INVESTIGATION INTO NIGERIA CERTIFICATE IN EDUCATION BY DISTANCE LEARNING SYSTEM OF NATIONAL TEACHERS INSTITUTE A STUDY OF CROSS RIVER STATE
The main purpose of this study was to evaluate the Nigeria Certificate in Education by Distance Learning System of the National Teacher Institutions in Cross River State. Evaluative design was adopted in carrying out this study. The population for the study consists of all students and facilitators in the five accredited designated study centres of NTI/NCE programme in Cross River state. Quota sampling was used to select 220 respondents for the study. An instrument titled NTI/DLS/NCE Evaluation Instrument (NCE/DLS/NTI-EL) was developed and validated by 3 experts for the purpose of data collection for this study. Three types of instrument were used. These include structured questionnaires, checklist and proforma. Data was arranged and analyzed according to the research questions and hypotheses that guided the study. Data was analyzed by using mean, frequency and percentages while the hypotheses were tested by chi-square. The reliability coefficient of clustersA-D were 0.81,0.72,0.80,0.82 respectively The over all reliability coefficient of 0.79 was established using Cronbach’s alpha method. The findings of the study were that: the NTI in Cross River state has taken measures to implement her NCE objectives through distance learning system; most educational service facilities are not provided at the study centres; the NTI centres are adequately staffed for implementing the NCE programme by distance learning system; most student centered evaluation strategies are adopted in the implementation; there are inherent functional challenges in the implementation of the NTI/NCE programme ; the pass rate of students in the NTI/NCE programme by distance learning system is high, dependent on the study centres but not dependent on the years for the DLS class of certificate and the NCCE supervision inspection was less. Based on these findings, the conclusion is that there is still need for improvement in the programme delivery. Hence, the major educational implication of the findings of the study is that the NTI should be adequately funded to meet up with its responsibility of training and upgrading teachers’ qualification through in-service training. The researcher therefore recommended that government should make effort to equip study centres with basic educational service facilities like laboratories, libraries and vocational centre to provide students with hands-on experience.
Background of the Study
The development of any nation depends largely on the overall empowerment of its citizens through quality educational system. Teacher quality is believed to be vital in any educational system. Hence, the public view that if the educational goals are not attained,teachers are mostly to be blamed for it (Okodokoand Samuel, 2009). For instance,Awosiyan (2013) opined that the reason for poor students’ performance in recent years lies to some extent in the fact that the existing teacher education programme is not well-tailored towards the production of efficient teachers for the Basic Education Programme.Ukpo (2006) they believed that one of the problems that plague the basic education sub-sector in Nigeria is that of the quantity and quality of teachers.Nonetheless, proficiency in teaching service delivery in Nigeria will undoubtedly aid the production of quality human capital in the education sector. Such growing impressions have resulted to a compelling need for a routine evaluation of the teachers’ service delivery with a view to determining their proficiency in programme output.
Furthermore, with the introduction of Universal Basic Education (UBE) in 1999, enrolment in primary schools increased from 14 million to about 17 million (Ukeje 2003). As noted byIgwe and Rufai (2012), this has caused a further increase in the demand for quality teachers and accountability. But it is unfortunate that some 49 percent of the teaching force is unqualified, hence, there are problems of acute shortages of qualified teachers in the educational system among other challenges (Odukoya, 2012). For instance,Urwick and Aliyu (2003) observed that between 2001 – 2002, only 47 per cent of primary school teachers were holders of the Nigeria Certificate inEducation (NCE) or above.According to Igwe and Rufai (2012), quality teacher education programmeis capable of contributing to the social, political and economic development of the country to meet up with the world competitive economy.
Relative to the sensitive nature of basic education in nation building, Government efforts areaimed at producing efficient teachers to adequately address the problem of shortage of qualified teachers and meet the requirement of National Policy on Education (NPE). Governments at different levels hadtherefore embarked on series of innovations in educational policies and programmes aimed at improving the quality of primary education through the teacher quality. According to Samuel and Okodoko (2012), such innovations in teacher education preparation borders on the areas of quality assurance, instructional strategies, accountability, funding, evaluation procedure, content areas and teacher retention.In an attempt to achieve such goals andaddress the challenge of shortage of basiceducation teacher in the country, the National Teachers’ Institute(NTI) was established in 1976.
