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IMPROVING HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT OF COLLEGES OF EDUCATION IN THE NORTH CENTRAL STATES, NIGERIA

Vocational Technical Education Project Topics & Materials

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Education is an instrument par excellence and a powerful tool for individual and national development. The guiding principles of education in Nigeria are the equipping of the citizens with knowledge, skills, attitudes and the values that will enable the society to derive maximum benefits from its membership (Federal Ministry of Education, 2005). The only navigator that can direct the society to the attainment of education is the teacher. Teachers are the key and the light that can lead to educational attainment: they are the hub of the educational process. The Federal Republic of Nigeria in her National Policy on Education (NPE,2004:49) agreed with this view when it stated that “no education system can rise above the quality of its teacher’’. This is because it is the teachers who, in the final analysis translate policies into practice and program into action. It is in a bid to have qualified teachers that the Colleges of Education were established. The aim was to train National Certificate in Education (NCE) teachers who will uplift the quality of teacher education. The functions of the college as spelt out in the Decree that established it include: to provide full time course for teaching instruction and training in technical, vocational, science and arts, to conduct courses in education for qualified teachers, to provide teachers with intellectual and professional background adequate for their assignment, and to make them adaptable to any changing situation not only in the life of their country, but in the wider world (Kogi State College of Education Public Service Rules, 2006:1).1

Management is the process of guiding or taking charge, directing and controlling people in an organization in a structured and thorough manner. It is the process of achieving organizational goals by working with and through people and other organizational resources (Boselie, 2011). Management is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources. In essence, management is the utilization of human and material resources, resulting in the performance of functions of planning, organizing, directing and controlling. Rampur (2012) noted that in every organization including institutions of learning, the functions of management involve varieties of activities which are recruitment, wages and salary administration, employee welfare, industrial relations. Owojori and Asaoluwa (2011) believe that the solidity of an organization is dependent on its management. This is because it is the management that determines the managerial functions and success of an organization. Similarly Onah (2008) noted that the success of any organization is not only determined by the quality of the human resources available, but how well the human resources are managed and coordinated towards realizing the goals of the organization. The lapses (namely educational backwardness, mismanagement, conflict, low self morale) in the Colleges of Education in the North Central seem to indicate that all is not well with its management.  This is because it is the management that determines the managerial functions and success of an organization. There is an urgent need therefore, for the management team of the Colleges of Education to assess their human resource management functions in the areas of staff recruitment, staff training, motivation, staff appraisal, communication, and discipline practices with a view to improving them. There are gaps in some aspects of Human Resource Management in the Colleges of Education in the North Central States (Usman, 2011). According to Usman, the presence of these gaps had led to the abysmal situation in the standard of education and the quality of instruction in the Colleges of Education in the region. Therefore, the ability to identify and close these gaps will greatly improve the management of the human resources.Over the years the objectives for which these institutions were established were realized. Many professional teachers were trained, and their positive impacts were felt at both the primary and post primary levels. However for the past ten years (2005-2015) the physical, social, and psychological system of these colleges started declining. Usman (2011) noted that the situation in these institutions particularly state-owned Colleges of Education in the North Central States have gone from bad to worse. According to the author this may be due to lack of proper management of the human resources in the institutions regarding recruitment, appointment, staff training, motivation, staff relations, staff communication and staff disciplinary practices. For the Colleges of Education to take their former pride of place as the home of “teacher trainer” once more there has to be improvement in its human resources.

Human resources as defined by Ankur (2009) are the total knowledge, skills, creative abilities, attitude and aptitudes of an organization’s employees, as well as their values. The human resources are the individual who make up the workforce of an organization. Other terms sometimes used to describe the human resources according to William (2014) include employees, manpower, people, staff, labour, and human capital. Oyebanji (2012) described the human resources as the intellectual resource pool of any educational institution. Oyebanji also refers to the human resources as the building blocks and active agents of an educational institution; on them rest the success or failure of an organization or institution. Every educational enterprise needs adequate skilled manpower to function well. Other resources namely physical facilities and equipment are mere complementary resources.

