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PRINCIPALS PERCEPTION OF SOCIAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEMS
1.1 Background of the Study
School administration inNigeriacommenced with the introduction of formal education by the missionaries. This period generally coincided with the colonial era, which also witnessed the introduction of other aspects of western culture into the country. Nevertheless, at that early stage, the colonial administration left the educational sector almost entirely to the missionaries, who consequently set up their own educational management boards to regulate curriculum, salaries, training as well as employment to fill the lacuna occasioned by the absence of an official policy on education.
Infact, a school, like other formal organization, deals with the tasks of structuring, managing and getting directions to accomplish organizational objectives. The school, as a human project gives rise to unique problems of organizational control; and school administration involves a lot of people such as the teachers, pupils and parents, “most studies on various human organizations show that virtually all administrations recognize the importance of good interpersonal relations in achieving the goals of the organization” (Nakpodia, 2000). When asked to rate the interpersonal relation skills, all administrators rate themselves from “above average” to “excellent”. This shows that no administrator likes to accept that he or she has poor interpersonal relations. However, when subordinates, peers and supervisors were asked to rate the interpersonal or human skill of the administrators concerned, what we found were wide discrepancies (Nakpodia and Anho, 2005).
School governance therefore, has to bring together all the above groups for the purpose of creating an environment in which children can effectively learn. However, to create such environment, an administrator (principal) has to be appointed; it is not an easy task for the administrator like the principal to achieve set objectives in regard to the besetting problems within the school environment. This caused various principals’ frustrations and failures.
A critical and diagnostic discussion of various ways to reduce the persistent problems will be beneficial to the schools as well as the areas where they are located. The major problems of school administrators particularly social administrative problems are not farfetched and are discernable from simple observations and through review of related educational literature. What may be major problems in some public secondary schools may not be so in others.
School administration has many dimensions, of which the major ones are provision of instructional and academic leadership, responsibilities to staff and students, managing the school community relations, keeping of school records, and retention of qualified staff, among others (Emuahpor, 2000). The aforementioned are the administrative objectives expected of the school principals to achieve based on their judicious and effective management of available resources.
InNigeria, the planning of the junior and senior secondary school curricular are the responsibility of the government and the West African Examination Council (WAEC). The syllabus is therefore handed over to the principal for implementation. The role of the principal is to organize both human and non-human material for the implementation of the instructional programme; a situation whereby the principals are not given free hand to run the affairs of the school hinders their administrative role. Secondary school principals need well qualified, dedicated and adequate staff to enable them achieve their organizational objectives. But unfortunately, inNigeria, principals are not involved in the recruitment and deployment of these teachers. They receive whatever is being posted to them by the appropriate authority.
Lists of student are also being sent to principals by the Ministry of Education for admission regardless of the students social or parental background and with no inputs from the principal. These days cultism has gained ground in most secondary school particularly those located in urban areas. Principal also faced the problem of school finance, which is the bedrock of all activities most especially social activities. They prepare the budget but where do they get the money from? Various interests groups such as the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), All Nigeria Conference of principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) have organized seminars, workshops and symposia with the hope of finding lasting solution to this problem but all in vain. The federal government prescribed the conditions to be met by respective communities.
In recent days, Parent Teachers Association/Old Student Association (PTA/OSA) have become alternative determinant bodies fighting for recognition and questioning administrative functions of principals vis a vis board of governors. The area of concern of this research is to identify these social administrative problems confronting our secondary schools principals and their abilities to tackle them based on their years of experience, their academic level or personality concept. In other words, does the principals’ leadership style or gender assist in handling these social administrative problem in our secondary schools?
1.2 Statement of the Problem