The National Teachers Institute was established to among other things; provide in-service education for teachers through the distance learning System (DLS). The Institute was originally set up to manage Teachers Grade II (TCII) examinations in three core subjects (Mathematics, English Language, and General Paper) (Okodokoand Samuel,2009). These were the three core subjects, which were Federally examined for the award of Teachers Grade Two Certificate, which was then almost the highest qualification needed for teaching at the Primary School level.As stipulated in Act No. 7 of 1978, the institute was charged with the duty of providing courses of instruction leading to the development, upgrading and certification of teachers as specified in the minimum standard using Distance Education system. The institute therefore offers courses leading to the award ofNigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) and Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)certificate through Distance Learning System (DLS)to train and re-train teachers. Other programmes run by the institute are refresher courses to upgrade and update in-service teachers’ knowledge and skills. The NigeriaCertificate in Educationprogramme by Distance Learning System of the National Teachers’ Institute (NCE/DLS/NTI)courses provide on-the-job training of teachers, thereby eliminating the inherent problems caused by teachers having to leave their schools for further training.In line with this, the Objectives of the NCE/DLS/NTIprogramme as elucidated by FRN (2011: 3) are to:
- Train and upgrade all qualified grade twoteachersto NCE level.
- Provide basic background for those of them who may later wish to pursue their studies at higher levels; and
- Help produce the number of teachers required for the successful implementation of the National Policy on Education.
To achieve these stated objectives, teaching materials in theNigeria Certificate in Education by distance learning system of the National Teacher’sInstitute[NCE/DLS/NTI]are in the form of specially prepared self-instructional materials, all structured and properly sequenced to make reading orderly and systematic. In this system, text materialsare supplemented with face-to-face contact sessions featuring lectures, practicals, tutorials for all students, answering students’ questions and marking their assignments. These contact sessions are designed for weekends and vacation periods. Furthermore, recorded audio/video cassettes are made available as support materials. The institute also has Frequency Modulating (FM) radio for educational broadcasting and pilot testing instructional Radio Programmes. With respect to evaluation of students’ achievements, the major form of assessmentsis through Continuous Assessment (which is generated from seminars, tests and assignment), examination and projects. As noted by Jegede (2003), this strategy of DLS is sensitive to the Federal Government Commitment to quality teacher production and retention as stipulated in the National Policy on Education.
However, the rapid enrollment of students for the NCE/DLS/NTI programme in Cross River state has generated public interest. For instance, Mgbit, (2002) opine that the quantitative increases in the number of enrolled students and educational budget constraints have degenerated the quality ofprogrammes NTI offers to the teachers.The argument for this observation is closely linked to the fact that in the last two decades or so, the available human and material resources for higher education in Nigeria have shown considerable decline in quality and quantity while students enrolments, number of academic programmes offered to students, etc have increased astronomically (Akasa and Ulam, 2004).Furthermore, there are concerns expressed by some educators that the quality of teachers and students admitted into the distance learning programmes are poor (Mishra,2007).These are of major concern to stakeholders, the public and educational researchers. Conversely, there are skeptics who believe that distance learning programme do not deliver quality of education similar to the traditional classroom face-to- face setting (Dwomoh-Tweneboah, 2011).
Nevertheless, several literature(Aderinoye and Ojokheta, 2004; Ali andBaker, 2003)have addressed parameters and themes researcher ofteacher quality through distance learning but there is none known to the on the implementation of the NCE/DLS/NTI programme in Cross River state.Thus, the need to evaluate the human and material resources employed in theimplementation ofthe NCE/DLS/NTIprogrammes. The focus is on the adequacy of instructional materials, availability of classrooms, library facilities, laboratories and workshops for teaching and learning. Others according to Samuel and Okodoko (2012) are lecturers’ compliance to scheduled lecture periods and frequency of lectures/workshops/laboratory classes; organization and methods of evaluation; and the quality of educational services available to the distance learning students
Furthermore, numerous studies (Battalio, 2009; Chaney, Eddy, Dorman, Glessner, Green, and Lara-Alecio, 2009; Chaney, ChaneyandEddy, 2010) suggest the effectiveness of distance-learning courses to be comparable to that of traditional coursework. However, evaluations of such programmes’ effectiveness have been based on comparison of final grades of students on distance learning courses as compared with grades of students who participated in classroom-based courses (Ali andBaker, 2003;Eaton, 2000;Sonner, 1999). This narrowview of evaluation does not resolve the concern for the quality of teacher education provided using DLS such as the NCE/DLS/NTI programme. This is a gap in literature which suggestsa programme evaluation ofthe NTI/NCE/DLS effectiveness in Cross River state, in other to guide stakeholder decision making towards effective framework for quality NCE programme through distance learning system.
Moreover, Colleges of Education and other NCE-awarding institutions such as NTI and Polytechnics have been criticized in recent times on low quality of NCE graduates (Awosiyan, 2012).With stakeholders underscoring the relevance of Distance Learning Education to open access for the training of quality teachers in the country, the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) in 2012 commenced a nationwide monitoring and evaluation exercise of academic standards in the study centres of the NTI.The Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor MuhammedJunaid observed at the flag-off ceremony of the exercise that the evaluation was part of activities to review the minimum standards of quality assurance of NCE graduates at NTI(Junaid, 2012). According to Odukoya (2009), evaluation ofthe NTI study centres is expedient because stakeholders desire to know the extent to which NTI is keeping faith with teacher education policies and NCCE minimum standardsand guidelines. Secondly, as was the case in the conventional colleges where evaluation exercise take place, NTI need to be kept abreast of certain aspects of the teacher education policies and programmes that need special attention.Thus, the programme evaluation exercise which was carried out simultaneously in the six geo-political zones of the country, according to Ogar, (2012) is part of efforts to ensure quality in the distance learning programmes designed to open opportunities for many teachers who may not have access to the conventional colleges or universities.
