FAMILY BACKGROUND AND PUPIL’S ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS


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FAMILY BACKGROUND AND PUPIL’S ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN EKET LOCAL EDUCATION AUTHORITY, AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study

Education is the process of transmitting what is worthwhile to the members of society. According to Okafor (2014). Education embraces all those experiences of the individual through which knowledge is acquired and intellect enlightened. For Nwabachili and Egbue (2015) education is what goes on from one generation to another. In this context, education is the process of socializing the child to grow up as a fulfilled member of the society through the informal, formal, and non-formal processes. Informal education is the process of acquiring knowledge about the environment and beyond through living with one another. According to Nwabachili and Egbue (2015), formal education is a consciously planned form of socialization in a formal setting such as school. The stress that non-formal education involves all those systematic programmes and processes of education and training that are done outside formal education settings. All these forms of education cannot be achieved without the influence of the family.

            Family is the first social environment that the child finds him/herself. According to Clifford (2016) the family remains the primary environment of the child. The author emphasized that the family environment has more chances of increasing or decreasing the intellectual achievement of the child. Akubuo and Okolo (2010), defined a family as a small kinship structural group with the key function of natural socialization of the newborn. Similarly, in Okunniyi (2010), family is defined as a primary social group of parents, offspring, and possibly other members of the household.

            Family background refers to all the conditions and circumstances in the family which influence the child physically, intellectually and emotionally; Moula (2010). Children coming from differently by such family background while some have poor background citing Fleege, Eke (2012) noted that with some families, the background way vary from time to time for the same individuals.

            Formal education therefore remains the vehicle for human development which must start from the family. There are different categories of families. The major categories of families. The major categories of families. The major categories of families according to Anderson and Taylor (2007) includes;

Traditional families – where the father is the major breadwinner and mother at homes raising children;

Divorce families – families that have been reconstituted following the breaking of marriage;

Single parent families – likely headed by women; stepfamilies – with new siblings and new parents stemming from re-marriage.

            A family could also be categorized as extended or nuclear. Extended families are those in which large groups are related kin in addition to parents and children live together in the same household. This is the type of family prevalent in African countries. Nuclear families are families where the married couple resides together with their children.

            This type of family is common in western countries Anderson and Taylor (2000). Families are of various sizes. Family size has to do with the total number of people in a single-family which may include the father, mother, children, and even the extended members – all living in one hamlet.

            According to Alion (2014), family size has implications for education. The author emphasized that the size of the family determines to a great extent the relative amount of physical attention and time which each child gets from his parents. large families may suffer poverty and lack parental encouragement and stimulus which motivate their academic achievement (Eamon, 2010). Similarly, smaller family size has been linked with high academic achievement (Majoribank, 2012) Majoribank further stressed that students with fewer siblings are likely to receive more parental attention and have the support that leads to better school performance. Family (small or large size) remains the primary environment of every child. The families begin the process of education and provide physical and psychological needs of the child.

            This supports the view of Maduewisi (2017), that the environmental experiences from family, peer group, and school the location has a great influence in determining a child’s intellectual ability. She maintained that brought children from the underprivileged family environment may turn dull due to an impoverished family environment.

            Another aspect of the family environmental factor is the structure of the family. Structurally, a family is either broken or intact. A broken family in this context is one that is not structurally intact for various reasons; such as the death of a parent, divorce, separation, desertion, and illegitimacy in which case, the family was never completed (Coukline 2015).

            In single-parent families, children may suffer from psychological and social problems which affect their academic performance. Danesy and Okedian (2012) in their study, lamented that street hawking among pupils of primary schools have psychologically imposed other problems, such as sex networking behavior, juvenile delinquent behavior, which take much of the pupil’s school time that necessitated the poor academic performance and drop-out syndrome notice among pupils of primary school.

            According to (Jeynes 2002), the Socio-Economic Status (SES) of a child is most commonly determined by combining parent’s educational level, occupational status, and income level. The social class and economic status of the parents determine the type of school and the standard of training they desire for their children. The occupation or profession of the parents, the educational level, and whether the mothers are working or non-working mothers place them at an advantage or disadvantage to evaluate their children’s academic work and monitor their progress.

