BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education is the cornerstone of a country’s future. It is a pivot on which all other transformation processes spin and a platform for the development of other sectors. Adebayo (2014) has defined education as the backbone and life blood of any nation and of course the bedrock of development. Arong and Ogbadu (2010) opined that education, especially tertiary education, provides the think tank for sustainable development and that it is through education that people are able to navigate their way through the world. Hence, education could be considered as the catalyst for sustainable transformation. David (2015) opined that education is a main driver of sustainable transformation that requires graduates to be acquainted with new knowledge, new attitudes, and change in labour market for improved sustainable transformation. Generally education, including basic, secondary and higher education, enhances the living standard and helps in social development. It provides better opportunities of income and often uses ICT to strengthen teaching, research and services to the society. Higher institution is seen as the place where all of these could be attained.
The Nigerian Education system is increasingly challenged with many complex problems. There is a general outcry that the standards of education are falling and morals flagging. Some blame pupils for this apparent decline in quality of education and moral values. A thoughtful few think that they are due to the nature of changes in all directions. Majority blame the teachers for the woes in our schools. They are not as devoted and dedicated to the cause of education as their predecessors. Teachers as a group blame parents and the children. They also blame government for unattractive condition of service and poor physical facilities in some parts of the educational system.
The quality of Education from the primary up to the tertiary levels has significantly fallen. The products of primary schools are unable to write their own names just as products of the secondary are unable to copy down notes on the chalkboards with correct spellings. It is equally unbearable to hear products of our tertiary institutions turned into glorified secondary schools. Some graduates find it difficult to write standard formal letters for employment. There is no doubt that the quality of our education has evidently fallen generally. Meanwhile, Okemakinde (2014) has described that teachers view quality education in terms of outcome, educational administrator‘s in terms of qualified teachers, and parents in terms of exemplary performance of learners. The Nigerian Institute of Personnel Management NIPM (2010) noted that the quality of graduates in Nigeria is in rapid decline especially in respect to valuable skills such as communication, technical abilities, and human interaction, social, conceptual and analytical capacity. To collaborate this, the Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA, 2010) asserted that companies were not recruiting but adopting employment protection strategies due to the very poor quality of graduates who do not meet the demands of industry. Federal Ministry of Education (2014) spells out roles of tertiary education as:
a. to contribute to national development through manpower training. This role desires graduates of tertiary institutions to contribute to national development after acquiring high level manpower training
b. To develop the intellectual capability of individuals to understand and appreciate their local and external environments;
c. To develop and inculcate proper values for the survival of the individual and society.
These goals are laudable and indeed important and relevant to the needs of the society. But how can these goals be realized, considering the graduates output that are produced by our institutions of higher learning who are rejected by labour market? Investigating the quality of Nigerian tertiary institutions graduate has become necessary because experience has shown that some graduate are unable to communicate effectively in simple English, like completing a personal data form. This calls for concern since graduates from the tertiary institutions would eventually work in the industries and affect the Nigerian economy. Therefore, the prevalence, causes and effects of quality of Nigerian tertiary institutions graduate should be well understood if any meaningful progress is to be made in improving the quality of graduates in Nigerian universities. Some of the problems posed by poorly trained graduates include devaluation of Nigerian university certificates, under-employment, unemployment and lack of skills for graduates to fit into the changing world of the economy and technology. For example, there is a decline in trust about some schools, people and the procedures they follow, whereby some students are awarded undeserved degrees (Easterbrook, 2012). Consequently, it would have severe and negative multiplier effect on the entire society (Oyetola, Adesola & Yahya, 2010). Although there is no comparable data among countries on the gravity or intensity of corruption in the academia, Nigeria needs to revamp its tertiary education if she must be recognized as one of the strongest economies in the world by the year 2020.