Background to the Study

In the global view, the English-speaking countries according to Deduney and Hockly (2010) which are usually known as Britain, United States, Australia, Canada or New Zealand. There are actually many other countries that use English as a second language and their citizens have high levels of English skills such as India, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya and Mauritius, to name a few. One of the interesting things about English as a global language is that it is increasingly being used as a ‘lingua franca’ (or common language) so that people from non-English-speaking countries can communicate with those who do speak English. For example, at a business meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, with participants from China, Japan, Korea, and Indonesia, the common language is usually English. Likewise, a business meeting in Munich, Germany, with participants from Sweden, Germany and France, usually takes place with English as their medium of communication. In this reference, Vietnam is not included. Nevertheless, today’s curricular programs in Vietnam include among others the English language program.

The English language has attained an international acceptance due to globalization. Most of the learners need to write and speak English fluently and accurately in the general and academic domains. To use English effectively, it is important to master the four language skills, namely listening, speaking, reading and writing (LSRW). Of all the four language skills, writing is considered a complex process and the most important skill for the second language learners to master. The ability to communicate ideas and information effectively through the global network is crucially dependent on good writing skills. Although, learning of another language, referred to as second language acquisition (SLA) can take place either in the classroom or in a more ‘natural’ exposure situation (Gass, Torres and Jose, 2005) found that the complexity and abstractness contribute to the differential effects on language areas, where learners make use of externally driven enhancement devices. Loewen (2005) opined that incidental focus on form, assisted learners to improve their linguistic accuracy while they were engaged in meaning-focused lessons. Further conclude that emphasis on grammar may be needed when the bottom-up linguistic skills of learners are not sufficient to be able to process the content of the input, or to reformulate that content when carrying out their own writing tasks.

However, second language learners are under pressure today in writing because the art of communication has become so complex in conveying their thoughts to a great growing number of English-speaking people. This is often true to those who undertake writing in English as they face difficulties. The reasons behind this phenomenon are multifarious. One of the reasons for this is due to the student’s lack of understanding the context in using appropriate words and they do not know which words to use when speaking or writing (Cabuk, 2009).

Communication remains one of the most important aspect of human existence and very important in any organization (School inclusive) for the achievement of its set goals and objectives. Communication helps improve effective management of any organization this is because it improves the mutual understanding between the management and subordinates. Effective communication increases staff involvement and commitment in the organization for a better result (Manafa, 2018).

Communicative competence has always been the goal of every language classroom wherein instructions are geared toward the components on organizational, pragmatic, systematic and psychomotor (Charita, 2013). Charita (2013) stresses that authentic language and real-world tasks enable students to see the relevance of classroom activity to their long term communicative goals by introducing natural texts rather than artificial ones where students will more readily dive in to the activity and that these communicative goals are best attained if enough attention is given to language use and not just usage, to fluency and not just accuracy, to realistic language and contexts and to how these students’ apply the learning in real life situations. Further, he said that the learner capitalizes on his ‘strategic investment’ in mastering the target language. He thinks of ways and means to improve his competence of the language and is directly involved in his own learning process. Yet one must understand that strategies used differ in each situation depending on the learner in solving the problems or tasks given to him.

To Hymes, in understanding actual linguistic performance, one must consider more than just what utterances are possible according to the rules of any given linguistic system or what utterances are feasible, because it is important to consider the factors governing the appropriateness of an utterance and how the conditions that define what is appropriate are linked to the factors governing the possible and feasible in determining the actual speech performance. Communicative competence can refer to what a speaker needs to know to communicate effectively (Spolsky, 2011). The whole of the communicative event is considerably greater than the sum of its linguistic elements. Moreover, language is made up of a collection of units, all related to each other in very particular ways, on different levels. These different levels are themselves related in various ways to each other. The primary function of language is to express meanings and to convey these to someone.

