1.1 Background to the Study
The introduction of the Structural Adjustment Programme in 1980s made the educational system in Nigeria to suffer some severe upheavals, which were set of policies recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) focused at "Poverty Reduction." Much of Nigeria's infrastructure collapsed. It was difficult for the three tiers of government to pay salaries, which meant that teachers in public schools went unpaid. Because a military regime was controlling the country, corrupt officials embezzled money from the educational coffers. To survive, teachers started teaching private lessons, part-time lessons, and evening classes. Unemployed people with degrees saw these teachers’ successes and also began teaching to make earnings. Because of this bootleneck and the fact that public schools are not free, there has been an increasing call towards privatization of education in Nigeria since the mid-1980s.
Recently, there has been a sudden increase in the establishment of private secondary schools due to the liberalization policy of the Federal government. Most parents are of the opinion that the standard of education in private secondary schools is better than that in the public secondary schools. Regarding achievement, Ekundayo (2013) reported that performance is mostly affected by a range of statistical indicators including the student-staff ratio, qualification of teachers, years of experience of the teachers. Today, there are many kinds of private schools in Nigeria: expensive schools for the rich, more affordable schools for the middle class and less cost private schools that might run out of someone’s house or some rented rooms.
The main reason for the establishment of Science Education (Chemistry, Biology and Physics) is to guide the world towards a scientifically literate society. It is important for an understanding of science as it offers personal fulfilment and excitements. Nigerian Government in acknowledging the strategic role science holds for national development has directed University as a matter of policy to admit candidates on a ratio of 60:40 in favour of science courses. The primary index used for assessing scientific advancement through education is the performance of the students. Obemeata (1995) asserted that the achievement of technological development through education depends mostly on the performance of secondary school students in science in which Chemistry is fundamental. Olatoye (2002) opined that science education lays a foundation for work in science-related fields by acquainting learners with specific knowledge skills and attitudes. Ogbonna (2007) observed that there had been a world-wide recognition of science and thereby science education has found a central place in the curricula school at all levels.
Public and private schools are institutions owned by government and individuals respectively. The public schools in Nigeria have Federal, State, and Local Governments as their proprietors while the private schools have individuals, associations or organizations as the owners. Berkeley Parent Network (2009) opined that private schools vary widely and level of parental involvement varies from one private school to the other. What is important for a parent is to choose a private school that has characteristics that match what they are looking for as a family. Parents pay for the cost of educating their children in private schools and therefore tend to be more involved in dictating what the schools offer than parents whose children are attending public schools (Olatoye and Agbatogun, 2009).
The government and especially the parents are very much concerned with the quality and volume of learning acquired by their children, wards, and citizens as this are related to the quality and quantity of the contribution which the individual can make to his immediate family, community and the nation as a whole (Thorndike, 1931). Several studies by Sociologist, Psychologists, and Educationists showed that the type of schools a learner attends has a profound influence on his academic achievement. Bibby and Peil (1974) gave an assertion that private primary schools pupils perform better than pupils in public schools. This view is also supported by Lioyd (1966) as he contended further that the public schools which saw education as a good thing, tended to leave the question of educational success or failure in the hands of the public and their parents. This literally means that education is not taken with all level of seriousness it demands in the public schools. This, of course, is what may be regarded as the general apathy of the citizenry to government’s owned business or property. A situation that has resulted in a lackadaisical attitude of government's workers, including teachers in the public schools tend to believe that an intelligent child would succeed automatically at school without any active assistance coming from them. However, this study shall compare students' academic performance in Chemistry in public and private Secondary School in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State, Nigeria, by selecting ten private and public schools in the area.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Overall academic performance of public and private secondary school students as measured by the results released by the National Examination Council (NECO) and Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCCE) have become a concern for educational sector particularly in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State. Poor academic performance is taken in this study to mean low scholastic achievement that falls short of expectation. Student performance in the West Africa Examination Certificate (WAEC) has revealed that many students are underperforming (Adu, 2006). Frequent incidence of leakages and examination malpractices on the part of the examination bodies may not be entirely unconnected with lack of dedication on the part of teachers, inadequate teaching materials, supervision, qualified staff, exponential enrolment, automatic promotion, low funding of education on the part of government, low level of commitment of students and inadequate provision, broken homes, emphasis on materialism on the part of parents, and incapability on the part of principals.
Some parents and other stakeholders in secondary education have argued that private schools have a more positive attitude towards intellectual development of students and therefore offer higher learning opportunities to their students’ performance in academics. On the contrary, it is felt that governments (owners of public schools) provide little or no intellectual and motivational environment for their students, which in turn has an adverse effect on the students’ academic performance. It is against this background that this study sets out compare students' academic performance in Chemistry in public and private Secondary School in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State, Nigeria, by selecting ten private and public schools in the area.
1.3 Research Objectives
The general objective or main objective of this study is to compare students' academic performance in Chemistry in public and private Secondary School in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State, Nigeria, by selecting ten private and public schools in the area. The specific objectives are:
i) To ascertain the difference in academic performance of private and public secondary school Students in Chemistry in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State?
ii) To examine the extent to which teaching perception of teachers` affect students’ performances in Chemistry in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State
iii) To find out how the problem of teaching and learning environment really affect students’ performance in Chemistry in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State
1.4 Research Questions
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
i) Is there any difference in academic performance of private and public secondary school students in Chemistry in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State?
ii) What is the teaching perception of teachers` affect students’ performances in Chemistry in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State?
iii) What is the problem of teaching and learning environment that is really affecting students’ performance in Chemistry in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were postulated to guide the conduct of this study;
i) Private secondary schools do not really perform better than public secondary schools in Chemistry.
ii) Teaching perception of teachers do not significantly affect students’ performance in Chemistry.
iii) There is no significant difference between teaching and learning environment.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be useful for educational agencies and the ministry of education to reach a concrete conclusion as to what type of secondary school embarked on would be beneficial to the pupils and the government and help to achieve the national goals in education as stated in the curriculum. It will help the parents and guidance to have positive thinking and better understanding as to whether to send their children to either private or public secondary schools. It will also help to shed more light and endure useful information in the achievement of student in both private and public secondary schools.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study compares students' academic performance in Chemistry in public and private Secondary School in Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State, Nigeria. Therefore, ten private and public schools in the area shall be selected for the study.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
This study focuses mainly on the students’ performance in the Chemistry both in private and public secondary school. Though, the study is a generalized issue which is thus expected to cover all private and public secondary schools in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole. But with the situation of things like traffic, constant road accident, industrial strike action embarked upon by teachers’ instructors or educators the research is restricted to Eti-Osa Local Government Area, Lagos State.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Private Schools: these are schools owned and controlled by individual or group of individual or organization who have direct power or authority to fire or sanction any staff who fails to abide by their rules and regulation.
Public Schools: these are schools owned and controlled by government by providing or appointing principals to supervise the work of all the staffs. They make sure government rules and regulations are strictly followed for effective performance. That is, they are indirectly controlled and managed by government.