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PRIVATE OWNERSHIP AND EDUCATIONAL MANAGEMENT: ISSUES AND CHALLENGES
Lagos is documented as a centre of spontaneous development of private schooling targeting families from the ultra-rich, to the relatively poor. There is much debate in the literature on the potential of private secondary education as part of a solution for achieving Education for All, in terms of equity in access to these schools, and also their quality and other aspects. This research work examined Private ownership and educational management: issues and challenges with special reference to Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State. In doing this, the research discussed the structure of ownership of schools (Public and Private) in Nigeria and examined the reasons that could have brought private practitioners on board of the educational ladder of the country. The research further examined the common features that characterize Nigerian public schools such as low carrying capacity, dearth of infrastructures among others.
The research adopted descriptive research design method and simple random sampling technique was used in the selection of samples. Fifty (50) samples were drawn from twelve thousand and ninety-eight (12,098) private schools in Lagos. Data were garnered with the use of questionnaire and interviews administered to the schools and Ministry of Education, Lagos state, also to Education District 1 which covers Alimosho Local Government. Data gathered were presented on tables and analysed with the use of percentage, graph and charts.
As commendable as the efforts of private secondary schools in Lagos are in promoting learning, some challenges such as funding, unqualified teachers as well as aiding and abetting examination fraud were identified and discussed.
Recommendations as to funding and managing private secondary schools to standard were proffered.
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The Management and administration of the Nigeria Educational system is by law vested concurrently in the hands of the Federal, State and Local Government. Whereas the Federal and State Governments carry out their responsibility and duties on education through the respective ministries of Education which according to Ajayi and Oni (1992) essentially render administrative and professional services, the Local Government administers elementary education under its jurisdiction through Local Governments Education Authority. The contribution of the three tiers of governments is equally complemented by the efforts of the private entrepreneurs and professional associations such as the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and corporate agencies, among others. In addition, there have been commendable efforts of philanthropists and community members who are committed to reviving education service delivery in Nigeria.
The great public benefits of education have historically prompted governments to assume the primary role in managing and funding schools. Recently, a growing interest in improving school quality and student outcomes, and a quest for greater school choice for parents and students, and for more creativity and innovation in the schools, themselves, have challenged the notion of government’s primacy in education ((Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)), 2006; Brewer and Hentschke, 2009). This trend, emerging in a number of countries, is based on the belief that the public interest in education can be better served by also involving private entities, including parents, non-governmental organisations and enterprises, in addition to government agencies, in managing and funding schools.
Advocates of private schools argue that private involvement in school management leads to more efficiency and responsiveness to parents’ demands. Principals in these schools have more autonomy to manage than public school principals do, although the extent of school autonomy varies across countries. Privately managed schools may have the authority to hire and compensate teachers and staff, and thus can select better-prepared teachers and introduce incentives for performance. Privately managed schools may also have more discretion on curricula and instructional methods, and so can adapt them to the interests and abilities of their students. In addition, privately managed school shave greater incentives to reduce costs and may be subject to more flexible regulations. The need to attract students means that privately managed schools must be more sensitive to parents’ demands concerning curricula, teaching methods, facilities and discipline, and more responsive to students’ needs.
Advocates also argue that the existence of private schools creates a useful competition that can improve the productive efficiency of public schools, as well, and benefit the entire system. The families, non-profit organisations or enterprises that fund private schools are more likely to demand better student outcomes and hold the school accountable. Parents of children in public schools – and staff in these schools – may then begin comparing the quality of education available in other schools and start demanding higher standards too. Advocates also point out that more funding from families and private institutions would ease governments’ obligation to invest in education.
This research project tends to examine the Issues and Challenges of Private Ownership and educational management with special reference to Lagos State.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Over the years, public schools in Nigeria have not been given concern, this is ascribed to the population increase or the inability of government to provide more schools and facilities to meet its population needs or due to high level of corruption in the country. This neglect in the educational system, has left Nigeria with poor quality public education, weak management of education, inadequate implementation of policies, and poor tracking and monitoring of education budgets.
The failure of public schools to provide basic opportunities for learning, low teaching standards and inadequate training for teachers has provide a window for private entrepreneurship at all levels of education. While tertiary education is largely owned by government, private ownership is almost taking over the primary education.
Ownerships has seen themselves as a partner in the provision of quality education to the teeming population of Lagos State, which cannot be undertaken alone by the state. Thus, private individuals and groups establish their own schools, albeit on competitive basis and manage them within the framework of the National Policy on Education (NPE). Private schools charge their own fees, formulate their own admission policy, recruit their own teachers and of course have their own career guidelines.
