1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The pursuit of educational excellence has long been one of the world's major priorities leading to a popular adage which says If somebody claims that education is costly, let him or her try ignorant. It has been determined that education is the key with which any nation can permanently seal the doors of poverty and ignorance while simultaneously opening the doors of prosperity in terms of economic buoyancy, social environment, and civilization. The Nigerian content to the above viewpoint, on the other hand, makes no difference. Education is a constitutional entitlement for all citizens, regardless of social, cultural, economic, political, religious, tribal, mental, or physical status (Ajibade, 1993). That is, education is a tool for achieving national development. Nigeria's educational objectives in terms of the person and the society are outlined in the National Policy on Education (FGN, 2004). To that purpose, the National Policy on Education established certain aims and objectives to support the country's educational progress hence teachers play critical roles in promoting those goals and objectives.
Teachers play an important role in the learning process in schools, and their attitudes and effectiveness can vary depending on the incentives they face. Pay structure has the potential to be a major incentive-tool in the hands of education policymakers, and plans that link pay to performance have lately been studied and implemented in various nations. An Education Next study using data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and development found students achieve at higher levels in math and reading in countries that pay teachers more for their skills. Researches came to a predictable conclusion that students educated by teachers with higher cognitive abilities typically outperform those taught by mediocre or subpar scholars. Consequently, increasing the teacher talent pool by raising starting salaries may attract higher quality teachers and effectively raise student performance across the country. Without them, the school cannot exist. The government of Nigeria also recognized the importance of teachers when it says that no education can rise above the quality of its teachers (Wilson & Western, 2001).
On the hand, no organized teaching can take outside the classroom, which reveals classroom as an important variable in the learning environment. As a result of free education, the students’ enrolment began to increase tremendously to the extent that the ratio of teacher-students has now gone beyond control and the teachers are the one that translate educational philosophy and objectives into knowledge and skills and transfer them to students in the classroom as a safe, healthy and happy place with supportive resources.. According to the National Education Policy Center Policy Brief; “the policy brief summarizes the academic literature on the impact of class size and finds that class size is an important determinant of a variety of student outcomes, ranging from test scores to broader life outcomes…” Schanzenbach, D. W. (2014). To crown it all, when the class is to large and the salary is not encouraging, there is tendency for poor academic performance of the students. White House Report (2012).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigerian students' WAEC and NECO results are no longer anything to be proud of within the last decade. Secondary school students, as well as their parents, are now willing to spend any amount for an unique test center while Some teachers are even willing to compose micro-sheets for their "candidate" in order for them to excel in national examinations and other tests. This has kep educators, researcher and stakehoders of education in awe on this anomie. According to Bajah (1991), the sustainability of curriculum is determined by the classroom teacher, who is the one who puts all of our ideas into action therefore his/her traits, experience, and behavior impact the learning environment of their student depending on the salary offered which can serve as a motivation or demotivate them which in turn affects the stduent academic achievement. The growth teacher’s underpayment is on the rise suc that many upcoming ones do not dream of becoming a teacher as a result of poor payment of salary or salary delay and some other impetus that may be taking teachers’ concentration from their teaching profession. Other factors that may have an impact on students' academic is class size variable. Wosayanju, (2005) maintained that large class may pose some teaching challenges such as delayed feedback, resulting in inefficiency, poor quality of students, and reduction in teaching with less assignment so as to reduce the burden of marking, all of which may encourage shallow learning.
Although several studies has been carried on the notion of class size and student academic achievement, little a ttention has been given to the association between teacher’s salary, class size and student academic performance. Therefore it is upon this backdrop that this study seeks to present an investigation on the nexus between teacher’s pay, class size, and student academic performance.