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AN APPRAISAL OF SENIOR STAFF TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT SCHEMES IN FEDERAL COLLEGES OF EDUCATION IN THE NORTH EAST NIGERIA FROM 2009 TO 2014

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CHAPTER ONE

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1       Background to the Study

 

Human resources development lies at the heart of every economic, social and educational development. It is also a vital component for achieving internationally agreed sustainable development goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals, (MDGs) and for expanding opportunities to all people, particularly the most vulnerable groups and individuals in the society.

Over the years, the concept of human resources development has evolved from solely focusing on individual capacity to building institutional capacity at the international level, through socio-economic policies and development plans and strategies. Human resources development is, therefore, regarded as facilitating the development of human capacities to achieve sustainable, inclusive, equitable development and, at the same time, enhance well-being of individuals.

As global labour markets both shape and adapt to the emerging occupational structures of growing economies, human resources development strategies must balance the demands of new employment sectors with the supply of required skills.  Information and Communication Technology (ICT), education, and agricultural development, are among the most vital sectors for the socio-economic development in almost all countries.

Furthermore, at the regional level, African public and the private sectors are experiencing a significant phase of decline with regard to service delivery (Allen, 2006). This has seen limited investment in human capital development and a notable exodus of available skills which has added to acute shortage due to lack of training and development (Bakan, Ersahan, Buyukbese, 2013). Therefore, the need to enhance training and development for the educational sector has become particularly important in developing countries. This shortage could be resolved by a significant investment in human capital and workplace exposure which can rapidly develop skills in addition to interpersonal and analytical training and development. Against this backdrop, most organizations are affected by weak service delivery, with employees in the organization not performing their tasks up to expected standards.

Coming closer home, Staff Training and Development are subsumed under the umbrella of Human Resources Management whose main objective is to improve and increase an organization’s effectiveness. Employee training and development are essential to the success of every organization.  Although technology and the internet have enabled global collaboration and competition, employees are still the organization’s competitive advantage.  Manpower training and development enable employees to develop skills and competence necessary to enhance bottom-line results for their organizations (Beebe, Mottet, & Roach, 2012).

Every organization is established for a purpose, and the purpose of any organization is achieved through people who are the source of existence of the organization (Bhati, & Ashokkumar, 2013). Therefore, this assertion underscores the necessity for staff training and development in organizations. Manpower training and development seeks to improve the performance of work units, departments, and the whole organization. It takes an in depth look at where an organization stands in comparison to where it hopes to be in the future, and consciously develops the skills and resources to get there. The ultimate goal of staff training and development is to enable the organization to grow stronger in achieving its purpose and mission.

According to Okotoni  and Erero (2005) training has become more obvious given the growing complexity of the work environment, the rapid change in organizations and technological advancement which further necessitates the need for training and development of personnel to meet the challenges. Training and development help to ensure that organizational members possess the requisite knowledge and skills they need to perform their jobs effectively, take on new responsibilities, and adapt to changing conditions (Jones, George & Hill, 2000). They further argued that training “helps improve quality, customer satisfaction, productivity, morale, management succession, business development and profitability”. In order to enhance efficiency and effectiveness, organizations embark on the following;

  1. Human Resource Development: The process of equipping individuals with the understanding, skills and access to information, knowledge and training that enables them to perform effectively.

 

  1. Organizational Development: The elaboration of management structures, processes and procedures, not only within organizations but also the management of relationships between the different organizations and sectors (Public, Private and Community).

 

  1. Institutional and Legal Framework Development: Making legal and regulatory changes to enable organizations, institutions and agencies at all levels and in all sectors enhance their capacities (Abiodun, 1999).

 

The recognition that human resources are the most valuable assets for improving productivity of any organization, since the management of other resources (e.g. information resources, material resources, etc) entirely depends on it, underscores the importance of training and development. This study investigated how the human assets could be developed through training and development.

The importance of training and development is very crucial given the growing complexity of the work environment, the rapid change in organizations and advancement in technology, among other things. Training and development helps to ensure that organizational members possess the knowledge and skills they need to perform their jobs effectively, take on new responsibilities and adapt to changing conditions.

Elaborating further on the importance of human resources development (HRD), the International Labour Office (ILO) (2000) affirmed that development and training improves trainees’ prospects of finding and retaining a job, improves productivity at work, and income earning capacity. It also improves living standards, widens career choices and opportunities. Management experts also argue that a major function of a manager is to develop people and to direct, encourage and train subordinates for optimum utilization. To Stahl (1986), training helps prepare employees for certain jobs that are unique to the public sector.

