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1.1 Background of the Study
Stability is the state of being, consistent, upright, tranquil, well established. Instability, on the other hand, means the direct opposite of stability. A stable family is one which is united members accept each other‟s shortcomings, understand, and appreciate the contribution of each members, always ready to assist, forgive and think on how to see the progress of each member and the entire family. It is the complete state of disunity, chaos, anarchy and confusion, capable of changing at any time. Structurally, a family can be broken into two types; stable (intact) and unstable (broken) family. Childhood is the phase where parents experiences are believed to exert their most significant and salient influences. (Bradbury, 1998) According to them, the family lays the psychosocial, moral and spiritual foundations in the overall development of the child. A closely knitted family, solidified by love, understanding and respect for each other is certainly more likely to bring up a child well disciplined and socially upright than a disagreeable family. Anyakoha, (2000) reported that family instability is“the degree to which families fail to provide continuity, cohesiveness and stability for children, while those that are able to do so are said to be stable” .
A cordial and healthy relationship is expected to exist between a man and a woman, sharing common interest, goals in life, good and bad times and in most cases the general philosophies of life. Such unity or coexistence has been responsible for the wellbeing and social upliftment of mankind. One of the leading institutions that strengthened togetherness is the marriage institution. The institution gives rise to the immediate, smallest but by far the most important community to the child known as a family. The family molds and determines what the child would eventually become in life. The family is the basic unit of life and also the orientation
ground for every person in the society. This community that plays a major role in not only the upbringing, but the actual shaping of the life of the individual, needs to be a stable one that has, as far as possible, common understanding of every member‟s feelings, wants and desired objectives in life. It is a general belief that has been tested and ascertained that the family unit has a tremendous influence on the personality of the child. Many factors influence the development of children, but parenthood is the final common pathway to childhood neglect, adjustment and success which to a very large extent influence children school attendance and performance.
Students‟ academic performance refers to students‟ achievement in the topic taught base on the stated objectives. The use of appropriate teaching method by the teacher helps to achieve this goal. Edinyang (2012) defined academic performance as the outcome of education which reveals the extent to which a student, teacher or institution have achieved their educational goals. Academic performance or achievement is commonly measured by examinations or continuous assessment (Abdulhamid, 2013). For a child to be able to achieve this, he/she must be in the best state of mind; psychologically, mentally, physically, morally, spiritually and emotionally. These are attributes that are systematically built through the process of upbringing by the immediate family. The child‟s academic performance is influenced by interplay of their individual family background, school attended, punctuality in all school activities and the environment they grow. Particularly, the family shapes children‟s behaviours and attitudes towards school through provision of learning opportunities. Studies have shown that the academic performance of students, poor or excellent, is significantly influenced by their family background, among other factors. Collins and Repilski,( 2006) remarked that family instability in the home influences the learning capabilities of a child either positively or negatively. This is because, both part of the
lives of the parents are being emulated by their children, whether negatively or positively. This influences the children‟s readiness to learn even before they go to school. Crosnoe and Elder,(2011) opined that family stability and instability affects child‟s social and personal relationships with his/her colleagues, mates and peers within and outside his/her environment. The researcher wanted to investigate whether in addition to child‟s social and personal relationships family stability and instability also influence child‟s school attendance and academic performance in secondary school.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
A general family atmosphere of peace, harmony and cohesion strongly influences the overall development of the child, just as an atmosphere of anger and discord has a greater impact on children. Cunning, (1993) stated that, the nature of family which a child belongs has a lot of influence on the general life pattern of the child. Therefore, the successful passage through the process of educational attainment is partly dependent on the entire family assistance. Thus ineffectiveness or inadequate family assistance may lead a child to feel overwhelmed, consequently to withdraw from school. Hence, family stability can be a strong determinant of student‟s academic performance in school, the opposite of which can be disastrous. Supporting this view Stephen (2003), posited that family instability can cause parents to become more inconsistent and ineffective in parenting and may reduce responsiveness to children‟s cognitive needs, diminishing the quality of the emotional relationships and attachment between parents and children. This will consequently promote less parental involvement in school work, less or no attention given to early and regular attendance at school and less supervision outside the home. These children are more likely to drop out of school; disengagement from school is associated with low parental involvement and educational aspirations. Sroufe, (2003), revealed that between
4% and 20% of variation in children poor academic performance and emotional maladjustment is accounted for by the levels and nature of family instability experienced by the children in the family. A very unstable family has little or no time for playing parental roles, thus leading to the reductions in the amount of time parents spend monitoring school work, supervising their children and reductions in parent-child communication. This is often accompanied by increase in truancy and more negative attitudes towards school as exhibited by the adolescent
Virtually from all the write ups and experiences so far gathered, it has come to full knowledge that most parents, teachers, and even the society are ignorant of the role family stability or otherwise play on school attendance and academic performance of secondary school students. Absconding from schools and poor academic performance among secondary school students are in alarming rate in Zamfara State. It is in the light of these situations that the researcher intendedto carry out a study to investigate the influence of family stability on school attendance and academic performance of secondary school students in Zamfara State, Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of the study is to investigate the influence of family stability/instability on school attendance and academic performance of secondary school students in Zamfara State, Nigeria.
