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A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN PRIVATE AND PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOLS
1.1 Background to the study
Globally, Education is the bedrock of any nation where human development and means to an end for a better living is achieved. In modern societies such as ours the objective of most illiterate and enlighten parents is to send their child to school in order to acquire western education that serves as the foundation of human development in the humanities and sciences.
For recent times, owing to societal challenges and academic aspirations in terms of one’s chosen career, the type of school parents send their children (public or private) determines a child academic performance. This is as a result of how the school is organized, funded with facilities, and equipped with professional teachers.
Aside the primary school, the secondary school serves as a stepping stone into integrating a child the University system. That is why all state in the country tend to establish and fund secondary schools where poor parent can readily afford the little schools fees for their children. To avoid congestion, monopoly and uneven development private individuals thought it wise to establish private secondary schools to meet the increasing demand of parents who wish their children to be properly educated despite the cost.
White (1992), asserted that most private secondary schools (like the catholic schools) usually do better than public schools due to the practice in Nigeria educational system.
A close look at the present trend engulfing our educational system indicates that hardly can secondary school learners in public schools read and write fluently and independently after spending six years passing through a number of teachers. Most teachers in public schools are not closely monitored or supervised as they discharge their duties. They rather engage on small business with students while waiting for their monthly salaries. The reverse in the case where proprietors as a result of competition and academic standard ensures that teachers are completely monitored to achieve their goal.
Despite the cost in private schools, parents would not hesitate in sending their children to such schools where standard is maintain. This according to Arum (1996), asserted that problems in public schools can only be resolved through funding for better academic performance.
Poor academic performance in public schools is allutinted to its frequent strike action usually embark upon by teacher over increase in salaries and other fringe benefits. These developments is rare in private school and that qualifies the number of years a child leaves school for another level. The resultant effect of strike action calls for massive failure of students in their final West African Examinations School Certificate (WAS/SSCE) in important subjects such as English language and Mathematics and others.
Kennedy (2005), agrees that students from public schools, this day usually run to private schools to sit for examination on reason that private schools examinations result are better than that of public schools.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The falling standard of education resulting to poor performance in school certificate examination in public schools is attenuated to its poor funding and incessant strike action embarked upon by teachers. These unseeing developments demoralized that academic ability of the students in terms of facing competition, from their counterparts, failure in school examination where large number failed in relevant subjects as well as retarding their aspirations to further. Where the school id poorly funded and lacks facilities, a student’s research ability is retarded. This development constitutes problems to our educational system. The questions are readily asked is will finding improve the academic performance of public schools compared to that of private schools? Thus the need to take a comparative study of the academic performance of public and private schools in Ngor-okpala Local Government Area have necessitated this study.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The main purpose of the study was to take a comparative study of the academic performance of public and private schools in Ngor-okpala Local Government Area.
Specifically, the study was aimed to find out whether:
i. Students in private schools perform better in WASC examinations than their counterparts in public secondary schools.
ii. Students in private schools perform better in English language than their counterparts in public secondary schools.
iii. Students in private schools perform better in in mathematics than their counterparts in pubic secondary schools.
iv. Students in private schools perform better in NECO examinations than their counterparts in public secondary schools.
1.4 Research Question
The following research questions were posed to guide the study.
i. To what extent do students in private schools perform better in WASC examinations than their counterparts in public secondary schools?
ii. To what extent do students in private schools perform better in English language than their counterparts in public secondary schools?
iii. To what extent do students in private schools perform better in mathematics than the in counterparts in public secondary schools?
iv. To what extent do students in private schools perform better in NECO examinations than their counterparts in public secondary schools?
1.5 Statement of Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study.
i. Students in private schools do not significantly perform better in WASC examinations than their counterparts in public secondary schools.
ii. Students in private schools do not significantly perform better in English language than their counterparts in public secondary schools.
iii. Students in private schools do not significantly perform better in Mathematics than their counterparts in public secondary schools.
iv. Students in private schools do not significantly perform better in WASC examinations than their counterparts in public secondary schools.
1.6 Significance of the study
This study will be of great importance to the educational planners and administrators, sociologist, teachers, government, private school proprietor and researcher.
i. To the educational planners, this study will enable them to advice the government on the need to expand and equip public schools.
ii. To the sociologists, the study will enable them to know why huge funds are still needed in establishing the public schools and reason why private schools still exists.
iii. To the government, this study will serve as a guide indicating reactions from the masses in relation to the much talked about falling standard of education in public schools.
iv. To the teachers, this study will enable them put more effort in elevating the standard of public schools.
v. To the researcher, the study will enable them research on variables that were not previously investigated.
1.7 Assumptions of the study
This study is based on the following assumptions.
i. The variables for the study are measurable.
ii. The instrument used for the study is valid and reliable.
iii. The sample for the study id a time representation of the entire population.
iv. The variables for the study are normally distributable.
1.8 Limitations of the study
In undertaking a study of this nature usually poses some difficulties and problems. Some of the problems that were encountered in this study include financial problem which could not allow the researcher to cover more than one local government.
Another problem encountered in this study was on the administration of questionnaire, some of the questionnaire that were administered were not recovered while some that were recovered has responses which were not honest.
1.9 Scope of the study
As a result of time and financial constraint, this study could only consider the comparative study of academic performance of students in public and private schools in Ngor-okpala Local Government Area of Imo State. This study was limited to Ngor-okpala Local Government Area alone.
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