comparative assessment on the availability of readers in public and private secondary

Background to the Study
The Education sector appears to have been worse hit particularly after the Structural Adjustment Programme in 1986 and the deregulation of the economy in 1992. In this particular situation, it is desirable to assess the present condition of availability of readers in schools.
This focuses on how available are readers in public and private secondary schools, how this affects the performance(s) of the students in different subjects, teaching method, student learning in these two prominent sectors of education (private and public). As a result of this, it now becomes a matter of concern to find out whether the private schools have access to reader and that is why they tend to have better performance and produce better students than the students in public or government owned schools. The government is not left out in the production of books since it is the main sponsor of more than 80 percent of secondary schools in the country.
This study examined the factors affecting the availability of readers to both private and public secondary schools in Ekiti State; the role of publishers, school authorities and how it affects the academic performance of the student in this academic sectors and possibly suggest some panacea for the problems.
There have been issues of falling standard of education in Nigeria. One of these problems been encountered is the issue of quality of students produced by private and public secondary schools.
Fafunwa (1974) defines education as the aggregate of all process by which a child or young adult develops the abilities, attitudes and other forms of behaviour which are of positive value to the society in which he or she lives.
In years past, equity has long been important in education whereas at one time equity was perceived as being met by equal provision of learning resources for all students. Today, in Nigeria, equity is now seen as the provision of differentiated opportunities to meet the diversified opportunities to meet the diversified and specialized needs of individual students.
This issue of equity of educational opportunities has led to intense debates on several educational issues, one of which is the availability of readers or textbooks in the private secondary schools and the public secondary schools. Although the constant friction between government owned secondary school and private owned secondary schools is no longer an important issue from time to time, the availability of readers to our public and private secondary schools and how it affects the performance of students in different subjects, the quality of     product produced, teaching, teaching learning process, teaching methodology amongst others now seem to be the concern of the society.
Although, it is accepted that a single reader cannot adequately cover all aspects of a subject, yet a well constructed one can provide an orientation to an area of study, encompass basic information, suggest additional reading and ir1ude activities to enrich the content that will be transferred to the learners.
Elliot & Woodward (2010) states the key functions of textbooks or readers as follows:
(a) Assisting the students to get a good grasp of the subject.
(b) Providing the students with more educational details.
(c) They keep often to provide structure for the topic being taught and the sequence of instruction.
To be candid, the main motive behind the use of text books by students mostly those in the secondary schools is to serve as a secondary form of passing across information and educational ideas to the students.
According to Urquhart & Weir (2012) reading is a cognitive activity, and being so, it mainly takes place in mind; the other physical manifestations such as eye movement, subvocalization etc. are, to them, ‘comparatively superficial’. Reading is not just an act of going through the text. It involves certain attitudes and reactions towards the text a reader is reading. According to Grellet (2010), reading “constantly involves guessing, predicting, checking and asking oneself questions.”
Rauch & Weinstein (2008) comment that reading “involves more than the ability to recognize and pronounce words correctly.” It involves knowledge of language, the processing of messages the text carries, guessing power of the reader to a certain extent, perception, psychomotor movements and emotional response. In one of the best-known papers on reading, Goodman (2013) argues that “syntactic, semantic and pragmatic knowledge are involved in the reading process”. Urquhart & Weir (2012) argue that reading is a language activity, and it involves, at some time or another, “inferencing, memory, relating text to background knowledge, as well as decoding, and obvious language aspects as syntax and lexical knowledge.” According to Shaw (2009), reading involves ‘re-creating’ the thought and experience of the author, ‘forming’ images produced by the printed letters, and increasing vocabulary. It requires organizing and retaining ideas and impressions gained from the printed page.
Reading also involves linguistic analysis of the text. Eskey (2010) argues that to teach reading as a kind of ‘cued speculations’ we should be able to teach reading as‘a kind of linguistic analysis’.
According to McGrath (2012) there has been vigorous debate concerning the desirability of basing teaching on coursebooks. Opponents of textbook based teaching claim that even the best textbooks take away initiative from teachers. As Hutchinson & Torres (1994) state “the danger with readymade texts is that they can seem to absolve teachers of responsibility operate the system, secure in the belief that the wise  and virtuous people who produced the textbook knew what was good for us. Unfortunately this is rarely the case”. Some of the dangers of textbook use listed by Graves (2000) include the irrelevance or in appropriacy of content with the students, exclusion of important items, imbalanced variety of task-types, unmotivating or outdated activities and unrealistic proposed timetables.
As Tomlinson (2010) states proponents of the reader argue that it is the most convenient form of presenting materials, it helps to achieve consistency and continuation, it gives learners a sense of  system, cohesion and progress and it helps teachers prepare and learners revise. Garinger (2001) commenting on the usefulness of textbooks emphasises that using a textbook is one of the most effective and readily available ways to relieve some of the pressures put on teachers, lessens preparation time, provides ready-made activities and finally provides concrete samples of classroom progress through which external stakeholders can be satisfied. McGrath (2012) asserts that textbooks can set the direction, content and they can propose ways in which the lesson is to be taught.
 Statement of the Problem
Readers or textbook are phenomenon that remain one of the major teaching/ learning resources used in schools. Despite its ubiquitous nature, they remain one of the surest and direct means of transferring the right attitudes to the pupils who will later influence the society based on what they have acquired.
It would therefore be heart warming to examine how the availability of textbooks would enhance the educational activities in both the private and public schools. It will also reveal if the availability of textbooks would affect the performance of students or the qualification and experience of the teachers.
It is pertinent to also note that, there is a common artery of the society against the unethical practices of teachers who usually use the textbooks and readers to remain lazy, idle and other acts which are detrimental to achieving educational goals which have done more harm than good to the nation’s educational system.
It is against this backdrop that the researcher will be carrying out a study on these issues.
Purpose of Study
The major objective of this study is to examine the comparative assessment on the availability of readers in public and private secondary schools in Ikere Local Government Area.
The specific objective is to examine;

