1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Management committee refers to the process of working with and through others to attain organizational objectives in a changing environment. Franklin (2002) defines management as a distinct process consisting of activities of planning, organization, activating and controlling performance to determine and accomplish stated objectives with the use of human being and other resources. This means that members of SMCs are therefore expected to work with and through the head-teachers, teachers, parents and other educational stakeholders to enhance learners’ academic achievement. According to Dakar Framework of Action (2000), the experience of the decade has underscored the need for better governance of school systems in terms of efficiency, accountability, transparency and flexibility so that they can respond more effectively to the diverse and continually changing needs of the learners.
According to Adeolo (2013), School-Based Management is the process of devolution of power and authority to significant stakeholders to perform statutory responsibilities in the administration, monitoring, evaluation and review of education policy issues for sustainable goal-oriented governance and effective teaching and learning activities to achieve set standards and quality learning outcomes in schools.
Management is the process undertaken by an individual or more individuals to coordinate the activities of others in order to achieve predetermined organizational goals. Management comprises of planning, organizing, staffing, directing, leading and controlling of one or more people or entities for the purpose of accomplishing a goal. Management often embraces determining the long range goals of an organization, designing and developing the objectives, or short range goals and determining both the human and material resources required for the attainment of the predetermined goals. It therefore sets both the ‘means’ and the ‘ends’ in an organization (Okumbe, 1998). School management committees (SMC) play a very important role in determining the goals and strategic plans of the schools which result into achieving high academic performance. School Management Committees also acquire both human and material resources which are very vital aspects in teaching and learning activities and they also create a link between the local communities and the schools hence enhancing conducive atmosphere for learning (Dean, 1995). The SMCs help to enforce discipline in pupils and teachers which is a key factor to better school performance.
In this study, the dependent variable is academic achievement. Kaggwa (2003) defined academic achievement as the quality and quantity of knowledge, skills, techniques and positive attitudes, behaviors and philosophy that students achieve. UNESCO (2013) defined Learning ‘as the process by which people acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes. ‘Quality learning’ encompasses processes through which people acquire the breadth and depth of knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to fully engage in their communities, express their ideas and talents and contribute positively to their societies” This achievement is evaluated by the mark or grade that students attain in tests or examinations done at the end of the topic, term or year or education cycle. Kalule (2006) explained that the scores and grades that each learner obtains measure the degree of academic achievement. This means that the learners’ output in terms of grades, scores in tests and internal and national examinations reflect his or her academic achievement. Poor academic achievement according to Aremu et al (2003) is a performance that is adjudged by the examinee/testee and some other significant as falling below an expected standard. Aremu (2000) stresses that academic failure is not only frustrating to the learners and the parents, its effects are equally grave on the society in terms of dearth of manpower in all spheres of the economy and politics as through this academic a wide range of the community benefit both directly and indirectly.
Other reasons given for poor academic achievement is lack of motivation among the teachers. Sumra (2004) asserts that lack of motivation among the teachers is one factor that has had a significant negative impact on teaching quality. Agyeman (1993) underpin that a teacher who is academically and professionally qualified, but works under unfavorable conditions of service would be less dedicated to his work and thus be less productive. Fry (2003) states that in most of developing countries Teachers wages were considerably below and working environment in rural areas does not attract teachers to work.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The quality of primary education in Tanzania has been deteriorating. Declining of quality of education is evidenced through number of ways including failures of pupils in Primary School Leaving Examination. The assumption is the primary schools’ mass failures are attributed by teacher’s ineffective implementation of school curriculum, which is backed up by weak school academic supervision by the Head teachers (Mosha, 2000). Although many have been said in the literature, not much has been done to identify factors, which cause poor academic performance in Primary Schools in Nigeria.
The task of providing quality education for the citizenry is highly demanding and requires a robust capacity of the school management to organize the material resources to achieve educational aims and objectives in terms of learning outcomes (Adeolu 2013: 39-40). The Education Act (1968) vests the responsibility of management of primary schools on school committees and recognizes the SMC role in mobilizing local support to provide school buildings, furniture, land and teachers’ houses. The SMCs despite being given the priority to manage the schools by the government have in the past failed to discharge their roles in order to boost school performance (Lockeheed, 1994).
Children who complete primary school may still lack the basic skills necessary for work and life (World Bank, 2015:43). This points to a deeper management problem as it seems that SMCs that are supposed to oversee that learning actual takes place seems not to play their roles as evidenced by the poor academic grades as a measure of a learning outcome of any educational process. This necessitates the need to conduct a study with a specific focus on examining the role of School Management Committees as a major stakeholder on the academic achievement of learners in Nigerian schools.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to examine improving academic performance in primary schools through school committees (A case study of selected schools in Abeokuta). The specific objectives of this study include the following:
1. To find out if there is presence of school committees in Primary schools in Abeokuta.
2. To assess the functions of School Committees in the improvement of academic performance in Primary School Leaving Examinations.
3. To investigate the effect of the school committees on the academic performance in Primary School Leaving Examinations in Primary schools in Abeokuta.
4. To find out ways to enhance the functioning of schools committees in improving students’ academic performance in Primary schools in Abeokuta.
5. To examine the impact of school committees in enhancing the performance to teachers in Primary schools in Abeokuta.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The relevant research questions related to this study include the following:
1. Is there presence of school committees in Primary schools in Abeokuta?
2. What are the functions of School Committees in the improvement of academic performance in Primary School Leaving Examinations?
3. What is the effect of the school committees on the academic performance in Primary School Leaving Examinations in Primary schools in Abeokuta?
4. What are the ways to enhance the functioning of schools committees in improving students’ academic performance in Primary schools in Abeokuta?