The human resources in Colleges of Education are categorized under two groups namely the staff personnel and the student personnel. For the purpose of this study, the focus area is on staff personnel. Staff personnel as defined by WebCrawler (2014) are the persons or group of persons employed in an organization or place of work. Staff personnel comprise the entire human capital in an organization. The emphasis in this study was on the management staff and deans/heads of departments; which consisted of all the principal officers namely the Provosts, Registrars, Librarians, Bursars, Deans of schools, and Heads of departments/units. The reason for selecting these categories of staff is based on the fact that these groups are the major force that propel the institutions and are responsible for decision making and staff welfare. They effect changes and initiate ideas; the success or failure of the institutions is hinged on them. The place of human resources in a College of Education cannot be under emphasized. This is because they are the most essential resources and constitute the most crucial factor in the development process of the institution. The implementation of every policy and program in College of Education requires the contributive effort of staff at various levels. This cannot be achieved unless there is unity of purpose and proper coordination of all the staff by the managerial team. The human resources cannot function in isolation without the leading and control of the human resource managers. Owojori and Asaolu (2011) believe that improper management of the human resources is among the problems that militate against management in the Nigerian school system. The management of an organization has the power to cripple and destroy or to build and make it.

Human Resource Management (HRM) is the process of hiring, maintaining and developing the employees. Human resource development is embedded in HRM. This study is interested in HRM since it encompassed the managerial functions regarding the human resources. Human Resource Management is accountable for the selection, training, appraisal as well as rewarding of the employees (Williams, 2014). Human resource management is the organizational function that deals with issues related to people such as recruiting  the right people for the job, training and developing them, managing wages, providing benefits and incentives, evaluating performance, resolving disputes, and communicating with the employees at all levels. The basic purpose of HRM is to maximize productivity in an organization by optimizing the effectiveness of its employees. Any organization without efficient HRM is bound to encounter serious problems. This seems to be the case with State Colleges of Education in the North Central States. Yakubu and Momoh (2011) noted that the managers of these institutions seem to be in dire need of improving their managerial functions as the academic standard of these institutions is abysmal. Usman (2011) also noted that the products of these poorly managed Colleges graduate as half educated teachers, who find it difficult to communicate in English language let alone teach using same. The researcher visited some schools in the North Central States, and observed teachers as they taught the pupils. Some of the teachers taught using the local language and those who managed to teach in English language mispronounced most words and sentences. For instance ‘cow’ was pronounced as ‘kawo’, ‘crocodile’ as ‘korokodile’, ‘plague’ was ‘plagwe’, ‘Pharaoh’, was ‘farawo’ or ‘faroar’. According to Maliki (2011) most employers of labour including government agencies have lost confidence in these institutions, and are reluctant recruiting graduates from them to teach in the primary and post primary schools. Higgins (2012) observed that the strongest factor that affects educational achievement is the quality of the teachers. There seems to be a dire need for the management of State Colleges of Education in the North Central to improve their human resource management regarding staff training, communication, staff motivation, staff disciplinary practices and most especially, staff recruitment.

The term recruitment according to Ogunu (2001) is the process of searching for prospective employees and stimulating them to apply for jobs in an organization. Recruitment is the process of finding and hiring the best qualified candidates from within and outside an organization. Staff recruitment as defined by Ujo (2004) is the process of attracting applicants with certain skills and abilities and other qualities to job vacancies in an organization.  Richmond (2013) noted that staff recruitment is an important managerial function as the quality of staff recruited in an organisation could build or destroy it.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria Public Service Rules (PSR, 2006) for Colleges of Education stated that all vacancies above CONTISS 06 are to be advertised both internally and externally in two national dailies while CONTISS 05 is to be advertised internally. The short- listing of all academic post is to be done by the Heads of department after due consultation with the Deans, and with the Registrar. The authority to appoint all senior staff is vested on the governing council of the college on the recommendation of the appointments and promotions committee which is presided over by the provost.  Appointment of junior staff is made through the provost, through the junior staff establishment committee headed by the registrar. The appointment of principal officers is made by the council or by the visitor.