Training, physically, socially, intellectually and mentally are very essential in facilitating not only the level of productivity but also the development of personnel in organizations. Therefore, training can be put in a context relevant to school administrators. Moreover, knowledge is the ability, the skill, the understanding, the information, which every individual requires in order to function effectively and perform efficiently.

Abiodun (1999) submitted that training is a systematic development of the knowledge, skills and attitudes required by employees to perform adequately on a given task or job. It can take place in a number of ways, on the job or off the job; in the organization or outside the organization. Adeniyi (1995) observed that staff training and development are work activity that can make very significant contribution to the overall effectiveness and profitability of an organization. He provided a systematic approach to training which covers the main elements of training.

Staff training and development, according to Cumming (1980:118), means “the provision of facilities and opportunities for people to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to perform the jobs for which they are employed, and to develop personal potentials to meet the present and future needs of organisations.” Training is the planned and systematic modification of behaviour through learning events, programs, and instructions which enable individuals to achieve the levels of knowledge, skill, and competence to carry out work efficiently, while development is the growth or realization of a person’s ability and potential through the provision of learning and education experiences in a way that employees will be prepared to take on new responsibilities.

In Nigeria, among the various educational institutions through which the nation hopes to achieve its developmental goals, Colleges of Education were identified among the higher institutions of learning. Following the publication of the National Policy on Education (1977), it articulated the dream of having Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) as the minimum qualification for entry into the Teaching profession. This dream was to be realised by the establishment of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) by its enabling Decree No.3 of April, 1989, thus completing what is known as the “tripod of excellence” (National Universities Commission, NUC; National Board for Technical Education NBTE; and National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE) as the supervisory and regulatory bodies of Universities, Polytechnics, and Colleges of Education in Nigeria.

Colleges of Education in Nigeria started as an inspiration of external aid from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to the Nigerian Government. (NCCE, 2014).  They were named Advanced Teachers Colleges which later transformed into Colleges of Education. Today, Colleges of Education are classified into Federal, State, Military, Religious or Private, according to their proprietors.  Another level of classification is according to the bias of the programmes.  Thus we have “Conventional,” “Technical,” and “Special” types of Colleges of Education.  Undoubtedly, the realisation that Colleges of Education are tools for national development, have led to an unbridled quest for, and vigorous expansion of Colleges of Education in Nigeria (NCCE, 2013).  According to a National Commission for Colleges of Education report (2013), “there are one hundred and five (105) accredited Colleges of Education comprising twenty one (21) federal, forty four (44) state owned, thirty eight (38) private, and one (1) each for military and National Teachers Institute (NTI).  Colleges of Education are essentially set up to achieve certain stated goals and objectives. According to NCCE Report (2013) broadly, a College of Education’s main functions, among others are:

  1. i) To contribute significantly to meeting in numerical terms the recurrent and expanding needs of a highly motivated, conscientious and efficient classroom teachers for primary and secondary levels of education;
  2. ii) To epitomise a strong tradition of excellence in teaching functional or job oriented research activities, scholarship, institutional organisation and management, and community related services;

 

iii)     To impart to its students the occupational knowledge and skills needed for the teaching of technology relevant to the Nigerian economy as well as develop the capacities for national self management.

 

The performance of these onerous tasks by Colleges of Education depends upon the quantity, quality, and calibre of the staff the Colleges’ system are able to employ, train, develop and maintain. As aptly captured by Onah (2014:131): –

The inexorable march of time and the ceaseless clamour for social change combine to make adaptability and continuing preparation of the workforce as inevitable as the initial acquisition of knowledge and skills. This cannot happen if staff training and development do not occur in an enterprise. In order to maximize the productivity and efficiency of the organization, every executive, manager, or supervisor in a public or private enterprise has a responsibility and indeed the bounding duty to ensure the development of men and women who have requisite knowledge and expertise. The aim is to enable them to contribute their full measure to the welfare, health, and development of the enterprise.

 

Likert (1967:1) equally made a similar analysis that: –

All the activities of any enterprise are initiated and determined by the persons who make up that institution.  Plants, offices, computers, automated equipment, and all else that a modern firm uses are unproductive except for human effort and direction of all the task of management, managing the human component is the central and most important task because all else depends on how well it is done.

 

Accordingly, of all the organisational resources which are made up of men, materials, money, machines, and, methods (the 5-m of organisational management), the human resources (men) stand out as most crucial. (Hashim, 2013).

