Background to the study

Learning has been so much associated with the school that some people almost think that learning goes on only in schools. This view of learning has been greatly reinforced by such reference to schools as institutions of learning and to Universities, Polytechnics and College of Education as institutions of higher learning (Okoye, 1987). There is no doubting the fact that much learning goes on in school. The school is particularly and specifically arranged so as to facilitate effective learning. Unfortunately the poor condition of our schools, particularly the primary schools today in the nation raises a lot of anxiety. A cursory look at these school in spite of government efforts reveals schools dominated by dilapidated buildings, school void of good furniture and equipment, schools where instructional materials are either not provided or are inadequate; school that are under-staffed; schools, where teachers’ salaries and allowances are not promptly paid, schools that have not been inspected for the last 15 years; schools where there are no discipline among other things. 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 is 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 profound influence on his academic achievement. For instance, Bibby and Peil (1974) noted that children who attended private primary schools performed 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 good thing, tended to leave the question of educational success or failure in the hands of the public and their parents. This implies that the business of education is not taken with all the 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 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.

A study jointly carried out by the Federal Government of Nigeria, UNICEF and UNESCO in 1977 to monitor the learning achievement of primary school pupils throughout the Federation, it was shown that most of the private schools had means in the three areas tested higher than the national means and that of their public counterpart. Similarly, Yoloye (1998) while assessing the situation of education in Osun State, compared the quality of education in five states of the federation namely, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo. He compared performance between urban and rural schools; private and public schools, as well as between male and female primary school pupils. He concluded that while Osun State comes last in almost all the sub-sector analyzed, the only cheering exception is in the private schools where it performed better than other states and indeed exceeded the grand mean. He did not give reasons for low or high achievement.

Fafunwa (1981) however, observed that access to qualitative instruction, thorough supervision in schools, relevant instructional materials, standard school buildings, less-crowded classrooms, conducive school environment are some of the major school variables influencing pupils, academic attainment. He concluded that in areas where private schools are well established, drop-out rates would be drastically reduced and pupils academic performance enhanced. This he said may be due to availability of resources and more importantly to the fact that teachers are positively motivated. In a study carried out in the U.S. by Lubienski and Lubienski (2006), they compared academic achievement among charter, private and public schools. One of the major findings from this study showed that private schools scored higher than charter and public schools. In a related study carried out also in the U.S. by Braun, Jenkins and Grigg (2006), they compared the performance of pupils in private and public schools in both reading and mathematics involving grades 4 and 8, results showed that the private schools performed better than the public schools not only in reading and mathematics, but also in the two grades (4th & 8th) involved in the study. Overall, findings indicated that the average private school mean score was higher than the average public school mean score, and that the difference was statistically significant. However, in the study comparing students’ academic performance in business studies in public and private Junior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (JSSCE) in Ovia South West Local Government Council Area of Edo State, Nigeria, conducted by Igbinedion and Epumepu (2011), it was revealed that there was significant difference in the academic performance in business studies between the public and private schools from 2008 to 2011. Results further showed that the percentage performance trend of public schools were higher than those of the private both males and females. Consequent upon the discussion above, more parents and guardians who can afford it are daily withdrawing their children and wards from the public schools to the private fee-paying primary schools despite its expensive nature even in this hard time. Many of the private schools are growing bigger and fatter at the expense of the public ones whose enrolment is daily dwindling. It is in this context that this study is set out to compare pupils’ academic performance between the private and public schools in Akure East and West Local Government Council Areas of Ondo State, Nigeria.

The study therefore sought to find out if there is any difference in pupils’ academic attainment between private and public secondary schools in the two local government council areas involved in the study. It also highlighted the causes of such differences in academic achievement between the private and public schools and suggested measures to rectify the differences so discovered.

Statement of the problem

However, there has been tremendous development in the educational sector of the state. New public and private schools have been established to meet the educational demand of its citizenry (1st Ondo State Education Summit, 2004). The researcher observed that there is unimpressive performance of students in secondary school, the researcher therefore embarked on this study to find out whether there is actually any performance difference in academic performance of students.

Objectives of the Study

The objective of the study to find out weather significant difference exist between academic performance of public and Private Schools.

  1. What is the level of performance in public secondary school?
  2. What is the level of performance in private secondary school?

Research Hypothesis

The following hypothesis was formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significant:

Ho1: There will be no statistically significant difference in the academic performance of students between private and public secondary schools in Ondo State.

Ho 2: There will be no significant difference in the academic performance of private and public secondary school in rural area in Ondo State.

Ho 3: There will be no significance difference in the academic performance of male and female students in public secondary schools.

Ho 4: There will be no significance difference in the academic performance of male and female students in private secondary schools.

Significance of the Study

It is hoped that this study will provide information for parents, educators and school administrators to reflect upon various factors that help students in achieving their academic goals. In so doing, they can investigate the possibility of introducing those factors to their school, which may consequently lead to enhancing students’ educational outcomes in school This study will also be significant because the findings will stimulate parents, school managers, teachers, students and the society’s awareness on the importance of conducive learning environment the findings of the study will also assist school administrators and curriculum planners to develop strategies that would reduce negative effects of poor learning environment on academic achievement of students in primary schools.

The findings of this study shall also be useful to school proprietors, government school administrators and parents in understanding the influence of school environment on academic achievement of students in primary schools. This study will also be of importance to students themselves as it will be made known to them the effects of school environment on their academic achievement. Finally, the findings of the study will act as a reference point to other interested scholars interested in this area of research.



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