1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Early childhood education is largely a post-colonial development. The semblances of it during the colonial era were the kindergarten and infant classes, which consisted of groups of children considered not yet ready for primary education. As grouping for instruction in schools was not age-based during that period, some children aged six or even more, could be found in some of the infant classes. With the phasing out of infant classes, some parents began to feel the need for nursery schools. The need grew higher as a result of; increase in the number of working class mothers, changes in the economic life that warrant women picking up jobs in order to improve and support their families. Also the level of awareness of parents in terms of education gave an insight to most parents to see the need for pre-school classes, where their children could be given preparatory lessons before they attain school age. Thus, Nigerian educational administrators, policy makers and the then military government of Nigeria realized its needs for the country and gave it official recognition in the National Policy on Education in 1977. The National Policy on Education (1976, 1981, and 1998) is a document that is intended to guide the Nigeria educational system from Pre-primary, primary, secondary, technical levels and up to the tertiary level. The document presents National objectives which include: a free and democratic society; a just and egalitarian society; a united, strong and selfreliant nation; a great and dynamic economy and a land of bright and full opportunities for all citizens. The objectives for Pre-primary education were derived from these national goals. The policy also stated that the quality of instruction at all levels had to be oriented towards inculcating the values of: ‘…respect for the dignity and worth of the individual, faith in man's ability to take rational decisions, moral and spiritual values in inter-personal and human relations, shared responsibility for the common good of society, respect for the dignity of labour, promotion of the emotional, physical and psychological health of all children, and acquisition of competencies necessary for self reliance’ (FGN,2004, p 11). In the current National Policy on Education(NPE, 2004), Early childhood education is labeled as Pre-primary education and is defined as the education given in an educational institution to children prior to their entering the primary school. As stated in the policy providing adequate care and supervision for the children while their parents are at
· preparing the child for the primary level of education;
· providing a smooth transition from the home to the school;
·document, the purpose of Pre-primary education includes, among others: work;
Inculcating in the child the spirit of enquiry and creativity through the exploration of
· teaching the rudiments of numbers, letters, colours, shapes forms, etc. through play,
·Nature, and the local environment, playing with toys, artistic and musical activities, etc. and inculcating social norms.
The document lists a number of measures to be taken by government to ensure the achievement of the objectives of Pre-primary education. They include: encouraging private efforts in the provision of Pre-primary education; making provision in Teacher Training institutions for production of specialist teachers in Pre-primary education; ensuring that the medium of instruction will be principally the mother-tongue or the language of the local community; ensuring that the main method of teaching in Pre-primary institutions will be through play; regulating and controlling the operation of Pre-primary education, ensuring adequate training of staff and provision of essential equipment. The National Policy on Education (2004) placed the child at the centre of learning activities, but left out how this was to be achieved in the hands of ‘private owners.’ Most of the owners do not even understand the national philosophy behind the policy and lack the necessary educational background to run a school. One wonders, therefore, if these ‘private owners’ can implement the National policy in the way that it was designed to be done (Borishade. nd). An assessment of the running of Pre-primary education in Edo State, Nigeria will thus serve as a yardstick for judging the policy statement as contained in National Policy on Pre-primary education in Nigeria.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE GNEERAL PROBLEM
The major problem of educational mediocrity especially in the pre primary education has been a cause of major concern especially as children are the leaders of tomorrow. The development of the pre-primary education in Nigeria has not been given the required attention it needs, this is evident by the poor performance of children in the educational sector and the lack of government’ effective supervision of the pre-primary schools in Nigeria. This has evidently led to the poor educational development of our pupils in primary schools.
1.3. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
i. to examine the extent to which government support Pre-primary education in Nigeria.
ii. to know if there are adequate instructional materials in Pre-primary schools in Nigeria.
iii. to know how effective the curriculum of Pre-primary education in Nigeria.
iv. to know how adequate the standard of Pre-primary schools is in Nigeria.
v. to know if pupils pre-primary education influences their academic performance in primary school
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
i. To what extent does government support Pre-primary education in Nigeria?
ii. Are there adequate instructional materials in Pre-primary schools in Nigeria?
iii. How effective is the curriculum of Pre-primary education being implemented in Nigeria?
iv. How adequate is the standard of Pre-primary schools in Nigeria?
v. Does pupils pre-primary education influence their academic performance in primary school?
1.4. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: pre-primary education of pupils does not influence primary school academic performance in Nigeria
H1: pre-primary education of pupils influences primary school academic performance in Nigeria
1.5. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be of immense importance to government at all levels, school administrators and principals as it would reveal the true state of pre-primary schools in Nigeria and equally highlight the influence of pre-primary school education on pupils primary school students academic performance. the study would also benefit students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further study on the subject matter.
1.6. SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to the assessment of pre-primary education on primary school pupils in some selected primary schools in Benin city.
1.7. LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
2. Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
3. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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