FAMILY BACKGROUND AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF STUDENTS IN GOVERNMENT IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
This research work was on family background and academic achievement of students in Government in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area. As noted, the academic achievement of any child cannot be separated from the family background in which the child grows up. A healthy family background offers emotional security to a child.
The project however, aimed at investigating the influence of family background on the academic achievement of students in Government in Abak Local Government Area. The study looked at family size and parent’s occupation as they affect students’ academic achievement. Two research questions and hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. A stratified random sampling technique was adopted for the study and 160 students were randomly selected as the sampling technique.
The total population of the study comprised of 350 senior students studying Government in all the 5 public secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area. The instrument for collection of data was questionnaire and Government Achievement Test (GAT), data collected were analyzed using independent t-test statistics and at the end, it was discovered that family size, parental occupation have influence on the academic achievement of students. At the end of the work, recommendations were made; the recommendations if followed will help both parents and students to achieve greatly in school.
1.1 Background to the Study
In Nigeria, education has been adopted as “instrument per excellence for effective national development” (National Policy on Education, FGN, 2014). This implies that Nigeria has much faith in education as an instrument for national development. From the beginning, parents have been the major person involved in raising children in every society that is why the family is recognized as an important agent of socialization.
According to Muola (2010) family background refers to all the conditions and circumstances in the family which influence the child physically, intellectually and emotionally. The academic achievement of any child cannot be separated from the family background in which the child grows up. A healthy family background offers emotional security to a child.
Families are of various sizes. Family size has to do with the total number of people in a single family which includes the father, mother, children and even the extended members – all living in one hamlet. According to Alio (2002), family size has implication for education. He 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 are more common among the lower class of the society.
Children in large families may suffer poverty and lack parental encouragement and stimulus which motivates their academic achievement (Ekanem, 2005). Similarly, smaller family size has been linked with high academic achievement (Majoribank, 2000). He stressed that students with fewer siblings are likely to receive more parental attention and have support that leads to better school performance.
Durosawo Anddurosano (2001) in their study attempted to investigate the relationship between student’s family size and their academic achievement; they found out that family size influenced academic achievement. Their study reveals that children from small size families performed better at school than their counterparts from both average sizes and large size families.
Furthermore, Yoloye (2003) conducted a study to see if the family background variables might be useful in explaining their academic performance. Some aspects of family background variables examined in the study include family size and parents’ educational status.
Hill et al (2004) had also argued that occupational background of parents do not only affect the academic achievement but also makes it possible for children from low background to compete well with their counterparts from high family background under the same academic environment.
Okunniyi (2004) asserted that a child who suffers maternal and paternal deprivation may experience academic problems including truancy in the school. This is because the child may lack some necessities like school fees, books and uniforms. These conditions, according to the authors, are not conducive for effective parenting because when the single parents are overburdened by responsibilities and by their own, emotional, reaction to the situation, they often become irritable, impatience and insensitive to their children’s needs.
Apart from the structural pattern of the family, another powerful variable in the family that determines the students’ academic achievement is the family socio-economic status (SES). According to Jeynes (2002), the socio-economic status of a child is most commonly determined by combining parent’s educational level, occupational status and income level.
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 places them at an advantage or disadvantage to evaluate their children’s academic work and monitor their progress.
Francis (2007) opines that the lower income families may be aware of the importance of education in the society, but at the same time, they are also aware of their limited resources to measure up with such educational demands. According to him, a family that can scarcely provide for the basic needs of the family which includes food, shelter and clothing will hardly motivate the academic achievement of their children, instead they will pressurize their children to seek for job opportunities with the little education they acquired so far to support the family.
Rothestein (2004), asserted as follows, that parents of different occupation classes often have different styles of child rearing, different ways of disciplining their children and different ways of reacting to their children. These differences do not press themselves, consistently craft or trade, as expected in the case of every family, rather they influence the average tendencies of family for different occupational classes.
The socio-economic status of a family is capable of affecting the behaviour of the children and determine their aspiration. Families with high socio-economic status often have more success in preparing their children for school because they typically have access to wide range of providing their young children with high quality child-care, books and encourage children in various easy access to information regarding their children’s health, as well as social emotional and cognitive development (Ojo, 2010).
