Policy Implementation and Achievement of Quality Education

Policy Implementation and Achievement of Quality Education

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In many developing nations of the world,  Nigeria not an exception, education is regarded as one of the major wheels for achieving notable development. Government over the years has formulated a number of policies aimed at developing education at all levels (primary, secondary and tertiary ). While some policies succeeded, others failed due to poor implementation. The aforementioned fact prompted this research work titled ‘Policy implementation and achievement of quality education: A study of public secondary schools in Kosofe Local Government of Lagos State’.  Policies examined in this study include; curriculum development policy, teachers’ recruitment policy,  students/teacher ratio policy,  teachers’ welfare policy,  supervision/monitoring policy,  among others.  Survey research design method  which involved self- designed questionnaire  in collecting data from 120 participants was used for the study . Relevant literature  were reviewed to bring out prominent issues on the subject matter of  this research work. The information for the study was gathered through primary and secondary methods of data collection.  Frequency units and percentages  were used to analyze the background and to answer research questions while chi-square was used for hypothesis testing. The study revealed that educational policies were not adequately implemented due to some factors which included inadequate fund , insufficient educational facilities, inadequate qualified teachers, political instability among others, though the policies were formulated to instill certain skills in students for individual’s sake and societal  development. The study recommended that government should invest heavily in education by providing adequate and well equipped classrooms and laboratories in learning environment as well as ensuring proper maintenance of equipment and facilities in schools with regular and effective monitoring . The study also recommended the inclusion of social and democratic values along with psychomotor competencies in the curriculum among others.



Background of the study    

Education is known to play a pivotal role in the development of a nation. The benefits that education offer are almost in -exhaustive, hence individuals and the society at large care for the provision of qualitative education in a nation/state. For instance, education in Nigeria is an instrument per excellence for effecting national development {FGN.2004}.Education is, thus, expected to play a different roles in national development. This is the reason government invests heavily in the education of its citizens. Secondary education, a subset of the education system, is very necessary in human capital formation. It is the supply base from which tertiary institutions draw their major clientele (students} for admission into their different programmes. It therefore, presupposes that the provision of qualitative education is a sine qua non for the attainment of national educational objectives in particular and Developmental objectives in general.

The apparent decline in the quality of secondary education in Nigeria and the moral decadence in the society have generated lots of concern among the generality of Nigerians.

Government at both the state and federal levels have rolled out series of educational policies aimed at addressing the poor standard of education. Yet, the situation seems to defy a solution. The yearly results of students who sit for Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) are nothing to write home about as a result of inaccessibility to quality education by majority of the students in the secondary schools.

In Nigeria today, quality education has almost become the exclusive preserve of children from rich homes who can afford to pay the private school fees while children from less privileged backgrounds could afford only public schools. Public secondary school students in some parts of Lagos state and indeed most of the states of the federation are taught in an environment with decayed infrastructure, staffed with poorly paid teachers.

Quality Education has become one of the central issues accorded priority in recent educational reform and quality assurance is one of the mechanisms used in achieving it.

At the broadest level, quality education can be viewed as a set of elements that constitutes the input, process and output of the education system which provides services that completely satisfy both internal and external, constituencies by meeting their explicit and implicit expectations, ((Fisher and Grey 2005) .

Harvay and Knight (1996) suggest that quality can be broken down into five different but related dimensions:

1.           Quality as exceptional (e.g high standards)

2.           Quality  as consistency (e.g zero defects)

3.           Quality as fitness for purpose  (fitting customer specifications)

4.           Quality as value for money.

5.            Quality as transformative (an ongoing process that includes empowerment and enhancement of the customer satisfaction).

Policy on the other hand serves the purpose of ensuring that every official action of an organisation has a basis or a backing.  Miller (2002), noted that a policy is a historical or contemporary statement or series of statements which describe and/ or prescribe a course of action. These statements are usually written but they could be oral. They may or may not imply contractual legal obligations.  Additionally, a policy may be developed at different organisational levels and may be binding for only that level or other levels as well.

A policy could be seen as an overall guide that gives the general limits and direction in which an administrative action will follow. A policy brings about a meaningful relationship between business objectives and organisational functions as it discourages deviations from planned courses of action.  Moreover, a policy ensures consistency of action because an organisation is governed by approved principles.

A policy does not have to be rigid, as there should be room for adjustment, if necessary, after its formulation. Perhaps, this is why Odunuga and Ajila (2000)  believe that ‘’policies are not only formulated but also programmed, communicated monitored and evaluated’’.

