Education is a human activity that fashions and models mankind for the society. It is for this reason that the Nigerian government has put emphasis on the pursuit quality education for its citizens since independence. The study investigated funding practices in public secondary schools and their influence on academic achievement in Rivers state. This was achieved by establishing the funding practices used in public secondary schools, analyzing the association of funding practices on the adequacy of teaching learning materials as well as that of the funding practices and the adequacy of physical infrastructure and investigating the association between funding practices on educational resources on learners’ academic achievement in public secondary schools. A mixed research design was employed in the study. The target population consisted of 252 public secondary schools of which 36 constituted the study population. Stratified sampling was employed to ensure representation of all categories of public secondary schools and local governments in the state. Of the selected schools, the principals, bursars and heads of academic departments (HoDs) were respondents in this study. The State Director of Education was also a respondent in this study. The instruments for data collection for the study included the questionnaires, structured interview schedules and document analysis schedule. The SPSS Package was used in the analysis of quantitative data. Descriptive statistics using standard deviation and mean were utilized to organize, analyze, present and describe data from respondents by using tables and figures while inferential statistics were used to determine the association of funding practices on adequacy of teaching and learning resources and infrastructure. The Spearman’s Rho correlations was used to determine the possibility of existence of any relationship between variables of the study. The study established that the main source of funding for public secondary schools in Rivers state was FDSE and parents fees payment. It also found out that resource allocation is largely influenced by departmental budget, type of school and availability of funds. The study established that funding practices had a positive association with the physical infrastructure provision. It also found that there was a positive association between the funding practices and the teaching learning materials. The study determined that the provision of educational resources had a positive association with learners’ academic achievement. On the overall the funding practices had positive association with provision of adequate physical resources, teaching and learning resources and academic achievement. The findings will be useful to policy makers in terms of making informed decisions that will guide better provision of learning resources in secondary schools. The study recommended a criteria of apportioning of funds available in the ratios of 0.38 on provision of staffing and training, 0.32 on teaching learning resources and 0.30 on physical facilities in order to realize higher academic achievement.

1.1 Background to the Study
Education is a basis upon which training the human capital to serve in a number of social, cultural, economic and political sectors of the country is hinged. Therefore it’s a catalyst for national economic development and the best way in which a person can hope to achieve better opportunities that may lead to a better standard of living (Benoit, 2013). The fundamental role of making living standards better can only be actualized by provision of quality education. Nigeria’s Vision 2030 envisages education as a means to industrialization and transit to a middle income country (Republic of Nigeria, 2007). The constitution of Nigeria 2010 reiterates all Nigerians right to education which is responsive to the tenets of Vision 2030. The Basic Education Act No. 14 of 2013 further gives direction through which quality and relevant education can be achieved.

From the time Education was declared a Human Right by the United Nations in 1948, each country endeavours to promote its access by her citizens. The demand for education has continued to increase mainly due to the realization that it improves both the social and economic status of an individual (Kromydas, 2017; Muricho & Chang’ach, 2013; Psacharopoulus, 1988). Subsequently this has led to an increase in expenditure on education as governments strive to relieve the funding burden from parents. Essentially the realization of millennium development educational related goals is depended on the availability of funds to acquire appropriate resources to support educational processes (Wamalwa & Odebero, 2014).

Nigeria’s education system is founded on the work of Christian missionaries specifically the Church Missionary Society which introduced formal western education with the aim of enhancing the spread of Christianity and teaching technical subjects to Africans (MOE, 2008).

During the colonial period, educational opportunities for Africans remained very limited and more so at the secondary school level. The education provided was based on racial lines where we had schools for whites, Asians and Africans with differentiated learning facilities. Schools for Europeans were more endowed in terms of learning infrastructure (Ngware, Onsomu & Muthaka, 2007). At independence in 1963, the main challenges faced by the Nation of Nigeria were diseases, poverty and ignorance. Consequently the new government embarked on the expansion of educational opportunities for all Nigerians as a means of not only fighting ignorance but also empowering people to be able to overcome diseases and poverty (Sessional Paper No 10 of 1965). Education at secondary school level was regarded as crucial in providing the much needed manpower for the newly independent nation (Bogonko, 1991). At independence Education was meant to fill the gap that had been created by the departure of white labour force by providing the much needed work force for the young Nation. The early years of independence were therefore devoted to expansion of the education sector.

