The Effect Of Poor Learning Environment On The Academic Achievement Of Primary School Pupils

Primary Education Project and Semina Material

The Effect Of Poor Learning Environment On The Academic Achievement Of Primary School Pupils


Abstract


This research project is aimed at finding the effect of poor learning environment on the Academic achievement of primary schools in Nigeria. This study was conducted in some primary schools. To Udi local government area in Enugu State to determine the multi-dimensional influence, which the school environment has on the Academic achievement of pupils in primary schools in Nigeria, especially in Udi local government area. The instruments used to obtain information were questionnaire (Directed to pupils, school records and schedules). The data collected were analyzed to the form of percentages. The findings that school environment consists of a set of physical, socio-economic and psychological elements, which affects the performance of pupils both positively and negatively, paves way for the knowledge of the problems of school pupils in Udi local government area. These elements and conditions were, school building and other facilities, the teacher, his leadership styles and competence including instructional materials/Aids. However, this study therefore, will look at the environmental effect on Academic achievement of Nigerian school children in Udi local government area of Enugu State.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

In Africa, the child is regarded as very important and highly valued. Due to this reason, the Africans do not disregard their futures and fate. There is a general belief or assumption in Africa that the children will grow up, tend and take care of their old parents.

Emphasis is thereby laid on the primary education of the child, which is seen as the basic foundation the child needs in order to equip him for the future education and adulthood.

The school as a formal institution is established and set aside by the society for learning, transformation and preservation of the cultural heritage of the people. Nevertheless, teaching and learning can also take place in other places like the family, the church, the mass media and other formal and informal organizations.

Primary education is the bedrock of the entire educational structure and also the gateway to whatever endeavors the individual pursues and achieve in life. A good primary education is a sineque-non, a requirement to solid secondary and tertiary education.

In the education of the child, the primary school plays a very crucial role. To this effect, the National Policy on education (NPE) states that, primary education refers to the education given in institution for children aged 6 to 11 plus. Since the rest of the education system is built upon it, the primary level is the key to the success or failure of the whole system. According to Ugwu (2000), the goals of primary education are to:

  1. Inculcate permanent literacy and numeracy and ability to communicate effectively.
  2. To lay a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking.
  3. To give citizenship education as a basis for effective participation and contribution to the life of the society.
  4. To mold the character and develop sound attitude and morals in the child.
  5. To develop in the child the ability to adapt to the child’s changing environment.
  6. Again, to give the child opportunities for developing manipulative skills that will enable the child function effectively in the society within the limits of the child’s capacity.
  7. Finally, to provide the child with basic tools for further educational advancement, including preparation for trades and crafts of the locality.

In a study by Earthman, (2004), the school environment refers to all the objects, forces and conditions in the school, which influence the child physically, intellectually, and emotionally. He also concluded that the quality of the physical environment significantly affects students’ achievement. There is sufficient research to state without equivocation that the building in which students spends a good deal of their time learning does in fact influence how well they learn.

According to Fisher (2000), Desirable designs include having friendly and agreeable’ entrance areas, supervised private places for students, as well as public spaces that foster a sense of community, with particular attention to the colour used.

Obasi (1981) opines that, in the school environment, the child is exposed to set of interaction with the classmates and teachers, school buildings and facilities laid down rules and regulations, prevailing norms, values and social sanctions.

Undoubtedly, school environment vary between local government area: some are more conducive to learning situation than others. Some educators try to disagree that a fascinating school environment is one where there are adequate and qualified human and material resources. Most of the information about the learning environment in our schools are not encouraging. The prevailing situation is far from satisfactory and effective teaching and learning.

Stricherz in Higgins et al (2005) stated that, school environment is an important factor that contributes to the learning and assimilating level of the pupils. The environment can help the child to realize or hinder his goals in life. In other words, the school setting determines how well the child is able to realize his or her goals or destroys it. some environment can be loving or frightening, stimulating or boring, conducive or inhibiting to the development of the purpose and goals for which it was established. The school environment should be motivating, challenging and learning inspiring. When these qualities are achieved by the pupils, we then assume it to be a conducive environment for learning.

According to Ukeje (1970), the health of the pupils are determined by how healthy the school environment is. Adequate space in the compound, toilet facilities and other appropriate facilities assumed a healthy living in the environment. It is believed that the best physical environment can be wasted unless the teacher is alert to its utilization and opportunities for learning. A dirty compound littered with rubbish by teachers and pupils, bad toilets and bathrooms can result to health hazard to the users and can create an undesirable habits and attitudes in pupils. In Nigeria, most public schools lack toilet facilities and those that exist, exist in a dilapidated root, making the place look dirty and unkempt. Pupils excrete from the entrance and this can be hazardous to their health, and also makes the environment dirty.

Apart from this, Akpan (1992) talked about the disciplinary aspect of the pupils in school. He said that discipline of pupils in school significantly depends on the interpersonal relationship exhibited by the headmistress. When interest is shown on the pupils, they are motivated to be effective, punctual to school, partake in curricular activities and behave well. An environment that lacks discipline tends to breed irresponsible pupils, and a high level of poor performance.

According to Schlafly (2000), gender speaks more or contributes a lot in the academic achievement of primary school pupil. He believed that because of biological predetermination, girls are less intelligent than boys and that they cannot achieve academically at the same level. Due to this fact, a poor learning environment will affect the academic performance of the girls negatively, then that of the boys, simply because girls are intellectually inferior to boys.

Mahapatra (1994) states that, girls think they are clever, more successful and harder working than boys from as young as four. He further said that boys come round to this view by the age of seven or eight and assume that girls will outperform tham at school and behave better in lessons.

However, Mahapatra (1994) argues that, teachers have lower expectations of boys than girls in a poor learning environment, due to distractions and inadequacy of learning facility and this belief fulfils itself throughout primary and secondary school. Simply because, girls are clever, performed better and are focused. Thus their performance at school may be boosted by what they perceive to be their teacher’s belief that they will achieve higher results and be more conscientious than boys, and also that boys may underachieve because they pick up on their teachers’ assumptions that they will obtain lower results than girls and have less drive.

According to Marzano (2000), boys and girls and affected, academically in a poor learning environment. Based on this proposition; it is generally assumed that school environment has or should have same influence on the academic performance of the learner. Consequent upon this back ground, the aim of this research is to find out the impact or influence of school environment on the Academic performance of primary school pupils. In other words, the research is aimed at finding the relationship between the school environment and the Academic performance of primary school pupils in Udi Local Government Area.


1.2 Statement of Problem

The Academic performance of the pupils in school has been attributed to different factors. The home environment, Educational background or parents, the teachers competence, teachers-pupils-relationship, gender and general school environment. Scholars over the years have been arguing on which of the aforementioned factors has the greatest influence on the academic performance of the pupils in school.

However, there is a conception that school environment affects pupils academic performance. This implies that the pupils are prepared to learn more and perform better if the school environment is motivating, and challenging, compare to when it is otherwise. But one of the inadequacies of this opinion is that it is not backed up by enough empirical evidence especially in Nigeria. The level to which each of these factors could produce results on pupils performance has been a subject of interest to many scholars over the years.

School environment is a vital factor to be considered in the choice of site for primary school, having in mind its influence on the academic performance. It is always a learning inspiring, motivating and challenging one. In Emene like other urban cities in Nigeria, all these vital factors have not been given adequate attention by the appropriate authority. The effect of these neglects on the academic performance of pupils is multidimensional. From observation, it was discovered that the Nigerian child learns in a complex environment, which can make his educational development to be very low. According to Ajoka and Achnonye (2001), the child interacts with his physical and social environment at home, school and in the community. This interaction to a long extent, influences his intellectual development, the school which serves as a secondary socializing agents is the formal learning institution for the child. Apart from academic preparation, the school aims at making the child a socially, normally and psychologically balanced individual. Again it produces in the child the spirit of hard work and creativity. In other wards, if the school default to provide and enriched social and physical environment for the child, it can hinder his learning creativity.

