Private Sector Involvement in Education Enterprise and Quality Learning Outcome in Secondary Schools...

Adeolu Joshua AYENI

American Journal of Educational Research

Private Sector Involvement in Education Enterprise and Quality Learning Outcome in Secondary Schools in Ondo State, Nigeria

Adeolu Joshua AYENI

Department of Educational Management, Adekunle Ajasin University, P.M.B. 001, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria

Abstract

The study examined motivational and operational involvement of private sector in education enterprise, and determined the implication on students’ learning outcome in secondary schools in Ondo State. Survey and ex-post-facto research designs were adopted. 98 top-management members completed the instrument titled “Private Sector Involvement in Education Enterprise Questionnaire” (PSIEEQ) in 49 secondary schools using multi-stage sampling technique. Four research questions and two hypotheses were formulated. Data were analyzed using percentage, mean score and pearson product moment correlation statistics at p<0.05 level of significance. The result showed low relationship between motivational factors and operation of school business (r=-0.236, p<0.05); also there was low relationship between operational factors and students’ learning outcome (r=0.185, p<0.05), The proprietors are largely motivated by the need to salvage education standard; students’ learning outcome was low at a cumulative mean score of 4.31 which confirmed the 40.3% average level of performance recorded between 2012 and 2014; the major challenges included irregular payment of school fees (61.3%), inadequate classrooms (34.7%), inadequate qualified teachers (38.8%), inadequate learning resources (57.1%), poor road networks (38.8%), irregular electricity supply (53.1%) and policy threats (59.3%). It is therefore concluded that state government should create enabling policy and improve the condition of social amenities while proprietors should give more commitment to the provision of adequate qualified teachers, updated libraries, well equipped laboratories, standard workshops and adequate instructional materials to improve students’ learning outcome in secondary schools.

Cite this article:

  • Adeolu Joshua AYENI. Private Sector Involvement in Education Enterprise and Quality Learning Outcome in Secondary Schools in Ondo State, Nigeria. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 4, No. 8, 2016, pp 578-587. http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/4/8/1
  • AYENI, Adeolu Joshua. "Private Sector Involvement in Education Enterprise and Quality Learning Outcome in Secondary Schools in Ondo State, Nigeria." American Journal of Educational Research 4.8 (2016): 578-587.
  • AYENI, A. J. (2016). Private Sector Involvement in Education Enterprise and Quality Learning Outcome in Secondary Schools in Ondo State, Nigeria. American Journal of Educational Research, 4(8), 578-587.
  • AYENI, Adeolu Joshua. "Private Sector Involvement in Education Enterprise and Quality Learning Outcome in Secondary Schools in Ondo State, Nigeria." American Journal of Educational Research 4, no. 8 (2016): 578-587.

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At a glance: Figures

1. Introduction

The private sector involvement in education enterprise is the position and role of the proprietor as the entrepreneur who established school business for the purpose of training students to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and values for useful living and self reliance. The proprietor sees opportunity from the motivational factors and translates the business ideas into school enterprise through the operational factors that ensured creativity in education delivery and fulfillment of quality learning outcome for students in secondary schools.

The quality of learning outcome is the ability of student to demonstrate sound knowledge, values and skills in cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of learning, which is shown by the marks/grades obtained in examinations. In the context of this study, quality learning outcome is limited to the academic ability of the student to obtain credit level passes and above in five (5) subjects including English Language and Mathematics in the Senior School Certificate Examinations conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WASSCE).

The opportunities that are inherent in the operation of quality oriented school were highlighted by Ayeni [3] as follows: strengthening institutional management and school effectiveness, promoting strong commitment to the provision of adequate teaching and learning materials/facilities, conducive working environment, staff and students welfare, and cordial interpersonal relationship; effective curriculum implementation and quality learning outcome. However, inadequacies in operational factors still posed challenges to the school entrepreneurs. Hence, the need to investigate the situation and find required action to solve the problem.

