AN ANALYSIS ON THE IMPACT OF THE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Education has long been seen as the cornerstone of growth in the world, notably in Nigeria. It is the foundation for literacy, skill development, technical growth, and the ability to use people and material resources to fulfill social goals (FRN, 2004). Any educational system, regardless of its degree, cannot function without the support of school infrastructure. As one of the most important aspects in efficient teaching and learning processes. Every community has some type of education, whether official or informal. However, as an environment of a succession of educational initiatives developed throughout the years, environmental education has become more popular in secondary schools (White, 2003). The universal basic education (UBE) program is one of them. Furthermore, successive governments have and continue to devote a significant portion of their annual budget to the provision and maintenance of school facilities intended to improve the sector, but these funds are frequently mismanaged or not managed at all, leaving the majority of secondary schools in poor condition. The importance of having good school facilities cannot be overstated; this topic has recently gotten a lot of attention from the general public as well as educators. The job of every administrator, according to Building Educational Success Together (Best, 2005), is to guarantee that every child has access to excellent education in school facilities that provide an educational atmosphere that is suitable for teaching and learning. Furthermore, educational policies that resulted in high-quality, high-performing, well-designed, and well-maintained school buildings had a direct and indirect impact on the teaching and learning process (Best, 2005). In a study conducted by Hale (2002), students in classrooms with large windows, natural lighting, and well-designed skylights performed 19 to 25% better than their peers in classrooms without these features. Environmental conditions in school affect not only students but also staff, as observed by (Hunter, 2006) who found that students in classrooms with large windows, natural lighting, and well-designed skylights performed 19 to 25% better than their peers in classrooms without these features. The general structure of the building, as well as the windows in the instrumental sections, were found to be favorably associated to students’ academic success (Bullock, 2007). In and out of school, school facilities played an important role in directing instruction and molding students’ learning processes. Today, most of the school facilities that are meant to encourage improved teaching and learning in secondary education are completely uninformed, posing severe obstacles to the learners’ educational demands in the twenty-first century (Charles, 2005). Others are decrepit and unsuitable for motivating secondary school instructional activities. The physical facilities supplied in schools, such as the school site, buildings, and equipment, are referred to as school facilities, or school plant. Buildings are required to house staff and students, laboratories are required to improve manipulative abilities in pupils, and sports/games facilities are required to enhance the students’ mental, social, and physical elements. As a result, a well-designed and functioning school building with a diverse range of teaching aids facilitates the implementation of the school curriculum and is favorably associated to student academic success as a result of teaching effectiveness. Every detail about the school, beginning with where it is located (in a noisy area, on a busy road, in a reserved area), the quality of the building and its age, the structure, size, shape, class size, number of students it can accommodate, the staff, teaching materials and aids, and the school’s location are all elements that make up the school environment (Grace, 2007). The highest amount of effectiveness of instructional activities is determined by the level of comfort found inside the school environment. The majority of the time, crucial parts of the school environment are overlooked by school administrators, who forget that the environment in which teaching takes place has a significant impact on students. Learning cannot take place if the teaching is ineffective in any manner (Zelinski, 2004). “Teaching is inseparable from learning, but learning is separate from teaching,” goes the axiom. Teachers educate in order for students to learn, but students may learn without the help of teachers. However, how can this be successful if the school environment is not suitable to students’ diverse needs? When it comes to library services, how will students and instructors conduct research if books are scarce? Similarly, a classroom with just enough chairs for twice the number of pupils it was designed for would cause discomfort for both students and teachers. Unfortunately, most public schools in Zuru Local Government Area Kebbi state are in this situation. Whatever the case may be, school facilities are a must for academic success and the learning process. As a result, teaching may be conceived of as a method of facilitating learning. The teacher, or any other school administrator, has a critical role to play in this process because he functions as a catalyst, actively encouraging learning. In light of the current situation, where learning takes place in a favorable environment, the teaching process has proven to be tough (Nadal, 2008). Public schools are those that are governed by people who represent society as a whole, rather than by individuals or private schools or