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CAUSES OF POOR ENROLMENT OF STUDENTS INTO SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Early Christian missionaries brought formal western education to Nigeria. This type of education started from the southern part of Nigeria and later spread to the north. It dates as far back as 1842 (Odo 1996). Odo; Ede; and Ezike (1996) observed that as a result of the Europeans Contact, schools were established with the first secondary school being the Church Missionary Society (C.M.S) Grammar school established by the church missionary society in 1857 at the Badagry area of Lagos. More so, within this period, other missionaries from other missions such as the Wesleyan Methodist mission, Roman Catholic mission, Church of Scotland mission also arrived in Nigeria. These missions did established schools at different locations within the country.

The advantages of western education to Nigeria include the following: it helped in bringing up those who could interpret locations within the country. The Whiteman’s language to our local people as well as our local languages to the Whiteman, it also helped in bringing up those who could read and write both Nigerian, languages and the English language as was being used by the Whiteman. It also led to the production of personnel who represented Nigeria at various levels in government within and outside the country. As a result, the quest for western education in Nigerian became eminent. Parents began to send their children/wards to these schools. Besides developing keen interest in western education, it appeared that there was definite gender disparity in enrolment in most of these schools. Some parents preferred to send their male children to school while they refused to send their female children to school at all. The awareness of the importance of education was not widely spread as a result, others sent their children to school as punishments to bad deeds or because such children were not loved by their parents. Some parents also preferred to engage their children and wards in other non-educational activities. This resulted to some students staying -out of school. Fafunwa in Udu (2005:1) stated that the unwillingness of some parents to send their children and wards to school resulted in such children not attending schools.

What could be the consequences of this parental negative attitude of not sending their children to school on the Nigerian society? It is in line with this that Okpube (2005) stated I the decreasing number in students’ enrolment into the senior secondary school system can cause a great destruction to the Nigerian  society  because  personnel  turn  outs  would  be very low.  This  would   make   it that  Nigeria   will   lack trained   and qualified persons who will forge the society ahead;  only very-few will be able to read and write; majority of the people will be illiterates and uneducated persons; Nigeria would also lack good and qualified representatives in government and in other countries of the world.

In order to avert the above consequences, the Nigeria government    had    at different    times    embarked   on one educational policy reform or another with the view of encouraging more students to enrol into the secondary school system.   According   to   Ocho   (2005),   “at   independence   the structure   of   Nigeria   education   differed   across   the   three regions”. In this case the eastern region practiced 8 years of primary school and 5 years of secondary school, the northern region had 4 years of elementary school, 3 years of middle school, and 6 years of secondary school, the western region practiced 6years of primary school and 6years of secondary school education.   But the federal territory of Lagos had a 8 years of primary school and 5years of secondary education. But the military takeover of government in 1976 brought about a uniform educational structure in Nigeria which gave birth to the 6-5-4 system of education which implied that students would spend 6 years in primacy school education, 5 years in secondary school education, and 4 years in university education. After some, time the 6-3-3-4 system of education was introduced.

Chioma; Darre; and Machiewesi (2008) observed that the 6-3-3-4 system of education was introduced in 1982 by the federal government of Nigeria as a response to the agitation for a more functional education system by the masses. With this, students were expected to spend 6years in primary school

education during which they must pass the national common % entrance  examination  to  enable them   qualify  for secondary school education; students were also expected to spend 3years in the junior secondary school education and must pass the Junior Secondary Certificate Examination (JSCE) in order to qualify for senior secondary school education during which they must pass the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE), students were also expected to spend 4years for their University Education.  Chioma et al (2008) observed that these were not the only reforms that the government of Nigeria embarked upon in order to ensure that an increasing number of students were encouraged to enrol into the secondary school system.

Currently among the reforms in the educational sector of Nigeria is the Universal Basic Education (U.B.E). Some of the objectives of the UBE system include: to reduce drastically the incidence of drop-out from the formal school system; and to cater for the learning needs of young persons who for one reason or another have had to interrupt their schooling. This scheme or reform came as a modification’ and replacement of Nigeria’s Universal Primary Education (UPE) of 1976 which did not stand the test of time. The scheme is also meant to ensure that an increase number of boys and girls complete a full course of primary and junior secondary school education. The scheme which falls within the structure of the 6-3-3-4 system of education made provision for a 9year basic education. This means that children attend primary school for 6years and the first 3years of senior secondary school free and without any interruption.

With the introduction of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) in 1999 by the then government of President Obasanjo, Ebony state adopted the system in 1999 under the administration of Ex- Governor Sam O. Egwu. This reform was meant to reduce the obstacles children encountered in getting enrolled in to primary and junior secondary schools inform of school fees and other costs. This gave rise to influx of students into secondary schools because of the abolition of school fees in secondary schools in Ebonyi State.

Whether the above dreams have been realized is the question yet unanswered. Farlex (2006) observed that records and experience showed that with increased number of school still aged   children who should be in school  were   not coming to  school in Nigeria, the problem had reached an alarming level, eluding several efforts to curtail it.

The attributes or necessities for sending children to secondary schools can not be under-estimated as it has become an integral part of personnel development for any society. It was in line with this that the western education was introduced by the Christian missionaries.  Parents have been able to recognize this as some started sending their children to secondary schools. Government in a bid to have qualified personnel has undertaken the responsibility for providing quality education to its citizens through policy reforms like the 6-5-4, 6-3-3-4, and the U.B.E systems.

Statement of the Problem

The welcomed introduction of (UBE) universal basic Education in 1999 by the government of Governor Sam Omenyi Egwu increased the number of years students spent in getting free education from 6years to 9years covering the entire primary school period and the first 3years in the junior’ secondary school. This introduction was supposed to meaningfully increase the number of student who gets enrolled in to the senior secondary schools in Abakaliki Local Government Area. But a close look at the number of students graduated from the junior secondary schools and the number enrolling into the senior secondary section in the preceding year shows that there is a discrepancy between the number of students graduated from the junior secondary school and the number enrolled into the senior secondary section in Abakaliki Local Government Area,

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CAUSES OF POOR ENROLMENT OF STUDENTS INTO SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA -CASE OF ABAKALIKI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, EBONYI STATE

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