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Background of the Study
Education is the bedrock of the development of any nation. Education enables individuals to fix themselves in the society in which they have found themselves. It equips individuals with the ability that will enable them explore the world, manipulate it for their survival and establish themselves (Gbenu, 2012). He added that potentials deposited in individuals are exposed through education so that individuals can acquire training and knowledge in a profession, earn a living as well as cultivate good habits and develop right attitudes and live as good citizens. Secondary education, a sub-set of the education level is very necessary in human capital formation (Inyang, 2008). The Federal Republic of Nigeria in her National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004) stated that the goals of secondary education shall be to prepare the individual for useful living within the society and higher education. Akpan (2011) explained that secondary education was established to serve as a bridge between primary and higher levels of education and it is the product of secondary education that are admitted into higher institutions of learning. Therefore, the realization of the objectives of secondary education is anchored on proper management of the resources available for education at the secondary school level.
Educational management, according to Omokorede and Ikegwuru (2011) is the process of individuals coming together as a group with a leader that will control, coordinate, articulate the activities of the group and if properly carried out, will achieve tangible results. It them means that educational management is the total efforts of people that are brought to bear in the provision and delivery of education to ensure that both human and material resources allocated to education are used to the best advantage in the pursuit of educational objectives and goals (Ezeuchu, 2006). This implied that educational management involves coordination and carrying out activities by the staff of the Teaching Service Commissions for the achievement of stated objectives through efficient utilization of resources. The state governments of North Central zone, mindful of the role secondary education plays in the life of its citizens, set up the Teaching Service Commissions to manage secondary schools. Different states within the North Central zone of Nigeria call it either board or commission. It is sometimes called post-primary school management board. For instance, Kogi, Plateau and Kwara states address it as Teaching Service Commission while Benue state calls it Teaching Service Board. To Niger state, it is addressed as State Education Board. However, in the context of this study, it is referred to as Teaching Service Commissions. Teaching Service Commission is a corporate body established by the law of the state with the statutory functions of achieving the national objectives of education. It has uniform functions throughout the country. Oboegbulem and Onwurah (2011:39) stated that “there is a considerable uniformity throughout the country in the organizational structure and the functions of the board”. The func tions of the TeachingService Commissions as listed by Oboegbulem et al (2011) include; The recruitment, appointment, posting, promotion, discipline and transfer of both tutorial and non tutorial staff of government financed schools; matters relating to inter-service transfer and continuity of service; day to day operation of the board; inspection and supervision of schools; preparation of the school budget; implementation of policy decisions, collection of revenue and proper accounting; coordination of the boards’ activities including those of the local education boards; provision of professional services and remuneration of teachers. These functions, Ogbonnaya (2009) noted, are carried out effectively through various departments related to the commissions. He mentioned that such departments are personnel, finance and administration, supervision and quality assurance, planning, research, statistics and school services. (See the organogram on page 50). In order to achieve the above statutory functions, the Teaching Service Commissions utilize some management practices that will enable it attain educational objectives. According to Spellman and Wensely (2010) management practices are actions, methods and techniques used by managers for the management of organizations. They are practical means of achieving the objectives of the establishment. They went further to say that management practices aim at performance and productivity. Waziri (2014) opined that management practices are a set of internally consistent policies and actions designed to ensure that staff contribute to the achievement of educational organisations. However, management practices involve corroborative efforts of the superordinates and subordinates of the commissions to achieve their goals. These actions, for instance, entail giving staff of various departments assignments and responsibilities to be carried out and achieved. In view of this, the Teaching Service Commissions in North Central zone of Nigeria adopted management practices as actions and managerial techniques that provide means of achieving stated goals and objectives. These management practices of the Teaching Service Commissions are the framework upon which the management of secondary schools are hinged on. These management practices are carried out in the areas of personnel services, financial management, supervision of instruction, distribution of physical facilities and staff development. The management practice of personnel services of the commissions meant putting qualified, consistent and satisfied workforce into the system. According to Ibukun (2004) and Nwankwo (2005), personnel services involved recruitment, welfare, training, promotion, motivation, transfer and discipline of staff. This also meant that staff salaries and other sundry allowances are to be paid as at and when due. Bello (2004) stressed that if our education is to meet the nation’s educational objectives, qualified, dedicated and efficient staff are absolutely necessary. Therefore, the Teaching Service Commissions have to carry out improved staff welfare policy. This will reduce the scourge of both teaching and non-teaching staff leaving the services of the commissions for greener pastures (Ezegbe, 2003). In addition to the management practice of personnel services is the financial management function. The success of any educational programme depends very much on the way financial inputs are managed. Ogbonnaya (2012) stated that the central purpose of financial management is the raising of funds and ensuring that the funds so mobilized are utilized in the most effective and efficient manner. For effective accounting procedure, Ekundayo (2010) asserted that accounting officers are entrusted with the responsibility of controlling revenue accruing from the education organization and ensures utilization of the same. Therefore, the staff of the commissions carry out the responsibility of accounting procedures including proper budgeting and periodic auditing of schools and headquarters accounts.
