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Human resources form the ultimate basis for the wealth of nations. They are the active ingredients that accumulate capital, exploit natural resources, build social, economic and political organizations and carry forward national development. Investing in people therefore provides a firm foundation for lasting development. Throughout human history, the surest and most appropriate way nations have invested in their citizens to bring about the needed development has been through education. Education is unquestionably the most important form of human development as the World Declaration on Education For All (WDEFA, 1990) attests; the provision of education is a universal human right.
People can get educated in one of two ways - either through the formal way, informal or non-formal. Formal Education takes place in a well structured teaching and learning environment called institutions or schools. It is "the medium through which individuals learn many of the languages, conceptual and mathematical skills that are indispensable in a modern society" (Hill, 2003:105). Informal Education refers to the experiences people acquire through their socialization as members of society in an unplanned as well as unstructured environment. Non-formal education also refers to 'any out of school program that provides basic skills and training to individuals. Examples include adult education, on-the-job training programs, and agricultural and other extension services' (M.P.Todaro, 1994:691).
Although education is considered to be a fundamental human right, there are millions of children all over the world who are denied the benefits of education even at the basic level. 75 million children are not in school according to UNESCO and by 2005-2006; as many as 90 million children were without access to education (Global Action for Children Website). The consequence is that, these children have absolutely no control over their future because they are not empowered to do so. It is to correct such gross human error and injustice that the Education For All (EFA) agenda was launched as an offshoot of the 1990 Jomtien Declaration aimed at promoting global access to education. The essence of the education for all agenda, which was given a new lease of commitment by world leaders in the 2000 Dakar Declaration, is to ensure that all children of school going age are in the classroom by 2015. The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) is executing the National Education For All agenda. The introduction of the capitation grant has a positive impact on enrolment as the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of the deprived districts increased from 76.06 percent in 2003 / 2004 to 80.12 percent in 2004 / 2005. (2006 Budget Statement)
Basic education is the fundamental basis of formal education and plays an indispensable role in the development of the human resources of every country.
In Ghana, this form of education has a long and checkered history with the introduction of one form of reforms or another since colonial days and beyond. However, the country experienced the first massive educational reforms in 1987(Fabian Belieb, 2007).
Indeed throughout Ghana's history, governments have sought to increase access to formal schooling by making basic education free and compulsory as guaranteed by the 1992 Republican Constitution. They have also expanded teacher-training colleges to produce more teachers for primary and secondary schools and have further increased the number of schools in Ghana. For instance, as of 1918, the number of schools in the country (then Gold Coast) was 204. By 1966, the figure had shot up to 10,610 with primary schools making a chunk of 8,144 and enrolment was 1,471,431 (Bening, 1990). In a further bid to improve access, improve relevance, achieve equity and increase participation, the government invested huge amounts in the educational sector. For instance, a total amount of GHÂ¢10.0 million was earmarked for the 'Schools Under Trees' Project involving 230 No. 6-Unit Classroom Blocks and 147 No. 3-Unit Classroom Blocks which started in 2006 was expected to complete in 2008(Budget Statement,2008: ). An amount of GHÂ¢3.80 million was also earmarked as Government subsidy towards the BECE registration (Budget Statement, 2008:138)
Ironically, against the backdrop of these relentless efforts by government, it does not appear to be commensurate with the performance of pupils in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (B.E.C.E.) over the years especially in the rural areas. Performance of pupils in deprived parts of the Upper West Region is particularly poor. The West African Examination Council (WAEC) is mandated to conduct (this) examination in the national interest and to award certificates that are comparable to those of equivalent examining authorities internationally (A.Agbeti, 2007, WAEC Office).
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
In Ghana currently, there are great inadequacies in the allocation of educational opportunities and facilities among persons and localities culminating in low enrolment rates which could be a precursor for poor performance. It is observable that the allocation of educational opportunities and facilities are skewed in favour of the cities and towns at
the expense of rural communities. This could, in part, result in the problem of poor performance at the basic level in most rural communities in the country of which Kpongo is not an exception.
