Challenges Facing The Public Primary School Teachers In Their Teaching Career

Primary Education Project and Semina Material

Challenges Facing The Public Primary School Teachers In Their Teaching Career


Abstract


This study focused on the challenges facing the public primary school teachers in teaching career in Ovia North LGA. Specifically the study aimed at investigating the causes of the challenges that face the primary school teachers in their teaching career. The specific challenges that face the teachers in their teaching career and how do they affect the teaching of the primary school pupils. Lastly, strategies education authorities employed to improve the working conditions of the primary school teachers and realize quality education to primary school pupils in Ovia North LGA. The study employed qualitative design. Study employed interviews, focused group discussions and documentary reviews as method of data collection. The results showed that the poor National Health Insurance (NHIF), poor promotion management among teachers and delays of payment of the arrears and poor incentive policy and allowances were the core causes of the challenges that affect the teachers working environment in Ovia North LGA. Further, the results showed that the teachers were paid low salaries that hindered their ability to meet the basic needs of life like food and paying rent houses. This situation influenced the teachers to do other petty business which affected their attention toward lesson preparations. The result furthermore showed that the teachers faced the challenge of poor health services that caused them use their own funds as a result their income were eroded by double contributions, Finally, they were not given rent allowance this affected their living conditions and this situation increased their transport charges. Lastly, the results showed that, improving NHIF policy to allow the teachers to access better medical services. Recommendations for the study are attached.

 


Table of Contents


Chapter One

Introduction

  • Background of the Problem
  • Statement of Problem
  • Purpose of the Study
  • Specific Objectives of the Study
  • Research Question
  • Significance of the Study
  • Limitation of the Study
  • Delimitation of the Study
  • Definitions of Terms
  • Conceptual Framework
  • Organization of the Study

Chapter Two

Literature Review

  • Introduction
  • The Concept of Primary School Teacher
  • Teachers and Work Conditions
  • The Importance of Teachers
  • Educational Policies and Teaching Services
  • Factors Associated with Job Satisfaction
  • Strategies the Education Authorities Employed To Improve the Working Condition of the Primary School Teachers
  • Motivation of Teachers
  • The Importance of Motivation
  • Promotion Ladders
  • Primary Education Development Programme
  • School Infrastructure
  • Theoretical Framework of the Study
  • Research Gap

Chapter Three

Research Methodology

  • Introduction
  • Research Design
  • Qualitative Research Design
  • Meaning of Qualitative Research Design
  • Advantages of Qualitative Research Design
  • Limitations of Qualitative Research Design
  • Targeted Population
  • The Study Sample and Sampling Techniques
  • The Study Sample
  • The Sampling Techniques
  • Justification of the Participants Selected
  • Methods of Data Collection
  • Open ended Interviews
  • Justification on Uses of Semi-Structured Interviews (Open Ended Interviews)
  • Issues Covered in the Semi-Structured Interviews
  • Administration of the Semi- Structured Interviews
  • Recording of Semi-Structured Interviews
  • Focus Group Discussions
  • Justification for Using Focused Group Discussions
  • Issues covered in the Focus Group Discussions
  • Administration of the Focus Group Discussions
  • Recording of Focus Group Discussions
  • Documentary Reviews
  • Justification on uses of Documentary Reviews
  • Validity and Reliability of the Instruments
  • Triangulation
  • Data Analysis Plan
  • Ethical Considerations
  • Observed Protocol
  • Informed Consent
  • Confidentiality

Chapter Four

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • Introduction
  • The Causes of the Challenges that Face the Primary School Teachers in Their Teaching in Ovia North LGA
  • Teacher Incentive Scheme as a Cause of the Teachers’ Problems in the Teaching in Ovia North LGA
  • The National Health Insurance Funds Policy (NHIF) as a Cause to the Teachers’ Problem in Ovia North LGA
  • Teachers’ Promotion Policy as a Cause of the Teachers’ Problems in Ovia North LGA
  • Challenges Facing Teachers and its Effects to Students’ Learning in Ovia North LGA Primary Schools
  • Low Salary and Absence of Incentives
  • Poor Health Services
  • Delayed Promotion
  • Rent Allowance
  • Ways to Overcome Challenges Facing Teachers in Their Teaching Carrier in Ovia North Primary Schools
  • NHIF Policy
  • To Improve the Salary and Incentives
  • To Provide Rent Allowance
  • Improving Promotion for Teachers

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Introduction
  • Summary of the Study
  • Implications of the Findings
  • Conclusions for the Study
  • Recommendations to the Government
  • Recommendations to the Ovia North LGA
  • Areas for Further Research
  • References
  • Appendices

Chapter One


Introduction

Background to the Study

Primary education is the foundation of formal education. It is an essential component in the echelon of educational system of every nation. In order to qualify for other levels of education one must first pass through primary schools, as such it is an institution upon which all other levels of education and educational achievements are built. It prepares the mind and trains the child for higher and tougher academic pursuits. It provides young learners with the fundamentals of reading, writing, skill acquisition, information and attitudes necessary for proper adjustment into the society.

