Effective Practices In The Management Of School Plant In Secondary Schools In South-East Nigeria

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EFFECTIVE PRACTICES IN THE MANAGEMENT OF SCHOOL PLANT IN
SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN SOUTH-EAST NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

The study was designed to find out the effective practices in the management of school plant
in secondary schools in the South – Eastern states of Nigeria. The study employed descriptive
survey design. The sample for the study comprised six hundred and ninety six administrative
staff of school boards and four hundred and sixty seven secondary school principals in the
five South – Eastern States of Nigeria through random sampling techniques. Six research
questions and six null hypotheses guided the study. An instrument of 40 items on effective
practices in the management of school plant in secondary schools was developed and used for
the field study. The face validity of the items was done by five experts from the Faculty of
Education, University of Nigeria Nsukka. Construct validity was also carried out by the use
of factor analysis involving the Varimax rotation. Out of the forty (40) items that were
subjected to factor analysis, thirty (30) items were found to be valid. They were loaded on six
factors that addressed the variables. The surviving thirty (30) items were subjected to internal
consistency reliability estimate using Cronbach alpha which yielded a reliability indices of
0.66, 0.76, 0.74, 0.58 and 0.73 for clusters A, B, C, D E, and F respectively and an overall
reliability estimate of 0.90. Mean was used in answering six research questions while t-test
statistic was used to test the six null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The results of
the study revealed that principals should plan for the use of direct labour to reduce cost and
plan for the economy of land as site of new buildings. The result indicated that principals
should register the school under co-operate society through which building materials can be
procured at a cheaper rate or hire purchase rates, and organize orientation for both staff and
students on utilization of school buildings. The analysis also revealed that principals should
establish school maintenance programme and encourage the communities to establish their
own maintenance programme since they utilize the school buildings. The result also indicated
that principals should carry out weekly inspections of school building and involves capable
technical personnel for identifying major deficiencies after the normal activities in the school.
The result of the study indicated that principals should make rules and regulations in securing
secondary school buildings in South – Eastern states. Based on the findings of the study,
recommended, among others, that principals should consult design experts before and during
the construction of new buildings and that principals should appoint capable technical
personnel for regular inspection of school buildings.
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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