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Without an adequate, skilled and well motivated workforce operating within a sound human resource management program, development is not possible. Any organization that underrates the critical role of people in goal achievement can neither be effective nor efficient (Onah, 2008).

Like any other organisation, Colleges of Education are faced with the problems of how to encourage employees to work productively and qualitatively towards the achievements of their set objectives. That this effort succeeds or fails depends very much on the ability of the Colleges to train and develop staff into a productive, competent and skilled workforce which is capable of, and willing to work towards the realisation of their objectives.

As far back as 1963, the meeting of African Institutions of Higher Education concluded that Colleges, Universities, and other institutions of higher learning throughout the world experienced manpower shortages. The meeting attributed the shortages of “qualified…… staff to the rapid expansion of higher education in all parts of the world” (Bhati, and Ashokkumar, 2013).

Brown (`1967:10) in a study of the “mobile professor” in America, also concluded on a similar note that:

Manpower resources capable of teaching at the Colleges and University levels are the nation’s scarcest commodity. Graduate, unlike unskilled manual worker, is very costly to produce and experiences fairly long period of time of formal and informal specialised on-the-job training which can raise his or her earnings in any chosen occupation.  Another factor is the rapid rise in Colleges and University enrolment, increased demands for research that the society places upon its educational institutions, and the increasing generous lures placed before potential faculty members by business and government employers who need their specialised skills.

 

The problem of acute scarcity of qualified staff, notably in the field of vocational, science and technical education in institutions of higher learning in North East, Nigeria is expressed in terms of intense competition among Colleges and Universities for the few available ones.  This often results in suspension or cancellation of academic programmes, and even a fall in academic standards in cases where the capacities of the few available staff have been over-stretched.

These problems have always been highlighted by top functionaries of the Colleges on several occasions. For instance, during a welcome address at the 34th meeting of the Technical Provosts Consultative Committee in 2008, members decried the “difficulties in retaining qualified personnel in certain technical areas like Educational Technology, Material Science etc.

Therefore, as an interim measure, the Colleges went on a training and development exercise which met little success.  This was further confirmed to the officials of the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) at a sensitization workshop in 2009, that the type of programmes in the Colleges required the services of highly specialised lecturers and instructors in good number and mix, who were not only difficult to come by, but often difficult to retain their services in the teaching profession. To make matters worse, the Universities always dangle juicy appointments to members of staff who returned from training, especially lecturers who obtained Doctors of Philosophy (Ph.D) in their fields of endeavour.

In other words, from 2009 to 2014, virtually all the Colleges of Education in the North East witnessed an exodus of many qualified staff with Masters or Ph.D, most especially from the Federal College of Education (Technical) Gombe (37), Federal College of Education Yola (20), and Federal College of Education (Technical) Potiskum (23) to older Universities within the zone or to the newly established nine Federal Universities across the nation. (Establishment Divisions, FCE Gombe, Yola, & Potiskum, 2014)

Table 1: Exodus of staff from the three Federal Colleges of Education, North East, Nigeria.

CollegeYearsMastersPhDSub total
FCE (T) Gombe20092Nil2
FCE (T) Gombe2010415
FCE (T) Gombe2011617
FCE (T) Gombe2012415
FCE (T) Gombe2013729
FCE (T) Gombe2014819
Total  31637

Source: Establishment Division, FCE (T) Gombe.

CollegeYearsMastersPhDSub total
FCE Yola2009Nil11
FCE Yola20102Nil2
FCE Yola2011325
FCE Yola2012224
FCE Yola2013224
FCE Yola2014314
Total  12820

Source: Establishment Division, FCE  Yola

 

 

 

CollegeYearsMastersPhDSub total
FCE (T) Potiskum20092Nil2
FCE (T) Potiskum20102Nil2
FCE (T) Potiskum2011314
FCE (T) Potiskum2012415
FCE (T) Potiskum2013516
FCE (T) Potiskum2014314
Total  19423

Source: Establishment Division, FCE (T) Potiskum.

One immediate consequence of this massive senior staff movement is acute shortage of manpower, especially academic staff in the Colleges.  For example, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) reported that academic staff-student ratio should, under an ideal situation be 1:10, while the Federal Ministry of Education (1988) came up with a 1:12 ratio as an ideal figure for Nigeria.  But the current ratio of academic staff/students in most Colleges is in the region of 1:300.  Evidently, one can see from this picture that there is much to be done in terms of achieving the manpower needs of the Colleges in order to improve the situation.  The obvious and discomforting effect of this staff shortage, in particular, is that it has placed serious strains on the academic programmes, teaching standards and other activities of many Colleges in Nigeria, especially the Federal Colleges in the North East (Onah and Anikwe, 2016).

