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This study was aimed at examining the influence of family background on educational aspirations of secondary school students in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. To guide the study, four research questions and four research hypotheses were formulated. The design adopted for this study was Ex-post facto design. Data were obtained using one hundred and fifty copies of the questionnaire distributed among senior secondary three students in the sampled schools. The data were subsequently analyzed using arithmetic mean and t-test for independent samples at 0.05 level of significance. The results were used to test the validity of the hypotheses. Hypothesis one (1) was accepted while hypotheses two (2), three (3) and four (4) were rejected. The result showed that parents’ education, attitude, expectation and income had significant influence on students’ educational aspirations. On the strength of the findings of this study, it was recommended that parents should get more involved in their children’s academic pursuit such as helping and supervising school work. They should motivate children to aspire in education by providing an enabling environment at home. They are to provide educational materials for their wards.
1.1 Background of the Study
Education is as old as man himself. Man is by nature curious and that inspires in him the urge to explore the environments around him. Through the ages, man has attempted various means to transmit knowledge in whatever form he had acquired to the upcoming generation. The place of education in the development of individuals and the nation at large cannot be under-estimated. It is evident in the fact that education helps individuals develop their mental capabilities and become functional members of the society. Every society therefore, plan its own system of education in terms of the aims, contents, processes, etc.
The process of educating a child is not solely the function of the school system although the school is an institution for teaching and learning. Nwabachili and Egbue (1993) see formal education as a consciously planned form of socialization in a formal setting such as school. They stressed that non-formal education involve all those systematic programmes and process of education and training done outside formal education setting. For instance, the traditional education system in Nigeria has a clearly demarcated learning experience for each age grade which culminates into the acquisition of desired values, attitudes and the specialization of individuals in some specific crafts or vocation. Every responsible member of the community serves as a transmitter-teacher and trainer of the societal norms and skills to younger generations. Other agents of socialization include the family, peer group, religious institutions, mass media.
The family is the first social environment a child finds itself. According to Clifford (1981), family remains the primary environment of the child. Families are important to provide safe, nurturing environment in which children can learn to function in the society. The child learns to play appropriate roles and acquires abilities, attitudes and modes of response that will enable him participate in social life in the larger society. Thus, his personality is shaped and the cultural demands and expectations are transmitted.
Children bring their family experiences with them to school. Children coming from different background are affected differently by such family backgrounds. Hence, teachers need to have a better understanding of their students’ families and how they function. In other words, a child’s attitude, disposition and aspiration in education are to some extent influenced by the family. Educational aspiration is an individual’s desire to obtain a status objective or goal such as particular level of education. Quaglia and Cobb (1996) succinctly define aspiration as a student’s ability to identify and set goals for the future while being inspired in the present to work. It is an important variable in predicting academic achievement and may be seen as an element in academic achievement motivation, focusing on the desire for success and the development of academic objectives to succeed in education, particular education fields or to gain a particular degree.
The literature has placed considerable emphasis on the family background as agent in generating variation in educational aspiration and attainment. One reason why families are associated with variation in educational aspiration is that families are sources of genetically determined academic potentials. This may take the form of differences in intellectual capacity that lead children to be successful in school and thus prefer more education. Other family background variables include family structure, family socio-economic status which comprises parents’ educational level, occupational status and income level, parents’ attitude and expectation, home environment, etc.
It is against this background that the researcher is interested in investigating the influence of family background on educational aspiration of secondary school students in Uyo Local Government Area.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The culture of poor attitude and low educational achievement among secondary school students is currently one of the prevalent issues in education. In a bit to understand the immediate and root cause of this, there is misunderstanding among stakeholders in education. Government, parents, teachers and students blame one another. Given the fact that the family is the first social environment of a child and each brings with him or her the family experiences, it is pertinent to examine the influence of family background on educational aspiration of secondary school students.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to:
i. Examine the influence of family structure on educational aspirations of secondary school students in Uyo Local Government Area.
ii. Examine the influence of family socio-economic status on educational aspirations of secondary school students in Uyo Local Government Area.
iii. Examine the influence of parents’ attitude and expectation on educational aspirations of secondary school students.
iv. Identify the difference in educational aspirations of secondary school students in Urban and Rural areas of Uyo Local Government.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be of immense help to parents as it will make them understand the role of the family in educational aspiration and achievement of their wards. It will enable them identify the problems of poor home background so as to make the family environment more conducive for the children. It will help teachers realize the necessity of individualizing their teaching by structuring their teaching methods and instructional resources to take care of the divergent family backgrounds of the students. To educational administrators, the findings will be used in the formulation of polices that will regulate equal educational opportunities for all children irrespective of their family backgrounds and location in the distribution of equipment, facilities and amenities to schools.
1.5 Research Questions
i. To what extent does family structure influence educational aspirations of secondary school students in Uyo Local Government Area?
ii. To what extent does family socio-economic status influence educational aspirations of secondary school students in Uyo Local Government Area?
iii. To what extent do parents’ attitude and expectation influence educational aspirations of secondary school students in Uyo Local Government Area?
iv. Is there any difference in educational aspirations of secondary school students in Urban and Rural areas of Uyo Local Government?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
Ho(1): There is no significant influence of family structure on educational aspirations of secondary school students in Uyo Local Government Area
Ho(2): There is no significant influence of family socio-economic status on educational aspirations of secondary school students in Uyo Local Government Area
Ho(3): There is no significant influence of parents’ attitude and expectation on educational aspirations of secondary school students in Uyo Local Government Area
Ho(4): There is no significant difference in educational aspirations of secondary school students in Urban and Rural areas of Uyo Local Government.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study considers the Influence of Family Background on Educational Aspiration of Secondary School Students. It is limited to public secondary schools in Uyo Local Government.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The limitations of this study include dearth of research studies on educational aspirations in Nigeria and the study area in particular. Others are finance, labour during the survey and source of reference materials.
1.9 Operational Definition of Terms
Family: Family is a primary social group of parents, offsprings and possibly other members of the household.
Family Background: Family background refers to all the conditions and circumstances in the family which influence the child physically, intellectually and emotionally.
Influence: Influence is the effect that a person or thing has on the way another person thinks or behaves.
Educational Aspiration: Educational aspiration is an individual’s desire to attain a particular level of education.
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