Background of the Study
Pre-primary education is very important in overall development of children. It helps the child acquire worthwhile knowledge, values, habits and skills that will enable him grow up as a useful and contributory member of the society. This is because, early childhood experiences form the foundation of an individual’s lifelong learning capabilities and social behaviours. Pre-primary education can therefore be described as the bedrock upon which other tiers of education are built. According to Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, 2004:11) pre-primary education/early childhood education is education given in an educational institution to children before their entering the primary school. It includes the crèche, the nursery and the kindergarten. Chukwu(2011) viewed pre-primary education as the overall development of the child, physically socially and intellectually as well the foundation for life.
It is in recognition of the importance of pre-primary education that various conferences and events such as the Jotiem Declaration World Summit (1990) and Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC, 1989) have declared that pre-primary education is a very critical factor for national development. Sequel to this, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 2010) affirmed that pre-primary education gives children the chance to escape poverty, build a more secured future and realize their potentials. Barnet (2006) in support of this view noted that pre-primary education has positive effect on educational development of children in their later years and investing in it yields positive returns. In a similar view, Maduewesi (2005) opined that quality care and education in the early years can give children expanded opportunity and act as spring board for success in life.
Recognizing the indispensability of pre-primary education in the development of children, the Federal Government intensified efforts to see that every child benefits from pre-primary education by integrating pre-primary sections in almost all existing public primary schools. Furthermore, the government hoped to provide qualified pre-primary school teachers in adequate number, contribute to the development of pre-primary school curriculum, supervise and control the quality of such institutions (FRN, 2004:11).To this end pre-primary education has to be properly coordinated through well articulated administration.
Peritemode (2003) defined administration as a discipline that is concerned with facilitating the accomplishment of school organization through systematic utilization of available human and material recourses. Ochai(2012) viewed educational administration as the process whereby the chief executive of the school coordinates the efforts and activities of the staff towards the achievement of the goals of the school. Therefore the educational administrator has the duty of planning, organizing, supervising, directing and coordinating human and material resources of the school so as to realize the goals and objectives of the educational system. This means that the success or failure of any school organization depends largely on the nature of its administration. In consonance with this, Hallowel, 2013 and Hyattractions (2012), showed that the educational system cannot function effectively with weak administration. Ike-Obioha (2007), Olachukwu (2008) and Grang (2011) also showed that poor leadership can lead to administrative practices which can result to series of problems in the school.
The major task areas of the school administrator according to Peritemode (1995) are: staff personnel administration, pupil personnel administration, curriculum development and instruction, management of school finances, school physical facilities and school community relationships.
Staff personnel administration lies at the center of any school organization. It is concerned with the recruitment, welfare, training, supervision, motivation and discipline of staff. Proper selection, organization and provision of conducive learning environment for staff will increase staff morale and maximize productivity. Mgbodile (2003) pointed out that although plans and policies can be beautifully laid down on paper but it is the teacher factor that stands out as the deciding factor whether or not the desired goals will be achieved. Onu (2007) is of the view that only satisfied teachers will be stable and committed to their job. Hence even if required equipment and necessary infrastructure are available but there are no competent and dedicated teachers to man them, the objectives of the school may not be realized. Therefore staff recruitment, supervision, motivation, and discipline deserve serious attention otherwise the head teacher will encounter problems with staff management.
Pupil personnel administration is also a very crucial component of school administration which if not properly handled may pose problems to the head teacher. It refers to all administrative decisions and actions that affect the pupils as well as those services provided to pupils to maximize learning. Akudo (2008) observed that the functions of pupil personnel administration includes admission, registration, enrolment, students’ classification, provision of essential services such as guidance and counseling services as well as development of the needs and interests of individual pupils. Head teachers have the task of providing pupils’ needs, interests as well as protecting their rights and this may not be achieved in the absence of conducive learning environment.
It is believed that the location of the school could influence the nature of administrative problems faced by head teachers For instance, Onyiliofor (2011) observed that the location of the school (urban/rural) can be a yard stick for judging the quality of a school. He is of the view that incompetent teachers, lack of learning facilities and infrastructures characterize rural schools. Udofot (2005) also noted that teachers in rural areas lack motivation from government and school administration. Ibe (2006), Ateeque (2008) and Obanya (2001) in their separate studies showed that disparities exist between problems in urban and rural schools. Some scholars however believe that problems that manifest in schools depend largely on the head teacher’s administrative practices and availability of necessary facilities (Ojiefiegbu 2008, Grang 2011 and Olachukwu 2008).
Management of school facilities is also an important task of the school administrator. This implies keeping the facilities in good condition and ensuring that they are properly utilized. This is because, according to Adesina (1998), one of the most potent index for evaluating educational standard and qualities is an examination of physical facilities available for teaching and learning. Adequate funding and prudent management of available resources is the soul and heart of effective school organization. Funds are necessary for the procurement of necessary facilities but proper accounting and effective management is very critical for successful realization of set goals. Ike-Obioha (2007) noted that resource management appears difficult for head teachers in Imo State. According to Akubue (2007), to ensure qualitative education, sufficient resources must be provided in schools and such resources have to be properly managed.
Administration of instructional programs is one of the most important responsibilities of the school administrator. Schools exist primarily to inculcate worthwhile values, attitudes, skills and competencies to the child. This explains why the cardinal index of performance evaluation of the school administrator rests on his ability in instructional management. A school cannot be adjudged effective if it is lagging behind in academic performance and instructional delivery. Ibiam and Ugwu (2007) observed that teachers lack skills and methodologies to implement reforms in basic education. Ibiam (2011) also revealed that some ignored areas in the administration of early childhood education include: unsuitable curriculum, inadequate provision of instructional materials and poor learning environment. If these essential components of pre- primary education are ignored, the head teacher is bound to encounter problems with his task.
