THE PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF PRESS CLUB IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1 Background to the Study
In recent years, educational researchers have emphasized the critical role of the principal in creating an effective school environment which involves the development of a strong school culture that prescribes specific goals, roles and behaviours by educators in and out of class settings (Parkay & Hall, 2009). The effect of extracurricular activities such as the press club, drama club, civic society, debate clubs, sports etc on secondary school learners justifies their existence and proper management in secondary schools (Craig, 2000). These activities exist to complement the school’s academic curriculum, augment the learner’s educational experience and provide a setting for them to become involved and to interact with other learners. Such involvement extends to broader community life which implies that the primary goal of extracurricular activities encapsulate the individual learner, the institution and broader community (Helfgot, 2005).
In general the architecture of secondary schools emphasizes sameness including standard timetables, age-graded classes, extracurricular participation and teacher expectations. National policies and institutional practices expect principals and learners to conform to the ideal norm of best practices without considering different contexts. The effect is that the sameness in schools makes differences in surroundings, the latter which is responsible for making each school a distinctive place of its own (Christie, Butler & Potterton, 2007). Related to best practice is the notion of using the academic grid against which all school evaluations are measured. The demands for standardised academic output result in extreme prioritising of the academic curriculum (Dickeson, 2009). As is the case with school principals in general, principals of secondary schools are under constant pressure to improve academic programmes in order to strengthen and sustain their overall achievement reputation (Masteralexis et al., 2005).
For every human society the successful conduct of her internal/external affairs depends largely on the extent of the reliability of government apparatus and the government successfully communicating, understanding and accepting themselves in a mutual and symbiotic relationship”- Obaze .A et al (2004).
The need for information through the establishment of a concrete press club in secondary schools is such that man can hardly function or determine his course of life without communication. On account of this, the influential role of the media is cited in her caprice to direct, redirect, and shoulder the course of altitude change and instilling/building public perception towards societal affair.There is no modern society that can dispense with the press especially newspapers and television. The newspapers especially to places where there are no radio stations rapidly spread important news. The newspapers give us reliable information about towns and countries. Many social tools are exposed in one newspaper to attract the attention of the government, police and the citizens as a whole so that such evils may be immediately combated. Many articles written by intelligent people and carried by newspapers contain good ideas with which we can experiment in our bid to reform the society. These articles have suggested ways and means by which we can combat tribalism, fraud, serious crimes, avarice, greed, and extravagance, which are disintegrating forces in the society.
By impacting meaningfully through the involvement of Nigeria press vis-à-vis as a social system in society positioning, it is her duty, responsibility and obligation to enhance the survival of the vital ingredient of society demand. Which are unity; structure; inter-dependence; compliance, commitment and conformity; and transmission of social norms, culture and value. The media is by this gear towards enhancing the continuity and survival of the total social “gadget.”
The print media, particularly the medium of newspaper has become the major source of information dissemination over the years, and also the major means of political mobilization in Nigeria. Newspaper has the ability to inform, educate, entertain, enlighten and mobilize the public. That is why the government and other private bodies give much attention to it. The ability of newspaper to also mobilize the people and make them behave in a given manner and to perform certain actions has made it a tool in the hands of the government. The medium serves as an intermediary between the government and the people, because it assists the government in getting it plans and policies across to the people, and the people in return gets their response, feeling and plight back to the government.Footnoting this trend on the national scale, the challenges that confront us as young democracy nation in a country of diverse ethnic divide, is to establish an ideological and structural homogeneity with a common political destiny and purpose among our diverse ethnic groups, forthwith, the media being an institution of the larger society is virtually needed to shoulder this course.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In order for secondary schools to be effective in delivering a quality service to their students, their education programmes need to be managed effectively. This includes organising and facilitating of all learning activities so that learners can achieve a rewarding and fulfilling educational experience. To achieve this, the school principal needs to continuously and systematically plan all educational programmes along side with extra curriculum activities to boost academic performance of students (Okumbe, 2009).