The Ominde Commission of 1964 recommended the endorsement of free education at Primary level and a proposal for the regulation of the mushrooming of Harambee schools by government which lacked basic facilities and qualified personnel. Harambees schools in the late 60s and 70s in Nigeria consisted of the secondary schools that were build and managed through the conscious partnership between communities and government. In most cases the government hardly gave any support to them. The management of the harambee schools was mainly by the local community leaders and church whose role included raising of funds to run the school as well as recruit the teachers. Considering the economic endowment of most communities at the time, most harambee schools were not able to meet their recurrent expenditure. In order to provide education that was worth the quality to its citizen, the government of Nigeria in the mid-seventies made it a policy to provide more support to harambee schools. Subsequently funding of education became a major element of the policy framework (World Bank, 2009).

The Ndegwa Commission recommendation of 1970-71 saw the government take over all harambee schools with the sole purpose of improving and maintaining education standards in the country. The Nigeria School Equipment Scheme (KSES) established in 1972 by the government of Nigeria was mandated to procure and distribute of textbooks to all public schools. Hence the government for the first time was directly involved in the purchase and distribution of text books to schools (Rotich, 2004). From 1974 the Government intensified its support for Harambee secondary schools. The Government took charge of paying teachers and provided the instructional materials as well as equipment needed for learning. The local communities were left with the responsibility of building new schools that were later on supported by the government.

The Gachathi Report of 1976 recommended the publication and printing of school textbooks centrally by the Jomo Nigeriatta Foundation. The Kamunge Report of 1988 advocated for the improved funding of education for quality and relevance. In 1990 in Thailand, the World Declaration on Education for All observed the need for improvement of the education quality as a basis for achieving equity (Abioye et al, 2017). In 2000 in Dakar at the World Education Forum, signatory members agreed to improve all education dimensions to attain excellence in essential life skills, numeracy and literacy by all learners. The Oslo declaration of 2015 focused on funding education to enhance quality of learning. There was need to mobilize funds from both public and private organizations in addition to using existing resources in a more effective and transparent manner (World Bank, 2015). Being a signatory to these international and regional organizations, Nigeria as a country has realigned her educational policies to be compliant.

According to Nigeria’s Vision 2030, on Basic Education infrastructure, the government planned to construct and fully equip 560 secondary schools, construct extra classrooms in existing schools and undertake rehabilitation process of school infrastructure. Transition rate to secondary schools from primary schools rose to 75%. All these illustrate the Government commitment to the success of the education sector. The Government spends a higher percentage of its total budget on education which also includes the paying of teachers and other education civil servants. For instance, the total percentage spent on education from 2010 to 2013 has been 18.7%, 20.4%, 21.0% and 19.0% of all budgets respectively according to the Nigeria National Bureau of Statistics. In the 2015/2016 budget, the government allocated N 139 billion out of the total N

1.7 trillion on education. Out of this money, 28.2 billion was meant for free tuition in public secondary schools.

In 2015 the capitation for FDSE was increased from N10, 265 to N 12, 870 in response to heightened agitation for more funds to promote quality of education. Apart from the government capitation sent directly to schools, the government through the initiative of parliament introduced the Constituency Development Fund as a kitty to support constituency grass root development of which education is one of them. CDF money meant for education caters for construction of school buildings, purchase of school equipment and supplies and support needy students in paying for the legal school levies (MoEST, 2014). Another government’s undertaking to promote education quality in order to achieve Vision 2030 was through the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP). Under the ESP, Centres of Excellence were established with the government allocating funds to improve infrastructure. Measures by the Government of Nigeria to make education accessible saw the learners enrolment change to over 1.9 million in 2012 from 1.03 million in 2006 (Sessional paper No 10 of 2012). The year 2018 marks the fulfillment of the government’s promise of shouldering the entire tuition obligation in the FDSE Policy. The Government of Nigeria has also rolled out the supply of books to all public secondary schools hence utilizing part of what was meant for tuition vote head. The year 2018 also marked a new dispensation where the government of Nigeria embarked on plans to roll out a new CBC system of education (2-6-3-3) replacing the 8- 4-4 system of education with the aim of enhancing relevance and education quality.

