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This study assessed the Effect Of Child Labour On school attendance and academic performance of students in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state. Four specific objectives, four research questions were formulated with four null hypotheses associated. Survey research design was adopted. The population for the study was 37,700 drawn from the three educational zone of Markudi, Benue states. A sample of 600 respondents from classes 4, 5, and 6 were randomly selected for the study. The instruments used for data collection were a self design questionnaire, school attendance register and report cards. Frequency distribution and percentages were used to analyze the data obtained from the respondents. All the four null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance and all were rejected. The findings revealed that children exposed to labour activities had very poor school attendance, were mostly females. The findings, also showed child labour affect student’s academic performance as was revealed on the poor academic achievements by students exposed to labour were mostly females, compared to their male counterparts. The study recommended among others that children exposed to labour should be given equal right to attend school regardless of any engagement in labour activity. It also recommended that government/parents should develop strategies to reduce or eradicate child labour activities.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the study
Children are special link between the present and future generation, they are a pride of every parent. Childhood is a stage, every child goes through in life, where they are generally regarded as not able to make serious decisions, and legally must always be under the care of a responsible adult. According to Orazen (2003) childhood is a phase of life when a child is free from all tension, fun-loving, plays and learns new things, and is also the sweetheart of the family.
From the researcher‟s observation, not all children go through the beautiful stage of childhood; most children went through this period in full tension and burden, made to work to help in maintaining their families. This is called child labour.
Child labour is a complex phenomenon, mostly common in rural areas of African and Asian countries. According to Ehiemere (2000), child labour constituted street hawking, farm work and domestic chores such as taking care of babies, fetching water and firewood, preparing and cooking food, individual cleanliness and washing. Most of the research findings stated earlier affirmed that child‟s labour age to be under fifteen to eighteen years of age as most affected. Therefore, the present study considering the family background of the people in Benue State(farmers), will identify child labour age to be between nine and fourteen years of age. This is in addition to their ability to assist their family physically and financially.
Gunnarsson and Orazem (2003) on the other hand observed that child labour means work done by children under fifteen (15) years of age and generally takes two forms, these are: one unpaid child‟s work in the household or on a household farm, and two the paid child‟s work or labour which is outside the home in the market or enterprise. In some home‟s girls are more likely to work inside the home while boys work outside. The above is similar to what is happening in Markudi, Benue state, child labour has no gender difference on attendance and academic performance of both sex.
Calfee (2000) and Santrock (2001) affirmed that education is an important dimension of children‟s life. People usually associate education with schools; however, education also occurs in contexts other than school. Children learn from their parents, their siblings, their peers, books, watching television and from the computers. Primary education is the first stage of compulsory education. It is preceded by pre-school or nursery education and is followed by secondary education. In most countries, it is compulsory for children to receive primary education. The major goals of primary education are achieving basic literacy and numeracy abilities by students, as well as establishing foundations in science, geography, history and other social science. The researcher observed these were lacking due to the poor school attendance in most school from the 2017/2018 administrative record used by school authority and parents to monitor, control, and supervise students or students activities in school.
In order to check students or students commitment to receiving instruction from the teachers, an administrative record is designed and used on daily basis that is the attendance register Oghuvbu (2001). Oghuvbu (1999) and Alio (2003) looked at motivation of students or students attendance through family status and positive educational attitude of parents as well as a right geographical location of schools with appropriate facilities. The researcher observed that in Benue Stateeven when tuition fee is free, uniforms, books, sandals and transport fare have to be provided. This decreases the probability of school attendance and increase the probability of work. According to Jensen and Nielson, (1997), Ray (2000), an increase in the returns to education increases the number of children, increases the probability of school attendance and decreases the probability of work condition as the number of children. Ravallion and Wodon, (2000), affirmed that an increase in income or wealth causes increases in the number of children and the likelihood of school attendance condition on the number of children and decreases the likelihood on work. School attendance is a vital administrative record necessary in all the public secondary schools in the State. It is recorded by taking the number of students‟ attendance multiply by the number of school days of the week and divided by the number of children in class.
Academic performance meant how students or students deal with their studies and how they cope with or accomplish their different task given to them by their teachers. In Benue Statemost secondary school children recorded low grades in their academic performance scores, from the record of the State ministry of education. The above therefore was a source of concern to the researcher, who in this study will find out methods to improve on student‟s academic performance achieved through progress chart, example spelling and mental test charts, continuous assessment and examination.