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The menace of vices, poor academic output and poor performance at work in the society has been a source of concern to all the stakeholders in education i.e. government teachers, parents, religious bodies, law environment agents and society at large. The society cannot exist without making mention of the school which is the major agent of change. There are several reasons often advanced as the cause of decline in quality of tertiary institution graduates in Nigeria. The factors reveal the systematic involvement of teachers, students, parents and the society in the process of back pedalling the process of quality of tertiary institution education. Every facet of the society with its attendant institution has contributed to the production of poor quality graduates from our universities. Without much essay, it is easy to trace the entire causative factors to corruption. Corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of Nigerian society, and the problem we see today in our educational sector, particularly the university system, is due to corruption. The tertiary institution lecturers are altogether deep in greedy pursuit of vanity of material possession. They subvert the system which they were called to guarantee, and use it in pursuit of immoral, illicit and contradictory personal goals which are in violent conflict with the ideals and fundamental values of the university. They ply their ominous trade through various avenues and agencies but the most central is the examination platforms which are inherently subjective for every university. The examination system is the most perverted institution in the university yet it is the most critical element in evaluation and determining of quality graduate. It is also the examination system that decides who is worthy in character and learning. The examination system decides who the society should trust with the task of problem-solving and leadership. However, the parameters of tertiary institution examinations are subjective and dependent of the characters in the university system. Most of the characters in the Nigerian university academic space today are morally deprave, and sometimes worst than armed robbers. Most of the lecturers in the academia are severally lacking in moral and intellectual qualifications (Otokunefor, 2011). That is to say, they are not worthy in character and learning. It appears to me that due to internal and external brain-drain, thieves, rogues, and sexual predators have been recruited as academic staff of most Nigerian universities. Now these are the same set of elements that sanction who should be certified as worthy in character and learning. And they do this through a subjective, subverted and perverted examination and evaluation mechanisms. The quality determining systems of most Nigerian tertiary institutions are already weak. This quality determining system is the character and learning evaluation system called examinations. This means that Nigerian tertiary institutions examinations are no longer credible. There are a lot of sharp practices in the system. Lecturers aid and abet examination malpractices. This manifest in various forms such as selling of grades, upgrading of failed grades at result computation level, hiding failed grades, using best 120 credit units out of the 148 required for graduation, selling of examination questions, etc (Otokunefor, 2011). Most of these practices are already entrenched in the university system. When the bad eggs among the students pass through these black-market avenues they are passed and graduated into the main realm of the society and industry as those worthy in character and in learning. These are the ones called “half-baked graduates” or “low quality graduates”. They are liability to both themselves and society. Since our quality determining scale, our quality evaluation framework, our examination system is not only subjective and weak but steep in subversion and perversion, and the human parties are no longer competent, this paper argues for an urgent revolutionary step to be taken in that regard so as to stop the drift. Credible examination system is critical to credible tertiary institution graduates. It is through examination system individuals are certified as worthy in character and in learning. So reforms in our tertiary institution degree examination system are critical to arresting and reversing the decline in quality of our tertiary institution graduates. It is based on the above premise that the study sought to examine the notable impact (if any) of quality of tertiary institution graduates on academic performance of secondary school students in Nigeria.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the quality of tertiary institution graduates in the Nigerian education sector. Other general objectives of the study are:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
A major concern in schools is to increase student achievement and performance. One way to do this is to focus on classroom environment with the teacher at the centre which will influence student achievement, performance and create the best environment in which to facilitate learning and engage students. The study is therefore significant for the following reasons:
• This study will be useful to both teachers and students who want to know the factors that could make or mar student’s academic performance in relation to the skills and inputs of the teacher.
• Understanding classroom climate variables will allow for professional development for teachers to focus on areas to increase student achievement.
• Lastly, understanding the importance of teachers and their impact on student performance will help school administrators at secondary schools retrain teachers to make their teachings student centred.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the quality of tertiary institution graduates in the Nigerian education sector, a case study of secondary school in Jalingo Metropolis of Taraba state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Quality Education: A good quality education is one that provides all learners with capabilities they require to become economically productive, develop sustainable livelihoods, contribute to peaceful and democratic societies and enhance individual well-being
Graduates: A graduate is someone who has received a degree from a school. As a verb graduate refers to the act of receiving this degree.
Tertiary Institution: Tertiary Institution means a university or other tertiary education provider recognised by the Employer which offers Degrees, Diplomas or teacher education courses.
Education Sector: The education sector or education system is a group of institutions (ministries of education, local educational authorities, teacher training institutions, schools, universities, etc.) whose primary purpose is to provide education to children and young people in educational settings
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