  • The availability of textbooks in the private secondary schools and public secondary schools.
  • The extent to which the government gets involved in this educational issue.
  • The extent to which the availability of these texts affects the performance(s) of the students in different subjects and their learning.
  • To ascertain, to which extent it affects the teaching methodology in secondary schools in general.
  • Determinants of the availability of textbooks to both the public secondary schools and private secondary schools.
  • To suggest ways of making reading text available.

Research Questions
Broadly speaking, it is believed that students in private schools perform better than their counterparts in the public secondary school due to access to available reading texts. The following research questions were drawn.

  • Do students in the private secondary schools have greater access to readers than those in the public secondary schools?
  • Does the population size of students determine access to texts books?
  • Does the availability of textbooks affect students’ learning of English language?
  • Do both private and public schools use similar texts?
  • Is there any significant difference in the performances of private and public schools in public examinations?
  • Do the recommended texts have any influence on the performance of the teachers and their teaching methods?

Significance of the Study
This study cannot be carried out at a better time than now that education and educational programmes are receiving great attention in the country.
The study is very significant because, it would be of immense benefit to the students, teachers, government, curriculum planners, educational administration and the policy makers.
Similarly, it will help to stop the cabal of the so called ‘half baked literates’ which is as a result of their inability to make use of textbooks which ought to serve as a secondary knowledge.
It is hoped that the findings will bring a halt to the preference of parents to either the private and public schools instead, bringing a balance to all schools all over the federation.
Delimitation of the Study
The study is restricted and limited to some selected public and private secondary schools in Ekiti state, with special focus on Ikere-Local Government Area, the private secondary school cover for the study are; Bobas Secondary Schools, Ikere-Ekiti, Distinction Secondary School, Ikere-Ekiti, Peace and Joy Secondary Schools, Prince and Princess Secondary Schools, Demonstration Secondary School, Ikere-Ekiti. While the public secondary schools are; Annunciation Grammar School, Ikere, Amoye Grammar School, Ikere, St. Louis Grammar School, Ikere, Eleyo Community High School, Ikere-Ekiti, Ajolagun High School, Ikere-Ekiti
Definition of Terms
The following words used are defined with references to the research context.
Readers/Textbooks: A formal manual of instruction in a specific subject used by students as a standard work for a particular branch of study.
Private School: Secondary or elementary school run and managed by private individuals or a corporation rather than by a government or public agency.
Public School: A secondary school set up by government and not by corporation or private individuals.
Methodology: A set of principles or methods used to perform a particular activity or solve a problem
Availability: Available, that you can get buy or find.
Students’ Performance: This refers to how well or badly the student performs in the class tests or examinations.
Teacher: Someone whose job is to impact, pass across knowledge to people.
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