The study is significant now that a high premium is placed on effective learners’ participation and acquisition of entrepreneurial skills which is a key component of quality assurance in education. It is envisaged that the outcome of the study will provide baseline information and appropriate strategies that can be adopted by the government in providing enabling policy environment and stimulate school proprietors in giving more commitment to the provision of adequate learning resources in operating the secondary school system to achieve sustainable improvement in students’ learning outcome.

1.1. Trends in Private Sector Involvement in Education Enterprise

Education is a powerful tool for human capital development and nation building. Prior to the universality of education by the United Nations, the Missionaries introduced western education to the Southern Nigeria in 1842 after the collapse of the human trade. The first nursery school was established by Mr. and Mrs. De Graft in Badagry in 1843 as an affiliate of the Methodist Church. The Muslim missionary societies, notably Ansar Ud Deen and Ahmadiyya later established schools. The missionaries controlled 99% of the schools as at 1942. The community-based organizations also established schools to break even [6, 15]. Realising the importance of education in human capital development, the United Nations agreed on the Universal Declaration of Human Right (UDHR), 1948 and Article 26 of UDHR states that “everyone has the right to education”. In the pursuance of this mission statement, for instance, by 1964, the Nigerian Government supported education through the making of grants-in-aid available to the schools primarily on the basis of enrolment figures. The proprietors of the schools supplemented this with income from school fees. This system subsisted until the early 1970s when state governments took over and assumed control of private schools in all states in Nigeria.

The post civil war era 1970-1978 in Nigeria witnessed the publication of the National Policy on Education in 1977 while in October, 1979, Nigeria enjoyed a period of constitutional rule. The National Policy on Education was revised in 1981 to reflect the provision of the 1979 Nigerian Constitution. During this period, private sector operators interested in establishing and running schools came out to pursue their interest because it was obvious that the financial burden was becoming unbearable for the affected governments. The teaching materials were grossly inadequate, teachers’ salaries and approved allowances were unpaid for months and as a result schools were closed as teachers went on strike in many states in Nigeria. The general decay in the school system led to mass failure in Senior School Certificate Examinations, General Certificate of Education and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Examinations. The weakness of the system further provided opportunity for private sector entrepreneurs’ involvement to support government effort in education enterprise [1, 5].

The UNESCO passed a resolution in Jomtien, Thailand, in 1990 that all countries should pay greater attention towards improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills [14]. This gave impetus to the private sector involvement in education enterprise which the Nigerian government further emphasized in the National Policy on Education (2013) that aptly states in section 3, paragraph 40 that “government welcomes the participation of voluntary agencies, communities and private individuals in the establishment and management of post-basic education provided the set standards are met”. In the pursuance of this ideology, private secondary schools are established by proprietors to provide educational opportunities for students to fulfill the goals of secondary education, which among others include inspiring students with a desire for self-improvement and achievement of academic excellence; manpower training in the applied science, technology and commerce at sub-professional grades. The attainment of these lofty goals is a function of operational factors that are provided by the proprietors of private secondary schools.

2. Operational Input, Process and Output of School Business

The operation of the school within the society (environment) requires resource inputs that are processed to facilitate effective institutional management, curriculum delivery and quality learning outcome (output) as required by the national education policy and objectives in secondary schools [8]. The quality of institutional management and output depends largely on the quality, adequacy, coordination and utilization of physical, human and material resources that are provided for effective teaching-learning process, which in turn leads to the achievement of desirable academic standard in secondary schools. The motivational resources that are needed for effective management of the school system among others include: enabling policy, finance, personnel, learning facilities, instructional materials and physical infrastructure. All these resources constitute the potent input factors that promote quality education and contribute significantly to entrepreneurial skills development and learning outcome in secondary schools.

The capacity of the proprietor to transform resources that are provided into effective teaching-learning process is a measure of private sector entrepreneur’s initiatives, creativity, innovation and effectiveness in the operation of education enterprise at the secondary school level. Since the government recognizes the contribution of the private sector entrepreneurs in the establishment and operation of secondary school system; it is expected that such policy enablement will translate to strong commitment of the private school owners in the provision and utilization of adequate infrastructure, human and material resources in their determination to complement government effort in the expansion of access to quality education for the citizenry.

