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          This study centres on the influence of family background variables on the academic performance of students in Nigeria with particular reference to Egebda Local Government Area of Oyo State. The rationale is to re-orientate the citizen Egbeda on the influence of family background variables on child’s life and his academic performance with the use of stratified and balloting random sampling techniques, students were taken from four (4) senior secondary schools in Egbeda Local Government, Ibadan.

          Eighty (80) questionnaires were self-administered and cumulative records of the respondents available of students were check and matched. A research question was asked and answered which was used to classify students into various socio-economic status.

          Five hypotheses were also formulated and tested. the major statistical techniques used were simple percentages and t-test.

          In a nutshell, evidences from the analysis revealed that three out of the five hypothesis set up were accepted while two were rejected. This result showed that there are other variables apart from family background variables that influence academic performance in our schools.

          On the basis of the finding, the following recommendations are hereby made that teacher should take cognizance of the difference in the background of each students ability, interest and other environmental factors in their teaching, uniformity in the distribution of teachers by the government, awarding of scholarship emphasis on mastery rather than paper qualification and others would help to enhance higher academic performances rather than family background variable alone.   



 1.1.   Background to the Study

          The pronounced poor academic performance in Nigeria schools and students drop out as a result of which the phenomenon of touts, thugs and other bandits has become a menace to our society which evidently result into increased in the number of teenage conflicts, has been the concern of educators, guidance, counselors, teachers, government as well as parents.

          The foregoing has given rise to this study which is addressed to the relationship between family background variables and academic performance of senior secondary school in Nigeria. A case study of selected schools in Egbeda Local Government area of Oyo State.

          Apart from variation in interest, motives, values attitudes and behaviours that individual has towards success, there are literarily thousands of dimensions that are sources of achievement vis-à-vis environmental influences, level of education of the parents and other factors that may stimulate one towards higher performance. Parents have been found as influential to their child’s attitude, preference and performance in the followings ways

1.       Parent’s own attitudes

2.       Expectations of child performance

3.       Parental encouragement

          Nature of relationship between socio-economic status, type and size of the family, religion, occupation genetics, position relation to other children in the family, peer influences and ability showed a positive or negative influence on his academic performance. It is necessary therefore for the researcher to find out those variables that are found influencing academic performance of students negatively, suggest and recommend some possible solutions.

          Generally, Nigeria is socially stratified society where majority of the people are economically weak and very few are economically viable.

          Student’s social economic background in the present Nigeria can be broadly categorized into three namely:

–        The lower social economic class

–        The middle social economic class

–        The upper social economic class

The Lower Socio-Economic Class

These are people whose incomes are insufficient to meet their needs. The civil servant with grade level 01-07 falls within the class, the unskilled labourers and petty traders inclusive.

The Middle Social Economic Class

          In this category are the civil servants between grade 08-12 and small scale business owners.

The Upper Social Economic Class

          These are the people whose income are sufficient, high and more than enough to cater for their needs. The upper and the middle class have relatively the same characteristics, which the lower socio-economic class is the most disadvantaged of them all. A lot of research had been carried out to find out the various variables that influence performance cross social groups but little had been done to find out the influence of family background variables as they affect the performance of students in schools. The research is therefore designed to find out family background variables and how they affect students’ academic performance in schools.

          The influence of the family background variables on the academic performance of the students in Nigeria secondary schools cannot be over emphasized. This is because of family immense roles and contributions towards the academic performance. The family background variable can be seen as those factors that have effects on the academic performance of the students. Since the family is a group of people related by blood and since the human family has two aspects the biological and social aspects, it is pertinent to say then that blood link heredity characteristics and common interest are embedded in the family set up. The aforementioned family traits serve as bedrock for family background variables that have influence on the overall academic performance of students. In view of above mentioned reasons, it is very necessary to highlight some of the importance of these family background variables in relation to students’ academic performance in Nigeria Secondary Schools. It has been noted that socio-economic status of the parents has direct influence on the academic performance of a child. For instance, a child whose school fees is being paid as at when due, provided with adequate and necessary school materials like textbooks, proper uniform, school sandals, and other writing materials, at appropriate time will be of academic advantages over others. In addition to the above a child who is well fed and cared for by the parents also has an advantage over his or her counterparts who is less privilege. The definition of education has given by Castle (1975) stated that education is what happens to one person from the day he is born to the day he dies”. Based on the above definition therefore, education can be referred to as totality of experience of man through out of his life time.

          In this dimension, educational attainment of the parent has a great influence on the academic performance of the child. For example, a child whose parents are literate and enlightened will be at an advantage than a child from illiterate parents. The reason being that the child of the former will have easy assess to the collection of books rendering academic assistance to the child when studying, encouragement, instant correction of errors made by the child while interesting with the parents and so on.

          The influence of parents’ occupation on academic performance of a child be over-emphasize.

          For instance, economic crunch in the country has made most of the parents unable to stay with their children at home and consequently makes some parents not have to monitor the academic performance of their wards.

          In a situation where this is in operation, the child of much parents are left to do whatever they like which may eventually leads to hindrance to such child academic progress. Moreover, the parents job are over-demanding to the extent that they could not supervise or monitor their children’s academic performance are also found in this category. Such jobs include: full time trading, contractors, farming, plotting, shifting works, defense and security jobs etc.