The communicative competence model emphasizes the importance of the four language skills since they are viewed as manifestations of interpreting and producing a spoken or written piece. With this framework as the basis and taking the intercultural component as the point of departure, a variety of activities in the four language skills are presented for teaching learners intercultural communicative competence. Communicative competence is the interaction of the grammatical (formally possible), psycholinguistic (implementationally feasible), sociocultural (contextually appropriate), and probabilistic (actually done) systems of language. All these, according to Hymes, show that communicative competence refers to the psychological, social and cultural rules which discipline the use of speech in social settings. It includes not only linguistic forms of language but also its social rules.

Secondary school education, according to National Policy on Education (2004) is the education children receive after primary education and before tertiary stage. According to National Policy on Education (2004), the objectives of secondary education are to provide all primary school leavers with the opportunity for education of a higher level, provide trained manpower in the applied science, technology and commerce at sub-professional grades, develop and promote Nigeria languages, art and culture, inspire students with a desire for self-improvement and achievement of excellence, foster National unity with an emphasis on the common ties that unites us in our diversity, among others. These objectives can arrived at through staff development programme, teaching, research and distribution of knowledge and inter-school cooperation which involves a lot of communication.

Secondary school functions depend on the effectiveness of communication among those concerned. The basic function of school management relies almost completely on communicating teachers and students among various school structures and levels. Other function include – assigning specific duties to all the staff working under him, seeing that everyone performs their duties satisfactorily, maintaining discipline among staff, orientation of new staff, developing sound personnel policies, contributing to the professional development of the staff, consideration of student’s needs, interest and right, imitating school curriculum design and reform, maintenance of moral tone and satisfactory disciplinary standards among the pupils, developing guidance services for the students,

Statement of the Problem

Education is an instrument for national development and its success or failure is dependent upon the communication skills used in management. However effective communication skills are virtually indispensable in the management of secondary schools, since no rational educational objectives can be achieved without effective flow of communication among the system. Poor usage of communication skills in secondary schools in Ekiti State generally has been a great concern to the school management and members of staff. It seems the problem has brought about decline in standard of education and poor quality of educational performances in Nigeria secondary schools especially in Ekiti State.

Communicative competences have posed a challenge to the learners as well as teachers of English because of the uniqueness of the problem involved. The learners face difficulties in the proper usage of words in sentences and therefore land in trouble. Some of the students identified that the teaching method and the environment are the main causes of their weaknesses. Their weak qualification in English is either related to the lack of student motivation, or the teacher’s interest. Many teachers use their mother tongue because of the isolated culture. Yet, methods of teaching English included the medium of instructions, teachers’ low proficiency in English, and lack of writing practice in educational institutions. It is for this reason that the study aims at determining the impact of student’s variable on the communicative competence of secondary school students in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

Purpose of the Study

This study aims at determining the impact of students variable on the communicative competence of secondary school students in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State. Specifically, the study has the following purpose:

1.     to find out the grammar competence of students in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary among the students in senior secondary schools in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State.

2.     toexaminethe competence in terms of fluency and density of information transfer by students’ in the aforementioned study area.

3.     to investigate the problems facing the students in acquiring communicative competence in selected senior secondary schools

Significance of the Study

The study is of much significance to government, schools, administrators, teachers in improving the level of language teaching and achievement of students in our post primary institution. It is hoped that the finding of the study will help to reduce the problems facing the students through the use of words in writing/speaking in senior secondary schools as well as eliminating poor performance in English language. Also, it is the belief of this researcher that the findings of this study will constitute useful data for future research. It is also of significance to policy maker especially in curriculum planning language development and evaluation for senior secondary schools.

            The project will enable the government to be alive to its responsibility of putting in place those factors that will enhance the use of good teaching methods by the teachers of English language in all levels of education in Ekiti State and in Nigeria at large.

Delimitation of the Study

            This research work is limited to the impact of student’s variable on the communicative competence of secondary school students in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

Research Questions

The following null hypothetical statements are made with respect to the objectives of the study.

1.      What is the grammar competence of students in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary among the students in senior secondary schools?

2.      What is the competence in terms of fluency and density of information transfer by students’ in the aforementioned study area?

3.      Is there any problems facing the students in acquiring communicative competence in selected senior secondary schools?







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