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CHALLENGES FACING THE PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS IN THEIR TEACHING CAREER
1.1 Background to the Study
Primary education is the foundation of formal education. It is an essential component in the echelon of educational system of every nation. In order to qualify for other levels of education one must first pass through primary schools, as such it is an institution upon which all other levels of education and educational achievements are built. It prepares the mind and trains the child for higher and tougher academic pursuits. It provides young learners with the fundamentals of reading, writing, skill acquisition, information and attitudes necessary for proper adjustment into the society.
Majority of teachers in government schools are suffering from various challenges. One among those challenges is concerning with payments. Teachers are entitled to be paid salary, leave allowances and arrears when they get promotion. Teachers’ payment problem emerged since the government started to implement Structural Adjustment Program (SAPs) conditional ties particularly in the mid of 1980s. Prior to the implement action of SAPs conditional ties teachers were paid salaries, leave allowances, transport allowance, rent allowance and teaching allowance. One of the conditional ties imposed by World Bank and IMF through SAPS was the reduction in public spending on social services including education at all levels (Brock Utne, 2006). The reduction of public social services affected teachers’ payments which lead to the challenges to the teachers as follow, rent allowance; motivation, transport allowance and teaching allowances were no longer provided.
Teacher motivation has become an essential issue given their responsibility to impart knowledge and skills to learners. Studies revealed that the performance of teachers was good regardless of the fact that their motivation was inadequate. In addition, a number of teachers do their activities with high morale such as reporting early to school, regular testing and examination of pupils and high turn up of teachers in staff meetings and school occasions mention a few. In order to improve teacher challenges and performance at work, the study recommended the increase of salary for primary school teachers to match with the increasing cost of living standard of life, providing of accommodation to teachers, strengthening of management as well as giving prizes for good performance among teachers.
Sumra (2003) who claims that “teachers are facing many and complex problems. These problems range from low salaries to low status”. Teachers feel that their concerns are not addressed. Since these concerns remain uncertain then teachers feel demoralized and the quality of education including students’ leaning is bound to suffer. John (2010) indicates that: Government schools do not offer quality education because teachers are demoralized to work effectively due to low salaries they get, uncertainty system for promotion and poor treatment they are getting from the government. Also the school environment does not motivate students to learn, and the status of the classrooms is not attractive at all this implies that teachers’ commitment to teach effectively is much affected by their payments.
The challenges teachers are facing in Nigeria are multidimensional. These problems are not helping effective teaching and learning processes. The job description of today’s school leaders is a far cry from what was obtained years ago due to knowledge economy and technological advancement (Egwu, 2009.p.15). Equally, there has been increased pressure from both parents and government to improve learners’ performance and school leadership in Nigerian public schools (Abari 2005. p.131), as school leadership is about providing vision, direction and support towards a different and preferred school (Harris & Muijs, 2005.p.15). Studies indicated that eeffective school leadership makes a significant difference to schools and students learning outcomes (Bush, 2009.p.375; Day, Leithwood, Sammons, Hopkins, Harris, Gu, Brown, Ahtaridou & Kington, 2009.p.2; & Post Primary Teaching Service Commission, 2003.p.4). The roles and responsibilities of teachers as leaders are some of the critical concepts in achieving these goals. Despite the significant roles performed by teachers, the role of a teacher as a leader in most Nigerian schools is limited to teachers’ duties and responsibilities (Aluede, 2009.p.41). Research in educational leadership are dominated by traditional views of leadership which recognize principals as solitary leaders while ignoring the contributions of non-principal staff in schools (Egwu, 2009.p.30; Heck & Hallinger, 1999.p.141; Lassa, 2006.p. xxvi; Stewart, 2003.p.19). Feiman-Nemser (2001.p.1014) claimed that if teachers’ roles are not redefined to be part of decision making process, they are unlikely to teach in ways that meet the demanding new standards. This view is supported by Childs-Bowen, Moller & Scrivner (2000:8) who posited that ‘redefining teachers as leaders will lead to school improvement and learners outcomes.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The challenges teachers are facing in Nigeria are multidimensional. These problems are not helping effective teaching and learning processes. The job description of today’s school leaders is a far cry from what was obtained years ago due to knowledge economy and technological advancement (Egwu, 2009.p.15). Equally, there has been increased pressure from both parents and government to improve learners’ performance and school leadership in Nigerian public schools.
It is observed that aggression, unhealthy behavior, indiscipline and violence in schools is on the increase and have precipitated to falling standards in education (Olujuwon, 2007.p.39; Duze & Ogbah, 2013). Teachers are recognised as agent of change and are instrumental to educational reforms and school improvement (Aluede, 2009.p.41). In spite of teachers’ essential services to national development in the country, the public did not accord appropriate respect to teaching when compared to with other professions (Adelabu, 2005.p.5). In addition, the way and manner in which teachers perceived themselves in the society has a lot to be desired. The professional and personal identity of teachers is completely ignored in reform strategies and educational innovation policies (vanVeen, Sleegers & van de Ven, 2005.p.918).
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of this study is to find out the challenges facing the public primary school teachers in their teaching career, specifically the study intends to;
1. Find out the challenges faced by public primary school teachers in their teaching career
2. To investigate the causes of the challenges that faces the primary school teachers in their teaching career
3. Analyze the effect of the challenges on the work performance of teachers in public primary schools
4. To analyze the strategies the education authorities employ to improve the working conditions of the primary school teachers
1.4 Research Questions
1. What are the challenges faced by public primary school teachers in their teaching career?
2. What are the causes of the challenges that faces the primary school teachers in their teaching career?
3. Is there any effect of the challenges on the work performance of teachers in public primary schools?
4. What are the strategies the education authorities employ to improve the working conditions of the primary school teachers?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
Ho: there is no effect of the challenges on the work performance of teachers in public primary schools
Hi: there is no effect of the challenges on the work performance of teachers in public primary schools
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study helped to inform audience on knowledge and skills about the causes of the challenges that faces the primary school teachers in their teaching career. The study 8 exposed specific challenges that face the teachers in their teaching career and how do they affect the teaching of the primary pupils. Further the study established strategies that can be employed by education authorities to improve the working condition of the primary school teachers to realize quality education to primary school pupils. Moreover the study provided information by giving more reference materials to the interested people, stake holder and other researchers to get deep into this topic by using other approach to overcome the challenges.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This research work will be conducted in Ovia North LGA in Edo state, Public primary school teachers will be selected for this study.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
Finance for the general research work will be a challenge during the course of study. Correspondents also might not be able to complete or willing to submit the questionnaires given to them.
However, it is believed that these constraints will be worked on by making the best use of the available materials and spending more than the necessary time in the research work. Therefore, it is strongly believed that despite these constraint, its effect on this research report will be minimal, thus, making the objective and significance of the study achievable.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Primary school teacher is a person who imparts knowledge to the learner in primary schools using professional skills.
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