The recruitment exercise in the Colleges of Education in the North Central States is not satisfactory. According to Maliki (2011) although management advertises vacancies, it seems not to be selecting the right caliber of candidates as recruitment seems to be based on tribal, religious and political considerations. Maigun (2012) also noted that candidates are selected even before vacancy advertisements are published. According to the author the quality of some members of staff makes one to wonder about the credibility of the recruitment committee members and the criteria used for recruitment. Most often job selection is based on Federal character (quota system), political connections, religious and tribal sentiments. Okeke (2004) agreed with this view by stating that the perennial problem that has befallen the standard of education seems to be due to undue political influence, the use of quota system for recruitment, ethnic, and religious sentiments among others.  For there to be credibility in the administrative functions of the educational managers in the institutions regarding staff management, there is therefore need for improvement in the recruitment process.

Training as defined by Armstrong (2001) is the formal and systematic modification of behaviour through learning which occurs as a result of education, instruction, development and planned experience.  Staff training is any attempt to improve current and future employees’ performance (Ross, 2010). Staff training is the acquisition of a body of knowledge and skills, which can be applied directly to work of a particular type. The Federal Republic of Nigeria in her National Policy on Education (NPE, 2004) stipulates that professionalism should be encouraged at all levels. This can only be attained through training and development. The goal of staff training is to create an impact that lasts beyond the time of the training. The focus is to enhance skills, development, and improve behaviour. Development on the other hand, is a course of action designed to enable the individual to realize his or her potentials for growth in an organization.

The Public Service Rule (PSR) for Colleges of Education stipulates that any member of staff teaching or non- teaching may apply for training leave for the purpose of acquiring a higher qualification in order to attain higher professional, technical or administrative competence appropriate to the nature of his/her employment within the College. Personal observation has shown that most staff members particularly the senior staff in the Colleges of Education have no wish to go for further training or development. The PSR may be accountable for this redundancy as it stated that staff of the rank of senior lecturer or equivalent status and above may not be granted training leave except in very special circumstances, which are certified by the Deans of schools or Heads of Departments with the support of the provosts (PSR ,2006:90.Section 4:2:2). Besides, every staff training opportunity in the PSR has a condition attached to it. What this mean is that training can only be granted to a particular category of staff while other categories remain obsolete. The question at this juncture is, why is there a clause on the training of senior lecturers and its equivalent, and why are there many conditions attached to staff training opportunities in the PSR? Usman (2011) noted that the sanction on staff training has been used by Provosts, Deans and Heads of Departments/units to prevent staff members from going for training. Consequently most staff use obsolete teaching method and have little or no idea about modern methodology and technology in teaching.  In this study staff training is seen as a continuous professional development and training process through which staff members’ knowledge can be improved to allow a more effective performance. Staff performance can also be improved through the provision of incentives in the form of motivation.

Motivation as defined by Williams (2013) is a bunch of internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested in and committed to a job. Stoll and Fink (2012) defined staff motivation as anything done to make the employees happy, satisfied, dedicated and committed in such a way that they bring out their best in their organization so much so that the society, will greatly benefit from their services. Workers are the most important resources in any organization. Motivating them must be the top most priority of every manager. For the educational managers of Colleges of Education to retain good staff, and for them to be encouraged to give their best to the institutions, require that attention are to be  paid to their financial, psychological and even physiological needs such as stable power supply, good water supply among others.  Basic conditions of service for Colleges of Education in Nigeria are determined externally by the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) in conjunction with the Salaries and Wages Commission. But the conditions of service being interpreted by the educational managers in Colleges of Education seem to have de-motivated their staff in the areas of welfare, employee benefits, allowances, appointment, training, promotions, and lots more.   Yakubu and Momoh (2011) noted that staff welfare is not given much attention in the Colleges of Education in the North Central. According to the authors office and residential accommodations are not enough for staff. The problem is so acute that some staff members live about 50 kilometers from their work place. Maliki (2011) also opined that some of the institutions in the North Central States seem not to have functional health care services for staff and students. Promotions are not implemented and where they are, the arears are not paid. Mgbodile (2004) observed that poor motivation could lead to problems within the academic system such as low self morale, and redundancy. There is the need for educational managers in the North Central States, to pay more attention to the issue of staff welfare, with a view of improving on it.

