THE EFFECT OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS ON THE ENROLLMENT OF STUDENTS INTO SCIENCE CLASSES IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA
The research explored the effects of parents’ socioeconomic status on the enrolment of Students into science classes. The study used a modified ‘multiple worlds’ model to investigate how the economic status influenced their science subject choice. All science Students constituted the population from which a sample of one hundred and fifty students was drawn.
A questionnaire was used to collect biographical data. A reliability coefficient of 1.47 was obtained on the hypothesis which was validated. The study found that there is high influence of parental level of income on Students’ choice of academic line. The academic choice of Students’ based on gender does not differ especially with Students from the same economic status. Secondly, there is a significant difference between developed and developing areas of Jos North on the influence of parental economic status on the academic line of Students.
1.0 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The hope that parents hold for their children’s success in life is often first vetted through their children’s success in school. Indeed, doing well academically is related to doing well in life economically (Butler, Beach, & Winfree, 2008). Yet for many children, chances of academic success are diminished because of poverty (Ducan & Brooks-Gunn, 2000); family economic status is a strong predictor of children’s academic outcomes (Sirin, 2005). Children’s academic success is considered to be a key mechanism for disrupting the intergenerational transmission of poverty (Orfield, Losen, Wald, & Swanson, 2004). However, researchers and practitioner need to know more about the processes that link family economic status with children’s academic outcome to effectively intervene in the intergenerational transmission of poverty.
Education is the best legacy a nation can give to her citizens especially the youths. This is because the development of any nation or community depends largely on the quality of education of such a nation. It is generally believed that the basis for any true development must commence with the development of human resources. Much then is said that formal education remains the vehicle for socio-economic development and social mobilization in any society.
Nigeria like any other development nations has witnessed prolong military rule and aborted civilian administration, which necessitate the promulgation of decrees, edicts and laws concerning educational practices at federal, state and local government levels. The inconsistent continuation of government, due to coup d’etat de-emphasized the continuity in the implementation of educational laws and policies since 1970’s till the present time. This gradually laid the foundation of fallen standard in education at the primary school level of education (Shittu, 2004).
Danesy (2004) opined that poverty of parents has elastic effects on their children academic works as they lack enough resources and funds to sponsor their education and good school, good housing facilities and medical care and social welfare services. Mba (2001) lamented that poverty of the parent has made education and learning impossible for children in the rural areas. He lamented that poverty has further caused other problems, such as disease, frustration, poor performance, and psychological problems and so on. Good parenting support by strong economic home background could enhance strong academic performance of the pupil.
Frequent changes of ministers and commissioners for education by successive government coupled with the politicization of education by political parties that emerged in the country’s political scene since 1979 have also brought about disparity in educational practices, which caused differential academic performance and class room functioning of both teachers and Students, from state to state (Danesty, 2004).
These measures have not improved the socio-economic and educational status of families in the country. They have rather increased their sufferings and widened the socio-economic gap between families. Johnson (1996) lamented that in contrast, some parents become poor due to these hard measures, such that they can no longer provide adequately for good education of their children. Also, they can no longer provide shelter, clothing and special need of their children in school (such as provision of text books, school uniforms and good medical care and so on).
High level of illiteracy, poverty and low socio-economic status coupled with high rate of paternal and maternal deprivation of pupil’s academic choice, which was necessitate by poor-economic situation of the country has thrown many farmer and old rural dwellers into untold financial problems such as poverty, lack of money to purchase necessary textbooks and working materials for their wards who are supposed science students. Also, many rural and suburban dwellers can no longer pay the school fees of their wards. These ugly situation have prompt Students to drop out of school to engage in subsistence farming and become housemaids or engage in other menial jobs to support their academic pursuit or fall back to an easier-to-fund class of education. Hence, many Students have since taken school as a secondary assignment and school attendance on rotational basis. The resultant problem posed by this, is poor academic performance in school examination.
Parents with low socio-economic status often lacks the financial, social and educational support that characterizes families with high socio-economic status. Lower income families have inadequate or limited access to community resources that promote and support children’s development and school readiness. At secondary school level, children hailing from low socio-economic status are trained to respect authority and obey orders that employers like in manual laborers. Conformity and obedience are encouraged rather than individual critical thinking and evaluative abilities amongst the Students at this.
It is good to note that the quality of parents and home background of a pupil goes a long way to predict the quality and regularity of the satisfaction and provision of a child’s functional survival and academic needs. Poor parental care with gross deprivation of social and economic needs of a child, usually yield poor academic performance of the child. On the other hand, suffers parental and material deprivation and care due to divorce or death, or absconding of one of the parent, the child’s schooling may be affected as the mother alone may not be financially buoyant to pay school fee especially for a scientifically career oriented student, purchase books and uniforms, such child may play truant, thus his performance in school may be adversely affected (Shittu, 2004).
