1.1 Background to the Study
Ideally, there must be some laid down guidelines and criteria that should inform the location of any school be it formal or informal. This is to make sure that schools are located in environments and atmospheres that are conducive for effective teaching and learning. Usually, the first thing that comes to the mind of parents and other adults about the choice of a school for their children and wards, especially at the primary level in Nigeria, is the closeness of the school to the home. This is perhaps a major reason why big companies and organizations as well as some universities in Nigeria usually locate their own primary and secondary schools right inside their housing complexes. Examples are the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Schools in Warri, the Delta Steel Company Ovwian-Aladja Schools, and the University Demonstration Schools. The closeness of schools to the children‟s homes has become a useful consideration in the establishment of schools. Schools should however not be sited close to noisy environments such as markets, hospitals, highways, railway stations, refineries, industries, or close to hazardous environments like rivers, steep hilltops, high tension electric lines, or close to dreaded or bizarre environments like mortuaries, burial grounds, and ritual shrines. Most important in the consideration of school location are the population threshold and the distance the children would have to travel to get to school every day. This has become the concern of the educational planner who uses population densities as a rough index of school location and expansion as well as in the improvement of services provided. Therefore, the distance travelled to school in educational planning should be a sine qua non in the approval and location of schools. However, it piques the investigator that in spite of this, a staggering majority of Nigerian pupils and students are observed to walk long distances to and from school every day, especially in the rural areas (Arubayi, 2005; Duze, 2005). Another source of worry is that distance travelled to school has some measure of relationship to ills like absenteeism, delinquency, truancy, lateness and indiscipline.
A distance of one kilometer to school on foot is considered by school head- teachers to be too long for children between the ages of six and seventeen. If students walk over one kilometer to school, the outcomes would not be in the best interest of both the child and the school because set goals and objectives may not be completely achieved. In implementing the compulsory free education programme, many states in Nigeria stipulated that schools should be located at most one kilometer from the residences of the communities to be served. This was one major reason why schools were opened in almost every hamlet in the country. But today, it does appear that many Nigerian children still travel long distances to and from school. Arubayi (2005) compared distance travelled to school by pupils/students in Edo and Delta States and the effect on attendance. He concluded that the location of a sizeable number of primary and secondary schools in both Edo and Delta States were far away from the residences of the pupils/students and this had some effect on school attendance. There is a paucity of empirical evidence on distance travelled to school by pupils and students and its consequent effect on school attendance in many States in Nigeria, including Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi States. Also, research evidence showed that long distances travelled to school are among the major reasons for high dropout rates in primary and secondary schools in Nigeria, and the South Eastern States of Nigeria have been observed as recording large numbers of school dropouts. (Arubayi, 2005; Duze 2005; Madumere, 1991; Onakpoma, 2008). Empirical research in the Third World countries indicates that early school dropout is positively related to the distance between schools and students' homes (Vasquez, 1965, Haq, 1961). Distance from school is related to propensity to enroll and absenteeism. At the primary level, almost all students travel from home to school and back every day; therefore journey to school distance should always be considered in primary school location decisions. If the average distance to school can be shortened, at both primary and secondary school levels, students will have more time to dedicate to school studies, work at home or leisure activities.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Distance travelled to school every day by both primary school pupils and secondary school students has substantial adverse effects on attendance at school. Younger children at the crucial early stages of education are often the most vulnerable to dropping out of school due to the distance from school. Walking several kilometers every day is more strenuous for a small child than a teenager. Rural schools are frequently located further from children’s homes than urban schools, and may suffer additional supply constraints such as poor facilities and low teacher quality. Female pupils travelling long distances to school face additional parental concerns about safety. Children may be discouraged from attending school if they are punished or chastised for arriving late after a lengthy walk to school. These factors combine with others to create significant barriers preventing millions of the world’s children from attending school. It takes a steely determination on the part of children and their families to overcome these barriers.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of this study is to find out the effect of school distance on student’s academic performance, specifically the study intends to;
1. Find out the extent to which school location affects the academic achievement of secondary school students
2. Examine the influence of long distance on students lateness to school
3. Analyze the effect of school distance on academic performance of secondary school students.
1.4 Research Questions
1. To what extent to which school location affects the academic achievement of secondary school students?
2. What is the influence of long distance on student’s lateness to school?
3. Is there any effect of school distance on academic performance of secondary school students?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
Ho: there is no effect of school distance on academic performance of secondary school students
Hi: there is effect of school distance on academic performance of secondary school students
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study provides information to planners, policy makers, teachers, parents and community members about the importance of appropriate location of the community secondary schools on learner’s academic performance. Therefore, findings are appropriate in future planning and practice in building new secondary schools on proper strategies to institute better learning environment. Further, as long as school location was likely to affect academic performance of the learners, the findings open new avenues for future studies in different secondary schools.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This research work will be conducted in Ogun state, secondary schools in Abeokuta North LGA, students and teachers will be sampled for this research.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
Finance for the general research work will be a challenge during the course of study. Correspondents also might not be able to complete or willing to submit the questionnaires given to them.
However, it is believed that these constraints will be worked on by making the best use of the available materials and spending more than the necessary time in the research work. Therefore, it is strongly believed that despite these constraint, its effect on this research report will be minimal, thus, making the objective and significance of the study achievable.
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