Information is vital in any organization. Information is received or passed through communication. Communication is defined by Wolfen (2008) as the exchange and flow of information and ideas from one person to another. Communication applies to every aspect of managerial functions. Communication is the means by which staff members both teaching and non-teaching are linked together to achieve a common purpose in an educational organization. For educational managers in Colleges of Education to be effective, they need to communicate necessary information for carrying out managerial functions and activities. King (2012) stated that communication lays the keystone to every organizational upbringing and grooming of the environment of that particular organization for effective and efficient production. According to king, communication is one of the most important ways to ensure a productive and creative staff, as well as to avoid complications and mishaps, and to ensure the optimum in a range of skills. The absence of communication between the human resource managers and the staff (academic and non-academic) has affected the institutions. Lack of communication and gap in communication among staff and between the management and staff is one of the major causes of conflict and low morale at work in the Colleges of Education in the North Central.

The Public Service Rules’ professional ethics for Colleges of Education (2006) stated that the provost (other principal officers inclusive) shall have cordial relationships with all members of staff, be open-minded, and keep the staff aware of all information that may be of official interest to them. On professional ethics the Public Service Rule (PSR 2006: 109) stated that “the provosts shall try to relate with the students, try to know them as persons so as to identify, and where possible, solve their problems”. However, the reality seems to be the reverse. It seems the rules were not meant to be observed by the education managers. Personal observation has shown that staff and students seldom see their school managers let alone identifying and relating with them. Most education managers in the Colleges of Education in the North Central States do not seem to understand the importance of communication as it has been relegated to the end of their managerial list. Most of these institutions lack modern information gadgets. Most often information is gotten from the college grapevines rather than the school management. Wiley (2014) noted that when communication is scarce, gossip and misinformation flourish. The consequence is conflict characterized by suspicion, rivalry, strife and low self esteem among staff and students. There is an urgent need therefore, for managers of Colleges of Education to appraise their information management with a view for improvement.

Discipline is a process that is designed to improve performance or change behavior. Desler (2001) defined staff discipline as a procedure that corrects or punishes a subordinate because a rule of procedure has been violated. Staff discipline deals with the level to which the employees of an organization are able to conform, and submit themselves to the rules and regulations governing their conducts in the workplace. Discipline prompts staff members to observe rules, regulations, and processes necessary for the effective functioning of an organization. The survival and strength of an organization depend largely on how much the employees are able to align themselves to the goals, policies, rules and regulations of the organization.  Nwangu (2007) noted that staff discipline in school enables the staff to respect constituted authorities, obey rules and regulations, and maintain an established manner of behaviour. Discipline is a very important tool to use in the hands of educational administrators to maintain law and order in the institutions. Kegan (2014) opined that it is important not to ignore workplace discipline because when it is properly administered, helps to curb problem behaviour, and upholds workplace standard, establishes workplace conduct, and promotes employee morale. Behaviours classified as acts of indiscipline in an educational environment according to Smiles (2004) are, absenteeism, insubordination, violation of institutional rules, non performance of duty, fighting, drunkenness, tardiness and sexual harassment among others.