1.2.1 TREND ANALYSIS OF PUPILS' PERFORMANVE IN BECE
Table 1: Pupils performance in BECE in Ghana
No of Candidates
(Source: GES Records)
Trend at the Municipal level
Table2: Wa Municipal Pupils performance in BECE
% Pass &( fail)
Source (GES, Wa Municipal Office)
Trend at the School level
Table 3: Kpongo Islamic JHS Pupils performance in BECE
% Pass & %(fail)
Source (GES, Wa Municipal)
From the performance trends, as shown in tables 1, 2 and 3 above, it is clear that the performance of pupils at the national level averages sixty percent over the period indicating that forty percent of candidates fail to transition in to second cycle education.
At the municipal level, the trend depicts a better picture as performance averages seventy percent over the period indicating an improvement over the national average of sixty percent. It also suggests that about the same percentage of pupils' transition into the next
stage of education.
The situation at the Kpongo Islamic Junior High School, however, assumes a rather poorer dimension as the school has for the past decade persistently scored less than fifty percent in succession in the Basic Education Certificate Examination, even scoring zero percent on extreme occasions.
This undesirable situation has affected the socio-economic development of the community, since very few pupils from the community are able to qualify to continue to the senior high, vocational and technical schools. This study therefore intends to research into the causes of the chronic poor performance of pupils in B.E.C.E in Kpongo Community from the year 2000 to 2008.
1.3.0 GENERAL RESEARCH QUESTION:
What are the causes of the poor performance among pupils in the Kpongo Community?
1.3.1 SPECIFIC RESEARCH QUESTIONS
ïƒ¼What reasons are given for the mass failure of pupils in B. E. C.E in the Kpongo community?
ïƒ¼What are the roles of stakeholders in enhancing the performance of pupils in.B.E. C. E in the community?
ïƒ¼What measures can be put in place to enhance the performance of pupils in B.E.C.E in the community?
1.4.0 GENERAL OBJECTIVE:
The study principally aims at finding out the causes of poor performance in B.E.C.E in the Kpongo community from 2000 to 2008.
1.4.1 SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES:
ïƒ¼ To find out reasons that account for the mass failure of pupils in the community
ïƒ¼ To find out the role of stakeholders in enhancing the performance of pupils in B.E.C.E in the community.
ïƒ¼ To come out with measures to address the problem of poor performance of pupils in B.E.C.E in the community.
2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
This part of the study shows how other researchers have dealt with the issues of education and other related issues. This review intends to employ the funnel approach (from general to specific) as the theoretical basis in order to achieve a comprehensive review. By so doing both local and foreign literature would be examined. It must however be emphasized that, though the foreign literature would appear general on the subject, they would be very relevant and useful to this study.
2.2 DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS:
Stakeholder a according to Sekyere (2008:33) is "a person or a group of people who have a shared or a personal or financial involvement in a business or any undertaking such as a school" The stakeholders of a school therefore include: Parents, Students, Past Students Association, the Community, the Board of Governors or School Management Committee (SMC)/ Parents -Teachers Association (PTA) and the Government. This study adopts the concept and uses it as defined in Sekyere.
Learning is a concept that is defined in various ways by different people. Gregory Kimble (1961) as cited in C.K. Dondieu defines it as "a relatively permanent change in behaviour potentiality which occurs as a result of reinforced practice" This definition is adopted by the study.
Various studies have been conducted in the area of education and its related issues such as learning, assessment, students' performance among others. One such study was done by Melvin V. Borland and Roy M. Howsen titled A Note on Student Academic Performance: In Rural Versus Urban Areas. In their study they compared the academic performance of both highly rural and highly urban areas to students from areas of moderate population density. They found out that students from both highly rural and highly urban areas perform similarly, but less well in terms of educational achievement than students from moderate areas. (Borland and Howsen, 1999).
Their work merely compared the performance of students from two extremely different backgrounds (rural and urban) to others from a moderate background without eliciting the reasons why it is so.