agencies. In other terms, public schools are those that are financed and regulated by the state or national government. The government of the state or nation is responsible for public education. Public education is the basis or backbone of society, providing all individuals with equal educational opportunities. It is a publicly owned property that is continuously in the spotlight. Following elementary school, secondary school is the next level of education. Secondary school, according to Webster (2009), is a school that is halfway between elementary school and college, generally offering general technical, vocational, or college-preparatory courses, however Collins (2003) defines it as a school for young people aged eleven to eighteen. The term “environment” refers to a system in which living beings interact with physical elements. According to Agusiegbe (2004), the environment consists of all components that exist around man and have some impact on him. Physical, biological, and social characteristics are among them. In this study, the term “environment” refers to all external conditions and influences in the school that have an impact on teaching activities and student learning, such as laboratory equipment, library facilities, qualified teachers, furniture, school buildings, good administrative management, teacher-student relationships, and school location. The school environment is a learning environment where students connect with learning facilities in order to socialize and address societal issues (Everest, 2005). Because space has the capacity to arrange and foster pleasant connections between people of all ages, to give changes, to encourage choices and activities, and to spark many sorts of social and emotional learning, the school environment may also be regarded the second teacher (Okeke, 2001). Variables in the degree of knowledge instilled in pupils by instructors can be caused by environmental disparities and differences in the quality of education from one school to the next. Learning is impacted by the environment in which individuals are exposed, and the facilities offered in such an environment contribute to experience (Ajayi, 2005). Many parents and friends of any educational institution make first judgments about the quality of what goes on in the school based on the physical look and general condition of the school’s physical facilities. Dilapidated school buildings with falling roofs and cracked walls, thick lawns, and overgrown hedges are common turnoffs. There are also profane graffiti on the walls, as well as trash lawns and sidewalks. Finally, the physical environment of the school acts as a mirror, reflecting the school’s image and allowing the public to determine whether or not to associate with it (Mgbodile 2004). A well-planned and managed educational environment is necessary because it creates positive interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, Ashaolu (2005) believes that environmental enrichment in terms of physical amenities is a significant determinant in kids’ academic success. Ayodele (2005) has showed that school resources help children attain academic success. Bad performance can be related to a poor learning environment, particularly in the areas of school school, library services, and school location and amenities. School buildings are physical structures that provide a safe haven for educational activity. Classrooms, labs, workshops, instructors’ common rooms/offices, reading rooms, and other facilities are among them. Despite evidence indicating the physical state of a school has an impact on students’ learning and teaching activities, the majority of public schools in the Zuru Local Government Area in Kebbi State are in poor shape. According to (Mgbodile, 2004), school buildings and educational goals should be considered as intertwined for optimal teaching and learning situations. Aside from shielding students from the sun, rain, heat, and cold, school buildings serve as a learning environment that has a significant impact on student comfort, safety, and classroom activities. Services provided by the library. A school library is a room or building where books, magazines, journals, periodicals, cassettes, computers, and other materials are maintained for use by students and instructors. Dike (2001) sees the school library as a learning laboratory where students may engage directly with resources, gain information, and develop research skills that will help them throughout their lives. The goal of the school library is to meet the needs of the school and to enable the school to carry out its mission and method of education. This goal can only be realized if the school has a library, however most secondary schools in the Zuru Local Government do not have well-equipped libraries or none at all (Ajayi, 2007). As can be seen from the preceding, the school environment plays an important part in instructional activities. Because the problem of effective teaching and learning is more acute in under-resourced schools, it is vital to investigate the impact of the school environment on secondary school teaching activities.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
