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Education in Nigeria is an instrument “par excellence” for effecting national development. Primary education is the education given in institutions for children aged 6 to 11 plus. Since the rest of the education system is built upon it, the primary level is the key to the success or failure of the whole system (FGN, 2004). For long, educationists have contended that the basis of the primary education could fairly dictate the pace of future educational development. The secondary and fro that matter, post secondary education are largely buttressed by the effectiveness of the foundation of primary education (Denga, 1986).
The National Policy on Education (2004), outlined the following objectives of primary education.
These noble objectives could hardly be achieved without library facilities in primary schools. According to Ekpo (1991), the library is the oldest source of information to the learners, teachers and other interested readers. Studies have shown that library facilities have not been given adequate attention in primary schools in Nigeria. reports have tended to show that some sampled primary schools were finding it difficult to meet the stated objectives of primary education in Nigeria. sampled primary six pupils were finding it difficult to show evidence of permanent literacy and numeracy and the ability to communicate effectively (Abdullahi, 1982) Nwana (1991) identified among others problems of pupils as fear of failing examination, restlessness, being afraid to speak up in class, inability to concentrate, fear of subjects like Mathematics, English language and confusion of what kind of person they will like to be in future. These are by no means the entire problems of pupils. These problems could be addressed through well organized library facility that supports classroom teaching.
The UBE programme is an expression of the strong desire of government to reinforce participatory democracy in Nigeria by providing awareness and general education for the entire citizenry. It is intended as a visible evidence of Nigeria’s strong commitment to the declaration of basic education for all, as well as the New Delhi (1991) declaration requiring stringent efforts by the countries to drastically reduce illiteracy within the shortest possible time frame, the Durban statement of commitment (1998) and the OAU Decade of Education in Africa (1997-2006) requiring African States to generalize access quality basic education as a foundation for the sustainable socio-economic development of the continent. Government is not unmindful of the magnitude of problems associated with a gigantic programme of this nature (UBE Implementation Guideline, p.51-52). Good as the programme might appear, its success depends on the quality of teachers as well as educational services available, especially library facilities (FGN, 2004) in the nation’s primary schools.
Edeghere (1996) observed with disappointment that primary schools were lacking in library facilities. She noted that even head teachers feel that library is not a priority, there were other important requirements in school, certainly not a library. According to the report, head teachers require more classrooms, more furniture, constant supply of chalk and pupils learning materials, reference materials for teachers and programmed workshops, and seminars to improve teachers’ performance. Over the years, this view has been shared by many people and even teachers in primary schools.
Indeed, the library has an important place in the teaching and learning of pupils. Gbenedio (1991) noted that ability to read is of prime importance, if one is to understand the conflicting issues that current life presents. Reading skills in Nigerian schools where English is the language of instruction is poor, especially as regards speed and comprehension (Mckillop and Yoloye, 1983). This situation has been attributed to the fact that pupils and students have not read extensive due to non-availability of library in schools, or where there is one in secondary schools, the reading materials are very few and students would not be allowed access to them.
Several measures were made to encourage reading skills in primary schools. The Federal Government of Nigeria, in the National Policy on Education (2004) de-emphasized memorization and regurgitation of facts which were common practices in primary schools in favour of wide reading by pupils. To further strengthen the point, it stated that the library is at the heart of the education enterprises. The virtual library as a platform for sharing knowledge is aimed at rejuvenating Nigerian schools through the provision of current books, journals and other information resources using digital technology. However, inspite of the government commitment to this noble cause, the public is yet to be at home with the establishment of library in schools. Government expect collaboration/partnership with individuals, companies and non-governmental organisation (NGOs) in the pursuit of this cause.
The library is an important facility in any educational institution be it primary, secondary or tertiary. This is where materials are stores, classified and displayed for readers to derive maximum benefits. Unfortunately, the library is non-existent in most public primary schools in Nigeria, only a very few of them designated special schools can boost of the facility. Given the state of affairs, the much talked about national objectives of primary education can hardly be attained in absence of this important component of the educational enterprise. As a result, products of primary schools have demonstrated incompetence in personal and public life and also find it difficult to cope with academic programmes in secondary schools. As has been openly agreed by stakeholders in education, the quality of primary school are finding it difficult to demonstrate mastery of subject matter and skills in the various subjects taught in schools. Primary education is the foundation which other education system rest, the failure at this level would definitely affect the quality of products from the other levels of education. Worse still, Nigeria is listed among the educationally backward nations of the world (Jegede, 2005). These and more could be attributed to the poor facilities at the primary schools would improve the quality of instruction and learning at the level and in turn produce sound individuals for secondary schools and trades.
The purpose of the study was to
The study was conducted on the assumption that
It is the desire of the Federal Government of Nigeria to provide sound education and equip the young for better life in order to be well positioned to contribute to the development of the nation. Sad enough however, this noble goal would hardly be realized in the absence of basic facilities, especially library in the teaching and learning at the foundation level of education. Nigeria needs scientists, engineers, lawyers, accountants, doctors, teachers and other professionals to pilot the affairs of the country and this could only be attained when the products of primary schools are adequately equipped to cope with the challenges in latter levels of education.
Presently, Nigeria is dependent on expatriates for most of her scientific studies, inventions, exploitation of natural resources, policy formulations and administration and even security system and the situation is inimical to national growth and security. Availability and utilization of library facilities by teachers and pupils in the nation’s primary schools would help to improve the quantity and quality of instruction provided at this level of education. It is hoped that the findings of this study will be of immense value to policy makers in Ministries of Education (State and Federal), head teachers, teachers and general public the quest to provide sound education to the Nigerian child.
The following research questions were postulated to guide the study. There are:
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Several factors were identified inimical to attainment of the objectives of this study. They are:
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Library: The cultural and educational centre of the school where books are collected, classified, accessorial, catalogued and displayed for readers to have maximum benefits.
Pupils: These are learners in pre-primary and primary schools, aged 3 to
Universal Basic Education: Educational programme in Nigeria specifically
designed for pupils in primary schools and junior secondary school covering 9 years duration, comprising 6 years of primary education and 3 years of junior secondary education.
Head Teacher: Administrative head of primary schools,
synonymous with headmaster and headmistress.
The hypothesis, stated in the null, as a guide to the conduct of the research were:
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