Specific objectives of the study were to;
1. ascertain the difference in the class attendance of secondary school students who are from stable family and those who are not in Zamfara state, Nigeria.
2. determine the difference in the academic performance of secondary school students who are from stable family and those who are not in Zamfara state, Nigeria.
3. assess the influence of family stability on the academic performance of Secondary School students in Zamfara state, Nigeria.
4. examine the influence of family instability on the academic performance of Secondary School students in Zamfara state, Nigeria..
1.4 Research Questions
This study will attempt to provide answers to the following research questions:
1. What is the difference in the class attendance of secondary school students who are from stable family and those who are not in Zamfara state?
2. What is the difference in the academic performance of secondary school students who are from stable family and those who are not in Zamfara state?
3. What is the influence of family stability on academic performance of secondary school students in Zamfara State?
4. What is the influence of family instability on academic performance of secondary school students in Zamfara State?
1.5 Hypotheses of the Study
Based on the research objectives and questions, the following Null hypotheses were formulated:
1. There is no significant difference in the class attendance of secondary school students who are from stable family and those whose family are not in Zamfara state, Nigeria.
2. There is no significant difference in the academic performance of secondary school students who are from stable family and those whose family are not in Zamfara state, Nigeria
3. There is no significant influence of family stability on academic performance of secondary
school students in Zamfara state, Nigeria.
4. There is no significant influence of family instability on academic performance of secondary school students in Zamfara state,
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study will be of benefit to parents, teachers, students and Home economics. The parents would come to understand the effects stable or unstable family has on school attendance and academic performance on their school children so as to try maintain stable homes for the benefits of their children. The parents will have access to this findings during Parents Teachers Association‟s meeting.The findings of this study would enable the teachers to identify students from stable and unstable homes in order provide counselling where necessary proffer solutions to the affected students on how to overcome their academic challenges. The teachers would have access to this work in the school library and during seminars and workshops. Educational planners would also benefit from the study through provision of inputs into planning subjects like civic education, social studies and marriage and family relationship in home economics for the benefit of the stake holders when the result of this research is published in academic journals or presented in workshops and seminar.
1.7 Basic Assumptions of the Study
This study is based on the following assumptions. It assumed that,
1. Family size plays a major role in secondary school students‟ attendance and academic performance in Zamfara state, Nigeria.
2. Family educational background plays a major role in secondary school students‟ attendance and academic performance in Zamfara state, Nigeria.
3. Income level of the family significantly influences academic performance of secondary school students in Zamfara state, Nigeria.
4. Parenting styles of the family significantly influence academic performance of secondary school students in Zamfara state, Nigeria
5. Students from well to do families are more engrossed school activities than their counterparts from less privilege family.
6. There is significant difference between the academic achievement of secondary school students whose families are stable and those who are not in Zamfara state, Nigeria.
Delimitations of the Study
The study was delimited to family stability and instability as they affect the attendance and/or academic performance of students of senior Secondary School in Zamfara state, Nigeria. The study is also delimited to adolescents in senior secondary schools and their families
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