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1.1 Background to the Study
Education is of great importance to every nation. It therefore attracts considerable attention to the family, community and to all tiers of government; education is discussed, planned and processed (Omolewa, 2001). It is believed that education recreates both the individuals and the nation, influences values and attitudes for a worthwhile living. The National Policy on Education (2009) is not wrong with its assertion that education is “an instrument par excellence” and the world at large had keyed into this, by recognizing education as the panacea to development and survival of man itself.
It is not surprising therefore that the processes of education are offered by the three levels– primary, secondary and tertiary education. As a result, education is classified on the concurrent list. That is, administration, funding, policy formulation and maintenance of schools or matters relating to education can both be deliberated upon by the Federal and State governments. Over the years, there had been public outcry concerning the fate of educational system in Nigeria and the breeding of graduates with little technical know–how which has resulted in serious setbacks to the industrial and economic development of the nation and its place among comity of nations in the 21st century. Investigations into the factor that influence academic performance of students in and out-of-school could be trace to individual family or home. The family or home is an integral part of the society which is a sub-system of the social structure. It is an axiom that good homes breed a productive nation .This is the brain-child of why, every society aspires for development.
The well-being of any society is the aggregate of the well-being of the individual families that make up the society. So, the home is a quite essential factor on the learner’s psychological, social, emotional and economic state. Most homes are made up of father and the mother with or without siblings or extended relations. In the African societies, some homes could be polygamous while others could take the form of monogamy. One is not so surprised that African Traditional Religion (ATR) influences all aspect of one’s life and it is practical in nature.
The beliefs and practices of ATRs are based upon the faith of the indigenous people. Such are declining now since the arrival of Islam and Christianity at the beginning of the 20th century (Yombi, 2011).
The educational pursuit of every child is relatively determined by the pattern of family or home he/she comes from. Be it wealthy or poor, educated or otherwise, traditional belief or aspirations. Parents who failed in their responsibilities to assist and guide their wards through every stage of development in life may likely have to contend with poor academic performance sooner or later and the development of unwholesome behaviours, as foundation to the success or failures in any child is laid upon the home and at the initial stage in life. Parents therefore have a great role to play in seeing to it that the students acquire the appropriate social, psychological, moral and academic development. Those found in this category are mostly adolescents who needed to be tutored not only by the teachers but with combined efforts of the parents.
In Nigeria, there are widespread cases of single-parenthood across all regions and tribes which has become a major source of concern to the socio-economic and socio-cultural development. Single parenting can be defined as a situation in which one of the two individuals involved in the conception of the child is being responsible for the upbringing of the child (Henshin, 1985). This idea is relatively unknown before now in Nigeria but is fast growing family patterns both inside and outside the shores of the land (Nwachukwu, 1998). Children from single parent homes are likely to suffer deprivation, and denial of some rights and opportunities.
They are more exposed to anti-social behaviours and poor academic records.
Divorce and separation of various kinds or death of one spouse may leave a child with no option than to have a single parent. The benefits of a two-parents family far outweigh that of a single parent family, as mothers play the traditional role of child care and home-making while the father’s role is that of economic responsibilities and discipline of children. But in single parent families, double responsibilities are required of time, attention and money of the parent. Hence, less attention is given to the education of the child. Invariably the cost of receiving education today is high to be financed only by a single parent who may be financially handicapped. In the case of the few wealthy single parents in the locality of the research study the task is more with the nature of their job which affects adequate supervision of a child’s growth and development.
Teachers commonly describe children from single parents as more hostile, aggressive, anxious, fearful, hyperactive and distractible than children from intact families (Nwachukwu, 1998). The school curriculum if well-designed as the situation demands will become helpful in addressing the deficient students’ academic performance on the set-objectives of secondary education as well as analyzing the factors that affect the performance. Although, there are no available statistics of single parent families in Nigeria, practical experience and tabloids report shows that it is increasing on a daily basis. On the contrary, western countries have a geometric progression in the percentage of adults and children living in single parent households
The conditions are not palatable conducive for effective parenting of a child in most single parental families (Ortese, 1998). This was because when the parents are overburdened by responsibilities and by their own emotional reactions to environmental situation they often become irritable, impatient and insensitive to their children’s plight. It is against this backdrop that this study was being planned to investigate the possible impact of single parental upbringing on the academic performance of senior secondary students in Government in Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is worthy to note that education of high quality is expensive and possibly beyond the reach of most poor single headed homes. No doubt, the National Policy on Education (2009) suggests adequate financial provision from all tiers of government for successful implementation of educational programmes. It therefore shows that access to education by the child/children of a single parent depends on their financial capability. Not too surprise, that children of single parents in the study locality attend public secondary schools. A fewer number from wealthy homes however, attend private day schools or private boarding schools as the case may be.