Danesy and Okediran (2002) lamented that street hawking among school Students have psychologically imposed other problems, like sex networking behaviour, juvenile delinquent behaviour, which takes much of the Students’ school time that necessitate the poor academic performance and drop out syndrome noticed among school Students. Nevertheless, they also lamented that the maternal and paternal deprivation of the essential needs of the Students have prompted their poor performance.
Education not only provides knowledge, but also inculcates values, training of instincts and fostering the right attitude and habits. So the quality of education obtained by students is of great concern to most parents. The various economic, sociological, political, financial, familial and cultural positions of parents in general have impact on both the quality and standard of education to wards in a quest for attaining enviable attributes. Education is considered as a human right that should be accorded to all human beings, in fact, it was the reason why a lot of international human right bodies consider education as a fundamental human right. The first and perhaps the greatest challenge facing Nigeria and making it difficult for good quality education that is capable of bringing about sustainable development is corruption and inadequate attention.
Education in Jos North a city in the Middle Belt of Nigeria with a population of about 900,000 residents based on the 2006 census, Popularly called "J-town" or "Jesus Our Saviour" by the residents, the administrative capital of Plateau State and a Local Government Area in Plateau State, Nigeria, is not exonerated from the same general menace. These issues underscore the need for this study.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Nigeria today is regarded as a third world country as a result of developmental redundancy. The common assertion of sociologist that the responsibility of training a child always lies in the land of the parents and the education can be an instrument of cultural change which is being taught from home is relevant in this discourse. It is not out of place to imagine that parental socio-economic background can have possible effects on the academic line of Students in school. Whatsoever affect the development environment of children would possibly affect their education or disposition to it.
In line with the above assertion, Hill, Henry, and Wilson (2004) also argued that socio-economic status of parent do not only affect the academic line, but also makes it impossible for children from law background not to compete well with their counterparts from high socio-economic background under the same academic environment.
From the issues above, the problem of this study to investigate the effects of socioeconomic status on the enrollment of Students into science classes in Jos North.
1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY
This study highlights the need for the inspectors of education as quality assurance agents to place a serious check on the quality of education and system of enrollment of students in Jos North. The following are the reasons for carrying out this research study:
To determine the effects of parents’ socio economic status on the academic line of Students.
To determine whether parental socioeconomic status have the same influence on the academic line of all Jos North Students.
To determine whether parental socioeconomic status have the same influence on the academic line of Students in developed and developing areas of Jos North.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will help give direction to the research study:
1. What is the influence of parental level of income on Students’ choice of academic line.
2. Does parental economic status have high influence on the choice of academic line of all Jos North Students?
3. Does parental economic status have the same influence on the academic line of Students in developed and developing areas of Jos North?
The following formulated hypothesis will help check for the trueness of the research study:
H01 There is no significant effect of parents’ socio-economic status on enrollment of Students into science classes in Jos North
H02 There is no significant difference in enrollment rate into science classes between Students in developed and Students in developing areas in Jos North
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This work will be of a high importance to parents, government and policy makers. The findings of the study may expose some factors that might be responsible for poor performance of Students in school. The identified areas where government at different levels could come in will be brought into focus in other bridge the gap of special enrollment preferences of children of low and high income earners in the society. The importance of achieving the object of education programme among the general populace cannot be over emphasized. A researcher, Laosa, has posted as follows:
“The educational achievement gap has deep root: it is evident very early in child’s lives; even before they enter primary school. Socio-economic differences such as health and nutrition status, home environment that provide access to academically related experience, mobility rates, and financial assets can certainly influence academic achievements” (Laosa, 2005).
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
The study is limited to all senior secondary Students in Jos North, Plateau State.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Socio-Economic status: The interaction of social and financial ability/capacity of an individual or parent.
