Problems faced by undergraduate students: a study of Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki

Problems faced by undergraduate students: a study of Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

       Education has long been recognized as a vital key to unlocking under-development in Nations. It is the one major instrument for bringing about socio-political, economic, scientific and technological advancement of any country. Hence, the development of a society is closely tied to its level of educational attainment. This explains why most nations both developing and advanced, invest a significant proportion of their annual budget in the educational sector of the economy (Awe, 2003).

       As important as education is, its immediate benefits are not easily discernible just as its actual direct cost and indirect cost is difficult to qualify exactly in monetary terms. But what nations are worried about is the quality and standard of education being offered in the school system especially in the universities.

       University is a complex school system. The inputs such as infrastructure, funds and especially students, teachers, facilities etc., in the school system are transformed by ways of lectures, readings, seminars, counseling, interaction with colleagues and other social activities and the outcome is expected to be enlightened, cultured, educated, nationalistic and self-disciplined graduates. But a number of problems may exist within or outside the educational institutions that could make it difficult for effective teaching and learning.

       University students everywhere experience some level of difficulties in the pursuit of their mission, vision and goals. Those associated with institutions in developing countries, as in Africa are numerous. Some of these problems ranges from: Cumbersome registration process and screening, lack of financial support, infrastructural challenges, lack of commitment and motivating to do or carryout a research work, incessant unrest of staff and students, Balancing social life and academic life etc. (Sawyer, 2002).

       An undergraduate is a college or university student who has not yet received a bachelor. The World Bank (2003) study on the problems of African universities identified enrolments as a major problem. It stated that enrolments are often increasing faster than the capacity to plan for financial growth.

       Similarly, Enaohwo (2005) added that student enrolment continuously out stripped growth in basic input- a mere quantitative phenomenon without a corresponding qualitative support. The basic infrastructural support like classrooms, Laboratories, Hostel Accommodation, library facilities and office space that were available at the take off point have marginally expanded. Enaohwo’s remarks are a confirmation of Sawyer’s (2002), who pointed out that problems experienced by the typical African university students include little or no attempts made to match intake with available spaces, the absence of commensurate growth in human support and lack of Adequate provision of resources  generally in African universities has not yet been fully addressed.

       (Mouton, (2001); Shumba, (2004); Nyawaranda, (2005); and Pearce, (2005) Concur that students’ capacity to conduct research are constrained by institution-related challenges such as: lack of exposure of tutors or research skills, lack of internet services, lack of exposure to computer and lack of material. Fidzani (1998) conducted a study in university of Botswana, Gaborone to establish the information seeking behavior of students. Findings include that there was a heavy reliance on library books, textbooks and Journals as sources of information used for class work. The researcher reported further that students primarily relied on scanning the shelves or browsing through Journals rather than using the index and abstract data bases to locate information because they are much familiar with textbooks than reading online. There tend to be some hindrances because of the state of our libraries, most textbooks and Journals in the shelves are only but ancient and Archival books that contain little or no information to guide students in doing their assignment and carrying out their project research work and these sometimes lead to lack of commitment and motivation to do either of this. Rather, they stress themselves to get material which only drain their zeal, time and resources (money). On this note, Anderson, Day, Maclaughlin, (2006) pointed out that time was a very limited resource for students carrying out research. Furthermore, lack of funds let students down in photocopying recent Journals textbooks and e-resources. Consequently on this, the zeal and urge to carry out a quality research projected might be compromise. Anderson et al (2006) said the above because some of the students had to provide basic needs for themselves and families. These commitments competed with their assignment or research work.

       What is today known as Ebonyi State University started with a resolution of the then Military Administration of Anambra State, which was later upheld under Chief Jim Nwobodo’s civilian administration. On July 30, 1980, the then Anambra State Government established the Anambra State-University of Science and Technology, ASUTECH by law no 7 of 1980, thereby establishing the first University of Science and Technology in Nigeria. The ASUTECH Edict no. 20 of 1985, put in place a four-campus structure with the faculties of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary medicine located in Abakaliki. Lectures started in the Abakaliki campus Faculty of Agriculture in November, 1987 with 55 students and 15 academic staff including students of the department of Horticulture and Plant Protection transferred from Awka campus of ASUTECH. The Faculty graduated the first batch of students in 1991/92 academic session.

In 1987, a pre-science school was established at the Abakaliki campus of ASUTECH. On August 27, 1991, Enugu State was created out of the old Anambra State so that ASUTECH campuses in Enugu and Abakaliki were inherited by Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT via Enugu State Government Edict no. 33 of 1991 and amended in 1995 with the Abakaliki campus remaining as the new ESUT Faculty of Agricultural Sciences. The College of Medicine was added a year later in 1992.

At the creation of Ebonyi State in 1996, the Abakaliki campus of the then ESUT, was upgraded to Ebonyi State University College by Edict no. 5 of Ebonyi State, 1998 still affiliated to ESUT with Prof. Fidelis Ogah, former ESUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor as the first Rector. In 1997, the Faculty of Applied and Natural Sciences with 8 departments was added to the fledging University and later in 1998 when the ESUT Pre-Science Programme was relocated to Nsukka, the EBSUC Pre-Degree School commenced lectures in both Science and Arts in replacement of the former.