However, the worst scenario are witnessed in the camp of the illiterates and unskilled workers who have absolutely no plan for their wards compared to their counterparts who are not only financially buoyant but determine to provide the best for their children’s education. In other cases, those with certain level of education but at the lower class in a society encourage their wards to achieve a higher status they could not have achieved. According to Goede and Spruigt (1996), they warned of the impending danger of students’ failure caused by truancy, bad company, all forms of unethical behaviours, failure in not doing assignment and its end-result as academic backwardness. Again, most children from single well-to-do homes misuse their academic opportunities which if available for their counterparts, would be adequately utilized. They have access to educational materials at homes and attend one of the best schools but still perform below expectations. The large population of children attending public schools from single parental homes does not have access to these facilities, resulting in mass failure in public and internal examinations due to their poor preparation.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objective of this study were to examine the impact of single parenting on the academic performance of senior secondary school students in Government as a subject in Zaria Local Government ARea in Kaduna state. The study was carried out to achieve the following.
a. To find out the extent to which income status of single parents influences the academic performance of students from such homes in school.
b. To investigate the level at which educational attainment of single parents influenced their children’s/wards academic performance in School.
c. To assess the level of students’ academic performance between those of single parents and two-parents.
d. To identify if occupational status of single parenthood has an impact on children’s academic performance in schools.
1.4 Research Questions
This study sought to provide answers to the following research questions which were formulated to guide the present investigation.
1. To what extent does income status of single parental homes influence students’ academic performance in Government as a subject in Zaria Local Government Area?
2. What is the influence of educational attainment of single parental homes on the academic performance of secondary school students’ in Government as a subject in Zaria Local Government Area?
3. Are there differences in the academic performance of students from single parents compared to those of two parents in Zaria Local Government Area?
4. To what extent does occupational status of single parental homes affect academic performance of students in Government as a subject in Zaria Local Government Area?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were tested in this study at the 0.05 alpha level of
Ho1: Income status of single parents has no significant impact on the academic performance of students in Government as a subject.
Ho2: Educational attainment of single parents has no significant impact on students’ academic performance in Government as a subject.
Ho3: Students’ academic performance of single parents is significantly different from those of two-parents.
Ho4: The occupational status of single parents has no significant impact on academic performance of student in government as a subject.
1.6 Basic Assumptions
The study is based on the following assumptions.
1. A negative behaviour exhibited by a learner in or out-of-school could be premise on the family pattern of the home.
2. Most cases of single parenting of homes are premeditated on both genders.
3. Students from single parental homes are mostly found attending boarding school system.
4. Students’ performance in a particular subject is influenced by a number of variables. This could be teachers’ factor, environmental or family background.
5. Reading materials are usually provided for students’ of single parental homes as at when necessary compared to their counterparts.
1.7 Significance of the Study
As widely described, a child plays an important role in the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values and ideal. Unfortunately, the pattern of homes lately had been distorted for one reason or another. Thereby, affecting the academic performance of a child’s upbringing in and out-of-school. The findings anticipated in this study shall therefore assist all stakeholders (parents, students, curriculum planners, policy makers and the government to mention but a few on roles expected of them.
First, it would empower single parents and others alike to have a renewed orientation and be equipped with the necessary information to have an indivisible family. As it will help parents to build a better future for their wards and the society at large.
Secondly, the outcome of this study would serve as an input for legislation on policies relating to parenting. It is expected that the study recommendations will assist the nation’s lawmakers to have a deeper horizon of single parenting and on the need to act fast because of its consequences on the nation.
Thirdly, the study outcome would help secondary school teachers and other teachers as well, to acknowledge the importance of a stable home as a major pillar for academic success in the life of any student.
Fourthly, as curriculum planners needed to be guided with factors that could assist the curriculum planning and implementation to be successful. This study would therefore afford planners to consider learners’ family stability as a primary determinant of academic breakthrough.
Also, the outcome of this study would not exempt students in the scheme of importance it would benefit them. It would enable students to understand even though over a long period of time, that crisis is eminent everywhere they find themselves but should rather allow their conscious to guide their daily conduct and strive to achieve hard work.
Finally, the school counselors would be better equipped with the necessary tool to guide and counsel students from such homes. Such would offer them the zeal and courage to forge ahead in life especially with their studies aimed at discouraging any form of distractions.
1.8 Scope of the Study
The study covers all the senior secondary schools located within Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna state. It is delimited to students of S.S.2 classes in public and private schools, located in eight (8) districts in the study area namely, Birni Dekiwe, Hanwa, sabo Gari, Wuchuchi, Gyallesu, Tukurtukur, Dutsin Abba.
Both type of schools were involved in this study since there exists different socioeconomic background of homes from where there root lies. Some are poor economically while others are from wealthy homes. Because of this singular factor, academic performance of students between two types of homes were determined.
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