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The study was carried out to examine the Impact of free education on public junior secondary schools in education district IV. The purpose of the study was to investigate how tuition fee payment, provision of textbooks, adequate qualified teachers influence the quality of education. Three research questions and three hypotheses were formulated and tested in the study. Relevant literature were reviewed in line with the variable of the study. The research design adopted in the study was descriptive survey research design. A 20 item Likert type structured questionnaire was used for data collection. A sample of 210 teachers were used in the study. Data obtained were analyzed using chi-square statistics. The Findings of the study shows that: there was a significant influence of payment of tuition on quality of education in public junior secondary schools (X2cal16.67>X2crit9.49), there was a significant influence of provision of textbooks on quality of education in public junior secondary schools (X2cal28.35>X2crit9. 49). There was a significant influence of recruitment of qualified teachers on quality of education (X2ca124.52>X2crit9.49).  It was recommended among other arrangements should be made to adequately cater for the large number of pupils that enroll in the scheme so as to avoid having over-crowded classrooms, and that efforts should be made to pay teachers’ salary as at when due so as to avoid disenchantment among the teachers.


1.0                                                       INTRODUCTION

1.1  Background of the Study

The concept of the universal basic education may not be a new idea totally. From all indications, the Universal Basic Education can be regarded as an offshoot of the Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme, which was launched in the country in 1976, As usual with Nigeria, the scheme was abandoned mid-way (Aluede, 2006). The fact that the Scheme i.e UPE had something to offer perhaps led to the re-introduction of the programme in another name and concept known as Universal Basic Education in 1999.

Free education policy is a document of agreement in accordance to the removal of every constraint to sound and quality education .Free education means the establishment of various kind of schools and expansion of school curriculum to help each child develop according to his or her ability, age, interest and so on. It means the establishment and provision of library facilities, technical and vocational equipment, recruitment and retention of qualified and adequate manpower. It means tuition free, free feeding, free books, free accommodation, free transportation, free uniform and other personal uses of the learner. Free education also means the removal of every socio-cultural impediments to the child’s education. The sum total of all these, makes education free. The partial implementation of the above can never qualify the system as free because the presence of any one of the above constitutes constraint to the child’s ‘access to free education.

The Universal Basic Education (UBE) is a policy reform measures of the Federal Government of Nigeria, aimed at rectifying distortions in the basic education. UBE is conceived to embrace formal education up to age 15, as well as adult and non-formal education including education of the marginalized groups within the Nigerian society.

The National Policy on Education, 2004 section 3 defines basic education as a type of education comprising 6 years of primary education and 3 years of junior secondary school. The policy stipulates that education shall be free and compulsory. This scheme shall include adults, and non -formal educational programmes at primary and junior secondary school levels for both adults and out-of school youths. The UBE has three main components-Universal, Basic, and Education. Universal here means the programme is for everyone irrespective of tribe, culture or race and class. (Aluede, 2006; EddyAkpan 2009).The term basic depicts that which is a fundamental or essential thing that must be given or had. It is also on this factor that every other thing rests on. Without it, nothing may be achieved. It is the root of acquisition of any knowledge (Eddy and Akpan, 2009) Hence, UBE can be seen as that type of education that every individual must have. It should not be a privilege but a right and it should be the sum total of an individual’s experience.

The policy also placed education on concurrent legislative list between the federal, state, and local governments. Consequently, one of the registered political parties in the country then (i.e Unity Party of Nigeria) inaugurated “free education at all levels policy“ as one of its cardinal objectives. The states under the control of the party (Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Bendel and Ogun) implemented the policy at the primary and secondary levels but could not do so at the tertiary due to its heavy cost implication and inadequate fund. The situation however led to the provision of free tuition, textbooks, equipment, automatic promotion from primary to secondary schools, as well as abolition of all forms of levies in secondary schools. Even though the free education policy suffered from inadequate funding, there was significant upsurge in the number and enrollment in primary and secondary schools as a result of its implementation.

The situation thus placed the affected States ahead of others in terms of education development in Nigeria. Unfortunately, the growth in the number and enrollment of schools without corresponding provision of adequate infrastructure,, facilities and teachers , led to adecline in the standard  of education. The lopsidedness in the implementation of Free Education Policy in the’ LOOBO States’, necessitated its suspension in 1983 by the military government.

The quality of education takes into account their determinants (especially if the ambition is to improve quality), i.e the various means  such as the provision  of teachers, buildings, equipment, curriculum, textbooks, and the teaching-learning process, e.t.c, so therefore, the general concept of quality of education is composed of three interrelated  dimensions ; the quality of human  and material resources available  for teaching (inputs), the quality of teaching practices (process) and the quality of the results (output and outcomes).This action was based on the argument that ‘Free Education Policy’ was unrealistic and cosmetic and that its continue implementation will not give room for provision  of quality education  while the financial implication  will be too heavy  for Government  to bear. Between 1983 and 1999 when military government was in power, the issue of free education took a back seat among government’s policies priorities. During this period, various levies were introduced to generate funds for the sustenance of education.  With the assumption of power by another civilian government in 1999, another era of free education emerged in the South-west zone, which was coordinated by Alliance for Democracy (one of the registered political parties in the country) in control of the States.

This inadequacy in terms of population data has also affected the provision of instructional materials such as textbooks, laboratory equipment’s, audio-visual materials, etc which in themselves constitutes another major challenge to successful implementation of the UBE programme. Many of the schools do not have this materials and were available, they are inadequate and outdated.