Programme evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using information to answer questions about projects, policies and programmes, particularly about their effectiveness and efficiency. Okoye (2012) has observed that in both the public and private sectors, stakeholders want to know if the programs they are funding, implementing, voting for, receiving or objecting to are actually having the intended effect and to what cost. This intent according to Dwomoh-Tweneboah (2011)focuses on the question of whether the programme, policy or project is valuable oris succeeding as indicated in the proposed objectives or Act that set it up. Thus, equally important in the NCE/DLS/NTIprogramme are questions such as how the program could be improved, whether the program is worthwhile, whether there are better alternatives, if there are unintended outcomes, and whether the program goals are appropriate and useful. Evaluators help to answer these questions, but according to Shackman (2011), the best way to answer the questions is for the evaluation to be a joint exercise between evaluators and stakeholders.
The importance of such an evaluation as applicable to NTI/DLS in Cross River State lies in the fact that the more clearly the stakeholders understand the experiences of teachers, the more likely there will be commonalities in their perceptions which will invariably enable them make appropriate decisions about the continuation, modification, or termination of the programme (Igwe and Rufai, 2012).This is because in all forms of education, evaluation plays a major role in justifying programs, improving practice, and projecting into the future. However, a situation like theNCE/DLS/NTI, where the learner has the potential to move away from the control of the teacher and operate in very autonomous ways, it is essential that the practice of evaluation also be moved closer to the learner (Levine, 2008). Mishra (2007) therefore observed that moving evaluation closer to the learner demands that evaluation be appropriately influenced by these learner’s needs of growth and development. Through such appropriate learner-focused evaluation practice in distance education, it is possible to recognize the learner as a major partner in the teaching learning environment – something that can be too easily overlooked in face-to-face learning situations.
Evaluation in distance education must therefore be carefully balanced between a traditional view that allows for program justification/development and a new view that has the potential for empowering learners. Thus, different evaluation models are amenable to the NTI/NCE/DLS programme. They include the Context, Input, Process and Product (CIPP) model; Environmental, Input, Process and Outcome (EIPO) model; Context, Input, Process, Output and Impact (CIPOI) model, etc. In this study however, Stufflebean’s Context, Input, Process and Product (CIPP) was used. The rationale for using this model is in its inherent comprehensive treatment of programme evaluation. With regard to the gains of the CIPP model of evaluation, Igwe(1998) noted that identifying, employing and retention of quality teachers through constant teacher evaluation is one of the key components of good results and ensures proficiency of the teachers in schools. Okoye (2012) also noted that a well-designed evaluation exercise through the CIPP model improves practices and ensures quality of educational growth. Hence, the CIPP evaluation model of gathering feedback from educational programme has become a conventional strategy in educational programme development and implementation (Stracchota, Schmidt and Conceicao, 2005).
Evaluating the NCE/DLS/NTIthrough the CIPP model helped to determine the degree to which program objectives are met through the procedures used by the program. Thus, a dispassionate evaluation determineds whether or not the outcomes or results predicted by the program occurred and if their occurrence was due to the project. This present study is therefore an academic exercise for the purpose of answering pragmatic questions of decision makers in the NTI/DLS who want to and are eager toimprove the program, expand the scope or modify it. If the program is found to be only partly effective in achieving its goals, this evaluation research is expected to identify the aspects that have been unsuccessful and recommend the kinds of changes that are needed.
Statement of the Problem
The NCEby distance learning systemof the NTI is an in-service trainingprogramme instituted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria to upgrade, train and retrain teachers to meet their training needs in orderto achieve the objectives of basic education. This is because the implementation of any curriculum and success of any educational programme to a great extent lies on the teachers. Thus, to successfully facilitate learning process and bring about the desired result, the quality of what the teacher is made of should be guaranteed.
Nonetheless, several studies have addressed parameters and themes of teacher quality through distance learning but there is none known to the researcher on the implementation of the NCE/DLS/NTI programme in Cross River state.There is therefore the need to evaluate the human and material resources employed in the implementation of theprogramme.Furthermore, little is known about the context, input, process and product constituent in the implementation of NCE programme by distance learning system of the NTI in Cross River State. Posed as a question, the problem of this study therefore is: to what extent have measures been implemented to realize the objectives of the NCE programme by distance learning system of the NTI in Cross River State?