Public Service Rules (PSR) for Colleges of Education stated that disciplinary measure is to be taken against any staff for misconduct, or inefficiency. The condition for outright dismissal as stated in the PSR are insubordination or willful disobedience, drunkenness, dishonesty such as stealing, cheating, gross negligence, sabotage and criminal conviction. Disciplinary measures listed in the PSR are verbal warning and reprimanding, query and written warning, withholding or deferring increment, reduction in rank or grade, interdiction, suspension, termination and dismissal. The punishment listed in the PSR is in commensuration with the offence committed.

The policies which an institution practices regarding discipline and how they are implemented have a far reaching effects on staff disciplinary situation. Insubordination, truancy and exploitation of students by staff members seem to characterize most States Colleges of Education in the North Central. Maliki (2011) noted that the rate of students’ exploitation by some staff is glaring and alarming in some educational institutions in the North Central States. According to the author, students are made to pay exorbitant prices for books some of which have no bearing with their course of study. In addition, Maliki also noted that staff members who have political connections or godfathers seem to flaunt their connections; such staff members seem to believe they are above constituted authority. They come and go at will without any explanation to their heads of departments/units. Absenteeism and truancy seem to be having negative impacts on the Colleges of Education in the North Central. Maigun (2013) lamented about the havoc caused to the educational system in the North Central States by BokoHaram (BokoHaram is an Islamic terrorist group that is violently against Western education and Christianity). The author further noted that some staff members for fear of attack by BokoHaram stayed from their duty stations, while some (staff members) in Plateau, Niger and Nasarawa states have used that excuse to relocate and they only visit their duty stations once in a while. This situation could cripple the quality of instruction and service delivery in these institutions. There is need for disciplinary measures to be taken against every act which can affect the quality of service delivery in the Colleges of Education in the North Central States. With the level of power vested on the provosts and other principal officers according to the PSR, one wonders why indiscipline still prevails in these institutions. There is an urgent need for managers of Colleges of Education in the North Central to improve on their human resource management. For this reason, this study adopted the Delphi Technique in order to seek experts’ opinion. The Delphi is a systematic forecasting method which relies on a panel of experts to respond to questionnaire items in two or three rounds. As the experts make progress, they may add new items they judged to be relevant or remove items they deemed irrelevant until a consensus is achieved (Gweydin, 2012). It is against this backdrop that the researcher is interested in investigating ways of improving human resource management of Colleges of Education in the North Central States, Nigeria.

Statement of the Problem

Over the years the Colleges of Education in the North Central States were the bedrock of solid educational foundations. In recent years however, the standard of these institutions are on the decline due to poor management. This seems to have affected the quality of graduates from them: these graduates find it difficult to communicate effectively in English language let alone teach using it (Usman, 2011) and (Yakubu & Momoh, 2011). These give credence to wonder about the educational qualification of the lecturers recruited: if they were examined or interviewed before they were recruited. Based on the abysmal state of the Colleges of Education in the North Central States, it seems staff training has been relegated to the bottom of the priority lists of both the educational managers and the staff themselves. Empirical researches and personal observation in these colleges have shown that most of the staff members still hold tight to their entering qualifications without making any attempt for further training and development in their fields of study. One of the functions of management is communication but due to the conflict and various factions namely religious, political, tribal, and ethnic which characterized most of these institutions there is communication breakdown between the management and staff which has resulted to poor service delivery. Absenteeism, truancy, insubordination, and gross misconduct seem to be the norm in these institutions. These have practically crippled state- owned Colleges of Education in the North Central States (Maigun, 2013). Educational managers do not seem to be making much impact at improving the human resources of these institutions. The Federal Government through the National Council for Colleges of Education (NCCE), in a bid to improve the standard of instruction and administration of the institutions provided the Public Service Rules (PSR) as a guide. Therefore, this study sought to find out from respondents and experts ways human resource management could be improved for effective teaching and learning outcomes and for high quality education in Colleges of Education in the North Central States, Nigeria.

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