United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization {UNESCO, 2004; Oni, 2000; Dare et al, 2008;). The overall problem regarding general inadequacy  of infrastructure, teaching materials and amenities in the Nigerian educational system is well captured by Ezekwesilli when she said; the physical infrastructure is below standard and gross insufficient…….the basic amenities such as water and light are seriously lacking (Ogunjimi et al..2009).

Another challenge of the UBE scheme is the drop-out rate in primary schools considering the aims and objectives of the scheme, which is the education for all school age children. The demographic and health survey (DHS) conducted in 2003 revealed the only 60.1% of  all the children of primary school age  were attending primary school at the time of the survey. In particular, boys had a higher Net Attendance Rate (NAR) of 63.7% as against that of the female which was 56%. Similarly, discrepancy is also noticeable in the children’s attendance rate in school of the urban areas and the rural areas. In the urban areas, the NAR was 69.5%, while in the rural areas, it was 55.7%in other to show the drop- out rate, it was revealed by Ogunjimi et al (2009) that out of the 42.1 million children below 14 years of age, only 25.8 million representing 61.2% of the total population was in school. At the secondary school level, only 30% of the population that should be in school was in school in Nigeria. Primary school net enrollment/ attendance between 2000 and 2007 was 63%. The drop-out rate for the girl-child was 44% while that of the boys in secondary school was 39.3%. (Olanrewaju and Folorunso; 2009).

Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme,  is to provide free basic education for children, having observed anomalies in its provision in the past, at present, in many States in Nigeria, partial free education is implemented just like the case of the South-west; zone.

This is in the area of payment of Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), Junior School Certificate Examination (JSCE) fees and the development levy. The Universal Basic Education programme has as one of its implementation strategies, the provision of free meals for pupils at the primary level. Nigeria as a nation has not practiced ‘free education ‘since the history of Western education started in 1842. Rather, at one time or the other, programmes have been introduced which abolished the payment of school fees, in part or in full at one particular level or the other. The removal of school fees or other related levies does not make education free because there are still other constraints in the child’s access to education. Some of such constraints have already been addressed. When obstacles to acquiring quality and standard education are removed, granting access to every child to receive education according to age, gender, interest, ability then we say that there is free education. Tuition-free education, but not free education. Free education does not operate in part but in full

1.2  Statement of the Problem

The essence of free education policy is to reduce the burden of parents spending on education, since it is regarded to as instrument per excellence to effective national development. In accordance to this notion, the government has tried as much as possible to cater for the funding and needs of students to acquire knowledge and sharpen their intellectual capabilities.

The government ensures to cater for students under the criteria of this policy in terms of tuition- free, payments of external fees and provision of textbooks. It should be noted that this is not favorable enough to enhance quality of education. That is, it provides unequal opportunities to all students in the country, which means not all students were enrolled in schools based on this policy.

The general out-cry in the falling standard of basic education and a sharp depreciation in the morals of primary school children brought about the introduction of the UBE . The UBE challenged with the problems facing basic education in  Nigeria before its introduction include; Dearth of facilities, inadequate  supervision, shortage of personnel, lack of funds, high prices of textbooks, incoherent implementation of the curriculum and drop-out rate.Denga (2000).

1.3  Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of free education policy on the quality of education. Specifically, the study sought:

1.      To determine how tuition-free policy influence the quality of education in some selected public junior secondary schools in Education District IV of Lagos State.

2.      To investigate the extent at which provision of textbooks influence the quality of education.

3.      To determine the extent at which recruitment of qualified teachers influence the quality of education.

1.4   Research Questions

This study provided answers to the following questions;

1.      What is the impact of payment of tuition on the quality of education in public junior secondary schools?

2.      What influence does provision of textbooks have on the quality of education in public junior secondary school?

3.      How does recruitment of qualified teachers influenced the quality of education in public junior secondary school.

1.5  Research Hypothesis

1.      There is no significant influence of tuition fee payment on the quality of education in public junior secondary schools.

2.      Provision of textbooks has no significant influence on the quality of education in public junior secondary schools.

3.      Recruitment of qualified teachers has no significant influence on the quality of education in public junior secondary schools.

1.6  Significance of the Study

The study is beneficial to students, teachers, educational administrators and planners, parents and to the society at large. To students, it enables them to remain focused in the acquisition of knowledge through free education policy provision in order to build their self-esteem, instill confidence in them to be able to compete with their counterparts. To the teachers, it enables them to improve in their teaching pedagogy with the use of instructional resources in accordance with the free education policy objectives. It will also help the educational planners to give feed back to the government concerning the loopholes in the educational system. To the parent, the study is beneficial to them because it lessen their burden of tuition fees and provision of necessary student’s needs. To the society at large, the output of the education system will be able to promote national development through quality education.

1.7   Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The study covers free education policy and quality of education which involves tuition-free policy, provision of textbooks policy, recruitment of qualified teachers and their impact on the quality of education. It involves the teachers in some Junior secondary school Education District IV of Lagos State.

1.8  Operational Definition of Relevant Terms

Education: This is the process of imparting knowledge and skills through training to enable the child or individual develop positive attitude to adjust to the society to which he/she belongs.

Basic Education: This is the education given to children in primary school to junior secondary school.

Primary Education: This is the first level of education organized in the formal school system offered to a child usually age (6-11) years in Nigeria.

Secondary Education: It is the type of education given in an institution for children aged normally (12-14) for junior secondary schools.

Experienced Teacher: This is one who taught a particular subject in his/her area of specialization continuously in a school over a period of time.

Free and compulsory Education: This is the education given to a child of school going age freely from primary level to junior secondary level.

Tuition:It is the payment made to acquire knowledge and personal development of a child.

Universal:It means existing everywhere or involving everyone

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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