Thus, the satisfaction derived by the rich and poor in terms of quality education in the state constitute a problem between the public and private schools on quality control albeit, on ensuring quality inputs and quality output.
The issue of excellence and quality assurance in education should be of primary concern to any Society, governments and parents alike. Private schools and education are almost entirely exclusive; those who pursue education in these institutions must pay for the services they enjoy. Considering the fact that public schools do not enjoy a lot of public confidence at the moment, owing to decaying infrastructure and years of neglect, it seems parents are favouring privately run schools as viable alternative to the crumbling public school structure.
At the same time, there are some major challenges associated with a move to private schools. Some private schools need to be so profit oriented that they will be tempted to cut corners and deprive students of extra-curricular activities, services and enrichment
In view of the above, the study is aimed at proffering lasting solutions to those identified problems. The study further tends to find out the problems encountered by both the government and the private entrepreneurs in the delivery of secondary education in Lagos State.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The aim of this research study is to examine the issues and challenges of private ownership and educational management in Lagos State. The objectives includes:
i. To identify management issues facing private owners in developing and improving the school.
ii. To investigate if fees paid in private schools is commensurate to the performance of students
iii. To examine whether private schools in Lagos are of standard as required by the guideline of the state ministry of education.
iv. To investigate and compare the performance of private secondary school students in WAEC and NECO 2012 – 2014.
v. To identify the percentage of enrolment in private secondary schools as compared with that of public secondary schools in Lagos State
vi. To examine the role of Education Districts and Ministry of Education in quality assurance of private secondary schools
Research questions are those interrogative statements that arise often from the course of study or alternatively they can be defined as research objectives stated in interrogative form. Research questions are meant to generate possible answers to different aspects of the research problem and they should be clearly stated such that they act as guides in identification, collection and analysis of relevant data. In order to achieve the purpose of this research study, the study will attempt to provide answers to the following research questions in order to arrive at a logical conclusion
i. What are the management issues facing private owners in developing and improving the school?
ii. Are the fees paid in private schools commensurate to the performance of students?
iii. Do private schools in Lagos meet the standard as required by the guideline of the state Ministry of Education?
iv. What are the performance of private secondary school students in WAEC and NECO 2012 – 2014?
v. What are enrolment figures in the management of private secondary schools as compared with that of public secondary schools in Lagos State?
vi. What are the role of Education Districts and Ministry of Education in quality assurance of private secondary schools?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESEARCH
The significance of the research project is to provide both theoretical and practical lasting solution to issues and encountered by private owners of secondary schools in Lagos State. Hence, the research will provide relevant information for individuals who want to invest in secondary education in Lagos State.
Additionally, it could be used by private schools owners to provide some of the likely solutions to the challenges that could affect the efficiency and effectiveness of their investment.
The study will also be of benefits to the state government and most especially, the state Ministry of Education (MOE) in identifying the various issues challenges faced by private secondary school owners with relevant solutions
SCOPE OF STUDY
The premise on which this study is based is, issues and challenges faced by private ownership and educational management in Lagos State. The study covers the history of Private ownership in educational administration in Nigeria, issues and challenges of private secondary schools administration and solutions to address the respective issues.
The population scope covers all secondary school administrators of private schools in Lagos State, Nigeria.
The instruments the research adopts are interviews and a well designed questionnaire. It leaned towards close ended but opportunity was provided for respondents to express personal opinions or comments on what they felt concerning some question.
The questionnaire was administered to proprietors and proprietress of fifty (50) selected private secondary schools in Lagos. To gather more facts interviews were granted to respective private secondary schools.
To justify the private school standards, interviews were granted to Education District and Ministry of Education to identify if private secondary schools met requirements as provided by the government bodies.
Statistically, data garnered were presented and analysed using descriptive statistics such as tables with percentage distribution, bar chart and pie charts.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Words that are frequently used in this research work are short listed here and briefly discussed to enable the reader get equipped with their meaning. Some which are:
FUND: This is an amount set aside for the purpose, which is some special. It is a financial resource, a stock, a supply provided with money.
PRIVATE SCHOOLS: These are schools own, control, directed and operated solely by individual with exception of government hands.
MOTIVATION: It means to cause or make a person to wish to work or act in a certain way.
EXAMINE: To look into and consider carefully the identified issues and challenges in private secondary schools of Lagos state.
PROPRIETORS: The owners of the private secondary school owners in Lagos State.
Infrastructure: The basic structural part of something, e.g roads, sewage bridges, etc regarded as facilities
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