Majority of teachers in government schools are suffering from various challenges. One among those challenges is concerning with payments. Teachers are entitled to be paid salary, leave allowances and arrears when they get promotion. Teachers’ payment problem emerged since the government started to implement Structural Adjustment Program (SAPs) conditional ties particularly in the mid of 1980s. Prior to the implement action of SAPs conditional ties teachers were paid salaries, leave allowances, transport allowance, rent allowance and teaching allowance. One of the conditional ties imposed by World Bank and IMF through SAPS was the reduction in public spending on social services including education at all levels (Brock Utne, 2006). The reduction of public social services affected teachers’ payments which lead to the challenges to the teachers as follow, rent allowance; motivation, transport allowance and teaching allowances were no longer provided.

Teacher motivation has become an essential issue given their responsibility to impart knowledge and skills to learners. Studies revealed that the performance of teachers was good regardless of the fact that their motivation was inadequate. In addition, a number of teachers do their activities with high morale such as reporting early to school, regular testing and examination of pupils and high turn up of teachers in staff meetings and school occasions mention a few. In order to improve teacher challenges and performance at work, the study recommended the increase of salary for primary school teachers to match with the increasing cost of living standard of life, providing of accommodation to teachers, strengthening of management as well as giving prizes for good performance among teachers.

Sumra (2003) who claims that “teachers are facing many and complex problems. These problems range from low salaries to low status”. Teachers feel that their concerns are not addressed. Since these concerns remain uncertain then teachers feel demoralized and the quality of education including students’ leaning is bound to suffer. John (2010) indicates that: Government schools do not offer quality education because teachers are demoralized to work effectively due to low salaries they get, uncertainty system for promotion and poor treatment they are getting from the government. Also the school environment does not motivate students to learn, and the status of the classrooms is not attractive at all this implies that teachers’ commitment to teach effectively is much affected by their payments.

The challenges teachers are facing in Nigeria are multidimensional. These problems are not helping effective teaching and learning processes. The job description of today’s school leaders is a far cry from what was obtained years ago due to knowledge economy and technological advancement (Egwu, 2009.p.15). Equally, there has been increased pressure from both parents and government to improve learners’ performance and school leadership in Nigerian public schools (Abari 2005. p.131), as school leadership is about providing vision, direction and support towards a different and preferred school (Harris & Muijs, 2005.p.15).

Studies indicated that eeffective school leadership makes a significant difference to schools and students learning outcomes (Bush, 2009.p.375; Day, Leithwood, Sammons, Hopkins, Harris, Gu, Brown, Ahtaridou & Kington, 2009.p.2; & Post Primary Teaching Service Commission, 2003.p.4). The roles and responsibilities of teachers as leaders are some of the critical concepts in achieving these goals. Despite the significant roles performed by teachers, the role of a teacher as a leader in most Nigerian schools is limited to teachers’ duties and responsibilities (Aluede, 2009.p.41).

Research in educational leadership are dominated by traditional views of leadership which recognize principals as solitary leaders while ignoring the contributions of non-principal staff in schools (Egwu, 2009.p.30; Heck & Hallinger, 1999.p.141; Lassa, 2006.p. xxvi; Stewart, 2003.p.19). Feiman-Nemser (2001.p.1014) claimed that if teachers’ roles are not redefined to be part of decision making process, they are unlikely to teach in ways that meet the demanding new standards. This view is supported by Childs-Bowen, Moller & Scrivner (2000:8) who posited that ‘redefining teachers as leaders will lead to school improvement and learners outcomes.


Statement of the Problem

The challenges teachers are facing in Nigeria are multidimensional. These problems are not helping effective teaching and learning processes. The job description of today’s school leaders is a far cry from what was obtained years ago due to knowledge economy and technological advancement (Egwu, 2009.p.15). Equally, there has been increased pressure from both parents and government to improve learners’ performance and school leadership in Nigerian public schools.

It is observed that aggression, unhealthy behavior, indiscipline and violence in schools is on the increase and have precipitated to falling standards in education (Olujuwon, 2007.p.39; Duze & Ogbah, 2013). Teachers are recognised as agent of change and are instrumental to educational reforms and school improvement (Aluede, 2009.p.41). In spite of teachers’ essential services to national development in the country, the public did not accord appropriate respect to teaching when compared to with other professions (Adelabu, 2005.p.5). In addition, the way and manner in which teachers perceived themselves in the society has a lot to be desired. The professional and personal identity of teachers is completely ignored in reform strategies and educational innovation policies (vanVeen, Sleegers & van de Ven, 2005.p.918).