The role of principals in the management of secondary schools is vital for the
realization of educational goals since principal are involved in the implementation of
educational policies and programmes. One of the primary functions of secondary school
principals, according to Idoko (2005), is management and maintenance of school plant.
School plant, according to Agbonye (2006), is the same thing as physical facilities.
Emenalo (2007) explains that school plant is the entire scope of physical infrastructural
facilities which are provided in the school for the school for the purpose of educating the
child. Asiabaka (2008) postulates that school plant consist of all types of buildings, areas for
sports and games, landscape, farms and gardens including trees and paths. Others include
furniture and toilet facilities, storage facilities, transportation, Information and
Communication Technology (I.C.T.), food services among others.
The above facilities play vital role in the actualization of educational goals and
objectives by satisfying the physical and emotional needs of students and teachers of the
school. Their availability, adequacy and relevance influence efficiency and high productivity.
It has always been realized that school plant is very important in the development of
education in Nigeria.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) in her National Policy on Education too pays
considerable attention to the importance of the provision of school plant. She states in the
document that provision and subsequent expansion will be made for vocational equipment
and other facilities. Senior secondary schools are to have properly equipped workshops. In
addition, provision for health centres in all educational institutions to cater for the children
would be made.
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School plant is very vital for the success of educational endeavour. When available
and skillfully used, they make learning more meaningful. School plant provides experiences
which stimulate self-activities on the part of the learner and these help to concretize the ideas
and save the teacher from talk and chalk method. School plant is also essential for effective
teaching and learning of every subject. It should be noted that, for school plant to be
functional, they require proper planning, usage and maintenance for greater efficiency by the
school administrators and the Secondary Education Management Board. For this reason,
there has been a global concern for management of school plant in secondary schools by
school administrators, parents and teachers.
Achinine (1998) points out that one of the most important functions of secondary
school administration in Nigeria is efficient management of school plant. In other words, the
achievement of set goals and objectives depends on the ability of the school manager to make
use of and maintain the physical facilities in the school. Management, according to
Peretomode (2001), is the social or interactional process involving planning, organizing,
coordinating and controlling or leading in order to use available resources to achieve a
desired outcome in the fastest and most efficient way. Management of school plant,
according to Onwurah (2004) includes procurement and maintenance of school facilities for
effective teaching and learning.
For the effective management of school plant in secondary schools, the school
administrator needs to ensure that the school plant is properly maintained and utilized for the
actualization of the educational goals. According to Idoko (2005), the principal is charged
with the responsibility of ensuring that the necessary facilities or materials needed for
effective and efficient teaching and learning are provided and maintained as this will prevent
a repeat occurrence of infrastructural decay. The school administrator also makes sure that,
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the general appearance of the surrounding and condition of facilities in the school are well
kept for this serves as an indicator for judgment about the quality of academic activities that
go on in the school. Emenalor (2007) argues that, the construction of new buildings, and
additions to existing ones are not the management of school plant, rather it involves the
continuing operation and maintenance of the school plant. Therefore, it is the duty of the
school administrator to harness all it takes to maintain the school plant as this will contribute
a lot to its lasting effect. School plant maintenance means safeguarding and regular repair and
supervision of school facilities. It implies maintaining the environment to make sure that it is
clean, beautiful and safe for the activities that go on in the school. It is therefore a major and
sensitive aspect of school administration.
However, most secondary schools in Nigeria and South – East in particular are in a
state of disrepair. The state of physical facilities in secondary schools is in a deplorable
condition. Bamide (2002) asserts that, there are broken, decayed and battered facilities in our
schools which may not be as a result of old age but simply out of neglect. This statement is in
agreement with Emenalo (2007), who maintains that, the poor condition of some school plant
especially school buildings in secondary schools today is not as a result of old age per say but
out of neglect. Today, it is a common phenomenon in secondary schools to see dilapidated
buildings, broken chairs etc.
Most public secondary schools in the South-East look like abandoned construction
site. There is hardly a public secondary school in the area that does not have blown-off
building, just as most of them cannot boast of well-equipped laboratories. The classrooms are
full of pot-holes due to licking roofs, just as most of the classrooms do not have doors and
windows. In some of the schools the teachers stay under the tree in place of staff room
because what is called staff room does not differ from a waste store. In most of the schools
the sports fields are thorough fare because the official thorough fares are impassable due to
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damage by erosion. The situation neither motivates the teacher nor the students and this
affects the teaching and learning process adversely.
Commenting on the state of physical facilities in secondary school in the South-East
state, Achinine (1998) points out that Federal Government needs to give attention to schools
in South-East because of the destructive effects of the Nigerian civil war. She observed that
most of the buildings repaired after the wars are due for further renovation due to aging of the
structures. However, Onyejemezie (2002) comments that, both the State and Federal
Government through various schemes like Petroleum Trust Fund [PTF] and Education Trust
Fund [ETF] have invested to ensure the improvement of the quantity and quality of physical
plant in the schools and pleaded that more should be done to save these schools from the state
of disrepair. The few existing ones appear not to be receiving due attention from school
administrators hence their poor state. The school administrators appear to lack the necessary
skills to pay due attention to school plant. Their attention most often appear to be on financial
management from where they could put some money into their pocket through embezzlement
and other illegal means like illegal levies, increasing external examination fees, awarding
inflated contracts, among others.
Asiabaka (2008) maintains that, an aspect of school management that is generally
over looked is facilities management. She argues that, when new buildings are constructed
and taken over by the appropriate authorities, practically, no attention is paid to the
management of such buildings, several school buildings that are over thirty years old have
never undergone renovation or any form of modernization in spite of the changes in the
educational system. It is pertinent to note that, school plant management is an issue that
concerns all levels of educational system. Some of these facilities according to Etuk (2007)
are architecturally obsolete and therefore cannot contribute to functional education and
maintaining the new buildings, renovating and modernizing the old ones require considerable
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expertise and commitment of human and material resources which the secondary school
administrators cannot cope due to poor funding of schools by the government.
Ukeje cited in Agbonye (2006) asserts that, the responsibilities of Secondary
Education Management Boards include direct control and management of post primary
schools on all matters of policy, theories and practice of education. The foregoing shows that,
the administrative staffs of Secondary Education Management Boards as stakeholders in
school direct the principals of secondary schools towards effective management of school
plant. The question is how knowledgeable are administrative staff of Secondary Education
Management Board on facilities maintenance planning so as to properly direct the principals?
This question is answered by Bamide (2002) who reported that, some managers and teachers
who constantly use school facilities lack knowledge of facilities maintenance planning as this
maintenance is haphazardly addressed in our secondary schools. Repairs take place in most
cases only when problems arise due to total breakdown of existing facilities. The facility
maintenance plan as listed by Asiabaka (2008) – preventive, routine, emergency repairs and
predictive maintenance have been adopted by some school administrators for several years,
yet school plant decay has been on the increase and no effective practices have been
generally adopted in the management of school plant in secondary schools. This therefore
underscores the need to investigate into effective practices in the management of school plant
in secondary schools in South-East Nigeria.

