EMPLOYEE WORKING CONDITIONS FOR ACHIEVEMENT OF OBJECTIVES OF COLLEGES OF AGRICULTURE IN SOUTH-EAST, NIGERIA
Background of the Study
The working conditions and environment determines the employee’s performance in order to achieve an organization’s set objectives. Working condition according to Akinyele (2010) refer to an employee’s welfare terms and condition of service which may include; the organization of work and activities, training skill and employability, health,safety and well-being, work time and work life balance. Osinem and Nwoji (2010) defined working condition as the physical, social environment and circumstances under which an activity is performed,such as outdoor or indoor jobs, working on Sundays or public holidays, working shifts, working long hours or long sitting sessions, extensive travelling, night duty, overtime absence from home for several days. Brenner (2004) said that working condition refer to all that is put in place of work to bring about optimal productivity. In the content of the study, working condition can be defined as all that is put in place to motivate workers or employees for optimal productivity.
Employee as defined by Balogun (2010) is a person hired by an organization to provide services on regular basis in an exchange for compensation in monetary terms. Rahaum (2011) defined an employee as one hired by another for wages and salary. Jean (2003) defined an employee as one who is in the service of another person under an express or implied contract or hire, under which the employer has the right to control the details of work performance. Employee therefore,means an individual hired by college of agriculture to perform a given task in exchange for wages, salary or fee. Also, employee performance towards achievement of an organizational objective is dependent on working condition.
Employee working condition according to Cherniss and Kane (2004) is a necessary structure in place for workers for effective and efficient productivity in an organization. According to Osinem (2009) defined employee working condition as the physical and social environment and circumstances under which a worker operates to bring about optimal productivity. The author further explained that worker’s productivity cannot be optimal, if the conditions of workers are not favourable. Aina and Beercraft (2000) opined that improved working conditions increases employee’s productivity for the achievement of the set objectives.
Objective according to Ughamadu (2000 the intended learning outcomes. Olaitan, Ali, Eyoh and Sowe (2000) defined objectives as set out-comes to be achieved. In the content of the study, objective refers to what is expected to be achieved at the end of a course of study. The National Council for Agriculture (1984) stated the general aims and objectives for establishing colleges of agriculture to include: developing and running training programmes that can produce self-reliant, agricultural technologist and technicians for the agricultural industry; providing facilities to meet practical training needs; rendering extension services to the surrounding communities; mounting short/refresher certificate courses in various areas of agricultural enterprises to meet the needs of farmers, trainees and employees of public and private agencies; and encouraging staff and students in research project related investigations to improve their competence and assisting in promoting self-centered learning which lead to the development of new agricultural findings and techniques for the interest of the country.
College of Agriculture is an institution of higher learning that grant certificates in agriculture and its related courses. Akinyele(2010) explained that College of Agriculture is a tertiary institution established to train middle-level-man power to make them competent in agricultural occupations. Usman (2010) defined College of Agriculture as a mono-technic which offers special courses in Agriculture for effective production of graduates. Levy and Hall (2006) opined that employee/workers in institutions like colleges of agriculture is made up of academic and non-academic staff.The authors further stated that non-academic staff are those support staff in various disciplines who provide support in the training of the learners, while the academic staff perform various functions like evaluation of students and preparation of results, supervision of projects and carrying out research among others.
The qualification of academic staff could be Ordinary National Diploma (OND), Higher National Diploma (HND), Bachelor of Science (B.Sc), Master Degree (M.Sc) or Doctorate Degree (Ph.D). Apart from Academic staff, the non-academic are those who are either certificated, skilled or unskilled that work in various offices to bring about smooth running of the institution for the achievement of the set objectives. Non-academic staff work as personal officers, typists,clerical officers, cleaners, security guards, registrar, librarians, bursar, store keepers, file recorders, farm assistants, farm technicians, farm technologists among others. For these academic and non-academic staff to work effectively, there is need for good working conditions in order to achieve the set objectives of the institution.
In South East Nigeria, it seems that the objectives of Colleges of Agriculture are hardly achieved. The problem could be link to the working conditions provided for the workers among other valuables. According toMattern (2005), the objectives of the colleges of agriculture seems to be currently unachievable because the beneficiaries have not been able to maximize the gains of colleges of agriculture, due to the providing employee working conditions which has been in contention in terms of sufficiency in staff development as is currently being observed in some quarters. The conflicting view of people on the state of employee working condition in the colleges of agriculture requires an empirical evidence to situate the problem.