Finally, the learning and education of pupil determines their future and if this primary education is not well impacted and properly transmitted to them, their future may not be bright. Note “children are the leaders of tomorrow”, so they need this education in the fullest, so as to lead, function and contribute effectively in their society.

In the light of the above problem, is the researchers intent to carry out this study in order to emerge with some empirical data determining the extent to which the school environment has influenced or contributed to the effective or non-effective academic performance of primary school pupils in Udi local government area?


1.2 Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study the effect of poor learning environment on the academic achievement of primary school pupils in udi local government area. But for the successful completion of the study; the researcher intends to achieve the following sub-objectives;

  1. To find out if pupils academic performance have any relationship with their school environment.
  2. To ascertain how poor learning environment affects pupils gender.
  3. To ascertain the causes of poor learning environment
  4. To ascertain the relationship between poor learning environment and academic performance of pupil in primary school

1.3 Research Questions

It is the desire of the researcher of this study to address the following research questions.

  1. There is a strong relationship between pupil’s academic performance and their physical environment.
  2. The poor academic performance of primary school pupil is influenced by their gender.
  3. Poor learning environment contributes a lot to the poor academic achievement of primary school pupil in Udi local government area in Enugu State
  4. What is the level of the academic performances of pupil in primary school?
  5. What is the status of the school learning environment of the primary schools in Udi local government?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The researcher hopes that the result of this study will reveal to the educational authority the role and influence of learning environment on the academic performance of primary school pupils.The study will also be of great benefit to the researchers who intends to embark on research on similar topics as it will serve as a guide. Finally, the study will be of great importance to academia’s, lecturers, teachers, students and the general public.


1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers the effect of poor learning environment on the academic achievement of primary school pupils in udi local government area. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational Privacy:

Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.


1.7 Definition of Terms

Poor:

Lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society.

Learning:

Learning is the act of acquiring new or modifying and reinforcing existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences which may lead to a potential change in synthesizing information, depth of the knowledge, attitude or behavior relative to the type and range of experience.

Environment:

Biotic factors include the organisms themselves, their food, and their interactions. Abiotic factors include such items as sunlight, soil, air, water, climate, and pollution. Organisms respond to changes in their environment by evolutionary adaptations in form and behavior.

Academic Achievement:

Academic achievement or (academic) performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals

Learning Environment:

Learning environment refers to the diverse physical locations, contexts, and cultures in which students learn


1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the effect of poor learning environment on the academic achievement of primary school pupils in udi local government area

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of poor learning environment on the academic achievement of primary school pupils


5.2 Summary

The result identified office for teachers, reading room for students and classroom space for teaching as the major areas that to a great extent affect the academic achievement of students with regard to buildings in the primary schools. It also identified provision of seat and current materials as well as books for lending and the presence of the library assistant as the areas affecting the academic achievement of students with regard to library services in the primary schools. The findings indicated that limited access to reading materials and nearness to the school affects the academic achievement of the students. It also revealed that teachers’ inability to have access to materials for teaching and insufficient qualified teachers due to school location as the major areas that greatly affect the academic achievement of students of schools, with regard to school location. It identified desks and chairs as well as health facilities as important areas affecting the academic achievement of students.


5.3 Conclusion

Based on the results of this study, it was concluded that school climate, discipline, teacher’s inability and physical facilities has significant influence on academic achievement of primary school pupils.


5.4 Recommendation

Based on the findings of this study and conclusion, the following recommendations were made:

  1. Appropriate school authorities should enable to provide a conducive school environment that has good climate for effective teaching and learning. Such environment should be safe, students treated fairly by teachers and happy to be in school as well as feel they are a part of the school.
  2. Effective school discipline should be encouraged by head teachers in controlling teachers’ behavior capable of jeopardizing students’ academic achievement in primary schools.
  3. Government of Nigeria should provide adequate school physical facilities in primary schools to enhance teaching and learning processes. The Parent Teacher Association (PTA), philanthropist and other charitable organizations are also implored to compliment the effort of the government to boost academic achievement of secondary school students

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