Statement of the Problem

School plant constitutes important resources for the implementation of educational
programme in Nigeria. Its place in the teaching process cannot be over emphasized, for
instance, classroom constitute a common ground for sharing learning experiences and for
trying out research findings. Play grounds are places for recreation and sports while
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instructional materials such as teaching aids generally, are facilitators of the teaching learning
process.
Despite the above importance of these physical facilities, evidence abound which
seems to suggest that there are ineffectiveness in the management of school plant in
secondary schools particularly in South –Eastern states of Nigeria. The school administrators
appear to pay less attention to school plant management as one of the task areas of school
administration. It appears that principals do not motivate teachers and students adequately
because they appear to treat the provision of infrastructural facilities like conducive
classrooms, comfortable staff rooms, libraries, laboratories and workshop with levity. This
affects the productivity of the teachers and the achievement of the students. These
ineffectiveness according to Idoko (2005) are in the form of washed off paints, falling ceiling
and roof tops that have suffered from heavy rainfall. Noticeable also are cracked dilapidated
decaying walls, sagging roofs, broken doors, windows and bushy surroundings as common
phenomena in secondary schools in South- Eastern states. Most schools have no doors or
window shutters to protect students against hash whether conditions. The classrooms are
overcrowded which do not allow for personal attention of students by the teachers. Some
secondary schools have no laboratories and even the schools that have are not provided with
the relevant materials and equipment for learning activities that the students can be engaged
in. In the light of the above, the problem of the study stated in question form is therefore as
follows: What are the effective practices in the management of school plant in secondary
schools in south-east states Nigeria?

Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to investigate the effective practices in the
management of school plant in secondary schools in South-Eastern states of Nigeria.
Specifically, the study sought to:
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1. Identify the effective practices for the planning of school buildings in secondary
schools in South-East states.
2. Find out effective practices in the procurement of secondary school building
materials in South-Eastern states.
3. Find out the effective practices through which school buildings are utilized in
secondary schools in South-Eastern states.
4. Identify the effective methods of maintaining secondary school buildings in
South-Eastern states.
5. Find out effective inspection practices for secondary school buildings in South-
Eastern states.
6. Identify effective ways through which school principals could enforce rules and
regulations for securing school buildings in secondary schools in South-Eastern
states.

