IMPACT OF SINGLE PARENTAL UPBRINGING ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
Background of the Study
Education is of much importance to every nation. It therefore attracts special attention to the family, community and to all forms of government; education is discussed, planned and processed (Omolewa, 2002). It is believed that education recreates both the individuals and the nation, influences attitudes and values for a worthwhile living. The National Policy on Education (2010) 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 survival and development of man itself.
It is not surprising that the processes of education were offered by the three levels– primary, secondary and tertiary education. Therefore, education is classified on the concurrent list. That is, administration, policy formulation, funding 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 that has resulted in serious setbacks to the economic and industrial development of the nation and its place among comity of nations in the 21st century. Investigations into the factor that affect academic performance of students in and out-of-school could be trace to individual home or family. The home or family is an integral part of the society which is a sub-system of the social structure. It is true that good homes breed a productive nation. It is the brain-child of why, every society aspires for development. The well-being of the society is the aggregate of the well-being of the individual families which make up the society. Therefore, the home is a quite importance factor on the learner’s psychological, emotional, social and economic state. Many homes are made up of father and 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) affects all aspect of one’s life and it is practical in nature. The beliefs and practices of ATRs are concentrated upon the faith of the indigenous people.
Such are declining now since the arrival of Islam and Christianity at the beginning of the twentieth century (Yombi, 2011).
The educational aim of every child is relatively determined by the pattern of home or family he/she comes from. It could be wealthy or poor, educated or otherwise, traditional belief or aspirations. Parents who failed in their responsibilities to guide and assist 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 behaviors, as foundation to the success or failures in any child is laid upon the home and at the initial stage in life. Parents have a great role to play in seeing to it that the students acquire the appropriate social, moral, psychological, and academic development. Those found in this category are mostly adolescents who needed to be trained 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 that has become a main 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, 2005). 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, 2008). Children that come from single parent homes are likely to suffer deprivation, and denial of some opportunities and rights. 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 main traditional role of child care and home-making while the father’s role is that of the economic responsibilities and discipline of children. But in case of single parent families, double responsibilities are required of time, attention and money of the parent. Thus, less attention has been given to the education of the child. Perpetually the cost of receiving education today is high to be financed only by a parent who could 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, anxious, fearful, aggressive, hyperactive and distractible than children from intact families (Nwachukwu, 2008). The school curriculum if is well-designed as the situation demands will become helpful in addressing the poor students’ academic performance on the set-objectives of secondary education as well as analyzing the factors that affect the performance. However, there are no available statistics of single parent families in Nigeria, practical experience and tabloids report shows that it is continuing 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 (Nwachukwu, 2008).
The conditions are not palatable conducive for effective parenting of a child in most single parental families (Ortese, 2008). 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 Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Statement of the Problem
It is importance 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 levels of government for successful implementation of educational programmes. Therefore, it 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 (2006), they warned of the impending threat 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 used. 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.
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 Ikere Local Government Area in Ekiti state. The study was carried out to achieve the following.
a. To determine the extent to which income status of single parents affects the academic performance of students from such homes in school.
b. To find out the level at which educational attainment of single parents influenced their children’s/wards academic performance in School.
c. To find out the level of students’ academic performance between those of single parents and two-parents.
d. To find out if occupational status of single parenthood has an influence on children’s academic performance in schools.
Significance of the Study
As majorly described, a child plays an important role in the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values and ideal. Unfortunately, the way 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 expected 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.
However, it would empower single parents and others alike to have a renewed idea and be equipped with the necessary information to have an indivisible family. Also, 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.
This study sought to provide answers to the following research questions which were formulated to guide the present investigation.
1. To determine extent does income status of single parental homes affects students’ academic performance in Government as a subject in Ikere Local Government Area?
2. To what extent does influence of educational attainment of single parental homes on the academic performance of secondary school students’ in Government as a subject in Ikere Local Government Area?
3. Are there any differences in the academic performance of students from single parents compared to those of two parents in Ikere Local Government Area?
Definition of Terms
Academic Performance: This refers to the measure of what a learner has comprehended over a period of time during the teaching and learning process.
Academic Performance in Government: It refers to what a learner can comprehend in the subject government being taught and how it can be determined as a measure of work done by the subject teacher.
Impact: Means effect or influence of one variable on another.
Income Status: It refers to the rating of parents (working class) according to the amount of monies earned from one’s legitimate occupation.
Occupational Status: It refers to the ranking of one’s occupation alongside skilled or unskilled labour as recognized by the society.
Poor Families: This is a type of family whose income is below average in terms of socio-economic status. They all live close to poverty line and struggle to compete economically with others.
Single Parental Family: This consists the coming together of one of the biological parents and the child or children living peacefully without the assistance of the other (man or woman) in the home. This could be as a result of divorce, death, adoption and others.
Upbringing: This is the way by which parents look after their children and teach them to behave. The later manifestations of behavior in such children could be positive or negative.
Wealthy Families: This is a family considered wealthy when her economic resources is in excess and sometimes controls the means of the state. They live in affluence and could meet the social and educational needs of their children.