Occupational Preference And Subject Choice Among Secondary School Students In Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area Of Akwa Ibom State

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1.1   Background to the Study

The effectiveness of any school system is facilitated by the school administrator. The tasks of such school’s administrator in secondary school (the principal) are very complex. This is because they have to do with utilizing and directing the behaviour of human resources (available staff and pupils) in the school to achieve the school’s goals.

The principal has to share responsibilities among teaching and non-teaching staff. Other tasks include material inducement of staff, supply of school facilities, teaching tool and assignment, provision of professional growth, utilization of teachers in formal relation, student’s admission and classification, boarding system, guidance and counseling services, record and progress report keeping, establishing student’s union and management and maintenance of school discipline. With these numerous tasks, a principal can be exposed to occupational stress. Education in Nigeria is regarded as an instrument for effecting national development and self-reliance. It is regarded as the nation’s greatest industry. Through education, the nation hopes to transmit worthwhile objectives to her people and drop that knowledge which is no longer ideal for national development. The government has stated that for the benefit of all citizens, the country’s educational goals shall be clearly set out in terms of their relevance to the needs of individuals and the general society in consonance with the realities of our environment and the modern global village (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004).

The administrative effectiveness of the principals of secondary schools can be measured in terms of how they effectively inspire staff and students to work towards successful achievement of the stated goals and objectives of the school, with the assistance of the community members, who act in different capacities to enhance the smooth running of the schools (Beck, 1996).

The word administrative effectiveness is equivalent to the achievement of the principal; effectiveness is the antecedent of function or role achievement of a principal. It involves the ability of the principal to plan, co-ordinate and organize many and often conflicting social energies in a single organization. It also includes the ability of the principal to share rights and duties to individual members of the school community, irrespective of gender.

The school principal should be able to provide adequate leadership and direction for the school and maintain constant communication channels within and outside the school, motivate both staff and students toward the attainment of educational objectives, encourage team work, maintain discipline within and outside the school and ensure that available materials and human resources are actively managed.

The principal can thus be adjudged effective or ineffective, depending on the extent to which the aforementioned functions are accomplished. In line with the above statement, Taylor (1972) states that the measure of effectiveness is how well the manager (principal) achieves the agreed objective of his position.

Ipaya (1996) sees administrative effectiveness as part of the function assumed by someone with a set of specific responsibilities. He went further to mention that efficiency and effectiveness can be achieved in the school system, if the principal who is the administrator is tactful in dealing with his/her subordinates and the community in which the school is situated. Uche (2002) confirms that administrative effectiveness is a symbol of a good administrative style on the part of the school principal, team work, moral of teachers, good teaching, conducive social climate, proper guidance and counseling as well as rules and regulations. He opines that another aspect of administrative effectiveness is the ability of the principal to conduct an orientation for new staff posted to his/her school and also new students who arrive at the school for the first time so that they can adjust themselves quickly and readily in the new environment. Bernard (1993) describes administrative effectiveness as relating to the accomplishment of the co-operative purpose, which is social and non-personnel in character. He contends that the first step towards effectiveness is the integration of individuals to participate within the organization. He referred to the concept of effectiveness as the degree of success in the organization. It is the measure of concordance of the roles of behaviours and the role of expectation of the role incumbent as conserved by Getzels and Cuba (1954). Bernard (1993) further affirms that organizational effectiveness is the extent to which the individual needs of its members are satisfied.

Belenardo (2000) adds that administrative effectiveness is characterized by high scores on both initiating and task structure by planning, and the extent to which the principal, as an effective administrator is able to define and organize the duties of staff and student at each particular time. Administrative effectiveness simply put, means the attainment of organizational goals and objectives through cooperative human effort.

Aside from managing non-human resources in the school system, the principal presides over a complex network of interpersonal relations comprising of teaching, non-teaching staff, and the students. The principal has to direct and control the activities of the human resources in order to achieve the educational goals. Such goals and objectives include preparation of students for useful living within the society and preparation for higher education. The achievement of these goals depends on a lot of administrative variables such as communication, supervision, interpersonal relationship, motivation, financial management, conflict management, decision making process, leadership style, discipline, academic performance etc. In carrying out these numerous tasks the principal can be exposed to fear, hypertension, tension, head aches, muscles tension problems, insomnia, arthritis (physical disorders) anxiety, panic attack, depression, adjustment disorders (emotional stress) as well as conduct disorder, eating disorders, alcoholism (behavioral stress) wrong decision making, poor administration, lack of commitment and poor communication. Experiences such as these above encountered by the school principal are capable of causing concern, worry and boredom to the effected school head. When a principal experiences stress which he perceives to be excessive, it may have some impact on the administration of the school.

Stress has been variously defined by different people. Ekwe (1989) considers the sources of stress to include work pressure, conflicting work load, inflation and financial problems. Selye (1974) described stress as physical and psychological responses to demanding stimulus events. Disoula (1995) sees stress as being anxious because of the work load.

Stress has remained for a long time an outstanding issue for organizations such as schools. According to Denga (1991), the global economic recession, sporadic political upheavals and the economic hardship with its consequent psychosomatic trauma as well as the worsening standard of living have increasingly stimulated stress in organizational setting. Ken (1998) and Rashi (1993) opine that organizations are usually compelled to contend with an increasingly diverse range of factors which have implications for their efficiency and effectiveness. Iwatt (2002) states that in the school system, principal encounter with challenging situations that are stressful which may affect the effectiveness of principal. The researcher further states that these stressful situations are caused by administrative problems such as work load, inadequate funding, and poor relationship with the subordinates and student’s population. She, adds that when there are stressful situations affecting the principal there is likely to be poor performance and low productivity in the school system. Based on the above assertions, this research work seeks to investigate the relationship between occupational stress and the administrative effectiveness of the principals in both public and private secondary schools in Cross River State.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Secondary schools need a very strong productive and dynamic principal to man its affaires for attainment of its goal and objective. Principals suffer from a lot of stressful conditions in their attempt to maintain high percentage in students’ academic performance, discipline of staff and students, resolution of conflicts, taking appropriate decisions, supervising teaching and learning activities. Other responsibilities include keeping academic records, arranging for in-service training of teachers, maintaining good relationship with the community, arranging for student’s outdoor activities establishing student’s union and association or clubs and other administrative assignments by the boards and Ministry of Education. With all these compacting activities of the principals, many teachers still complain that their principals have neither supervised their instructions, nor involved them in major decision making in the school. Some emergent conflict in the schools, especially between staff are not easily resolved, some principals do not even have time to discuss vital issues of the school with the staff. With all these complaints, the question is, “has occupational stress any relationship on principal administrative effectiveness?”

1.3   Purpose of the Study

The primary purpose of this study is to determine of Occupational Stress among Secondary Schools Principals’ in Cross River State has any relationship on their administrative effectiveness. The study specifically examines the relationship between:

  1. Occupational stress and principal’s decision making process.
  2. Occupational stress and principal’s conflict management.
  3. Occupational stress and principal’s interpersonal relationship with subordinate.
  4. Occupational stress and school communication network.
  5. Occupational stress and management of school discipline.
  6. The influence of age on the occupational stress of the principal.
  7. The influence of sex on the occupational stress of the principal.
  8. The difference between occupational stress of private and public school’s principals.

1.4   Research Questions

The following research questions were posed to guide the study.

  1. What relationship exists between occupational stress and principal’s decision making process?
  2. What relationship exists between occupational stress and principals’ conflict management?
  3. What relationship exists between occupational stress and principals’ maintenance of interpersonal relationship with subordinate?
  4. What relationship exists between principals’ occupational stress and school communication network?
  5. What relationship exists between occupational stress and management of school discipline?
  6. How does the age of the principal influence his occupational stress?
  7. To what extent does the stress level of male and female principals in Cross River State influence their administrative effectiveness?
  8. How does occupational stress of private secondary school principals differ from those of public secondary schools in Cross River State.

1.5   Statement of Hypotheses

Based on the research questions, the following hypotheses were formulated:

  1. There is no significant relationship between occupational stress and principals’ decision making process.
  2. There is no significant relationship between occupational stress and principal’s conflict management process.
  3. There is no significant relationship between the occupational stress and principals’ maintenance of interpersonal relationship with subordinate.
  4. There is no significant relationship between principals’ occupational stress and school communication network.
  5. There is no significant relationship between principals’ occupational stress and the management of school discipline.
  6. The occupational stress of secondary school principal is not significantly influenced by age.
  7. There is no significant difference in stress level between male and female principals concerning their administrative effectiveness.
  8. There is not significant difference between school ownership and occupational stresses of secondary schools principals.

1.6   Significance of the Study

The result of this research work like many others will contribute to the pool of knowledge. First and foremost, it is hoped that the finding, if properly publicized will serve as a useful guide and instrument to secondary schools principals. The finding will enable the principals to understand the extent to which occupational stress can influence their administrative effectiveness while on the job.

Secondly, the teachers and students will be guided on how to relate with the principal whenever they are stressed up.

Thirdly, policy makers will benefit by knowing, how to formulate policies that will lessen the administrative load of principals.

Fourthly, the study will create awareness on what stress can do and the need to consult medical experts whenever people are experiencing high level of stress.

Finally, the work will be published in journals that will provide the necessary literature references for further researchers to view and it will also be loaded into the internet.

1.7   Assumptions of the Study

The following assumptions are made to guide the study:

  1. The population from which the sample is drawn is normally distributed.
  2. Occupational stress can be observed and measured.
  3. Principals’ effectiveness can be observed and measured.
  4. The sample drawn was representative of the population.
  5. Secondary school principals are experienced enough to identify what aspect of their job is stressful from the questionnaire.
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