TRENDS S OF ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS REAL. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON EDUCATION
1.1 Background Information
Provision of secondary education is a major concern for many countries in the world today (UN Declaration, 1948). This explains why knowledge of the trend of academic achievement of Students is vital to educationists, teachers, parents and students. The importance and value with which Students hold academic achievement cannot be overlooked. That is the reason as to why students transfer and others demonstrate because of a continued poor performance of a school. Developed and developing countries alike understand that providing basic education for all children is essential not only to their own economic growth and social stability but to the functioning of nations. Over the past two decades, a concentrated global effort has been made to increase the number of children in school. In 1990, the world conference in Jomtien Thailand, urged all nations of the world to adopt policies that would ensure universal basic education by year 2000. Since Jomtien, considerable progress has been made in expanding the capacity of secondary school systems in all regions of the world. Secondary education in some developing countries has expanded to the extent that it reaches nearly all school-age children, and many of these countries have made significant efforts to overcome the gender gap in access to secondary school.
In Nigeria, the introduction of universal (free) secondary education programme in public schools in January 2003 by the Government has raised total secondary school enrolment from 5.99 million to about 8.5 million children which is a tremendous improvement so far (Economic Survey, 2009). While giving all children the opportunity to attend school is obviously an important priority, it is but the first step towards the goal of ‘Education for All’. Once Students find seats in a classroom, they need quality instruction; otherwise there will be little motivation to persistent achieve in school. Students need to be taught skills that are applicable to the life after school so that they develop problem-solving skills instead of memorizing information for the sake of passing terminal examinations. In affirming the goal of universal basic education, participants in the Jomtien conference emphasized that reform efforts must focus on ‘actual learning acquisition and outcomes rather than exclusively upon enrolment’. To this end, participants urged countries to set specific qualitative targets.