Objectives of the Study

The main objectives of this study is to find out the challenges facing the public primary school teachers in their teaching career, specifically the study intends to;

  1. Find out the challenges faced by public primary school teachers in their teaching career
  2. To investigate the causes of the challenges that faces the primary school teachers in their teaching career
  3. Analyze the effect of the challenges on the work performance of teachers in public primary schools
  4. To analyze the strategies the education authorities employ to improve the working conditions of the primary school teachers

Research Questions

  1. What are the challenges faced by public primary school teachers in their teaching career?
  2. What are the causes of the challenges that faces the primary school teachers in their teaching career?
  3. Is there any effect of the challenges on the work performance of teachers in public primary schools?
  4. What are the strategies the education authorities employ to improve the working conditions of the primary school teachers?

Research Hypothesis

  • Ho: there is no effect of the challenges on the work performance of teachers in public primary schools
  • Hi: there is no effect of the challenges on the work performance of teachers in public primary schools

Significance of the Study

This study helped to inform audience on knowledge and skills about the causes of the challenges that faces the primary school teachers in their teaching career. The study 8 exposed specific challenges that face the teachers in their teaching career and how do they affect the teaching of the primary pupils.

Further the study established strategies that can be employed by education authorities to improve the working condition of the primary school teachers to realize quality education to primary school pupils. Moreover the study provided information by giving more reference materials to the interested people, stake holder and other researchers to get deep into this topic by using other approach to overcome the challenges.


Scope of the Study

This research work will be conducted in Ovia North LGA in Edo state, Public primary school teachers will be selected for this study.


Delimitation of the Study

Finance for the general research work will be a challenge during the course of study. Correspondents also might not be able to complete or willing to submit the questionnaires given to them.

However, it is believed that these constraints will be worked on by making the best use of the available materials and spending more than the necessary time in the research work. Therefore, it is strongly believed that despite these constraint, its effect on this research report will be minimal, thus, making the objective and significance of the study achievable.


Definition of Terms

Primary school teacher is a person who imparts knowledge to the learner in primary schools using professional skills.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

Introduction

In this chapter, a summary for the study is presented and the conclusion is drawn basing on the findings presented and discussed. This is followed by recommendations for the study basing on the findings.


Summary of the Study

This study was about the challenges facing the public primary school teachers in teaching career in Ovia North LGA. Specifically the study aimed at investigating the causes of the challenges that face the primary school teachers in their teaching career. The specific challenges that face the teachers in their teaching career and how do they affect the teaching of the primary pupils. Lastly, strategies education authorities employed to improve the working conditions of the primary school teachers and realize quality education to primary school pupils in Ovia North LGA.

The study employed qualitative design as recommended by (Patton, 2002; Laws et al, 2003 and Kombo et al., 2006). Under this design the study employed interviews, focused group discussions and documentary reviews as tools for data collection. These tools complemented one another to help the researcher get clues on the challenges facing the public primary school teachers in their teaching career in Ovia North LGA. A sample of 56 respondents was interviewed and took part in the focused group discussions. The study was guided by the following research

questions: what are the causes of the challenges that face the primary school teachers in their teaching career in Ovia North LGA? What are the specific challenges that face the teachers in their teaching career and how do they affect the teaching of the primary pupils in Ovia North LGA? And what strategies the education authorities can employ to improve the working condition of the primary school teachers in Ovia North LGA to realize quality?

The first research question inquired on what are the causes of the challenges that face the primary school teachers in their teaching career in Ovia North LGA? The results showed that the poor National Health Insurance (NHIF), poor promotion management among teachers and delays of payment of the arrears and poor incentive policy and allowances were the core causes of the challenges that affect the teachers working environment in Ovia North LGA.

The second research question intended to know the specific challenges that face the teachers in their teaching career and how do they affect the teaching of the primary pupils in Ovia North LGA? The results showed that the teachers were paid low salaries that hindered their ability to meet the basic needs of life like food and paying rent houses.

This situation influenced the teachers to do other petty business which affected their attention toward lesson preparations. The result further showed that the teachers faced the challenge of poor health services that caused them use their own funds as a result their income were eroded by double contributions, first, by the NHIF and second by paying the medical bills. Finally, they were not given rent allowance this affected their living conditions and this situation increased their transport charges.

The third research question investigated on what strategies the education authorities can employ to improve the working condition of the primary school teachers in Ovia North LGA to realize quality education to primary school pupils? The results showed that, improving NHIF policy to allow the teachers to access better medical services; improving the salary depending on the environment the teachers were living and improving the promotion management for teachers and timely payment of their arrears were the recommended strategies to improve the primary school teachers’ conditions in Ovia North LGA.