This study highlighted various issues that may have an impact on academic performance in public secondary schools in Zuru Local Government of Kebbi State. Poor school building quality in terms of the physical school environment is one of these issues. This includes classrooms, labs, workshops, reading rooms, and instructors’ offices, among other places where the quality of everything improves learning. The safety and comfort of both instructors and pupils is totally dependent on the building’s condition, which will decide how much teaching may be influenced. The majority of schools do not have or do not have well-equipped libraries (Ajayi, 2007). Both teachers and students will be unable to improve their teaching and learning abilities. In order to ensure successful teaching and learning in the school environment, school libraries should be well-stocked with books, magazines, journals, periodicals, cassettes, computers, encyclopedias, novels, and other materials. Due to inadequate school design, public secondary schools are in inconvenient locations. Most of these schools are in inconvenient locations; some are near markets, mechanic shops, busy roads, and hospitals, among other things. The school environment is not safe in these areas for good interaction between instructors and students. The funding of public secondary schools is insufficient. According to Ayo (2005), public secondary school financing is used for day-to-day schools. It is critical to remember that every public secondary school principal must prepare the school budget on a timely or annual basis in order to achieve optimal school performance, which will not be feasible if funds are not provided at all or at the appropriate time. The amount of money allotted and dispersed to administer public schools is insufficient to create and maintain adequate facilities. Some government officials, school owners, and school managers have corrupt inclinations, and monies are misdirected, misused, or stolen as a result. It is primarily the government’s obligation to ensure that teachers’ wages are paid in order to improve their teaching effectiveness.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to look at the impact of the school environment on students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Zuru Local Government Area, Kebbi State. The study’s objectives are to:
i. Determine and characterize the demographic features of students in public secondary schools in Zuru Local Government Area of Kebbi State.
ii. Assess the level of laboratory, library, and athletic facilities in public secondary schools in Zuru Local Government Area in Kebbi State.
iii. Determine and characterize the physical features of the physical environment in terms of public secondary school sites in ZuruLocal Government Area in Kebbi State.
iv. Determine the extent to which the physical school environment, namely the school building, affects students’ performance in public secondary schools in Zuru Local Government Area in Kebbi State.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
i. What are the demographic features of students in public secondary schools in Zuru Local Government Area in Kebbi State?
ii. What is the the level of laboratory, library, and athletic facilities in public secondary schools in Zuru Local Government Area in Kebbbi State?
iii. What are the physical features of the physical environment in terms of public secondary school sites in Zuru Local Government Area in Kebbi State?
iv. What is the extent to which the physical school environment, namely the school building, affects students’ performance in public secondary schools in Zuru Local Government Area in Kebbi State?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
According to popular belief, the amount to which school facilities are made available in maximum quality and quantity in order to fulfill goals is the lifeblood of every educational institution. The findings of this research work, on the other hand, will provide enormous benefits to the government, principles or school administrators, teachers, parents, and student researchers in terms of playing a sensitive role aimed at improving the standard of education by providing a conducive learning environment. The government or policymakers will be able to develop and execute effective policies and programs for enhanced instructional activities, funding allocation, timely release periods, and the legal framework directing its actions. School administrators will be given thorough training in order to strengthen school supervision and ensure high-quality teaching and learning in the school. It will allow the impact of school buildings and equipment on student achievement to be launched, sustained, valued, and put to good use. It will enable teachers to recognize the importance of proper instructional delivery, as well as help them improve their teaching effectiveness and productivity. It will also assist the school in encouraging students to use the facilities to complete assignments, observe practical knowledge, and acquire essential skills. Parents will be free to choose the sort of school for their children since their children will benefit from a positive school learning environment, which will eventually result in high-quality school goods. It will provide other student researchers with a legitimate working document of literature to investigate areas not addressed by this study and come up with strategies to enhance them.
1.6 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The research is delimited to the impact of the school environment on students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Zuru Local Government Area. The school administrators, instructors, and students of ten (10) randomly selected public secondary schools in Zuru Local Government Area are covered by the topic area. Because they are thought to have worked in the system for a long time and have taught a variety of students at various levels. Variables such as the school building, library services, location, funding school facilities, their usage, and stakeholder responsibilities, among others, were examined from this view.