The non-rigidity of policies is confirmed by Ademola (2007) describes policy making as  a process of successive approximation to some desired objectives, in which what is desired itself continue to change under consideration’’. In fact, a good policy is one that can be reviewed as the need arises. Lindblom believes that a wise decision maker cannot expect a hundred percent success of all policies. Regardless of how good a policy is, its implementation may introduce some elements of imperfection. In education, as in other fields of human endeavour, every official action has a backing. This is the purpose of policy. Educational policies provide the direction for educational activities.

Education, according to Fuller (2004) consists of 2 components. Fuller classified these two components into inputs and outputs. According to him, inputs consists of human and material resources and outputs are the goals and outcome of education process. Both the inputs and outputs form a dynamic organic whole and if one wants to investigate and assess the educational system in order to improve the performance, effects of one component on the other must be examined.

Instructional resources which are educational inputs are of vital importance to the teaching of any subject in the school curriculum.  It helps in depth understanding of the lesson by the students in such that lesson is made attractive thereby arresting their attention and in turn motivating them to learn better.  It is also very important to have sufficient and adequate human resources in terms of qualified teachers for the teaching of all subjects in the school curriculum. Without the teachers as the implementing factors, the goals of educational policies cannot be achieved.

In order to achieve a just and egalitarian society as spelt out in the Nigerian National Policy of Education (2004), schools should be properly  and uniformly equipped to promote sound and effective teaching. Suitable textbooks, qualified teachers and well equipped libraries should be provided for schools. Scarcity of these will hinder the educational system from responding more fully to new demand.

Education occurs in many forms for many purposes through many institutions. Examples include early childhood education, kindergarten through to 12th grade, two and four year colleges or universities, graduate and professional education, adult education and job training. Therefore, education policy can directly affect the education people engage in at all ages.

Examples of areas subject to debate in education policy, specifically from the field of schools, include school size, class size, school choice, school privatization, teacher education and certification, teacher pay, teaching methods, curricular content, graduation requirements, school infrastructure investment, and the values that schools are expected to uphold and model.

Read Also:  Strategies for Enhancing Students Interest in Technical Drawing in Senior Secondary Schools

According to the National Policy on Education of Nigeria (NERDC 2004), secondary education is the education children received after primary education before the tertiary stage. The broad goals of secondary education shall be to prepare the individual for useful living within the society and higher education, among others.

Conceptual framework of educational policy in Nigeria

The National Policy on Education stated some principles and rules of actions towards achieving the broad goals of secondary education in Nigeria. Such include:

Curriculum development policy In specific term, secondary education shall:

(a)            Provide all primary school leavers with the opportunity for          education of higher level, irrespective of sex , social status, religious or ethnic background.

(b)          Offer diversified curriculum to cater for the differences in talents, opportunities and future roles.

(c)      Provide trained manpower in the applied science, technology and commerce at sub-professional grades;

(d       Develop and promote Nigerian languages, art and culture in the                   context of  world’s cultural heritage;

(e)       Inspire students with a desire for self improvement and           achievement of excellence;

(f)             Foster National unity with an emphasis on the common ties that unite us in our diversities;

(g)           Raise a generation of people who can think for themselves, respect the views  and feelings of others ,respect the dignity of labour, appreciate those values under our broad national goals and live as good citizens;

(h)          Provide technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for      agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic development. To achieve the stated goals, secondary education shall be for six years duration, given in two stages: a junior secondary school stage and a senior secondary school stage; each shall be of three years duration.

–       Students/teacher ratio policy

According to the National policy of education in Nigeria, 4th edition (2004), the Federal Government shall prescribe the minimum standards of education at all levels.  In this regard, in pre-primary school, there shall not be more than 20 pupils to a teacher and a helper (assistant). In the primary and secondary schools there shall not be more than 35 and 40 pupils respectively to a class. In the technical and vocational colleges, there shall not be more than 20 pupils for practical work.

–       Supervision/monitoring policy

The policy states that the government should establish efficient inspectorate services at federal, state and local government levels to monitor and maintain the minimum standard at all levels of education below the tertiary level. The inspectorate service is to operate as autonomous body supervised by the Minister of Education/ Commissioner for Education as may be appropriate. The goal is to set ,maintain and improve standard in all aspects of the school system. It is to ensure uniform standard and quality control of instructional activities in a school through regular inspection and continuous supervision .It obtains information on problems and difficulties of teachers and institutions and offers practical solution to them. The bodies are to encourage dissemination of information on innovation and progressive educational principles and practices in the school system through publications, workshops, meetings, seminars, and conferences.