Significance of the Study

The importance of effective management of school plant cannot be overemphasized.
Effective management of school plant has a direct bearing on the development process not
only in school but on the whole economy in the state. Well-articulated goals of secondary
education in Nigeria cannot be achieved without effective planning, procurement, utilization,
and management of school plant. The findings of this study will be useful to educational
administrators, Secondary Education Management Board, teachers, students, principals of
secondary schools and the community.
When there are effective practices for the planning of secondary school buildings, it
will lead to the optimum use of available resources which will reduce cost and will result in
effective use of land spaces. On the other hand, such effective planning whether it is long or
short term planning will enhance effective performance of principals and their teachers and
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community will have some of their resources plowed into other important development
ventures.
In the same vein, the findings on effective practices in the procurement of building
materials will be of immense benefit to the teachers, students and P.T.A as such will reduce
cost and save the parents the ordeal of regular contribution. The teachers and students will
benefit because, these materials will be procured based on the actual needs at reduced cost,
cost effectiveness thus, leaving the school with resources for instructional materials etc.
The findings of the study based on utilization of school buildings will benefit
principals as it will x-ray their skills, expose areas they are not doing well so that in-service
training could be organized to help them acquire more skills in school building. This will
ensure that school buildings are utilized optimally for the purpose they are meant for.
The outcome of the study based on maintenance of school buildings will benefit the
principal, students, parents and the community at large. Regular maintenance will benefit
principal as it will prevent decay and the dilapidation of these buildings, speak volumes about
the principal’s management skills, students will be happy learning in a good environment,
teachers work environment will be improved and they will be motivated to do more while the
community will utilize the resources that would have been used to erect new buildings to
other development needs of the community.
This work will also benefit Management Boards as it affects inspection of school
buildings. The findings will serve as a yardstick with which State Education Management
Board (SEMB) can categorize and know the skills of the principals that are overseeing the
affairs of the secondary schools in South-East states. Principals that are not doing well in this
aspect will see the need and reason from the findings of this work to regularly inspect their
school buildings, and this will prolong the life of these buildings, thus, leading to effective
teaching and learning in these schools.
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More importantly, establishing ways through which principals could make rules and
regulations for securing school buildings will benefit principals, teachers, students,
communities and school boards as that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of
principals as their skills will be enhanced, teachers, students and communities will be
properly guided as they will know their limitations, boundaries, make effective use of these
buildings and become law abiding citizens. The school boards will benefit as these rules and
regulations could be adopted and disseminated to all schools to serve as a policy to secure the
use of school buildings.

Scope of the Study

The study is delimited to effective practices in the management of secondary school
buildings in South-Eastern states. The content area is restricted to the following: planning of
secondary school buildings, procurement of building materials, utilization of secondary
school buildings, maintenance of secondary school buildings, inspection of secondary school
buildings and making of rules and regulations based on school buildings. The study focuses
on public secondary schools in South-Eastern states.

Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:
1. What are the effective practices in the planning of secondary school buildings in
South-Eastern States?
2. What are the effective practices in the procurement of secondary school building
materials in South-Eastern States?
3. What are the effective practices principals should apply in the utilization of
secondary school buildings in South-Eastern States?
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4. What are the effective practices principals should use in maintaining secondary
school buildings in South-East states?
5. What are the effective practices principal should use in inspecting secondary
school buildings in South East States?
6. What enforcement strategies should principals apply to secure secondary school buildings in South-Eastern states?

Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study and were tested at 0.05

level of significance.

  1. There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of principals of
    secondary schools and administrative staff of school boards in South-Eastern
    states on the effective practices for planning of secondary school buildings.
  2. There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of principals of
    secondary schools and administrative staff of school boards in South-Eastern
    states on the effective practices in the procurement of building materials.
  3. There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of principals of
    secondary schools and administrative staff of school boards in South-Eastern
    states on effective practices principals should apply in the utilization of secondary
    school buildings.
  4. There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of principals of
    secondary schools and administrative staffs of school board in South-Eastern
    states on the effective practices which the principals should apply in maintaining
    secondary school buildings in South Eastern states.
  5. There are no significant difference between the mean ratings of principals of
    secondary schools and administrative staff of school boards in South Eastern.

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