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1.1     Background to the Study

It is inarguably that every secondary schools wants to boast that it offers ‘high quality learning and teaching’. Schools mission statements consistently claim that secondary schools seek to provide excellent teaching and a high quality learning environment. However, it is less than obvious that schools are either clear about what these goals mean or actually pursuing these goals with strategic vision. In most cases neither of these key goals is well defined: what is excellent teaching and what constitutes a high quality learning environment? The manner in which schools are attempting to achieve these goals is many and varied (D’Andrea & Gosling, 2005:1). Attempts to turn the rhetoric into reality are seen as improvements to the teaching and learning process in Nigeria secondary education to further assist students to address their learning challenges.

The Nigeria education system is composed of both public and private schools of which some are single sex and others are mixed schools with different learning environment. Single-sex schooling has attracted interest among education professionals, researchers, media, politicians and parents (UNICEF (2003). It is therefore argued that girls and boys should learn differently and, thus, should be educated in separate environments in order to maximize their potentials. A study by Mosha (2000) shows that, students from single-sex schools scored higher than students from co-educational schools. Though factors like; socio-economic status, parental support, school traditions and ethos, have also been demonstrated to have an effect on student’s performance. Unless the effects of such variables are controlled, the true effects of single-sex schooling cannot be determined.

The place of secondary school education in the country’s educational system is of paramount importance. However, it appears that secondary schools are not living up to expectation in discharging their obligations. Omoregie (2005) lamented that the products of today’s secondary system can either usefully live in the society or move into higher institution without their parents’ aid or forgery. They cannot in fact think for themselves or respect the views and feelings of others. In other words, they have no iota of dignity of labour except for the things that will give them quick money. It must be stressed here that education cannot be an instrument par excellence for achieving national development where secondary education is not effectively managed to accomplish its aims and objectives. According to Ajayi (2002) and Omoregi (2005) secondary education in Nigeria is riddled with crises of various dimensions and magnitude all of which combine to suggest that the system is at the cross road. One of the major of challenges students are faced with is problem of frequent changes in school curriculum .Both primary and secondary education suffered unnecessary changes in curriculum, the reason being that every in-coming administration would like to effect a change whether positive or negative. The moment there is a change in primary school curriculum it will definitely affect the secondary education. To buttress this point further, it is important to examine the structural flowchart of the National Policy on Education (NPE). The structure or flow chart of NPE does not help matters much. If there is anything worthwhile, the structure did not minimize the problem the education sector is now experiencing. For instance education in Nigeria is heavily geared towards the acquisition of certificates and nothing more than that. A Close look at the flowchart of the NPE shows that the beginning of the entire major segments of education invariably terminate at the university level.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The persistent poor performance of secondary school students in public examinations such as the Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) in Nigeria in the recent times has made the development of secondary education a difficult task. Parents, guardians and other stakeholders in education industry have variously commented on the performances of secondary school students particularly in English Language and Mathematics (Adepoju, 2002). Researchers and stakeholders in education industry have in the recent past identified several factors as the challenges and causes of poor performance of students in public examinations. Among such factors identified are poor location of the school, incessant changes in government policies, closure of schools, which is contingent upon teachers’ strike action, home-school distance, high student teacher ratio, lack of supervision, monitoring and evaluation machinery, lack of good textbooks, poor content and context of instruction, poor and non-conducive environment among others, therefore the researcher decides to assess these listed challenges and the effects they have on academic performance of both boys and girls in Iganmode Grammar school, Ota, Ogun state.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

The main objectives of this study is to assess the challenges facing boys and girls in their academic performance; specifically the study intends to;

1.     Find out the factors influencing poor academic performance in Nigeria

2.     Examine challenges facing secondary schools in Nigeria

3.     Analyze the effect of the challenges on the academic performance of secondary school students

4.     To compare the academic performance of boys and girls in Iganmode Grammar school

1.4     Research Questions

1.     What are the factors influencing poor academic performance in Nigeria?

2.     What are challenges facing secondary schools in Nigeria?

3.     Is there any effect of the challenges on the academic performance of secondary school students?

4.     Is there any significant different on the academic performance of boys and girls in Iganmode Grammar school?

1.5     Research Hypothesis

Ho: there is no effect of the challenges on the academic performance of secondary school students

Hi: there is effect of the challenges on the academic performance of secondary school students

1.6     Significance of the Study

Findings of this study will contribute profoundly, to the existing body of knowledge and literature related to academic performance of secondary education in Nigeria. The results of this study would inform the education ministry to understand the current conditions facing secondary education and address them, on the way of its reality. This study is also beneficial for the academicians and individuals, who might be interested in carrying out related researches in the future. The findings would help the policy makers on the amendments of the laws and regulations, related to education sector in Nigeria

1.7     Scope of the Study

This research work is limited to one secondary school in Ogun state, Iganmode grammar school is selected for this research. Also this research work will focus mainly on the challenges of secondary education in Nigeria and also compare the performance of both boys and girls.

1.8     Delimitation of the Study

Finance for the general research work will be a challenge during the course of study. Correspondents also might not be able to complete or willing to submit the questionnaires given to them.

However, it is believed that these constraints will be worked on by making the best use of the available materials and spending more than the necessary time in the research work. Therefore, it is strongly believed that despite these constraint, its effect on this research report will be minimal, thus, making the objective and significance of the study achievable.

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