative impact on the average classroom space per student. Yet, these students need to learn in comfort. In most of the public schools in the country, the classroom utilization rate is perpetually high; this is because most of the schools have exceeded the number of students they can cater for. The few schools that have enough teaching sta, at times have low classroom utilization rates, perhaps because of poor supervision. This situation does not favour academic learning (Dave, 2008).
Students’ Academic achievement is one of the leading goals and big challenge for an educational system. According to Cuban (2004), class-size and student-teacher ratio has a great impact on the quality of education and academic success of students. There is no doubt that pupil-teacher ratio and per-student outgoings are some of the important resource inputs for any academic institution. Lesser the ratio of student and teacher in the class better is the probability of improving the quality of education and accomplishing the academic goals of institutions. Quality of education is very crucial for strategic planning of academic goals and tag along with the pace of developed world. However, the problem 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 student teacher ratio on students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Ado-Odo-Ota local government area of Ogun state.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
As school population increases class sizes also increase, the performances of students become an issue. Class size has become a phenomenon oen mentioned in the educational literature as an influence on student’s feelings and achievement, on administration, quality and school budgets. Class size is almost an administrative decision over which teachers have little or no control. Most researchers start from the assumption that size of the class would prove a significant determinant of the degree of success of students. In fact, with the exception of a few, many studies have reported that under ideal situation, class size itself appears to be an important factor. The first issue that calls for immediate clarification is what number of students should constitute a large group and few teachers with small pools of talent; offer limited range of subjects and characteristically finding it hard to justify costly investment on libraries… their pupil’s lack competition and interest with relatively few peers as they get stuck with same teacher for an entire school career. Large class size on the other hand is often impersonal, having broader curricula with teachers being given wider support, while students may suffer discipline problems as teachers cannot get to know their students very easily. Nevertheless, there are many factors that affect student achievement, but the purpose of this study is to explore and analyze the effects of student-teacher ratio as well as student-teacher interaction dynamics at the secondary school level as a determinant of students’ academic achievement.