Another study was done by Joseph Ghartey Ampiah on the provision of quality education in Ghana using selected schools in central region as a case study. His study explored how input factors are utilised at the classroom level to promote quality education (Ampiah, 2008). It is very clear that, as the purpose of his study was to identify good practices that promote quality of education, the emphasis was so much on the teacher and the pupils in the classroom leaving out the important role other stakeholders such as PTA/SMC, Old boys and girls, the government can play in the promotion of quality education and good performance in examinations. There is a gap that this study hopefully intends fill by taking a critical look at the roles that all stakeholders play in enhancing the performance of pupils in B.E.C.E
Another study was done by Leslie Casely -Hayford (2002) on Social Impact of Poverty on Educational Attainment. It was found out that, the vast majority of children out of school are located in the three northern regions of Ghana where the incidence of poverty is highest. According to him, a greater number of the out of school children being girls, it was also revealed that out of school children and dropout rates were increasing in areas with high levels of poverty. However, though his work tried to draw a link between child poverty and poor educational performance, other possible reasons that could culminate in low educational performance beyond poverty such as content related issues which has to do with the nature of the content, selection of the content and the organization of the content (Mangal, 2007:192) seem not to be given attention. There are yet several questions about pupils' performance that are not answered. For instance, how might the infrastructure for schools affect student performance? Can inappropriate examinations lead to poor performance? Can we completely trust the results of the examination as indicators of student achievement (or non-achievement)? There is also a school of thought that places the problem of poor performance on the door step of the teachers, and that teacher engagement or disengage in schools should be performance based.
However, there are no clear lines as to what should constitute good teacher teaching. Some say that teachers need to master some techniques (M.Ainscow& D.ATweddle, 1979)
Meanwhile, there are many factors that could affect learning which could have detrimental reflection in the performance of the learner in an examination.
Mangal (2007) categorized factors affecting learning into: learner related, teacher related, content related and process related factors. On the learner related factors he cited "physical and mental health; basic potential of the learner; level of aspiration and achievement motivation; learner's goals of life; and readiness and will power of the learner."(Mangal,2007:190-193)
As regards the teacher related factors: mastery of subject matter;
Personality trait and behaviour of the teacher; level adjustment and mental health of the teacher and type of discipline maintained by teacher (i.e. democratic or persuasive) are cited. With the content related factors he said "the nature of the content or learning involved the selection of the content and the organization of the content. Finally, he explained the process related factors as" the methodology adopted for teaching; teaching learning environment and resources among others" (Mangal, 2007:190-193).
The wealth of ideas and experiences regarding student performance in particular, and learning generally provides an insight and guidance to me as to how to approach the study in a very useful manner. Hence the relevance of conducting this study can not be over emphasized.
3.1 TECHNIQUES OF DATA COLLECTION
3.1.1 SIMPLE RANDOM SAMPLING
Simple random sampling is the tool that would be used in the data collection. This is to ensure that all elements or individuals in the population get the chance of being selected. This is also as a result of the homogenous nature of the people of Kpongo (majority being farmers). They also have similar characteristics. The total number of pupils at the J.H.S would be noted. Out of this number, the study would select 100 pupils whose parents or guardians would be interviewed. The procedure would include a total number (equivalent with student population) of folded paper containing 100 'Yes' and (total minus 100) 'No' mixed up and put in a container. The pupils would pick at random and those who pick 'Yes' would have their parents or guardians selected as respondents.
3.1.2 QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE TECHNIQUES
The researcher would use both qualitative and quantitative methods for data collection. Qualitative techniques on one hand would be used because the purpose of the study is primarily to describe or educe the causes of the performance of pupils in B.E.C.E in Kpongo. On the other hand, the quantitative techniques would be used to quantify the problem of poor performance of pupils in B.E.C.E in Kpongo and to ascertain the magnitude of the problem.
3.1.3 KEY INFORMANT INTERVIEWS
People who are thought to have relevant and in-depth knowledge pertaining to education in the community such as the circuit supervisor, assemblyman, catechist, imam and the headmaster would be contacted for their views about the problem under investigation. This is to obtain in-depth information on the problem since the people selected had expert knowledge on education. These categories of people would be granted structured interviews at separate times upon prior notices.
3.1.4 SECONDARY DATA
Data would be sourced from Kpongo Primary and Junior Secondary School record books for the performance of pupils over the years. Data for the attendance of teachers would also be sought for including their qualifications. The study would not leave out visits of the circuit supervisor to the school in the collection of secondary data.
The study would seek for records of both class attendance and performance of pupils in class and end of term examination. The study intends to collect data on the performance of pupils in B.E.C.E at the municipal and regional levels over the period under review from the Wa Municipal and the Upper West Regional Education offices respectively. The research would also consult other relevant sources for information.
3.1.5 FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION
To interact with organized groups in the community, the researcher would use this approach. It is for the purpose of triangulation in order to validate the data already collected and further gather information on the performance of pupils in B.E.C.E in the community over the period under investigation and also to cross check household questionnaires administered to individuals relating to the performance of pupils in B.E.C.E. Groups such as parents, teachers, and pupils.