It is difficult to ensure qualitative education in the absence of effective and consistent supervision of teaching and learning. Supervision is a process of providing professional assistance and guidance to teachers and students to enhance effective teaching and learning towards improved students’ learning (Asiyai, 2011). Nwangwu, Ijeoma and Nwangwu (2008) asserted that the broad purpose of supervision is to utilize effectively both human and other resources to ensure qualitative instructional delivery so as to realize educational goals. The commissions carry out routine and broad based supervision to enhance effective development of schools. Okendu (2012) asserted that to enhance school development, supervision enables the commissions to identify some compelling problems or bottlenecks facing the schools under their tutelage with a view to remedy them. In order to make supervision meaningful, Korchhar (2007) stressed that supervisory reports are sent to schools supervised to strengthen weak areas of the school programmes. He further explained that feedbacks also provide a medium through which the teachers could be stimulated, helped, advised and guided to do their jobs better. The commissions are saddled also, with the responsibility of making supervisory materials available as well as organize training programmes for supervisors. Another essential management practice of the commissions is distribution of physical facilities. Jaiyeoba and Atanda (2005) stated that physical facilities are those things which enable a skillful teacher to achieve a level of instructional effectiveness that far exceeds what is possible when they are not provided. Lawanson and Gede (2011) further explained that physical facilities are those things that enable the teacher to do his/her work very well and help the learners to learn effectively. Owing to the importance of physical facilities in instructional delivery, their availability becomes inevitable. Hence, the commissions have the responsibility to make physical facilities available to schools under their jurisdiction. Asiyai (2012) listed physical facilities to include classrooms, equipped laboratories, libraries with up-to-date books, computers and generating plants amongst others. Apart from the physical facilities, staff development is a management practice of the commissions meant to improve staff performance through exposure to seminars, workshops, conferences and in-service training in tertiary institutions (Ofojebe, 2009). Alagbu (2008) stressed that the bane of the commissions lied strongly in competent workforce. Thus, to encourage commitment and professionalism, the commissions is charged with providing continuous self improvement for all staff. Alagbu further stated that often times the needed professional development of staff is delayed. To complement the efforts of the Teaching Service Commissions, Ofojebe (2009) further explained that rather than using only externally planned seminars and workshops, it would be more helpful to use school initiative to encourage professional development of teachers. Both externally planned seminars and workshops and school initiatives would enhance continuous competence and knowledge of staff especially in teaching methods. Similarly, Obioma (2010) stressed that the governments are expected to enhance the professional standards of their teachers and teachers need to develop professionally and remain committed to their work. He added that teachers are to seek all avenues that will make them well prepared for the jobs with confidence and competence.
To show its resolve to succeed, the Teaching Service Commissions in North Central zone of Nigeria provided management manuals (2007, 2008 and 2009). These manuals among other things have sections for personnel services, financial management, supervision of instruction and staff development. The purpose of issuing such management manuals, Udensi (2012) noted, was to describe the managerial procedures to be operated and adopted. Secondly, to provide a ready means of “reference” to be followed by staff of the commissions. Thus, the standard practices to be followed in personnel services are recruitment, posting, staff discipline, promotions and payment of salaries and sundry allowances. The manuals also provided guidelines on management of funds and auditing. Similarly, the procedures for supervision of instruction include broad-based supervision, supervisory visitation of schools and adequate provision of supervisory materials. The manuals also advised the commissions on distribution, maintenance and repair of physical facilities and equipment. It further stipulated that manpower development would take the form of study leave, in-service training, seminars, workshops and conferences. These staff development programmes are to be organized and sponsored by the Teaching Service Commissions in North Central zone. To determine the success and failure of the Teaching Service Commissions in North Central zone, appraisal is necessary. Appraisal of an organization means determining the extent to which an administrator or manager is succeeding in achieving the objectives of the organization (Waziri, 2014). He further added that in educational organization, appraisal is the process of ascertaining the functionality of educational programmes in a systematic manner. Appraisal is perceived differently by various writers. Adeyemi (2009) viewed performance appraisal as a systematic and formal assessment of both employers and employees made in a prescribed and uniform manner at a specified time to identify both individual and group weaknesses and strengths with an aim of correcting the weaknesses identified. Adeyemi added that such judgments and decisions are based on empirical data or information. Data generated through appraisal can lead to correction of anomalies in management practices of the Teaching Service Commissions in the North Central zone.