CHAPTER ONE 2.1 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
This study is informed on the theory of concerted cultivation by lareuae, (2003). Lareau stated that lower-income families have children who do not succeed to the level of the middle income children, who feel entitled, are argumentative, and better prepared for life. According to Suizo (2010) analysis of Lareau’s book, ‘Unequal childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life’, there is a clear distinction between the parenting styles of working-class families and the middle class families. College enrollment rates vary systematically based on income and socioeconomic status (SES), with lower enrollment rates for lower-income students and students with lower SES than for their higher-income and SES peers. Although college enrollment rates increased for all groups over the past three decades, the gap in these rates between students from low-income families and those from high-income families was the same size in 1997 as in 1970. Using data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS), Cabrera and La Nasa (2001) found that, after controlling for relevant variables, college application rates were 26 percentage points lower for students with low socioeconomic status than for those with high socioeconomic status. These differential application and enrollment rates are especially disconcerting at a time when there are widening gaps in income insurance benefits between high school and college graduates (Baum & Ma, 2007). Educational expectations not only are strong predictors of postsecondary enrollment, but also are relatively stable over time; nevertheless, college plans can and do change. Messersmith and Schulenberg (2008) show, for example, that low-income students, and particularly those from lone-parent families, from minority backgrounds, and who reside in rural areas often fall short of realizing their expectations. However, they did not examine the timing of enrollment as a mechanism through which youth become derailed from their expected pathway, nor did they consider whether the type of institution initially attended lowered students’ college attainments relative to their reported expectations. One of the most comprehensive of recent investigations into subject choice of pupil has been the Australian Center for Educational Research (ACER) longitudinal reports on subject choice (Fullarton & Ainley 2000). Analysis of the Australian data collected in 1993 and 2001 provided comprehensive statistical profiles of subject choice by senior high school students. The studies report that enrolments in science course are strongly associated with a number of background factors, including gender, peer influence, socioeconomic status, parents’ education levels and ethnic identity. These factors constitute external influence on students’ enrollment decision at all levels (Abouchedid & Nasser 2000). They were also considered background factors that were strongly implicated in students’ science enrollment decision (Hodkinson & Sparkes 1997). For that matter they formed part of the influential variables on students’ physical science being studied. According to the ACER studies and research in the USA (Leshie, McClure & Oaxaca 1998) and UK (Woolnough 1994), the choice of physical science is more closely associated with high socioeconomic status (based on parental occupation) than any other subject area. This is not the case, however, among other students in Australia, as enrolments tend to be fairly consistent across socioeconomic levels. In Ghana and most African countries, socioeconomic levels are generally low, most settlements are rural with very high level of illiteracy reportedly about 60% in Ghana. Aside the general socioeconomic factors across the country, disparity also exists in terms of provision of both material (educational infrastructure) and human educational resources and opportunities between rural and urban centres. This affects quality teaching and learning (Fredua-Kwarteng & Ahia 2005), which could eventually affect students’ interest in education especially science (as a practical subject) among students from rural schools in particular. Fortunately, Ghana has a culture of communal living or extended family system, so a child of a poor and/or illiterate parent might still receive help from an educated and/or wealthy relative. Thus, casual scrutiny of the circumstantial differences for Ghana compared to the countries where these studies were carried out, suggests the correlation between parents’ socioeconomic and educational level and science class enrolment might not be feasible or at least not easily determined.
2.2 SOCIETAL INFLUENCE Inherent in the meaning of society is the fact that it is constituted by people who live in a geographical area defined as a nation, made of a social institution such as religious bodies, political parties among others and whose members share some mutual concern or interest, a common objective or common characteristics (Jenkins 2002). This is the perspective in which society is viewed in the scope of this study. According to Lipps (1999), interest in science could be influenced by the recognition and value placed on knowledge of science and its application, scientist, and science-related professions by society. When science professions are highly rewarded, people would consider it a worthwhile profession to engage in. With enrolment in science classes, studies have shown that the influence of society is more pronounced in girls’ decision than boys due to socio-cultural traditions. Society perceives science-related professions as masculine and difficult (Jones, Howe & Rua 2000; Anamuah-Mensah 1995).
2.3 PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT Although prior research sheds light on the relationship between parental involvement and college opportunity research on the contribution of parental involvement to college opportunity is limited in several ways. First, with only a few exceptions, quantitative research typically operationalizes parental involvement using a narrow set of indicators that focus on quantity rather than quality of different types of involvement. Second, while Perna and Titus use multilevel modeling to demonstrate the relationship between both student and school-level measures of parental involvement and college enrollment, few researchers examine how parental involvement is shaped by school structures and, conversely, how school efforts to promote college opportunity are shaped by parental involvement. Finally, while some research explores racial/ethnic group differences in the relationship between parental involvement and college enrollment (e.g., Perna & Titus, 2005), little is known about variations in the relationship based on socioeconomic status. This study addresses these knowledge gaps by drawing on a multilevel model of college enrollment. The study describes how parental involvement not only is shaped by the school context but also shapes the school context for college opportunity. The study also describes the ways other aspects of context, particularly the higher education context and the state and economic context, shape parental involvement. Although parental encouragement and involvement appear to be important facilitators of college enrollment, this study describes the barriers that limit parental involvement not only for low-SES parents but also for middle-SES parents.
2.4 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK Based on a review and synthesis of prior research, the conceptual model (Perna, 2006) draws on multiple theoretical perspectives and assumes that students’ college-related decisions are shaped by multiple layers of context. The model assumes that the most important student-level predictors of college enrollment are academic preparation and achievement, financial resources, knowledge about college, and family support (Perna, 2006). The model also assumes that college enrollment decisions can be fully understood only by taking into account four layers of context: students and their families, K–12 schools, higher education institutions, and the broader societal, economic, and policy context (Perna, 2006).