The major landmark that launched the institution/college to her present status came in 1999 when His Excellency, Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu, 1st Executive Governor of Ebonyi State announced the upgrading of the University College to a full-fledged multi-disciplinary University. The establishing law (Ebonyi State University law No 7,1999) received executive assents of His Excellency in January 14, 2000 with Prof. Fidelis Ogah as the first Vice-Chancellor. Resulting from the autonomous status, 4 additional faculties were created viz: the Faculties of Arts with six departments; Education comprising six departments and Management and Social Sciences having nine departments. In the year 2000, the Faculty of Law, School of Post­graduate Studies and Work and Study Programme (WASP), a week-end programme mapped out for workers who desire university education while retaining their jobs were established. In 2002, a new Faculty of Health Sciences and Technology was established. It took off in 2002/2003 academic year with Departments of Nursing Sciences and that of Medical Laboratory Sciences.

In December, 2008, the 3rd Governing Council was inaugurated by His Excellency Chief Martin N. Elechl, the 2ndExecutive Governor of Ebonyi State and Visitor to EBSU, with His Excellency Dr Emmanuel Oko Isu (now late) as chairman. Prof-Francis Igboji Idike took over from Prof Fidelis Ogah as the new Vice Chancellor of the university in January, 2009.

Since then, the problem faced by Ebonyi State University students has been problem of multi-campus which sometime affects students studies as most of the Ishieke students (science related) will have to go to Presco to receive their lectures and sometimes quiz and some others (arts related) will have to get to the permanent site to get their studies, quiz and exams. This problem of multi-campus alone degenerate into other problems which the students will likely face. These problems include lack of information which sometimes may cause the student his/her lecture, quiz or exams, financial constraints, time of lectures amongst others. Other problems include high cost of leaving in the some parts of the campuses like Presco where most students prefer renting house in Ishieke and be attending lectures from there. Because of these problems and many more, there was need for improvement and solution to most, if not to all the problems mentioned above.

       The problems faced by undergraduates in Nigerian universities many a time, causes service failure as the needs of these young ones need to be met for effective teaching and learning in our higher institutions. Hence, this study is geared towards ascertaining the undergraduates’ problem in Nigerian universities, using Ebonyi State University as a study.

Statement of the problem

       Schools, especially tertiary institutions, are complex social systems. The inputs infrastructure, funds and especially students, teachers, facilities etc into the school system are processed or converted by way of lectures, readings, seminars, counselling, interaction with colleagues and other social activities and the outcome is expected to be enlightened, cultured, educated, nationalistic and self-disciplined graduates. But a number of problems may exist within or outside the educational institutions that could make it difficult for the intended outcomes to be achieved.

Problems are those things that make it difficult for effective teaching and learning and in tertiary institutions they also militate against the achievement of excellence in research, publications and community service. While higher education institutions everywhere experience some degree of difficulty in the pursuit of their vision, mission and goals, those associated with institutions in developing countries, as in Africa, are numerous. Some of these problems include lack of accommodation, dearth of experts in most engineering, medical, technological and information and communication technology disciplines.

There are also problems of classroom spaces, lack of laboratories, poorly stocked libraries and most seriously poor funding compounded by large number of student intakes that far outstrip available facilities and staff.

       In Nigeria universities, many students seem to be facing a whole lots of problems. These ranges from academic problems, infrastructural challenges, social problems, lack of students commitment and motivation towards their studies, as well as financial problems. All these problems seemingly interfere with their studies and willpower to complete their academic programme successfully. As a result of this, quality education is sacrificed and standards fail. Hence, this study is needful.

Therefore, the cause of this study is to identify the problems faced by undergraduate students in Nigeria universities, using Ebonyi state university, Abakaliki as a study.

 

Purpose of the study

The main purpose of this study was to examine the problems faced by state university Abakaliki. The study is specifically set to:

  1. Determine how educational problems faced by undergraduate students affects their academic progranmme.
  2. Ascertain the effect of infrastructural challenges faced by undergraduate students on their academic programme.
  3. Determine how the social problems faced by undergraduate students affect their academic programme.
  4. Ascertain how financial problems on undergraduates students’ academic programme in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.

Significance of the study

The results of this study will go a long way to benefit the undergraduate students, school authority and policy makers to understand the problems of undergraduate students and to examine how these problems affect their academic programme, as well as how to minimize these problems to enhance their learning and academic achievement.

       The students will stand to gain a better understanding and knowledge of the challenges facing them at this stage of their life for example, their feelings in the classrooms, poor library equipments etc. and therefore, will have a good idea on how to handle these challenges so that he/she will be well adjusted and be useful to him/herself in the school environment.

       The school authority stand to benefit a lot in the sense that through the findings of the study, the will get to understand problems facing undergraduate students and possible ways of solving them. As a result, they can devise means to reach the students, help them to adjust themselves in the environment, and encourage them on what to do to achieve satisfaction in life, increase their self-esteem and improve their performance in school.

       The policy makers as well stands to benefit from the findings of these research work with the knowledge of the problems faced by undergraduate students and their effects on their academic programme, the government will devise means of helping the students to cope and adjust to these problems especially in the infrastructural aspect to encourage them and through these, we will have productive and disciplined leaders of tomorrow if the recommendations of this work are seriously noted.

Scope of the study

The scope of this study was to examine the problems faced by undergraduate students in Ebonyi state university, Abakaliki. It will look into how educational problems, infrastructural problem, social problems as well as financial problems faced by undergraduate students affects their academic performance in Ebonyi State University.

 

Research Questions

  1. How can educational problems faced by undergraduate student of Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki affect their academic performance?
  2. How have infrastructural challenges faced by undergraduate students affect their academic performance?
  3. How has the social problems faced by undergraduate students affect academic performance?
  4. How has financial problems experienced by undergraduate students affect their academic performance in Ebonyi state university, Abakaliki?
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