However, inspite of the efforts of the staff of the Teaching Service Commissions in the North Central zone of Nigeria to carry out its job as effectively as possible, there are instances that suggest that the manuals are not strictly followed in the areas of personnel services, financial management, supervision of instruction, distribution of physical facilities and staff development. For instance, the Niger State Secondary Education Board was indicted by Adamu (2013) (Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools) on late payment of salaries and allowances to staff. Secondary school teachers in the state always complain of low pay package and delay in payment of salaries. The researcher observed that staff salaries and allowances are unnecessarily delayed. This assertion was corroborated by Gbenu (2012) who reported that there were poor remuneration of teachers and poor conditions of service which reduced their commitment to teaching; which trend has continued till today. Principals of secondary schools in Benue State had also complained about non-distribution of physical facilities and equipment in the state (Vanger, 2012). Ajayi (2010:138) reported that “a cursory lo ok at the learning environment in most public secondary schools in Nigeria showed that many of the classrooms, laboratories, examination halls, libraries and office furniture are in a terrible state in need of repairs”. The resear cher observed also that supervisors lack training in supervisory competences. Gbenu (2012) concluded that such supervisors were promoted on the basis of seniority and length of service but not on appropriate training and qualification. The experience of the researcher during supervision exercises revealed that most supervisors are not current with educational innovations as usually seen in their mode of supervision. It is against this background that the researcher decided to undertake this study; to appraise the extent to which the Teaching Service Commissions in the North Central zone of Nigeria have carried out management practices. Specifically, the study appraised the extent to which the commissions adhered to the management manuals on personnel services, financial management, supervision of instruction, distribution of physical facilities and staff development.
Statement of the Problem
The Teaching Service Commissions in the North Central zone of Nigeria were established to efficiently and effectively manage secondary schools. However, serious concerns are being expressed by non-teaching staff, teachers, principals, concerned parents and the public over the way and manner the activities and resources of the commissions are handled. This seems to suggest that there are problems of personnel services, financial management, supervision of instruction and staff development. For instance, there are reported lapses in Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Plateau and Niger states in the areas of supervision of instruction. The commissions are equally accused of not organizing and sponsoring staff to seminars, workshops and conferences in various subject areas. Schools are neglected in the supply of physical facilities thereby, creating unconducive learning environments for teaching and learning process. Perhaps, it may be that these lapses occurred because staff of the Teaching Service Commissions lacked managerial techniques in the application of the commissions’ manuals. Since the Federal Republic of Nigeria in her National Policy on Education (FRN,2004) emphasized on proper planning, adequate funding, effective supervision of schools and management of physical facilities, it therefore becomes necessary to appraise the management practices of the Teaching Service Commissions. The purpose of this study therefore, is to determine the extent of application of management practices of the Teaching Service Commissions in North Central zone of Nigeria.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to appraise management practices of the Teaching Service Commissions in North Central zone of Nigeria with regard to the adherence to their manuals.
Specifically, the study sought to
- Determine the extent to which the Teaching Service Commissions in the North Central zone of Nigeria adhere to their manuals in the area of personnel services.
- Ascertain the extent to which the Teaching Service Commissions in the North Central zone of Nigeria adhere to their manuals on financial management.
- Find out the extent to which the Teaching Service Commissions in the North Central zone of Nigeria adhere to their manuals on supervision of instruction.
- Investigate the extent to which the Teaching Service Commissions in the North Central zone of Nigeria adhere to their manuals on distribution of physical facilities.
- Find out the extent to which the Teaching Service Commissions in the North Central zone of Nigeria adhere to their manuals on staff development.