One of the factors affecting proper planning and organising of extracurricular activities in secondary schools are limited resources across the broad spectrum of provisioning, namely human, financial and infrastructural resources (Asmal, 2000:3). Some of these resources, for example financial resources, are very scarce. Most secondary schools function on shoestring budgets and are expected to fund fragmented extracurricular events. This they have to do notwithstanding the criticism that the money concerned could have been better utilised for purchasing learning support materials like learners textbooks and classroom furniture or improving teachers’ salaries and benefits and supplying them with additional text books for consultation. An added problem is the lack of interest on the part of learners attending secondary schools to participate in extracurricular activities. This creates enormous challenges for the school principal to develop and maintain a viable and sustainable organisational structure for extracurricular activities (Seefeldt & Ewing, 2009).
A lack of incentive to improve their competencies in extracurricular coaching has a ripple effect on teachers. Few have been in schools where the principal is an extracurricular enthusiast and in many instances principals do not value the contribution of sports activities for developing a healthy body to contribute to the development of a healthy mind (Harrison, 2004). When principals or teachers do have an interest in one particular sport, the tendency is to focus on that resulting in neglect of other valuable sporting activities. This leaves learners with no option but to participate in the sport that is offered even if they may not have an interest in it. Many may choose not to participate, with the detrimental effects that follow. (Thomas & Moran, 2000).
Due to all the complexities related to extracurricular provisioning in secondary schools, many principals give up on the planning and implementation of an extracurricular programme in their schools. Effective teaching for successful learning, however, involves sharing and coordination of all activities that impact on learners‟ lives in and out of class. Principals are therefore obliged to motivate themselves and all other stakeholders to contribute to the realisation of a viable extracurricular programme at school; such motivation efforts form an integral part of the principal‟s managerial responsibilities (Buck, Lund, Harrison & Cook, 2007:38).
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main aim of the study is to examine the problems and prospects of press club in secondary schools. Specific objectives of the study are:
To examine the problems of setting up and maintaining press clubs in secondary schools in Port-Harcourt.
To assess the effectiveness of press clubs towards achieving its objectives in secondary schools in Port Harcourt.
To determine the prospects of press clubs in secondary schools in Port Harcourt.
To assess the effect of press clubs on academic performance of members in selected secondary schools in Port Harcourt.
1.4 Research Questions
What are the problems of setting up and maintaining press clubs in secondary schools in Port-Harcourt?
How effective are press clubs towards achieving its objectives in secondary schools in Port Harcourt?
What are the prospects of press clubs in secondary schools in Port Harcourt?
How have press clubs affected academic performance of members in selected secondary schools in Port Harcourt?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
HO: Press Clubs are not effective in achieving the overall objective it was established in secondary schools in Port Harcourt.
Hi: Press Clubs are effective in achieving the overall objective it was established in secondary schools in Port Harcourt.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The importance of setting up and maintaining an effective press club in a secondary school cannot be over emphasized. The benefits of a press club are enormous to be ignored by policy makers in the education sector as this club adds more value to secondary school education by preparing the minds of secondary school students towards taking up journalism as a career.
Since the study is relatively new, the study will serve as guide for student researchers that want to explore more into the subject matter. Findings and recommendations from the study will further guide students who may have interest in the subject matter for further research.The study will also aid policy makers in the education sector to streamline the academic calendar of secondary schools to accommodate extra curriculum activities such as the press club. Effective management of the academic calendar with extra curriculum activities will bring out the best in students.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study covers Three (3) secondary schools in Port Harcourt, examining the problems and prospects of the various press clubs in these secondary schools. All findings and recommendations are based on results from these schools namely, Community secondary schools Amadi-Ama, Community Secondary School Nkpolu and Girls Seconarys Schools Orominike.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 Definition Of Terms
Press Club: A press club is an organization for journalists and others professionally engaged in the production and dissemination of news.
Extra-Curricular Activity: Extracurricular activities or Extra Academic Activity (EAA) are those that fall outside the realm of the normal curriculum of school or university education, performed by students
Mass Media: The mass media is a diversified collection of media technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication.