Operations in primary schools are vital in the growth of the schools, especially in the administration of the schools in Nigeria. The key areas of the operations are discussed in this article which can benefit the schools and administrators.
1. Curriculum Development
This has to do with all the programs of instruction, activities, and guidance engaged in throughout the year at the different levels in the school.
Certain things such as the national goals and philosophy of education, the learner’s needs the interest, the duration of the primary school course, the length of the year, and available resources (human and non-human), among others, must be taken into consideration while planning the curriculum.
Each year in all primary schools, a new class of pupils is enrolled to replace the class of ‘old pupils’ leaving for another class or at the end of their course.
The classes may vary in their sizes but the accepted norm as stipulated in the National Policy on Education (1981), is between thirty and forty pupils.
In some schools particularly in the urban centres, the number of pupils at a particular level may be too large for a class hence they may be divided into two or more classes.
There are also some cases in urban centers such as Ibadan and Lagos, where as a result of a large number of pupils and the adequacy of classroom facilities, there could be what is called ‘two-shifts’ schooling.
That is, some of them will be for the morning session from 7.30 am – 12.30 pm while some will be for the afternoon session from 1 pm to 6 pm. This type of arrangement often affects effective primary school organization and administration.
This includes the teaching and non-teaching personnel in the school. The staff is usually headed by a Head Teacher or what is popularly known as Headmaster.
The HM is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the schools. He is for instance responsible for assigning teachers to the different classes; he prepares the school timetable, supervises the teacher’s work, and ensures that school records are kept properly by each class teacher.
He also attends to some other official matters from the Ministry of Education, Local Education Authority, Parents Teachers Association (PTA), etc.
In some very large schools, there may be one or two Assistants assigned to teach any particular class like other teachers. The HM may delegate different responsibilities out of his own to his assistants or even some class teachers.
This is very necessary for the school administration to be carried out successfully. In other words, the HM must ensure effective communication and participation among all the staff, the pupils, and the parents.
He is however responsible to the higher authorities for what goes on in his school.
4. Parents-Teacher-Association (PTA)
This is the Parents-Teachers-Association. It is very vital to the successful organization and administration of primary schools in modern societies. It is a channel for promoting effective school-community relationships.
In some states of the federation, it is mandatory for each school to organize a PTA and hold regular meetings, at least once a term.
The PTA often assists in the administration of our schools by serving as a link between the school and the community, as a source of raising funds for some capital projects in the school, and ensuring mutual understanding and cooperation between the teachers and parents.
In short, the PTA if properly organized helps the school administration to achieve its set goals and objectives.
5. Equipment and Facilities
These may include items of furniture for the teachers and the pupils, school buildings, stationery, instructional materials, and school records.
It is obvious that no matter how skillful the school administrators may be if the available equipment and facilities are inadequate, there is little that can be achieved.
Similarly, the school heads (administrators) must be able to organize and manage the resources in a very responsible way so as to facilitate the achievement of the set goals and objectives of primary education.
The facilities could be supplied by the government, the PTA, or individuals.
It may not be wrong to say that no human organization can survive without adequate finance.
The government is the major financier of primary education in Nigeria with a good percentage of the annual budgetary allocation to education going for the payment of teachers’ salaries and the provision of equipment and facilities in the schools.
It would seem however that the inconsistencies in government in government policies over the years with regard to the financing of primary education have been adversely affecting primary school administration in Nigeria.
The recent policy of transferring the payment of primary school teachers’ salaries to the various local Governments, while the states are taking care of physical facilities, has led to the present confused situations in primary education in the country.
As teachers now go on strike as a result of regular payment of their salaries, with some Local Governments ejecting non-indigenous teachers from their schools for various reasons, primary school administration is being crippled in many places.
7. Human and Non-human Resources
In general, it could be concluded that for effective primary education to take place, there must be an adequate management of human and non-human resources through mutual cooperation and understanding among the teachers, parents, Local Education Authorities, the Ministry of Education as well as the general public.
While the teachers (administration) have the great responsibilities of planning the daily programs of the school, organizing, direction, and controlling the pupils and equipment, they need a great deal of support from the parents, the various levels of government, the pupils and the general public to succeed.
The organization and administration of primary education is fundamentally more than a man’s job. This is not saying however that the head teacher and his staff should not possess some qualities, that their work requires.
These qualities which include, dedication, drive, energy, vision, common sense, and mental alertness (Ozigi 1978) are crucial to the success of any teacher or school head as an administrator.
It must also be noted that the teachers as the school administrators who are directly involved in the education of pupils need a lot of motivation from the governments, the parents, the pupils themselves, and the general public in order to perform well.