One way out of this dilemma is to again embark on “aggressive” staff training and development programmes in order to meet the growing needs of the Colleges’ for  present and future expansion and also for discharging their basic obligations. This aggressive staff training and development was luckily further boosted in 2012 by the special intervention of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND). The Academic staff training and development department of TETFUND was thus established in 2012 to carry out inspection visits to Academic Intervention Programme/Project sites, including capacity building & Training intervention programmes in beneficiary institutions (TETFUND, 2014). Funds are allocated specifically for Training and Development of members of staff. According to TETFUND (2014) Annual Report, the following are some of the conditions and requirements attached:

  1. The amount of funds for staff training and development is to be held by TETFUND and disbursed accordingly,

 

  1. The amount is for academic staff training and development only,
  • The funds shall be used for:
  1. Sponsorship of academic staff for postgraduate training within and outside Nigeria,

 

  1. Academic staff development through sponsorship for short term doctoral research (i.e. PhD candidates in pure and applied sciences for exposure and access to state-of-the-art facilities) for lecturers already pursuing their doctoral degree courses in Nigeria,

 

  1. Priority shall be given to Science Education and Instructional Systems Designing, Sciences, Technology, and Engineering based courses and programs,

 

  1. The list of nominated academic staff should be forwarded to TETFUND using some designed forms for vetting and reconciliation.

 

Accordingly, the specific problem the research addressed was to investigate the nature of staff training and development and the reasons for the colleges’ inability to retain their trained staff. The research sought to answer the following questions:

  1. How effective are the staff training and development Schemes of the Federal Colleges of Education in the North East?

 

  1. What are the problems militating against the effective implementation of the Senior staff training and development Schemes of the Federal Colleges of Education in the North East, Nigeria?

 

  1. Why are Federal Colleges in the North East unable to retain staff after they have undergone training and development?

 

  • Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to appraise the effectiveness and adequacy of senior staff training and development Schemes of Federal Colleges of Education in the North East, Nigeria,

The specific Objectives are to:

 

  1. Analyse the effectiveness of staff training and development Schemes of the Federal Colleges of Education in the North East, Nigeria;

 

  1. Identify the problems militating against the effective implementation of the Senior staff training and development Schemes of the Colleges,

 

  1. Find out the reasons for the Colleges’ inability to retain staff after they have undergone training and development.

 

  • Significance of the Study

 

This study has both theoretical and empirical significance. Empirically, the study will enable the Management of Colleges of Education to better appreciate the relationship between training and development Schemes and the challenges associated with its effectiveness. The study will also enable Colleges of Education identify the problems militating against the effective implementation of training and development Schemes and device appropriate policies that would be relevant for staff performance. This study will further identify the reasons of the Colleges’ inability to retain staff despite efforts made to train them. In view of the problems associated with staff training and development Schemes in Colleges of Education in general and Federal Colleges of Education (Technical) Potiskum, Gombe, and Yola in particular, the issues would dominate the Educational intellectual discourse for a long time.

Theoretically, this study will help scholars and the government to ascertain the causes of the Colleges’ inability to retain staff. It will also help in understanding the major problems militating against the effective implementation of the senior staff training and development policies of the Colleges through its findings. The study will therefore enrich the existing literature on problems of staff training and development Schemes in Colleges of Education in Nigeria.

  • Scope And Limitations of the Study

1.5.1          Scope of the Study

This research examined issues that relate to training and development of senior staff of Federal Colleges of Education Potiskum, Gombe, and Yola in the North East, Nigeria, from 2009 to 2014. The period (2009 – 2014) was chosen because it marked a watershed in terms of intense competition among Colleges and Universities for the few available qualified staff on one hand, and the intervention of TETFUND in staff training and development in Nigerian institutions on the other, in addition to the regular staff training and development programmes of the Colleges.

1.5.2    Limitations of the Study

A study of this nature is not without limitations. The power outages and internet failures frustrated the pace of the work, the security challenges in the North East also made concentration hard and travelling to obtain materials practically difficult. Nonetheless, the provision of a standby generator, internet modem, and using research assistants in the affected Colleges greatly enhanced the realization of this study.

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