The influence of the school environment on student’s academic performance in a secondary school in the Buea municipality
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The study investigated “The influence of school environment on student’s academic performance in a secondary school in the Buea municipality”. The research is base on the following questions; to what extent does the school environment affects student academic performances in secondary schools in the Buea municipality; Specifically, the research seeks to answer the following questions:
To what extent does school location affect the performances of secondary school students; What effect does school climate have on the academic performance of students in secondary school?; To what extent do school facilities affect student performance in Secondary school. The accessible population of the study was made up of five and upper sixth students of selected secondary schools in Buea Municipality while the sample size was made up of 50 students.
This sample was selected using the purposive and simple random technique. The descriptive survey research design was used research; the instrument used in collecting Data was questionnaires. Questionnaires were administered to students in form five and upper sixth.
Frequencies and percentages were used to analyze the closed-ended questions. Findings revealed that School location distribution shows a positive significant relationship with students academic performance with (B= 0.033, sig= 0.004).
Climate has a positive and significant relationship with children psychosocial development (B=0.036, sig= 0.011). School Facilities variable shows a positive significant relationship with children’s psychosocial development with (B= 0.455, sig= 0.013).
A major recommendation made was that the government should initiate and implement relevant adequate school facilities that will assist students in the teaching-learning process towards their academic performances in schools.
The school is a formal setting where learning takes place. The school environment therefore is a very important setting for appropriate learning to takes place depending on the physical environment of the school and the school climate.
The term school is one of the social institutions that is responsible for the development and training of the mind and skill of man. It is also for the preparation of man for the challenges and responsibilities in the society at large. The importance of education has been well accentuated in all societies whether developed or developing, ancient or modern.
It is as a result of this obvious truth that every country accords great emphasis to education both in terms of quality and access.
Research on school environment means and environment where teaching and learning has been carried out.
Examples of this school environment includes instructional spaces planning, administration places planning, circulation spaces planning, Human beings are always immersed in social environment, which not only changes the very structure of the individual or just compels to recognize facts but also provides with a readymade system of signs.
Two environments home and school share an influential space in child’s life. Researcher sees the school as the most important experience in the process of child development next to home.
When the child enters the school area, he is presented with new opportunities in terms of socialization and cognitive development. These opportunities are provided in different measures in school and may have a direct impact on cognitive and affective development of students.
The school is the most dynamic institution which should keep pace with the changing needs of the society. It should also develop in each individual the knowledge, interest, ideals, attitudes, habits, skills and powers, whereby he/she will find his/her right place in the social order and use that position to shape him/her and the society both towards the higher and nobler ends.
The attainment of such objectives require proper school environment. The school administration should work towards the improvement of school climate, so that a better output from school could be expected as for conveniences planning, accessories planning, the teachers as well as the students themselves are essential in teaching-learning process. Future, still be divided into more subtypes that correspond to specific brain processes.
Looking at the school as a social system, there are some issues which create a conducive and favorable teaching and learning process towards the academic performances of students and as such policies have been put in place to combat the said research problems of inadequate classroom, unstructured teaching materials and methods, poor management of classroom but it is still a major problem as students come to schools and end up at roads size because of inadequate school facilities, poor location of school, overcrowded
classrooms as well as poor peer relationship which thus affects the academic performances of some students in the institution.
Academic performance is a term that measures the knowledge gained in formal education usually indicated by test scores, grade, grade points, average and degrees. Here, the achievement level of the student is judged by the marks that the students have scored in the quarterly examination. The following sub headings are articulated in chapter one, that is; Background to the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, justification of the study, significance of the study scope of the study, and operational definition of terms.
Background to the Study
Historically, there has been some evolution as concerned school environment. As early as the 1980s, the term school is an institution designed for the teaching of students (or pupils) under the direction of a teacher, whereas an environment is an open area been used by individuals to carried out one activities or another or a surrounding of, and influence on, a particular item of interest. According to Mick, Z. (2011), School Environment means the extent to which school setting promote student safety and student health, which may include topics such as the physical plant, the academic environment, available physical and mental health support and services, and the fairness and adequacy of disciplinary procedures, as supported by relevant research and an assessment of validity.
In line with this, school facilities have been observed as a potent factor (having or exercising great powers) to quantitative education. The importance to teaching and learning of the provision of adequate instructional facilities for education cannot be over-emphasized. The dictum that teaching is inseparable from learning but learning is not inseparable from teaching, is that teachers do the teaching to make the students learn, but students can learn without the teachers. According to Oni (1992), facilities constitute a strategic factor in organizational functioning. This is so because, they are determined to a very largeextent the smooth functioning of any social organization.