The extent to which proprietors (entrepreneurs) can provide the required inputs for high quality schools depends on their resourcefulness and ability to turn business ideas and opportunity into business reality by calculating personal risks based on their financial security, professional skills and inter-personal relationship to mobilize resources to actualize their vision. The commitment of entrepreneurs to school effectiveness determines the level of patronage by the relevant publics who are eager to get value for their money by demanding for the best educational services that will enable students achieve best results from the school system.

The Ministry of Education monitors the private schools to ensure that entrepreneurs comply with regulations and standards in the provision of infrastructure and learning resources, devout time to effective coordination, control and accountability by ensuring that the teachers work assiduously in the process of implementing the academic curriculum through classroom and outdoor learning activities created and directed towards helping the learners to access knowledge, develop concepts and skills as a result of their active, motivational involvement in the process of knowledge construction and character development that produced students who achieved learning objectives and specified standards for admission into tertiary institutions or fit into the world of work as employees or owners of small scale business.

The school business is sustained by the proprietor through rational allocation of resources, continuous supervision, periodic evaluation, intensive control, regular feedback, accountability, review and restructuring at regular interval in order to keep abreast of innovations and survive competitions in the business world. The persistent passion of the proprietors for high quality education delivery further propel them to plough back substantial profits to school improvement projects and programmes. This mechanism is goal-oriented and enabled the entrepreneurs to be focused, create acceptable values and mobilise resources to attract high level patronage and boost revenue generation since the customers are assured of getting the best services for their money. The functionality of the school business oriented input-process-output model within the operational environment (society) is depicted with the diagram below.

Figure 1. Operational Model of Private Sector in Education Enterprise

3. Method

3.1. Statement of Problem

Personal observations and experience in schools’ inspections, monitoring and evaluation at the Ministry of Education and Quality Assurance Agency up till 2013 indicated varying degrees of conditions and practice of private secondary schools in Ondo State. This has perhaps been caused by gaps in the provision of infrastructure, learning materials, staff welfare, training facilities for teachers’ professional growth and development, and government policies. Also, literature review and research findings indicated that the low morale of teachers affects working relationship between proprietors/principals and teachers, and impedes the retention of competent teachers. All these constitute impediments to quality of instruction and have been partly responsible for the relatively low learning outcome as evident in the number of students that obtained credits level passes in five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics in the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) in private secondary schools in Ondo State between 2012 and 2014 which reflected 45% in 2012, 32.4% in 2013 and 43.6% in 2014 with 40.3% average level of performance [2, 4, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16]. It is therefore imperative to carry out a research in order to ascertain the level of private sector entrepreneurs’ involvement in education enterprise and determine the factors that are responsible for the varying degrees of operation and the implications on students’ learning outcome in private secondary schools.

3.2. Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study.

i. What factors motivate private sector involvement in education enterprise?

ii. What operational factors influence quality education delivery in private secondary schools?

iii. What are the challenges facing private sector in the operation of secondary schools?

iv. What strategies are being adopted by the private sector entrepreneurs to remedy the operational challenges in secondary schools?

3.3. Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study.

Ho1: There is no significant relationship between motivational factors and the operation of private secondary schools.

Ho2: There is no significant relationship between operational factors and students’ learning outcome in private secondary schools.

3.4. Methodology

The study adopted the descriptive survey and ex-post-facto research designs. The population comprised of all proprietors and principals in private secondary schools in Ondo State, South West, Nigeria. The sample consisted of 100 participants (50 proprietors and 50 principals) randomly selected from 50 secondary schools, representing twenty percents (20%) of the existing 250 private secondary schools that have been presenting candidates for the Senior School Certificate Examinations in Ondo State. The secondary schools were selected using multi-stage sampling method from six (6) Local Government Areas (LGAs) with two (2) LGEAs randomly selected in each of the existing three (3) Senatorial Districts (Ondo North, Ondo Central and Ondo South). Data were collected through questionnaire titled “Private Sector Involvement in Education Enterprise Questionnaire” (PSIEEQ), interview technique and checklist of learning outcome in 50 secondary schools. Four research questions and two hypotheses were formulated.