Furthermore, the task of the school administrator includes school- community relationship. This is because the school derives most of its strength and support from the community in which it is situated and this makes it difficult for the school to function effectively without the support of the community. Olachukwu (2008) revealed that head teachers do not integrate the community in school administration. This is supported by Grang (2011) who also observed that head teachers are ineffective in school community relationship.
Chenng and Cheung (2003) have observed that efforts to enhance organizational effectives since the 1990s have featured participatory management. This implies that the school should work in collaboration with the community. In order words parents and the staff should work together in tackling the problem of the children.
The scope of school administration is very extensive and highly demanding and it appears very challenging a for head teachers in Anambra State pre-primary schools. This is evident in the poor quality of the state public primary schools which also house the pre-primary section. Ogonor and Sanni(2001) described these schools as shabby with neglected structures and broken furniture. Elui and Bosah(2007) observed that facility provisions in early childhood centers in Anamba State were abysmally low. In a similar view Agu, Anyikwa and Olibie(2009) observed that physical, human and learning facilities were grossly inadequate in both public and private early child care centers in Anambra State. Ojiefiebu(2008) noted that head teachers were inexperienced and lacked expertise to identify and manage available resources some researchers assigned that some schools are located in the rural areas and such schools lack motivation from the government and school administration. While some these criticisms may have some merits, one would like to investigate and identify the current administrative problems encountered by head teachers of pre-primary schools in Anambra State pre-primary schools and to ascertain whether any significant difference exist in problems encountered by head teachers in urban and rural pre-primary schools.
Statement of the Problem
It is worrisome that despite the global emphasis on the importance of quality pre-primary education on the overall development of children and its contribution to national development, it appears that this level of education has not received the attention it deserves in Anambra State. This has resulted to several problems which have attracted criticisms from parents, eminent scholars and various stakeholders in education.
These problems manifest in poor learning environment and poor pupils’ achievement. Most of these schools have dilapidated classrooms with sinking roofs and broken walls and many people believe that the sight of the schools depict the nature of teaching and learning that go on in them. Poor learning environment could retard children’s capabilities thereby inhibiting the full realization of the goals of pre-primary education in Anambra State. It is therefore necessary to investigate and ascertain the problems encountered by head teachers in the administration of pre-primary schools in Anambra State and to determine whether school location influence the administrative problems encountered by head teachers.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to determine the administrative problems encountered by head teachers of pre- primary schools in Anambra State and to determine whether the location of the school contribute to such problems. Specifically, the study intends to:
1. Identify staff–personnel problems encountered by head teachers of pre-primary schools in Anambra State.
2. Establish the extent to which student- personnel administration pose problems to head teachers of pre-primary schools.
3. Ascertain the problems encountered by head teachers of pre-primary schools in the area of curriculum development and instruction.
4. Investigate the problems faced by pre-primary school head teachers in managing physical facilities.
5. Find out the administrative problems faced by head teachers of pre- primary schools in relation to financial management.
6. Ascertain the problems encountered by head teachers in managing school community relationship
Significance of the Study
The study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the study will provide supportive evidence to childhood and administrative theories reviewed. However, the study is anchored on behavioral science theory. This theory believes that the best approach to organizational effectiveness is through adequate consideration of the man, his job and the environment. The man element in the present study includes the staff personnel and the student personnel. The job element involves curriculum development and instruction while the environment includes the physical facilities, finance and the school community.
Practically, the study is expected to be of immense benefit to Federal and State Ministries of Education, school administrators, teachers, the school community and the children. The results of this study is hoped to be significant to the Federal and State Ministries of Education who are responsible for making educational policies. It will reveal areas of needs for improvement in the various operational areas of pre-primary school administration and help to develop new and better strategies for tackling them.
The study will equally benefit school administrators because it will help them understand the need to look for alternative ways of sourcing supplementary fund rather than relying solely on the government. It will also reveal problems associated with poor maintenance culture and poor accounting system.
The study will as well reveal the problems associated with staff and pupil- personnel administration. It will also x-ray the level of involvement of the school-community in school affairs.
Teachers will not be left out from the benefits that will accrue from this study because it will expose their problems in the area of curriculum development and instruction. This will prompt them to seek new and better methods of curriculum delivery, particularly in pre-primary schools where play way method of instruction and the mother tongue or the language of the immediate community as language of instruction are emphasized.
The study will also be of immense benefit to the community because if these problems are identified and made known to the community, they will assist in solving them thereby improving the quality of education given to their children. The children will in turn benefit from the study because knowledge of the problems by all stake holders in pre-primary education will make all of them work for improvement of the sector. This will bring greater effectiveness in the implementation and achievement of the goals of pre-primary education in Anambra State.
Scope of the Study
The study focused on public pre-primary schools in Anambra State. Administrative problems encountered by head teachers were delimited to problems encountered in the Six major task areas of the school administrator; staff-personnel administration, pupil personnel administration, curriculum development and instruction, school financial management, management of physical facilities and school- community relationship.
The study was guided by the following research questions:
1. What are the staff personnel problems faced by head teachers of pre-primary schools in Anambra state?
2. In what ways does pupil personnel administration pose problems to head teachers of pre-primary schools?
3. What are the problems encountered by head teachers of pre-primary schools in the area of curriculum development and instruction?
4. What problems do head teachers of pre-primary schools face in the administration of physical facilities?
5. What are the problems faced by head teachers of pre-primary schools in managing school finances?
What are the problems faced by head teachers of pre-primary schools in the