School Physical Plant Management What do you understand with the term school plant? The school plant is the totality of all things that make up a school system. It involves the physical and material facilities in form of buildings, school site and the environment that embody the school. Moreover, a school plants include the site, the building and equipment and this include the permanent structures like workshop, libraries, classrooms, laboratories and semi permanent structures like the educational system itself.
The school facilities consist of all types of buildings for academic and non-academic activities, equipment for academic and non- academic activities, areas for sports and games, landscape, farms and gardens including trees, roads and paths. Others include furniture and toilet facilities, lighting, acoustics, storage facilities and packing lot, security, transportation, ICT, cleaning materials, food services, and special facilities for the physically challenged persons. Describe the 2 major functions of school plant?
An Environment to Facilitate Learning The primary purpose of the teaching and learning process is to bring about in the learner desirable change in behavior through critical thinking. This process does not take place in a vacuum but rather in an environment structured to facilitate learning. Hence, this environment of an organization as all elements relevant to its operation and they include direct and indirect action elements. School facilities, constitute the major components of both direct and indirect action elements in the environment of learning.
These facilities play pivotal role in the actualization of the educational goals and objectives by satisfying the physical and emotional needs of the staff and students of the school. Knezevich (1975, p. 563) emphasized that the physical needs are met through provision of safe structure, adequate sanitary facilities, a balanced visual environment, appropriate thermal environment, and sufficient shelter space for his work and play. His emotional needs are met by creating pleasant surrounding, a friendly atmosphere, and an inspiring environment.
The educational system has undergone tremendous changes in the form of its philosophy, broadened goals and objectives, new approaches to service delivery and architectural design, quantum leap in school enrolment, multiplicity of curricula programmes and extra-curricula activities, introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and expanded academic support services such as guidance services to students, teachers and the community, integration of the school and community. 3. In what ways does instructional program influence the nature of school plant? Schools exist for the purpose of teaching and learning.
Human and material resources are deployed for this purpose. School facilities are the material resources provided for staff and students to optimize their productivity in the teaching and learning process. The realization that the transfer of knowledge does not only take place in the four walls of the classroom from the teacher to the students but rather that learning takes place through discovery, exploration, interaction with the internal and external environment has necessitated the creative and innovative development of teaching and learning facilities that reflect these changes.
Schools exist to serve socio-economic and political needs of the ever-changing society, consequently, they are in constant interaction with their external environment. They receive inputs from the external environment in the form of human and material resources, processes them and empty same into the society as finished products and services. The quality of the products bears a direct relationship with the quality of the facilities deployed in the process of the production.
This demands that state of the art facilities are provided in schools to prepare school leavers for life in the global village. Several studies have shown that a close relationship exists between the physical environment and the academic performance of students. Nwagwu (1978) and Ogunsaju (1980) maintained that the quality of education that children receive bears direct relevance to the availability or lack thereof of physical facilities and overall atmosphere in which learning takes place.
For example, research findings have shown that students learn better when a combination of methods and materials are employed during teaching. Furthermore, emphasis has shifted towards giving individual attention to students as against teaching large classes which presupposes that all students in a class have the ability to learn at the same pace. The implication of the foregoing is that in designing school plant, provision should be made for individual and small group interaction and for large groups for academic and social activities.