The return rate of completed questionnaire was 98% (49 schools). The instruments examined the school business motivational variables such as business vision, admission policy, government policy and financial capacity. The operational variables included school fees, students’ textbooks, academic consciousness, instructional materials, teachers’ qualification, workload, supervision, feedback, office equipment, classroom facilities, laboratory, library, workshops, electricity supply and road networks. Students’ learning outcome variable is the academic performance in the senior school certificate examinations conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). The instrument was validated by experts in the Department of Educational Management, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko; and Test and Measurement Unit, Faculty of Education, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. The reliability of the instrument was confirmed through test and re-test method which yielded a correlation co-efficient of 0.84 that indicated high reliability of the questionnaire items constructed. Data collected were analyzed using the frequency counts, percentages, mean scores and Pearson Product Moment Correlation statistics to determine the strength of relationship between independent and dependent variables.. The result was held significant at 0.05 levels, using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0.

4. Results

The results of data analysis were presented in order of research questions and hypotheses while discussions of findings were carried out to examine school business motivational and operational factors in determining students’ learning outcome in secondary schools. The data gathered from the respondents were categorized into three levels for convenience of interpretation and description of results as follows: Strongly Agree and Agree merged together as Agree; Fairly Agree was retained while Disagree was merged with Strongly Disagree and regarded as Disagree.

4.1. What Factors Motivate Private Sector Involvement in Education Enterprise?

The analysis of data in Table 1 and Figure 2 on the proprietors’ perceptions on factors motivating private sector involvement in education enterprise reflects the following percentage points: Strongly Agree (14.3% to 83.7%), Agreed (16.3% to 40.8%), Fairly Agree (4.1% to 42.9%), Disagree (4.1% to 26.5%) and Strongly Disagree (4.1% to 16.3%) while the cumulative mean of 3.87 was recorded.

Table 1. Factors motivating private sector involvement in education enterprise

Figure 2. Bar Chart of Motivational Factors for Private Sector Involvement in Education Enterprise
4.2. What Operational Factors Influence Quality Education Delivery in Private Secondary Schools?

The evidence from the data analysis presented in Table 2 and Figure 3 showed that the influence of the operational factors on quality education delivery in private secondary schools as rated by the principals reflected the following percentage points: strongly agreed (4.1%-59.2%); agreed (6.1%-49.%); fairly agreed (4.1%-44.9%); disagreed (2%-38.8%); and strongly disagreed (2%-28.6%).

Table 2. Operational factors influencing quality education delivery in private secondary schools

Figure 3. Bar Chart of Operational Factors Influencing Quality Education Delivery in Private Secondary Schools
4.3. What Influence do Operational Factors have on Students’ Learning Outcomes in Private Secondary School?

The result presented in Table 3 and Figure 4 revealed that the percentage average level of students’ learning outcomes influenced by operational factors ranged from 1.4% - 60.5% with a cumulative mean score of 4.31 across secondary schools between 2012 and 2014.

Table 3. Influence of operational factors on students’ learning outcomes in private secondary schools?

Figure 4. Bar Chart of Operational Factors Influence on Students’ Learning Outcome in Private Secondary Schools from 2012 to 2014
4.4: What are the Challenges Facing Private Sectors in the Operation of Secondary Schools?

The evidence from the data analysis in Table 4 and Figure 5 showed that the 7 items are factor constraints militating against effective operation of private secondary schools. The constraints identified by the proprietors are reflected in the following percentage points: irregular payment of school fees (61.3%); inadequate classrooms (34.7%), inadequate qualified teachers (38.8%); inadequate learning resources (57.1%); poor road networks (38.8%), irregular electricity supply (53.1%), and policy threats (59.2%).