In reality Salau (2001) observed that conducive learning environment in school plays vital roles in providing the vital motivation to enhance effective learning and better performances. Umoh (2006) further stated that, where learning facilitates and teaching personnel are adequate learning and performance are positive. Onyekwellu (2002) observed that government alone cannot provide all the resources for teaching and learning purposes, therefore parents through the Parents Teacher
Association (P.T.A) should assist in providing infrastructural facilities, equipment, tools and instructional materials to facilitate effective teaching. Umoh (2006), observed that there is a significant difference between the performance of students with adequate and those with inadequate school environment.
Furthermore, On the other hand, schools that priorities child development holistically and support child’s growth in all aspects will eventually consider the design of school facilities. Therefore, every unit of school facilities must be designed in such a way that it is in accordance to that purpose and may support the school system. School facilities are one of the main factors that parents consider when choosing a school for their children. However, not every school realizes that school facilities have a great influence on the teaching and learning process. Most likely, Schools that only applies teach-to-test principle and merely concerns about the outcomes will not consider the design of school facilities.
Conceptually, according to Ajayi (2001), stated that Research on school environment means and environment where teaching and learning is being carried out which include the classrooms, libraries, technical workshops, laboratories, teachers’ quality, school management, teaching methods, peers are variables that affect student academic performance (Ajayi, 2001). Hence, the school environment remains an important area that should be studied and well managed to enhance student academic performance. Human being are always immersed in social environment, which not only changes the very structure of the individual or just compels to recognize fact but also provide with a readymade system of signs. The school is the most important experience in the process of child development next to home. When the child enters the school area, she is presented with new opportunities in terms of socialization and cognitive development.
Also, the school is the most dynamic institution which should keep pace with the changing needs of the society. It should also develop in each individual the knowledge, interest, ideals, attitudes, habits, skills and powers, whereby s/he will find his/her right place in the social order and use that position to shape him/her and the society both towards the higher and nobler ends.
According to Ajao (2001), the issue of poor academic performance of students in Buea municipality has been of much concern to the government, parents, teachers and even students themselves. The quality of education not only depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties, but also in the effective coordination of the school environment. It has also been observed that adequate attention is now being paid to school plant planning throughout the world’s educational systems including Cameroon. Educational facilities such as school plant have been repeatedly found to have positive relationship with standard and quality educational System. (Ojedele, 2000).
Also, Large class sizes harm students learning in the sense that overcrowded classes’ leads to rowdiness in a school environment. In large classrooms, teachers try to ensure that all questions are answered. Some students will have many questions on the topic, and the teacher has limited time to answer the questions before class is over. Many students end up confused because their questions go unanswered. On the other hand, smaller classrooms offer a more specialized learning experience. Class size is a term that refers to the number of students in a given course or classroom, specifically either the number of students being taught by individual teachers in a course or the average number of students being taught by teachers in a school environment. A teacher will have more time to individually instruct and answer questions from 15 students compared to 25 students. Students may feel more comfortable in a classroom where the teacher is there to help them, instead of to help the class.
Moreover, school location according to Alwasilah, (2002), stated that school location refers to the community in which the school is located, such as village hamlet or rural area fewer than 3000 people, a small town (3000 to about 15000 people), a town (15000 to about 100000 people), close to the Centre of an elsewhere in a city with over 1000000 people.
Akilaya (2001), explained school location as specific geographical site of the school and it contains building where the school equipment’s are kept for educational use. He further explained that the school location must in most cases follow some laid down guidelines. This is so because the school should not be close to noisy environment such as market, high way roads rails and very risky environments. He also pointed out that the most important thing in the consideration of the school location is the population that the school is going to serve and the distance the students would have to get to the school. This research therefore takes insight into the circumstances responsible of the academic performance among school students in urban and rural areas.
Researchers have long acknowledged that, peer relationships form an important development context for children. Piaget (1932) suggested that children relationships with peers were different, in both form and function, from their relationships with adults. Piaget argued that children interact more openly and spontaneously with their peers than with adults. Thus, it is possible to view peer relationships as unique and important with regards to general human development.
Theoretically, the following theories were found relevant to the work. Bronfenbrenner (1979) sees the social ecological dimension for teaching and learning in schools and classrooms. This theory is relevant to school environment as learning starts from the micro system at home with interaction with siblings and peers, with transition to school the mesosystem where learning takes place in the school formally. The network of interactions in school is very important for academic advancement. This fundamental research of Bronfenbrenner, Moos and Steele (1979) helps to organize and understand existing research and to formulate strategies for further conceptual and practical advances. The following discussion offers an overview of this field of research. Some interesting aspects for further study in the area of teaching and learning in schools and classrooms. Social selfdiscrepancy theory by Higgins (1997) used the research questions about the physical conditions of schools and classrooms and the consequences of these physical conditions for teaching and learning for their overview. These questions are modified and used in this chapter to highlight the effect of school and classroom space on teachers and students’ behavior, learning and teaching, and achievement.