Onomodeke (1995) observed that for a student or student to be successful in his or her academic performance, the student has to be regular in school, face learning problems squarely, avoid late coming to school and he or she should consult with the teacher. Yap (2003) pointed out that a child who attends school more frequently may influence the amount of knowledge he or she gains. However, the more the school attendance the less time a child has on labour
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It has been alleged that there are cases of child labour, or the working child, which affects school attendance and academic performance of students in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state.
Benue Stateis one of the thirty six (36) states in Nigeria that enjoys even climate, rich annual rainfall and availability of wide variety of mineral and agricultural resources (Annual diary 2008). The researcher observed that with the state possession of fertile land as a cherished asset, a number of the population is involved in agriculture with a few earning their living through fishing and other business. It is necessary to ascertain whether some parents/guardians engaged their children on their farms or other in vocations at the detriment of children‟s education.
In addition the failure of children in public secondary schools in Benue Stateto complete their secondary school education was due to their inability to combine school attendance with income generation activities to finance their education. Poverty and lack of employment or partial employment and illiteracy among parents/guardians have given birth to majority of child labour problems. Furthermore, Drusilla and Alan (2002) stated that child labour has been an acceptable way throughout history that the fact of young children. Working and the difficult conditions under which children work occasionally become more evident. In the mid 19th and 20th centuries child labour became more visible because children were drawn into an industrial setting.
Drusilla and Alan (2002) explained that children are engaged in child labour because of new technology, household dynamics, culture, market, and political failure which determine the labour force participation rate and educational attainment of young children. The researcher‟s experience in Minna in College of Education revealed that parents engaged primary four (4), five (5), and six (6) students to work on their farms especially during the raining seasons. This situation adds to low school attendance of students and leading to poor academic performance in school. The International Labour Organization (ILO) (1998) estimated that 24.6% of children between the ages of ten and fourteen (10-14) in Nigeria were working outside home. This is not different from what the state is experiencing today among the young children in secondary schools.
Children engaged in labour activities mostly are in senior classes four to six Adewale (2002) confirmed that children have low school attendance due to the requirements place on them by their parents to economically active, which results to child‟s late school attendance, poor academic performance and interrupted school attendance. This problem according to Applegate and Gunnarsson (2003) explained that children‟s school attendance is important to their academic performance.
The failure of children to attend school and perform better academically is of concern to the researcher due to their inability to combine school attendance with income generation activities. It is against this background that the researcher embarked on this study which dealt with investigating on the Effect Of Child Labour On attendance and academic performance of students in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of this study is to assess Effect Of Child Labour On attendance and academic performance of children in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state.
1. Determine the differences in the school attendance of children exposed to child labour and those who are not in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state.
2. Determine the differences in academic performance of children exposed to child labour and those who are not in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state.
3. Determine the differences in the school attendance of male and female children exposed to child labour in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state.
4. Determine the differences in the academic performance of male and female children exposed to child labour in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state.
1.4 Research Questions
As a guide, the following research questions were raised and answered.
1. What are the differences in the school attendance of children exposed to child labour and those who are not in public secondary school in Markudi, Benue state?
2. What is the difference in academic performance of children exposed to child labour and those who are not in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state?
3. What is the difference in the school attendance of male and female children exposed to child labour in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state?
4. What is the difference in the academic performance of male and female children exposed to labour in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state?
1.5 Null Hypotheses
The following were raised and tested
1. There is no significant difference in school attendance of children exposed to child labour and those who are not in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state.
2. There is no significant difference in academic performance of children exposed to child labour and those who are not in public secondary schools Markudi, Benue state.
3. There is no significant difference in school attendance of male and female children exposed to child labour in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state.
4. There is no significant difference in academic performance of male and female children exposed to child labour in public secondary schools in Markudi, Benue state.
1.6 Significance of the study
The results of the findings would be of significant to the children, parents, community, teachers, Ministry of Education, educators and curriculum planners in the following ways: It would enlighten children on the importance of school through regular school attendance, which would make them appreciate the value of their academic performance.
The results of the findings would make the parents and community to develop positive interest towards their children‟s educational pursuits in secondary school level. The findings would be of importance to the parents and community at large through the Parent Teachers
Association (PTA) on the effect of child labour in student‟s attendance and academic performance of the children with possible solutions.
The result of the findings would encourage Ministry of Education and curriculum planners to develop strategies that will reduce or eradicate child labour, by introducing assessable schools, reduce or introduce free school fees and provide food supplements.
The result of the findings would encourage curriculum planners to introduce appropriate curricular to suite each season of the year. The findings would also make educators to appreciate students through awards of certificate of regular attendance to students who deserved it.
1.7 scope and Delimitation of the Study
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