Figure 5. Bar Chart of Challenges Facing Private Sector in the Operation of Secondary Schools

Table 4. Challenges facing private sectors in the operation of secondary schools

4.5. What Strategies are Being Adopted by the Private Sector Entrepreneurs to Remedy the Operational Challenges in Secondary Schools?

The evidence from the data analysis presented in Table 5 and Figure 6 showed that the strategies being adopted by the entrepreneurs to remedy the operational challenges in private secondary schools as rated by the school proprietors reflected the following percentage points: bank loan (38.8%), ploughed back profit (77.6%), increased school fees (34.7%), PTA levy (44.9%) and international aids (6.1%).

Table 5. Strategies being adopted by the private sector entrepreneurs to remedy the operational challenges in secondary schools

Figure 6. Bar Cart of Strategies being adopted by the Private Sector Entrepreneurs to Remedy the Operational Challenges in Secondary Schools

HO1: There is no significant relationship between motivational factors and the operation of private secondary schools.

The result presented in Table 6 revealed that the calculated r-value (0.236) was low at p<0.05. Hence, the null hypothesis (Ho) of no significant relationship is accepted.

Table 6. Relationship between motivational factors and operation of private secondary schools

HO2: There is no significant relationship between operational factors and students’ learning outcomes in private secondary schools.

The result presented in Table 7 revealed that the calculated r-value (0.185) was low at p<0.05. Hence, the null hypothesis (Ho) of no significant relationship is accepted.

Table 7. Relationship between operational factors and students’ learning outcomes in private secondary schools

5. Discussion of Findings

The factors that motivated private sector entrepreneurs to the school business were investigated in the study. The percentage level of ratings by the proprietors in Table 1, indicated that the mean ratings ranged from 2.98 to 4.84 with a cumulative mean of =3.87. Items 6 (=4.51), 5 (=4.84), 2 (=4.39) and 4 (=3.93) rated above the cumulative mean while items 8 (=3.71), 1 (=3.40), 3 (=3.22), and 7 (=2.98) rated below the cumulative mean. Thus, it could be deduced from the ratings that the entrepreneurs were largely motivated to the school business by factors that included the desire to operate business venture (57.1%), raise education standard (100%), fill educational gap (75.5%), financial capacity (65.3%) and provision of employment opportunities (95.9%). These factors lend credence to the United Nations agreement on the Universal Declaration of Human Right (UDHR), 1948 which states that “everyone has the right to education”. The finding also supported the UNESCO resolution passed in Jomtien, Thailand, in 1990 that all countries should pay greater attention towards improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all.

The entrepreneurs were least motivated by factors such as payment of school fees (34.7%) and favourable government policy (36.7%). Majority of the proprietors considered government policy to be threatening; especially in the collection of double taxation which often demoralised and placed financial constraints on the proprietors in the provision of quality learning inputs and management of private secondary schools. It could be deduced that these deficiencies have been partly responsible for the low remuneration of teachers who usually work under strict supervision in order to retain their jobs because of high level of unemployment of graduates in Nigeria. Inadequate funds also slow down the pace of infrastructural development in private secondary schools.

The outcome of the study further revealed low significant relationship between motivational factors and the operation of private secondary schools; also there is low significant relationship between operational factors and students’ learning outcome in secondary schools. The operational factors that were mostly used by the proprietors included effective supervision (87.8%), prompt feedback (81.7%) and instructional materials (67.3%). The operational factor constraints included irregular payment of school fees (61.3%), poor electricity supply (53.1%), poor road networks (38.8%) and policy threats (59.3%). By implication, operational factors occupy centre stage in the teaching and learning processes; while students’ learning outcome is dependent greatly on the proprietors’ commitment to the provision and coordination of operational resources. There is a low significant relationship between operational factors and students’ learning outcome which implied that majority of the proprietors are incapacitated by several challenges in the provision of operational inputs (resources) for teaching-learning process. It could therefore be inferred that many private schools are still striving to achieve the minimum quality output (5 credits including English Language and Mathematics).