In Kurt Lewin dynamic theory of personality (1947), keenly stipulates the analysis of the dynamics of the relationship of the child to his environment at any given time, he has perhaps dealt too lightly with
the multitude of factors which depends upon the internal structures and integration of the organism. Many of this factor depends upon heredity, others upon the levels of development and maturation, still others represent modification of previous experiences with the environment. All of these have been accumulated, integrated (thus changed), and carried forward into any present situation, truly a multiplicity of element for consideration in addition to the stresses and factors that can be analyzed in the environmental situation.
Contextually, Cameroon as a nation strived to experience real growth and development. This requires a clearly defined development strategy that allows intensive utilization of resources which is endowed. These resources are various school physical facilities that are indispensable in the educational process. They include the sitting, the building and physical equipment, recreating places for the achievement of educational objectives (Oluchuckwu, 2000). School environment which include instructional spaces planning, administration places planning, circulation spaces planning, spaces for conveniences planning, accessories planning, the teachers as well as the students themselves are essential in teaching-learning process. The extent to which student learning could be enhanced depends on their location within the school compound, the structure of their classroom, availability of instructional facilities and accessories. It is believed that a well-planned school will gear up expected outcomes of education that will facilitates good social, political and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process and academic performance of the students.
Relating this study to international occurrences are the assertions of Williams, (2008), reported that safe and orderly classroom environment (aspect of instructional space), school facilities (accessories) were significantly related to students’ academic performance in elementary schools. The three researchers, also quoted
Glassman (1994), asserting that a comfortable and caring environment among other treatments helped to contribute to student academic performance. Academic performance highlights the measure of knowledge gained in formal education usually indicated by test scores, grade, grade points, average and degrees. Here, the achievement level of the student is judged by the marks that the students have scored in the quarterly examinations.
The physical characteristics of the school have a variety of effects on teachers, students, and the learning process. Poor lighting, noise, high levels of carbon dioxide in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures make teaching and ineffective ventilation systems lead to poor health among students as well as teachers, which leads to poor performance and higher absentee rates Frazier, (2002). These factors can adversely affect student behavior and lead to higher levels of frustration among teachers, and poor learning attitude among student. Beyond the direct effects that poor facilities have on students’ ability to learn, the combination of poor facilities, which create an uncomfortable and uninviting workplace for teachers, combined with frustrating behaviour by students including poor concentration and hyperactivity, lethargy, or apathy, creates a stressful set of working conditions for teachers.
Because stress and job dissatisfaction are common pre-cursors to lowered teacher enthusiasm, it is possible that the aforementioned characteristics of school facilities have an effect upon the academic performance of students. Previous studies have investigated the relationship of poor school environment including problems with student-teacher ratio, school
L ocation, school population, classroom ventilation, poor lighting in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures in the classroom with student health problems, student’s behavior, and student achievement.
To complement these studies, the present research will examine the aforementioned areas of school environment as it affects student’s performances in Buea municipality.
Statement of the Problem
Looking at the school as a social system there are input, processes and output which need to be put in place to create a conducive teaching and learning process. The school environment has a key role to play in the academic performance of students when the teaching learning resources are meet (financial and human resources), good teaching methods, good classrooms conditions, good teachers’ relationship, school accessibility, peer influence, teaching and learning materials will play a major role in the academic performance of the students.
From the above mention points, policies have been put in place to enhance a good school environment but it is still a major problem as to some negatives aspects such as overcrowded classrooms, poor teachers relationship, the absent of libraries in some schools, poor lightening conditions in some classrooms, poor classroom management by some teachers, poor organization of the classroom and poor instructional material organized by some teachers in a classroom, which will thus cause some students to come to school and unable to attend lectures because of the inadequate and poor school facilities as well as school locations, which are been located beside snacks, churches, markets, road and rail way stations.
Thus enable majority of students to hang up at snacks, road sides and out of class which in the long run they end up as school dropout and will eventually affect their academic performances and as such they will end up as street children.
The problematic here is academic performance is being affected by the school environment due to the inefficiency of some school facilities, class size, school location and peer relationship as a result of the school environment not enabling.
As a result of this, this study is out to investigate the influence of school environment on the academic performance of secondary school students in the Buea municipality.
Objectives of the Study
To investigate the impact of school environment on student academic performance in secondary school in the Buea municipality.
To examine the impact of school facilities on the academic performance of students in the secondary school,
To investigate the impact of class size that affects the academic performance of students in secondary school.
To investigate the extent to which school location affects the academic performance of secondary school students.
To investigate the impact of peer relationship on students’ academic performance.
1.2 General Research Questions
To what extent does school environment affect student academic performances in secondary schools in the Buea municipality?
Specific Research Questions
To what extent do school facilities affect student performance in secondary school?
What effect does class size have on the academic performance of students in secondary school?
To what extent does school location affect the performances of secondary school students?
To what extent does peer relationship affect students’ performance in secondary schools?
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