TOWARDS IMPROVING QUALITY EDUCATION IN NIGERIA: THE LEADERSHIP ROLE A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN JALINGO METROPOLIS OF TARABA STATE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Nigerian education system stakeholders are greatly concerned about the quality of education provided to the citizens of the country. Concerns about the quality of education students receive from schools, the quality of lecturers/teachers (teaching sta) employed to teach students, the quality of infrastructures and instructional facilities have always been of upmost interest. Additionally, Nigerian education system stakeholders are interested in the quality of health facilities for students/sta health services, quality of students’ dormitories, hostels, quality of the overall institution environment, quality teaching and learning as well as quality support services from non-academic sta. Researchers have linked quality in education with student intake, academic programs, program designs, teachers, teaching and learning, students’ experiences and academics as well as non-academic support for the students (Baird, 2016; Nordvall and Braxton, 2013). Baird (2016) maintains that quality in education relates to development of intellectual independence. He recommended collaborative action research for improving quality, stressing that institution of learning must take the lead in fostering improvement in quality of education at all levels. The quality of knowledge which is generated in institutions of learning is critical to national competitiveness (Asiyai, 2014). She emphasized that it is only quality education that can sharpen the minds of the individual and help transform the society economically, socially and politically.

The key intermediary between the classrooms, individual school and the education system as a whole is effective school leadership which are essential to improve the efficiency and equity of schooling. Leadership can contribute to improve student learning by shaping the conditions and climate in which teaching and learning occur in each individual school. School leaders can connect and adapt schools to changing external environments beyond the school borders. And at the school-systems interface, the leadership role provides a bridge between internal school improvement processes and externally initiated reform. But school leadership roles do not operate in static educational environments. As countries are seeking to adapt their education systems to the needs of contemporary society, the expectations for schools and leaders have changed profoundly. Many countries have made schools more autonomous in their decision making while centralising standards and accountability requirements and demanding that schools adopt new research-based approaches to teaching and learning to improve the quality or standard. In line with these changes, the roles and responsibilities of leadership have expanded and intensified. Leadership at the school level is more important than ever given the increased autonomy and accountability of schools. There is a growing concern that the role of school principal designed for the industrial age has not changed enough to deal with the complex challenges schools are facing in the 21st century. Countries are seeking to develop new conditions for school leadership better suited to respond to current and future educational environments.

As expectations of what school leaders should achieve have changed, so must the definition and distribution of tasks, as well as the levels of training, support and incentives. Ensuring future quality leadership is also vital for school improvement. In most countries, the leadership workforce is ageing and large numbers of school leaders will retire over the next five to ten years. At a time of high demographic turnover in school leaders, education systems need to focus on fostering future leaders and making leadership an attractive profession. The contemporary challenge of leadership, in systemic terms, is not only to improve the quality of current leaders but also to develop clear plans for future leadership and eective processes for leadership succession. Education is an accepted veritable instrument for national development. Education produces dierent kinds of manpower such as: engineers, teachers, lawyers, medical doctors, architects, soldiers, scientist, etc (and so on) needed for national development. Hence the saying that, “no society can develop beyond its educational system”. It is the product of education that transforms the society. The quality of education will therefore determine the quality of manpower and their products; it will reduce the rate of unemployment, since graduates and technicians can become self-employed aer graduation. It will equally impact on the moral rectitude of the society and quality of lives. This is because education is aimed at changing the character of the learner and impacting positively on his behaviour. Poor quality of education is characterized by misplacement of values and educational goals.

1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Quality education is very expedient for national development in Nigeria. Obasi (2010) noted that “all nations of the world, owe their level of development to the level of their educational system”. Education is the veritable instrument for generating all genre and levels of manpower in any nation. It is a common view that the standard of education in Nigeria is falling drastically. Uzorka et al. (2011) noted that, it is understandable that education has not been accorded a place of pride in Nigeria. They further stated that, Nigeria as a society places high premium on paper qualification and that explains the crazy desire to have good result without working for it. Consequently, they asserted that Nigeria has lost her direction as far as education is concerned and, by extension, a clear direction to the country’s future. It was corroborated by Zidexman in Uzorka et al. (2011) that education in Nigeria is going through so many setbacks, from inadequate funding through lack of qualified personnel, to poor laws and regulation, wrong curriculum, inadequate infrastructure.

Education in Nigeria started with traditional education where the people were taught informally by their parents on how to preserve their cultural heritage, equip children with the required knowledge and skills to subsist when they grow up and inculcate discipline, mould the character and conduct of the growing youths to be modest, obedient and respectful. Therefore, the issue of identifying the effective schools has been of great concern for researchers and policy makers in recent decades. Educational authorities worldwide have shown increasing concern about the efficacy, quality and standards of achievement of their schools. Success in this area is difficult to gauge because it is not easy to measure or to conceptualize. There are no universally used measures for the effectiveness of educational institutions, although different attempts to describe the characteristics of an effective school will be considered in this essay.

TOWARDS IMPROVING QUALITY EDUCATION IN NIGERIA: THE LEADERSHIP ROLE A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN JALINGO METROPOLIS OF TARABA STATE