3.1.6 STRUCTURED INTERVIEW
In order to avoid misinterpretation of questions and cover other respondents, the structured interview method would be employed to collect data. The method is preferred to the questionnaire approach because the former is suitable when there is high illiteracy among respondents. Moreover, the issue on which information is being collected is so complex and involves many variables that, the information can not be put in simple questions, which can easily be understood and answered. It also makes the retrieval of responses from respondents easy as they will react to questions and their reactions immediately recorded by the researchers thereby saving time and cost. An interview schedule would be designed and administered to each respondent. The schedule will center mainly on the performance of pupils in B.E.C.E in Kpongo over the period under review.
3.1.7 PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION
The potential for self-reliant information and good performance of pupils in B.E.C.E and sustainable rural development lies in a responsive communication among planners, researchers, educationists and the community members. To this end, participant observation (participatory approach) which is commonly used in attitudinal and community surveys would be employed by the study. This will give the researcher the opportunity to interact directly with the community members including the pupils and teachers. The researcher would participate in observing some lessons as well the school facilities and infrastructure. This approach is a useful tool for confirming or falsifying other information the study would have gathered about the performance of pupils in B.E.C.E in the community over the years. Participant observation is useful because it buttresses the point that a person's current state of mind, socio-cultural background, skills or training and community values can determine the performance of pupils.
3.1.8 DATA COLLECTION
The type of data that the study intend to collect include data on the age ,sex, occupational characteristics of respondents .Also, educational status, marital status, religion and family size of respondents will equally be taken. The researcher intends to move from house to house to collect data.
As regards the secondary data the researcher would contact the appropriate offices for the required secondary data.
3.1.9 DATA ANALYSIS
The data will be analyzed using the spss computer data analysis soft ware program. The analysis will include review of field notes, review of transcripts of interviews. The data transcripts would be codified into the various themes for further analysis and clarification. The data is also going to be looked at in the various levels of measurements- nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio.
3.1.10 DATA PRESENTATION
The data would be presented in three themes in correspondence with the specific research questions and in the preliminary form that takes into consideration the sex characteristics of the respondents, the age distribution, religious composition of respondents, occupational distribution, as well as the marital status of respondents. This would be done in the form of tables, bar graphs, histograms, and pie charts. Other tools such as regression, box plot, correlation matrix simple exponential regression would also be used in the presentation.
STUDY ACTIVITY TIME LINES
Agbeti A. (2007) Perspectives of WAEC on the Junior and Senior High School Concept
Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT): Consultative Council for Teachers Association (CCTA) Colloquium
Ampiah Joseph Ghartey (2008) An Investigation of Provision of Quality Basic Education in Ghana: A Case Study of Selected Schools in the Central Region CICE Hiroshima University, Journal of International Cooperation in Education Vol.11No.3(2008)pp.19
Bagulo Bening R A History of Education In Northern Ghana 1907-1976
Balieb Fabian (2007)Challenges and Merits of the New Educational Reforms Ghana National Association of Teachers(GNAT): Consultative Council for Teachers Association(CCTA) Colloquium
Constitution of the Republic Of Ghana (1992)
C.K. Dondieu (unpublished) Guide Notes to the Study of Education New Edition, Vol.2
Melvin V. Borland and Roy M.Howsen (1999) A Note on Student Academic Performance: In Rural versus Urban Areas American Journal of Economics and Sociology Vol. 58, No. 3 (Jul., 1999), pp. 537-546 (article consists of 10 pages)
Michael P. Todaro (1995) Economic Development Fifth Edition, Longman Publishing, New York
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S.K. Mangal(2007)Essentials of Education Psychology
The Ghanaian Times, April 19, 2006.
The Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana for the 2006 Financial Year.
Twumasi P.A. Social Research in Rural Community: The Problems of Fieldwork in Ghana. Department Of Sociology University of Ghana. Ghana University Press Accra.
United Nations (1990) World conference. Education for All. Jomtein. UN Secretariat
United Nations General Assembly Resolution (2000 September) Fifty-Fifth Session
World Bank (1997). Primary Education In India. Washington D.C. World Bank.
World Bank Policy Study (1993) Education in Sub-Saharan African Policies for Adjustment, Revivalism and Expansion