Apart from socio-economic status of the family, another powerful variables in the family determines the students’ academic achievement in the case of marital instability.
FAMILY BACKGROUND AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF STUDENTS IN GOVERNMENT IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Marital instability refers to a situation where a husband and wife are not harmoniously united as couple. They may be living in different apartment, this is normally done with the consent of the law court and the families concerned. It can be said to be a situation where a man no longer has any legal rights over his wife and these rights include emotional right, social right, economic right etc.
chide (2984) noted that many children of separate or divorced parents become poorly adjusted to life or academic pursuit as a result of their unfavourable self-concept. Among them are the personality and academic factors, early marriage, educational background of this couple, suspicion and distrust, impatience, dishonesty, selfishness, overbearing attitude and others.
It is against this background that the researcher is interested in investigating the influence of family background on students’ academic achievement in Government in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
This study is basically conducted to find out the influence of family background on academic achievement of students in Government in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area. most students in Nigerian secondary schools are in greater risk of poor academic achievement in both internal and external examinations (WAEC and NECO) in government due to family background.
Government, parents, teachers and students blame one another for students’ poor performance in schools. Parents blame teachers for lack of dedication to duties. The teachers blame government for poor salaries hence; they are poorly motivated, parents also accuse government for not equipping the schools with learning materials, government blame parents for not doing good home work and the students are blamed for lack of discipline and dedication to their studies. Most of the government students in secondary schools often completing their secondary education end up without mastering the subject matter due to family background.
However, the questions here are: Does occupational background of parents affect the academic achievement of students? Do family sizes affect the achievement of students in Government? To what extent does family background influence academic achievement of students in Government in secondary schools?
Findings answers to these questions and more summarizes the entire problems of this study.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of family background on academic achievement of students in Government in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria.
Specifically, the study aims at the following:
- Ascertain the influence of parental occupational background on students’ academic achievement.
- Ascertain whether academic failure of most secondary school students in Abak Local Government Area occur as a result of family background.
- Ascertain the influence of parental educational background on students’ academic achievement.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
- Does occupational background of parents affect the academic achievement of students?
- To what extent does family size affects the achievement of students in Government?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
- There is no significant influence of parents’ educational background on academic achievement of students.
- There is no significant influence between family size and academic performance of students in Government.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Since the purpose of the study is to investigate the influence of family background on academic achievement of students in Government in Abak Local Government Area, it is hoped that the study will:
- Help students and parents to be aware of the effect of family background on students’ academic achievement in schools.
- Serves as a useful document to other researchers.
- Help the society at large in identifying how family environment variables such as parent’s level of education, parent’s income, parent’s occupation, parent’s motivation and family size has on student’s academic performance.
- The findings of the study will be of immense help to educational administrators.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
The study was limited to Abak Local Government Area. Due to constraints, the researcher was not able to undertake a comprehensive study of the entire Local Government as only selected teachers of five (5) secondary schools was chosen as respondents of questionnaires. This was done due to lack of time on the part of the researcher for a more detailed study. Also, financial limitation was one of the barriers to a more comprehensive work.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Academic achievement: This is defined as a process where a learner performs creditable well in examination.
Background: The type of family, social position or culture that someone comes from.
Effect: Result obtained when one or more factors influence(s) others or something.
Government: This involves teaching students the principles, fundamental concepts and processes of governance.
Occupation: Any productive activity someone engage his/her self to earn a living.
Students: Persons who are studying at schools, institutions or colleges.
Family: A group constituting of one or two parents and the children.
Secondary school: A school for young people between the ages of 11 and 16 or 18 years.
Influence: The effect that somebody or something has on the way a person thinks or behaves.
Family size: This is how large or small a family is
Education: A process of teaching, training and learning, especially in schools or colleges, to improve knowledge and develop skills.
Ascertain: To find out the true or correct information about something.
Investigate: To find out information and fact about a subject or problem by study or research.
Questionnaire: A written list of questions that are answered by a number of people so that information can be collected from the answers.
Motivation: To make somebody want to do something especially something that involves hard work and effort.