          In Nigeria society, almost fifty percent (50%) of family are polygamous in nature according to Abdul Rasaq (1988) the number of wife that a man has determines the number of child he is expected to have in most cases. Consequently, this indicated the size of the family. This in turn will have either negative (-) or positive (+) influence on the academic performance of the entire children of such parents. Unhealthy rivalry and envies might be generated within the family and subsequently lead to negative (-) effect on the academic performance of such children. Beside the roles played by the above mentioned variables on the academic performance of a child, genetic variables also plays an immense role in the academic performance of a child. For instance, Mendel (1856) in his work on genetic constitution of an individual postulates that genes are responsible for the development of the individual and that genes are independently transmitted from one generation to another instant undergoing any alternation. In his law of heredity, states that, it is the tendency of the offspring to passes characteristics similar to either of or both of parents. It is because of heredity that individual related by descent resemble one another within the family. In the light of the above mentioned statement one could say that the academic performance of a child is as a result of his or her inherited trait from his or her parents.

          Therefore, from the various reasons presented above, it is obvious that significance of the influence of the family background variables on the academic performance of students in Nigeria calls for a study.

          In order to substantiate this fact, the academic performance of the best five students in some selected secondary school in the area of study at the 1999 June senior secondary certificate examination are used.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

          The reasons for the poor performance of students among senior secondary school in Nigeria can be attributed to some variables. The influence of family background variables on the academic performance of students of different sexes and socio-economic sub groups have been sources of the problem.

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The main objectives of this study are:

  1. To find out to what extent the level of parents income influence the academic performance of a child
  2. To find out the difference in the academic performance of male children of upper socio-economic status and the male children of lower socio-economic status.
  3. To find out the difference in the academic performance of female of upper socio-economic status and the female children a lower socio-economic status.

1.4     Significance of the Study

          Education is an important instrument in the development and progress of any community, state or nation. Therefore, the school as one of numerous agencies that socialize the individual has become a dominant feature of modern society. Its impact is so far reaching that in many countries educational policy is a matter of national concern and frequently a pressing political issue. This study serves as a pointer to the unequal educational opportunities and privileges in Nigeria which makes education a privilege rather than a right which it should be. The study also gives a clear picture of present situation in Nigeria, where there is a gulf between the “have” and “have not” thus, Socio-economic background can determine to a great extent of students success or failure. The study will serve as a pointer to our curriculum developers that they will be able to give consideration to students’ environmental variations in the process of formulating syllabus and developing scheme of works. More so, the Guldian Counsellors and social studies educators will borrow a leaf from the study that students family background variable cause mental or physical retardation or acceleration of progress in academic performance and physical growth of a child and this will help them to discharge, their duty effectively and efficiently. It will also serve as a precaution to the people of Egbeda and its environs and the elite’s in particular on likely adverse effects of their present value orientation and assets.

          Psychologically, high performance reinforce teacher’s confidence, this study point to the teachers the need for them to understand and not to be put-off by slow learners and low achievers.

          Equal educational opportunities is good way to equal and even distribution of wealth which has a stronger effect of bringing national stability, peace, progress and justice. It will further reduce the level of crime and social evils committed in the society. Since many are driven to them out of frustration, failure, and idleness.

          The Nigeria educational system places greater value on paper qualification rather than mastery, which means that students from less privilege home who do not succeed as high as their counterparts from middle or upper socio strata may have their life  chances ruined since their academic performance is patient to their upward mobility.

          This study above all will show that due to the gross inequality or unequal educational opportunity in Nigeria society, there is low achievement, waste and stagnation of our human resources. The progress and posterity of a country depends on her educational policy and how it is being implemented which in-turn produced great educators and men of higher intelligence. As a developing and progressing nation our progress and development depend on the number of our educated citizens.

1.5     Research Hypothesis

  1. There is no significant difference in the academic performance of children of upper socio-economic status and the children of lower socio-economical status
  2. There is no significant difference in the academic performance of male children of the upper socio-economic status and the male children of lower socio-economic status
  3. There is no significant difference in the academic performance of female children of upper socio-economic status and the female children of lower socio-economic status.
  4. There is no significant difference in the academic performance of male and female children of lower socio-economic status.

1.6     Definition of Terms

Influence: This refers to power to affect character, beliefs or action by person that exercise such power such as heredity and environment Variable: This refers to changeable phenomenon varying or factors which may vary.

Factors: This refers to underlying influence responsible for the part of variability of a number of behavioral manifestations.  A factor therefore, determines part of the over-all variance of measured characteristics.

Social Stratification:  This refers to a patterned set of distinction in social rank which results from any society’s unequal distribution of resources and awards.

Socio- Economic Status:  This refers to position occupied by a person, family or group in a social system relative to others.

Variability:  This refers to the scores spreading around the central value. However, the spread of the scores reveals more about the composition of the group.

Genetics: This refers to the biological science that concerned with the study of heredity and variation among offspring and their parents.

Inheritance: This refers to the passing of some of the genes to the offspring by the parents.

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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