            Status is often determined by the individual’s economic attainment, though it is sometimes ascribed on the individual. Okunniyi (2010), identified three distinct socio-economic groups or the status which is common in many countries. They are; upper class – which is made up of rich businessmen and top government officials among others; middles class – which consists of skilled workers, professionals, and middle-ranked government workers and the lower class – which is made up of manual workers, petty traders and low-income government officials.

            Francis (2012) posits that the lower income families may be aware of the importance of education in society but at the same time, they are also aware of their limited resources to measure up with such educational demands. According to the author, a family that can scarcely provide for the basic needs of the family which include food, shelter and clothing will hardly motivate the children instead they will pressurize their children to seek job opportunities with the  little education they acquired so far to support the family. The the implication of the agreement is that some families are likely to give their children poor academic background because of lack of financial support.

            Parent’s motivation is and other family background factor which influences the academic performance of pupils. Pupils under-motivated condition exhibits purposeful behavior aimed at achieving academic set goals. The achievement of these goals determines the motive. Hickey and Lindsley (2010) clearly distinguished two perspectives.

            According to them, the disposition perspective asks questions about pupil’s general orientation to learning which relates to the pupils’ priority and pupil’s nature. The situational perspective according to the scholars focuses on learning context. These scholars further identified factors that greatly influence pupil’s motivation. These are: interpersonal factors such as curiosity, perseverance, and autonomy (intrinsic-factors) such as parents, peers, and siblings (extrinsic factors).

            Pupils with fewer siblings are likely to receive more parental attention and motivation and thus have more access to resources than additional attention and motivation leads to better school performance (Majoribanks, 2012, Thondike, 1997 and 2005).

            Thorndike reorganizes seven ways of motivating pupils viz; awareness on the part of the parents of the value of education whether such parents are literate or illiterate; the existence of books, newspapers, comic books, good nutrition, and sleeping habit; adequate facilities for the satisfaction of physical needs like foods, shelter, and clothing; objects in the home which challenges the child’s curiosity. Okwulanya (2015) postulated that motivation from educated parents strengthens the academic performance and language development in their children to perform better in their academic activities.

            Parental occupation is also an important family background variable. The occupation of one’s parents may determine to a large extent one’s opportunity to attend primary school or not. Ezasi (2013) noted that parents like their children to take to their occupation, like Lawyers, doctors, musicians among others.

            Uwaoma (2006) asserted that most vocational students were children whose parents were farmers and craftsmen. In Nigeria most children whose parents cannot afford to pay for the high cost of formal education enroll in apprenticeship programme such as carpentry, bricklaying, petty trading, and others. In the study area, there is a seeming general poor performance among pupils in primary school. Evidence of poor performances is seen in both pupil's international and external examination.

            It is against this backdrop that the the researcher is interested in investigating the family background and pupil’s academic performance in primary schools in Eket Local Educational Authority of Akwa Ibom State.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Over the years, there has been the poor performance of pupils in Eket Local Education Authority in both internal and external examinations. Also, parents with a low level of income, find it difficult to provide learning materials such as notebooks, textbooks, school bags, sandals good uniform, etc for their ward(s). This is due to the fact that they don’t earn high and even if they do, these materials are too expensive for them to afford it. They, therefore, leave the child to cope the way he or she can with the available learning materials. This alone makes most of the children in these areas (zone) not perform very well in their academics.

            Furthermore, most children came from a very large family size, where the parents find it uneasy to cater to all the academic needs of children, due to several demands from both the children and other family members. Where the family size is large, and the income level of the parent is low, the tendency of the parents to provide for the children cannot be guaranteed. This is because, as the family size is large so also diverse problems exist in the home. Moreover, as the family size is large, most parents would not be able to go through each child’s work before and after school as they might consider it a waste of time.

            So also, parents with a low level of education would find it difficult to assess their children’s work, before and after school, this is because they only have little or no idea about their children’s performance. A parent that is uneducated (illiterate) would lack the the technical know-how of guiding the child at home, especially in the area of aiding the child to do homework. Nowadays in most schools, homework is been considered as a tool for assessing a child’s performance, where the homework is left unattended by the parents, due to their inability to aid the child, it therefore means that the child would either do it haphazardly or left it undone and this would lead to the poor performance of the child. Moreso, parents with low level of education does not demand progress report of their children from the school in which they attend, this is because they lack basic educational knowledge.