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to evaluate the Nigerian Certificate in Education programme by Distance Learning Systemof the National Teachers Institute in Cross River State. Specifically, this study seeks to:
- Find out the extent to which the objective ofNTI/NCE programme by distance learning systemshas been implemented to upgrade teacher’s qualification.
- Determine the availability of input facilities for the implementation of NTI/NCE programme by distance learning system.
- Ascertain the qualification of NTI/NCE programmefacilitatorsin the implementation by distance learning system.
- Find out theevaluation strategies adopted in the implementation of NTI/NCE programme by distance learning system.
- Find out the challenges in the implementation of NTI/NCE programme by distance learning system.
- Ascertain the pass rate of graduates from the NTI/NCE programme by distance learning system.
- Ascertain the extent National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) carries out its supervisory functions with respect to the implementation of NCE programme by distance learning system.
Significance of the Study
This study had both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, the findings of this study validated the dynamics of Stufflebean’s context, input, process and product model of evaluation. This is because these quality indicators highlighted the needed services delivery of teacher education programme in the context of distance learning. Practically, this study will be beneficial to the government, NTI, NCCE and educational researchers.
Over the years, a significant prospect of programs taught through distance education technologies has occurred. Results of this study will therefore help the government by providing empirical evidence on models of such teacher education interventions that can complement her educational mandate. In view of this fundamental change in Teacher Education that the NCE /NTI represents, the Government through the findings of this study could realize the imperative to produce efficient teachers. The findings of this study would also help the Government implement policy frameworks that guide NCE-awarding institutions in mounting effective Teacher Education Programmes. Findings from this present program evaluation of NTI/DLS are crucial to the government for measurable objectives and standards to be set, and appraised, when developing and offering distance learning programs. This is necessary to ensure quality, standards, integrity and validity of the programme.
needs assessment process of The interest of NCE/DLS/NTI is focused on teachers achieving their personal and professional career goals through distance learning. Thus, the findings of this study will help the NTI to direct the design of successful distance learning courses and programs by focusing efforts on the bottom line goal of meeting the needs of diverse teachers. Such willguide the institute to develop, promote and facilitate healthy interactions between the learner and the instructor, among the learners and invariably boost their learning experience.
The findings of this study will also guide the NCCE to create a culture of support for NCE in the NTI/DLS. The key to meeting the needs of multiple constituents by the NCCE as the regulator body of NCE is committed to the programme. In addition to approaching distance learning course offerings with an ecological approach and consumer-mindset, the NCCE should have a solid grasp of the quality indicators for distance learning courses and programs. Hence, through the findings of this study, the Commission can faction out educational best practices standards as the basis of its development and evaluation of continuing education courses.
Finally, this study would be significant in adding to the available literature as well as provide empirical data for future research on the effectiveness of NTI/DLS programme. Thus, the findings of this study will assist other researchers in this area of research.
Scope of the Study
The geographical scope of this study is Cross River state Nigeria. Specifically, it was carried out in two educational zones of Cross River state (the south and central education zones). These are where the NTI/NCE/DLS study centres are located in the state. It was restricted to the designated five centres of the NTI programme that spread across the zones. The study was limited to the 3 years 2011-2013 of the implementation of the NTI/NCE programme in the state. This study was focused on the NCE programme of NTI. The five courses covered in the NTI study centres are Primary Education Studies/Social Studies (PES/SOS), Primary Education Studies/Integrated Science (PES/ITS), Primary EducationStudies/Englishlanguage(PES/ENG), Primary Education Studies/Mathematics (PES/MTH) and Primary Education Studies/Christian Religion Knowledge(PES/CRK). The variables that make up the NTI/NCE programme that were investigated include: the objectives of NTI/NCE programme, availability of facilities, qualification of facilitators, evaluation strategies adoptedand challenges and pass rate of graduates from 2011 – 2013.
In line with the purpose, this study was premised on the following research questions:
- To what extent has the NTI/NCE programmeobjective been implemented by distance learning system in Cross River State?
- What are the available input facilities for the implementation of NTI/NCE programme by distance learning system?
- What arethe qualifications of facilitators for the implementation of NTI/NCE programme by distance learning system?
- What evaluation strategies are adopted in the implementation of NTI/NCE programme by distance learning system?
- What challenges are encountered in the implementation of NTI/NCE programme by distance learning system?
- What are the passes rates of graduatein the NTI/NCE programmeby distance learning system?
- To what extent do the NCCE carry out its supervisory functions for the implementation of NTI/NCE programme by distance learning system?
HO1: The pass rate of NTI/NCE/DLS programme in Cross River State is not significantly dependent on the study centres for the DLS class of certificate.
HO2: The pass rate of NTI/NCE/DLS in Cross River State is not significantly dependent on the year for the DLS class of certificate.