School Environmental Factors and Pupils’ Academic Performance in Basic Science
The study was designed to investigate school environmental factors and pupils’ academic performance in Basic Science in Ukanafun Local Government Area. Two null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The population amounted to about three thousand nine hundred and ninety eight (3,998) pupils and forty three (43) primary schools in Ukanafun Local Government Area. Ten (10) primary schools were purposively selected out of the available primary schools; twenty pupils were selected to give a total of two hundred (200) respondents which formed the sample size of the study. Basic Science Achievement Test was the instrument for data collection and independent t-test was used in analyzing the data. Findings showed that there is a significant difference in academic performance among Basic science pupils in schools with adequate physical facilities and those in schools without adequate physical facilities and that there is a significant difference in academic performance among basic science pupils in normal class size and those in large class size. Based on the findings, it was recommended that the community and other philanthropists should be encouraged to support the development of schools to improve the facilities such as the library and laboratory facilities to improve the teaching-learning process and the government should carryout effective supervision of schools to ensure adequate utilization of available materials for effective teaching of basic science.
1.1 Background to the study
It is universally accepted that formal education enables individuals to contribute to the development and improvement in the quality of life for themselves, their communities and the nation as a whole. Primary school is no doubt the foundation of formal education and has prominently been regarded as fundamental human right in Akwa Ibom State for every child, this is why the Akwa Ibom State Government have provided the free and compulsory education from primary to basic level of education (Lazarus, 2014). Formal education is an essential component of human development as it plays an important role in economic growth and development of a country.
However, primary school is an institution where children receive formal basic education from the age of about five to twelve; primary education is formal education which comes up after the early childhood care education and before secondary education and the school can only carry out such function when the environment of the school is made conducive for such role. This is due to the fact that there is a sonic interplay between the learning process and the learning environment, therefore, factors within the school environment should be put together to ensure effective learning in any given subject. Laboratory facilities needed within the school environment include classroom, libraries, laboratories, staff offices and these facilities in some schools is observed to be lacking while in some schools they are dilapidated and in schools that are renovated by the government, there seems to be insufficient and this may hinder the effective teaching of the teachers.
Furthermore, the school environment refers to factors within the school that may influence the teaching-learning process and to Ajayi, 2011 school environmental factors like class size, school location and the laboratory facilities are those factors within the school environment which may influence the teaching effectiveness of teachers especially in primary schools where the teacher stays in the classroom with the pupils from morning till school over. From this assertion, it therefore seems that these factors in the school environment could also influence the academic performance of pupils in the primary schools (Mege, 2014).
Furthermore, Usen, (2011), asserted that there has been issues of poor lighting, noise, high levels of carbon dioxide in classrooms and inconsistent temperatures, Poor maintenance and ineffective ventilation systems in some schools which may lead to poor health among the teachers and the pupils as well as causing higher absentee rates among teachers as they will decide to stay at home to avoid being sick due to poor working condition. Usen also posited that the school environment such as class size, school infrastructures, etc has contributed to the ineffectiveness in primary schools development in Akwa Ibom state and that there should be an improvement in the construction and siting of schools. This is because the environment where some primary schools are located are very noisy especially schools in urban areas where there are many automobiles in the environment. The author went further to complain that there are no science laboratories in many primary schools for the teaching of science thereby restraining the study of sciences to theoretical discussion.
Ekong, (2016) also in her study asserted that the school environmental conditions such as class size which is the number of pupils in the class with respect to the teachers influence the teaching effectiveness of the teachers in primary schools in Ukanafun local government area. Ekong maintained that the available number of pupils in primary schools is much thereby increasing the pupils-teacher ratio. This therefore formed the background to the present study on school environmental factors and pupils academic performance in basic science in Ukanafun local government area with the aim of complimenting the studies of other researchers.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
School is where teaching and learning takes place therefore, the environment should be conducive enough for effective learning to occur. The teaching and learning occur moistly in the classroom and as it is in the National Policy on education, a classroom was meant to carry only 25, 35 and 40 learners for the pre-primary, primary and secondary levels of education respectively in terms of class size and the laboratory facilities like the library, playground, laboratory supposed to be made available and adequate for pupils to use in learning basic concepts which will prepare them for the task ahead in the teaching learning process.
Unfortunately, cases in our schools in Ukanafun Local Government Area had been in the reverse direction. This may has been because of the era of free and compulsory education in the state, for the public primary schools, the issue of overcrowding in classroom, the case of lack of laboratory facilities like the library, science laboratory, science play materials for the number of pupils in the schools to make use of in the teaching/learning process. These cases had brought serious problems on the educational systems which are this identified in the study:
(i) In-effective instructional process, poor teaching/learning.
(ii) There are also discipline problems in the class.
(iii) Ineffective classroom supervision and follow-up for slow learners.
(iv) Complicated learner’s evaluation procedures.
(v) Unsafe and un-conducive classroom environment due to noise of space and improper ventilation for the crowd.
The above mention problems had raised concern in the researcher to examine school environmental factors and pupils academic performance in basic science in primary schools in Ukanafun Local Government Area.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate school environmental factors and academic performance among Basic science pupils in primary schools in Ukanafun Local Government Area. Specifically, the study sought to:
(i) Examine influence of laboratory facilities on academic performance of Basic science pupils in primary schools in Ukanafun Local Government Area.
(ii) Investigate the influence of class size on academic performance of Basic science pupils in primary schools in Ukanafun Local Government Area.
1.4 Significance of the study
The findings of this study will be significance in the following ways:
- It is hoped that the findings of the study may help school administrators reflect upon various factors that influence the teaching-learning process. In so doing, they could investigate the possibility of introducing those factors to their schools which may consequently lead to reducing absenteeism, dropouts and repetition and consequently effective teaching-learning process.
- These findings may also help the government through the Ministry of Education to provide more funds for schools for instructional materials and repair and maintenance of the available laboratory facilities, thus improving the teaching-learning process.
- Parents may also use findings from this study to help improve the school facilities by organizing for fundraisers for instance to construct a classroom, laboratory, library among other facilities.
- Policy makers would use the findings to help them make decisions in developing strategies towards improvement of academic standards.
- Future researchers would use the study in identifying priority areas and gaps on which to carry more research about public schools.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:
- There is no significant difference in academic performance of pupils in Basic science in schools with laboratory facilities and those in schools without laboratory facilities.
- There is no significant difference in academic performance of pupils in Basic science in normal class size and those in large class size.