–          Teachers’ qualification policy

The minimum qualification to teach in junior secondary school shall be National Certificate of Education (N C E).  For senior secondary school the minimum qualification shall be Bachelor of Education (B Ed). Each subject shall be taught by qualified teacher in the specific field concerned. Such teacher must also   register with the National Union of Teachers  (NUT).

– Promotion policy

Promotion shall be based on performance as recommended by the supervisory bodies at the State and Local Government levels every 3 year. The entry level for NCE  is GL 07, while that of B.Ed is GL 08 with the appropriate remuneration.

– Teacher’s welfare policy

These  are all the motivational and incentive packages geared towards encouraging maximum performance of the teachers. These include compensation and allowances, over-time bonus, leave bonus, on-the-job training, seminars, awards, recognition of commitment and long service e.t.c.

Statement of  the Problem

Achievement of quality education is traceable to proper implementation of the formulated educational policies. It is quite unfortunate that educational policies and goal attainment seem to be irreconcilable in Nigeria.  Over the years, the gap between educational policies and goal attainment due to inadequate implementation of these policies has become a great concern to many observers. Educational policies are initiatives mostly by governments, to determine the direction of an educational system, the gap that often exists between policy formulation and implementation in relation to quality of secondary education necessitated this study.

The research was to assess the policies mentioned above, examine their implementation as well as their effect on students’ performances. The study would further examine some strategies that can be adopted to ensure better policy implementation in order to achieve good quality in secondary education.

Purpose of the study                                                                                                                          

The major purpose of this study was to assess the effects of policy implementation on the provision of quality education. Specifically, the study set out to:

1.   To examine the extent the provided policies has be implemented.

2.   To investigate the implementation of teachers’ welfare policy (e.g          remuneration, overtime allowance, compensation and appreciation packages) influenced job satisfaction.

3.   To examine if there is was any significant relationship between curriculum implementation and students’ performance.

4.   To examine whether the implementation of secondary school policies ensured the achievement of the stated goal of useful living within the society and higher education.

 Research questions                                                                                                                             

The following research questions guided in conducting the investigation:

1      To what extent the provided policies were implemented.

2        Whether the implementation of teachers’ welfare policy (e.g          remuneration, overtime allowance, compensation and appreciation packages) influenced job satisfaction.

3        Whether there was any significant relationship between curriculum implementation and students’ performance.

4     Whether the implementation of secondary school policies ensured the achievement of the stated  goal of useful living within the society and higher education.

 Research  hypotheses                                                                                                                            

The following null hypotheses were formulated to give direction to the study:

Ho1:  There is no significant relationship between curriculum implementation and students’ performance.

Ho2: There is no significant relationship between teachers’ welfare and job satisfaction.

Ho3: There is no significant relationship between class size and teacher’s performance.

Significance of the study

The findings of this study would hopefully increase our general knowledge of the effect of policy implementation on the achievement of quality education.

The findings would as well, contribute to information that can be used in organizing seminars and workshop for school inspectors and supervisors on the improvement of educational policy implementation. It would also be relevant for the on- the -job training of teachers and school heads or principals on the importance of school  policy implementation which would subsequently help to achieve an effective school system.

The findings could also be used by policy formulation and implementation department of the Ministry of Education and other policy making organs of government, especially on measures to adopt in resolving the identified problems hampering the implementation of educational policies in secondary education. The findings of this study would  therefore reveal the best ways or measures to be taken in order to improve the quality of secondary education in Nigeria, through proper educational policy implementation.

Scope of the study

The study focused on policy implementation and quality education in secondary schools and it covered some selected junior and senior secondary schools in Kosofe Local Government Area of Educational District 11, Lagos State.

Definition of terms

Policy:  Policy generally, is explicit or implicit (written or unwritten) statement that guides future thinking, initiatives and actions of   managers .Policies are meant to provide necessary information that will help managers to know what  they can and cannot do when  making decisions.

Educational Policy: This is a general statement, containing principles, regulations and rules, governing decisions about secondary education.

Policy implementation:  This has to do with practical involvement of all human and material resources needed for the attainment of the stated secondary education goals.

Quality: It is the standard of secondary education in one environment when compared with that of another environment .

Academic performance:      This is how well or how bad a student did in an examination that involves reading and studying in the Nigerian secondary education sub sector. It has to do with the cognitive, affective and psycho motor domain of learning.

Teacher’s performance:  These are work related activities expected of a Teacher


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