Implications of the Findings

The findings revealed that the primary school teachers are paid little salary and in additional the salary itself is not enough to meet the basic needs of life such as buying food, clothes and paying accommodation, this demoralizes them and forces them to find alternative ways of increasing incomes, thus, they are engaged in the moonlighting activities and thus reduce their time for teaching. This will impair the quality of teaching and the quality education will not be attained and this is against the philosophy of education for all (EFA).

Ovia North primary school teachers cry over the critical issues of the NHIF is just a signal of the huge teachers’ dissatisfactions with the way the NHIF is there to

benefits the teachers and secure them with their heaths. This calls for the restructuring of the NHIF that would carter for the hearths demands of the teachers. If this is not attended, there is a danger the nation may enter into another crisis for the teachers’ strikes and refusal to attend teaching in a more effective way in primary schools.

PEDP was hoped to address many challenges that teachers were facing at primary school level. The challenges included the problem of housing for the teachers. In fact, the PEDP had the target to realize that there enough constructed houses for teachers in each ward. This report has implied that this situation practically was not successfully as the teachers are still facing serious problems of housing and the allowance for housing is still allocated to few education officials. This would continue to deteriorate the welfare of the teachers and the status of the teachers would continue to drop, consequently, affecting the morale of teachers to teach in the classroom.


Conclusions for the Study

The study makes the following conclusion based on the above summary of the findings of the study:

First, the study has revealed that teachers’ challenges seemed to depend on different factors as mentioned above; thus the extent to which teachers will be highly or lowly motivated will depend on the way the government will effectively work on these factors in an attempt to address teachers problems.

Secondly, the findings have shown that public primary school teachers are lowly motivated and promoted in Ovia North LGA and that they are highly dissatisfied with the way they are motivated. The low motivation of teachers in Ovia North LGA is associated with their high level of dissatisfaction on the motivational factors such as working condition, policies on primary education, NHIF, financial compensation, work promotion, community’s perception towards teaching professional and recognition.

Thirdly, the findings further revealed that the government is making some efforts to address the problems of teachers in the local government authorities; nevertheless because the country is large as compared to the country’s financial ability, then the speed with which these efforts are put in place with regards to the area to be covered, the government’s efforts are not very much noticeable.

A most important conclusion of this study is that the findings overwhelmingly support Maslow, theory because the respondents (teachers) considered hierarch of need as important for their job performance and wellbeing. However, the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs advocates that the employees’ self-respect, recognition, status and economic power are potentials for man to perform the responsibility. Human needs are arranged in a series of levels includes, Physiological needs followed by safety needs, social needs and esteem to the need for self-actualization at the highest level. Psychological needs include satisfaction of hunger and thirst, needs of oxygen, to maintain temperature regulation and sexual desires, safety needs includes freedom from the pain or threat from physical attack and protection against danger. Love needs sometimes, friendship, esteem needs or ego needs includes self-respect such as desire for confidence. They needs differ from one individual to another but they are what human can be.


Recommendations to the Government

  1. Since the study findings reveal that working conditions have great impact on teachers’ promotion, the government should continue putting more efforts on improving the working conditions by building more houses with availability of such services as electricity and water for teachers, health facility (NHIF) and improving classrooms conditions and teaching facilities to facilitate easy teaching-learning processes.
  2. The government should also review policies on primary education. The policies should be well-designed and implemented to meet the demands of teachers; for example by making them participating and have a say on matters regarding themselves and provide them more opportunities for training and development teachers will likely be motivated.
  3. The findings show that most teachers would prefer to work in the urban locations because of the availability of social services such as electricity, reliable water, and good transport which are actually essential for human life; the government should therefore provide special packages to these remote teachers in the rural areas so as to compensate for the loss of those services. In other words teachers working in rural areas should have their budget appropriately and effectively targeted with an increase of the special allowances.
  4. The government should make increase of the salaries which reflects the status of teachers and the socio-economic situation prevailing in our societies.
Recommendations to the Ovia North LGA
  1. The Ovia North LGA Council should work hand in hand with the Central government to make sure that the implementation of the government’s plans and strategies towards improving teachers’ conditions are made possible with the proper allocations of funds and grants to the Ovia North LGA Council.
  2. The LGA Council should also work hard to minimize the teachers’ problems that are originated from the council itself, for example delays in sending reports on teachers’ employment records to the responsible government authorities pertaining to the issue of promotion.

Areas for Further Research

The study identifies the following as areas for further studies:

  1. An extensive study on how teachers opine on NHIF is required.
  2. The study focused on the challenges facing the pubic primary school teachers in their teaching career in Ovia North LGA. Taking Ovia North LGA as a case study, it would be impractical to generalize the findings to the other LGAs across the country because this country is very large. Thus, it would be useful if other researchers are conducted in other LGAs as well so as to study teachers’ opinions and attitudes on what factors are considered most challenging teachers in their career.
  3. The entire study was a qualitative oriented another survey study is therefore recommended.

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