The in-depth interviews conducted with the principals revealed that the class size was good and ranged from 20-25 students per class in many schools. This contributed significantly to effective classroom management and supervision of curriculum instruction. This has been partly responsible for the relatively high level of patronage by the relevant public (parents/guardians) who enrolled their children/wards in the private secondary schools.

Many of the proprietor said that they were incapacitated by paucity of funds, which has been largely responsible for inadequate learning resources and infrastructural facilities. Many private schools were short-staffed while some teachers were overloaded and made to teach subjects outside areas of specialization. The salaries given to teachers were considered inadequate. Consequently, the attrition rate is relatively high. The impact of these inadequacies have become visible in students’ low academic performance in the Senior School Certificate Examinations. The proprietors therefore solicited for government assistance to overcome these challenges.

The government policy threat is high (59.3%) in the series of extraneous charges that are collected by different agencies. This situation constituted impediment to the entrepreneurs in the operation of private secondary schools. This perhaps has been responsible for the low commitment by the proprietors to the full realisation of educational objectives and the low level of learning outcome reflected in the percentage of students who obtained credit level passes in five subjects including English Language and Mathematics in the Senior School Certificate Examinations which showed 40.3% average level of performance in the period of three years (2012 - 2014) under review. The identified challenges are being solved by the proprietors through re-investment of profit on school projects (77.6%), collection of PTA levy for supportive services (44.9%) and bank loan to finance capital projects (38.8%). There is still a great task ahead of school proprietors and other stakeholders in removing policy impediment and stemming the tide of abysmal academic performance that is bedevilling the secondary education system.

6. Conclusion and Recommendations

6.1. Conclusion

The study concluded that students entrepreneurial skills development is inevitable to overcome the problem of youths unemployment that is pronounced in the Nigerian society. The capacity of the private sector to salvage the ailing education industry hinges on state government commitment to the implementation of the United Nations resolution in making quality education the right of all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills. This also depends on the readiness of government to see the involvement of the private sector in school business as a means of expanding access to quality education rather than profit making venture since education system has a long gestation period of achieving the set goals. The perceived threats inherent in government policy and the deplorable condition of social amenities inhibit effective operation of private sector entrepreneurs in school business, while inadequate provision of qualified teachers, learning resources and infrastructural facilities by the proprietors, impede capacity development of students’ entrepreneurial skills and learning outcome in secondary schools.

6.2. Recommendations

Based on the findings and conclusion of the study, the following recommendations were made in order to improve private sector involvement in education enterprise for the achievement of the set educational goals and quality learning outcome in secondary schools.

Government should provide enabling environment to remove the perceived policy threats and extraneous charges by giving constitutional recognition to the role of private sector in the establishment and operation of private secondary schools as an intervention strategy to make the cost of education affordable and expand access to quality education, so as to ensure the full realization of the United Nations conventions epitomized in EFA Goals, MDGs and the UBE Goals in Nigeria.

The school proprietors should provide adequate learning resources, standard infrastructural facilities and employ adequate qualified teachers to enhance effective teaching and learning processes in secondary schools.

The school proprietors should provide constant and comprehensive feedback on students’ academic performance through the Parents - Teachers Association meetings, e-mail and text messages to parents in order to sensitize and encourage them for prompt payment of schools fees and provision of the required textbooks and other learning materials for their children/wards to achieve better learning outcome in secondary schools.

School proprietors should collaborate with relevant stakeholders to organise periodic capacity development seminar/workshop to improve teachers’ knowledge, pedagogical skills and competence in curriculum delivery, and educational managers (Proprietors/Principals) on human resource management and instructional supervision to enhance the quality of curriculum instruction and students’ learning outcome in secondary schools.

Government should improve the condition of social amenities such as road network and electricity supply in both rural and urban areas to enhance private sector entrepreneurs’ involvement in the establishment and operation of quality-oriented secondary schools for students’ entrepreneurial skills development and better learning outcome in secondary schools.

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