The study aimed at establishing the effects of overpopulation on the academic performance of government secondary schools. It is designed to identify the factors that contribute to the increase in students' population, find out the students - teacher ratio in government secondary schools and also the impact of the increase on the academic performance of students. A descriptive survey design was used, while the population of the study consists of government owned secondary schools in Owerri educational zone. A simple random sampling technique was used to select the four (4) schools out of the nine (9) schools in the zone. The four secondary schools selected have a total population of five thousand five hundred and thirty (5530) students and eighty (80) teachers. The sample size consists of five hundred and fifty four (554) students and eight (8) teachers. Data were represented in a tabular form. A closed format questionnaire with four points likert rating scale was used for data collection, and the mean score were used in analyzing the responses of the research questions. As a result of this research work it was found out that the students - teacher ratio in government secondary schools is between 55 - 60 students per teacher. Some recommendations were made, which include that the ministry of education should give quota on the students enrolment in government secondary schools in order to reduce the number of students per teacher, and infrastructural facilities should be provided to the schools in rural areas in order to avoid students' migration to the urban areas.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
According to the Federal Ministry of Education, as at 2004, the population of Nigeria secondary schools stood at one hundred and eighteen thousand, two hundred (118200) secondary schools while that of Imo state showed a total number of two hundred and five (205). Owerri Municipal council had about seven (7) secondary schools, with a population of Seven thousand, six hundred and fifteen (7615) students. This figure when compared with that of 1999 which was inclusive according to Federal Ministry of Education was very high because during that period, it was so in order to attract Federal Government attention.
The present Nigerian population of secondary schools going by the above number is almost twenty one thousand, eight hundred and twenty eight (21828) secondary schools, with Imo state having three hundred and twelve (312) secondary schools and Owerri Municipal 9 government secondary schools.
According to the statistics department, Secondary Education
Management Board (SEMB), there has been a rapid increase in the population of students in Owerri Education zone from seven thousand, six hundred and fifteen (7615) students to ten thousand, five hundred and seventy (10570) students. There is a constant increase in the population of secondary schools which runs contrary to the new encyclopedia Britannica, volume (A) assertion. Unlike population of insects, population rarely has been subject to explosive or collapsing numbers.
Overpopulation refers to a situation where the total number of people in an area exceeds the available resources. Overpopulation can also be defined as deficiency in resources development in relation to the available people Osuji (2008). This means existing resources can not march the immediate population number.
Evidence has shown that the population of students in urban schools is on the increase. The steady areas to enjoy recreational facilities, which keeps them busy after studying is one of the factors that contributes to overpopulation of secondary schools in urban areas.
Under population of secondary school in Nigeria has had a negative impact in the Nigeria educational sector, and the output is devastating in terms of loss of standard and its attendant results.
This situation of over population could be speculated to be speculated to be responsible for the untold hardship, corruption, social disorder, poor standard of living, crime etcetera. In this, there will be lower standard of education, inadequate instructional materials, production of poor or a few quality text books, congested classrooms and attendant education in characters (dropout as a product of the so called schools).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Over the years, there has been an increase in the population of students in urban secondary schools. This has been consistent, without the attendant increase in facilities, teachers and infrastructure, etcetera. With the decline in the quality of education and output, it therefore becomes imperative to find out whether the increase in population of students' directly affect their academic performance and identify the causes of increase in population of students in government secondary schools in Owerri educational zone and what could be done to remedy the situation.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of the study is to ascertain the impact of overpopulation on academic performance of government secondary students specifically, the study intends to:
1. Identify the students - teacher ratio in government secondary schools.
2. Identify the causes of increase in students' population in government secondary school.
3. Find out the impact of the increase in students population in government secondary schools on the academic performance of students.
4. Make recommendations on how to curtail increase in students' population.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be of immense benefit to students, teachers, educational planners, government and society at large.
For the students, it will motivate and increase their willingness to attend school and help improve their performance in school.
To the teachers, it will help improve abilities of the teacher to manage the classroom efficiently because reduction in the number of students encourages teacher - students' relationship and leads to effective and efficient academic performance.
To the education planners, it will be a guiding material to enable them check the population of students in relation to the available schools to accommodate them.
To the government, it will serve as a guide to identify the need to improve the infrastructure available for teaching and learning.
The study will be of great significance to the society at large as it will help produce qualified citizens that will contribute positively to the growth of the society and it will also serve as a resource and reference material to future students.EFFECTS OF OVERPOPULATION ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN GOVERNMENT SECONDARY SCHOOLS