PROJECT TOPIC- STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING THE ACADEMIC PROBLEMS FACED BY UNDERGRADUATE OF EBONYI STATE UNIVERSITY, ABAKALIKI
Background to the study
Education has long been recognized as a vital key to unlocking under-development in Nations. It is one of the major instruments 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 motivation to do or carryout a research work, incessant unrest of staff and students, balancing social life and academic life etc. (Sawyer, 2002).
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 takeoff 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.
PROJECT TOPIC- STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING THE ACADEMIC PROBLEMS FACED BY UNDERGRADUATE OF EBONYI STATE UNIVERSITY, ABAKALIKI
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 2nd Executive 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 campus students (science related) will have to go to Presco campus 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 campus where most students prefer renting house in Ishieke campus and be attending lectures from there. Because of these problems and many more, there should be need for improvement and solution to most problems either by allowing the students to have their lectures in their respective campuses or merge all the campus to become one.
The problems faced by undergraduates in Ebonyi State 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 strategies for reducing the academic problems faced by undergraduates in Ebonyi State University.
Statement of the problem
There are unexpected difficulties and problems (Trimmer, 1992) and they may lead to academic failures. Hence, this study is conducted to identify and proffer solutions to the academic problems faced by undergraduates. Schools, especially tertiary institutions, are complex social systems. And as result, a number of problems may exist within the institution that could make it difficult for the intended outcomes to be achieved. Those problems include: lack of adequate time management, students working at part-time jobs and/or students engaging in time consuming extra-curricular activities at the university, emotional issues such as loss, depression, and anxiety, lack of personal confidence, personal problems such as low ability; negative self-concept, anxiety, maladjustment, environmental influences such as poor classroom conditions and lack of home support.
Looking at the aforementioned problems influence student’s academic achievements, the demands of academic assignments almost require students to have the time management skills of a successful busy business executive. Unfortunately, not many students know adequate time management. Part-time jobs and time consuming extra-curricular activities at the university environment take or can possibly take students mind off their academic pursuits or what they want to achieve academically.
Emotional issues such as loss, depression, and anxiety may cause students to feel inadequate or result in serious academic difficulties and failure. Lack of personal confidence leads students to indulge in examination malpractice which may implicate them and as a result they will face panel and thus, they may be suspended or there will be reduction in their grades. Personal problems such as low ability; negative self-concept, anxiety, maladjustment negatively influence students academic achievements. Environmental influences such as poor classroom conditions make students uncomfortable as they cannot study under such environment and they keep taking lectures in such classroom, most students may loose interest in coming to classes and they will end up not doing well in school. Lack of necessary home support such as financial support, food and otherwise make students vulnerable to failure in academic achievement.
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 strategies for reducing the problems faced by undergraduate students in Ebonyi state university, Abakaliki.
Purpose of the study
The main purpose of this study is to identify the strategies for reducing the problems faced by undergraduate students in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki. The study specifically sought to:
- Identify academic problems faced by EBSU undergraduates.
- Determine the influence of such problems to the student’s academic performance.
- Ascertain strategies for checkmating the problems for academic excellence.