Most policy makers in the 1970s and 1980s were pre-occupied with school access and enrolment in developing countries. However over years it emerged that access per se does not guarantee decent level of basic learning (ibid). A former president of the World Bank 1988, Barbra Conable, had the following to reiterate the importance of quality education:

“Quality education is now an issue of global concern. Without quality education, development will not occur. Only the educated people can command the skills necessary for sustainable economic growth and for better quality of life”

In the Dakar Framework for Action, quality was the focal point of education. At this time quality was understood in the dimension of the learner, environment, content, process and outcome. To offer good education, educational institutions should have adequate facilities, competent and motivated teachers and adequate learning materials (UNICEF, 2000). Prior to 1990, focus on education by both bilateral and multilateral organizations was towards Primary, Vocational and Higher education. However with the success of Universal Primary Education (UPE) and a growing demand for higher level knowledge and skills, the focus shifted towards promoting secondary education access and quality (AIR, 2002). The Government of Nigeria is fully committed to its citizen having universal access to basic education through the enactment of the Education for All (EFA) initiative. The sixth goal of EFA emphasizes on improving all dimensions to quality of education in order to attain excellence in numeracy, essential life skills and literacy. The same is reiterated by the UN millennium Development Goals. The Nigerian government purposes to expand equity, access and raise the quality of education. To improve quality especially in vocational subjects as well as science ones, funds have to be provided for it. The same has to be done for acquisition of laboratory equipment, the improvement of physical facilities, supplementary teaching resources and textbooks (Sifuna & Sawamura, 2010). The funds have to be a portioned appropriately for them to be used to procure relevant resource to go towards realizing academic achievement. Where the resources have been availed, there is need to avail them in the right proportions to maximize the academic achievement. In the new dispensation where the government of Nigeria is in the process of rolling out a new system of education whose focus is learner competence to replace the 8-4-4 system of education, the concept of learner achievement remains crucial. It is against this background that this research intended to investigate the funding practices and their effects on public secondary schools learners’ academic achievement in Nigeria.

• Statement of the Problem
Students’ academic performance in National Examinations has been a key issue in Nigerian education system as it forms the basis on which learners are placed in subsequent levels of education. Government funding of secondary education is meant to improve physical infrastructure, teaching and learning resources and the teaching work force in the schools which should be manifest in good performance in national examinations. Examination has been a basis upon which education is evaluated and especially the attainment of students in them (Mbatia, 2004). Observation has shown that many school administrators are preferred on the basis of results posted in National Examinations. Students’ academic outcomes in examinations at the national level in Rivers state have been poor for a long time raising a state of concern among all the stakeholders. Preliminary data obtained at the Rivers state education office has a trend that indicates the mean score stagnation at 4 out of 12 which is below average.

Several factors have been attributed to this dismal performance in spite of remedial measures. The literature is rich with teacher, learner and administrative factors and how they influence student’s achievement (Onderi, Kiplagat &Awino, 2014; Karue & Amukowa, 2013). The effect of funding practices on the other hand and how this affects leaner academic achievement has been overlooked, for it is glaringly missing in the research literature. The government spends over 10% of it is total budget on education to ensure quality in the sector that should result in adequacy of physical infrastructure, adequate teaching and learning resources and subsequently in improved performance in national examinations. Despite the government support to cater for all tuition requirements in secondary schools and paying fees for the National Examinations for all candidates in public schools, many schools in Rivers state continue to post poor results. Given the much input in terms of finances, the quest of quality becomes paramount. This research therefore investigated the funding practices and the influence they had on academic achievement within the Rivers state public secondary schools.

• Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to fill the knowledge gap with regard to the public secondary schools funding influence on academic achievement in Rivers state.

• Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study were to:-
• Establish the funding practices used in public secondary schools in Rivers state.

• To determine the association between funding practices and adequacy of physical infrastructure in secondary schools in Rivers state.

• To determine the association between funding practices and adequacy of teaching learning materials in secondary schools in Rivers state.

• Investigate the relationship between funding practices on educational resources and learners’ academic achievement.

• Research Questions
This study envisaged the following one (i) descriptive and three (ii – iv) inferential research questions to direct the study. Testing of corresponding Hypothesis was employed to answer the inferential research questions.

• What funding practices are used in public secondary schools in Rivers state?

• How are funding practices associated with the adequacy of physical infrastructure in secondary schools in Rivers state?

• How are the funding practices associated with the secondary schools adequacy of teaching learning materials in Rivers state?

• What is the relationship between funding practices on educational resource provision and learners’ academic achievement in public secondary schools in Rivers state?

• Hypothesis
• H01: There is no statistical significant association between funding practices and adequacy of physical infrastructure in secondary schools in Rivers state.

• H02: There is no statistical significant association between funding practices and adequacy of teaching learning resources in secondary schools in Rivers state.

• H03: There is no statistical significant association between funding practices on educational resource provision and learners’ academic achievement.

• Significance of the Study
This research was important in providing insight into the education sector in terms of funding secondary school education through the knowledge that was generated. The study has shed light on the practices of funds allocation and their influence on adequate provision of physical, teaching learning and human resources that in turn affect the academic achievement to help educational stakeholders and policy makers to maximize on curriculum implementation to realize increased efficiency. The findings of the study are very useful feedback to curriculum implementers to review the proper use of available funds in public secondary schools in the implementation of the curriculum towards maximum academic achievement. This study’s findings provided feedback on the status of the physical infrastructure, teaching and learning resources in Public secondary schools found within Rivers state that will provide a guide to the school curriculum implementers, principals and policy makers to improve the resource allocation with the aim of improving academic achievement. This study was therefore necessary to come up with data on funding practices in public secondary schools and their influence on learners’ academic achievement in Rivers state in order to come up with funding recommendations that would enhance learners’ academic achievements.

• Scope of the Study
This study had a focus on Secondary schools found within the Rivers state that are in the category of public secondary schools. The public secondary schools in the state operate under the same legal structure and funding model as provided by the national government unlike the private secondary schools which are guided by very varying funding model dependent on the proprietors. The study confined itself to principals of secondary school, Heads of Academic Departments, school Bursars and Director of Education of Rivers state as respondents. The study’s’ specific area of investigation was funding and their influence on learners’ achievement in terms of academic performance. The study limited itself to adequate provision of physical infrastructure, teaching learning resources and staffing and training and learners’ academic achievement in NECO. The study did not concern itself with the actual teaching learning process. All other factors that affect academic achievement were assumed to be held constant in the study.

• Limitation of the study
The information obtained from respondents in the study depended on their willingness and honesty and though public secondary schools in Rivers state are considered to be managed in the same manner, some of them were hesitant in providing information on the funds allocation processes. The study was undertaken out in sampled public secondary schools only located in Rivers state. As a result of this, the findings of this study are limited to public secondary schools in Rivers state. They results cannot be generalized to apply to all counties found in Nigeria or even to private schools within Rivers state.

Due to the design of this study, to respond to the objectives it called for making correlations between the set out pairs of variables. This exploration of the relationship between two variables without manipulating them though indicating existence of a relationship does not by any means imply a causal relationship.

Another limitation was the time factor which would not allow for a census to be undertaken in all public secondary schools found within the Rivers state. All public secondary schools in Nigeria are managed under the same legal structure however the study does not make any attempt to generalize the findings to the whole country of Nigeria.

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