            Finally, parents on prestigious an occupation like a doctor, nurse, lawyer, etc would want their children to take up their occupation and their children or child might not have that ability to take up such. Also, some parents are so busy due to the nature of their job, some go out early in the morning and come back at night, while the children must have slept. Thereby not been able to attend to the children’s work. And as such, the children only wake up the next day and go back to school unattended. This alone makes children perform poorly in their academic performance. These findings seek to provide solutions to the problems leading to pupil’s poor performance and to provide recommendations to both parents, government and private sectors that are educationally driven.

1.3       Purpose of the Study  

The objectives of the study were to find out the academic performance of pupils in primary schools in Eket Local Education Authority: These specific objectives were to determine the:

1.            Influence of parent’s level of education on pupils academic performance.

2.            Influence of parental occupation on pupil’s academic performance

3.            Influence of parental income on pupil’s academic performance.

4.            Influence of family size on pupil’s academic performance.

1.4       Significance of the Study

            Theoretically the findings of this the study was considered significant because it would help in providing empirical information in identifying and explaining the various family background variable and influence of the variable on pupil’s academic performance. This will help in a better understanding of the phenomenon. Moreover, it is expected that the findings will help to explain the functionality of the theoretical posits of Maslow’s motivational theory.

            Practically, the findings could be useful to the following: the teachers, pupils, school guidance, counselors, parents, Parents Teacher Association (PTA), educational administrators and the society at large.

            The findings would also help teachers to realize the necessity of individualizing their teaching by structuring their teaching methods and instructional resources to take care of the divergent parental backgrounds of the pupils.

            The finding would of great value to pupils because they will realize that their performance might not necessarily be their fault alone especially those from low-status families. Such knowledge would go a long way to reduce frustration in the pupils and also reduce drop-outs that occur as a result of frustration. Rather, the pupils should be made to adjust and help themselves by studying hard at home.

            Through the research, the parent would improve their educational standard so as to influence their children’s academic performance.

            They would also improve their socio-economic status and also learn to motivate their children academically.

            They findings would help educational administrators to make policies that will regulate equal educational opportunities for all children irrespective of their family background in the distribution of equipment, facilities, and amenities to schools.

            The findings of this study would help the society at large in identifying how family environmental variables such as what parents’ level of education, parents’ income, parents’ occupation, parents’ motivation and family size on pupil’s academic performance. This will act as a check on increasing low academic performance among pupils, occasioned by the fact that some parents, teachers, and counselors do not have adequate knowledge/input required of them.

1.5       Scope and Delimitation of the Study

            This work was limited to primary schools in Eket Local Education Authority of Akwa Ibom State.

            The context scope of this study was limited to the influence of family background and pupils academic performance in primary schools with particular emphasis on the parental level of education; parental occupation, parental income, and family size.

1.6       Research Questions

The following questions were raised to test the study:

1.            To what extent does parent’s level of education influence on the academic performance of pupils?

2.            To what extent does parents occupation influence pupil’s academic performance?

3.            To what extent does parent’s income level influences pupil’s academic performance?

4.            To what extent family type (size) has influence on pupil’s academic performance?

1.7       Research Hypotheses

For this study to have a focus, the following hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:

1.            There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of pupils in urban and rural schools on the influence of parental level of education on pupil’s academic performance.

2.            There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of pupils in urban and rural schools on the influence of parental occupation on pupil’s academic performance.

3.            There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of pupil’s in urban and rural schools on the influence of parent’s income on student’s academic performance.

4.            There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of pupils in urban and rural schools on the influence of family size on student’s academic performance

1.8       Definition of Terms 

            The researcher defined the following terms in regard to findings;

Family: A body of people sharing the same blood.

Background: The condition of someone or something.

Academic Performance: It is the extent a learner has attained in the cause of studying.

Pupils: Name given to children in primary school.

Primary School: It is an institution for learning before entering secondary school.

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