Family Background And Students Performance In Government: A Case Study Of Etim-Ekpo Local Government Area In Akwa Ibom State

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1.1   Background of the Study

        The family has always been the bedrock of any society. It is the first social group which every individual born into the world belongs and usually the first to have influence on the individual.

They exert a lot of influence on its members and its importance cannot be underestimated. It has come to be recognized as a force that determines the way individuals behave in the society, react to situations as well as relate with other people.

In the same way that the family influences the life of an individual, it also influences the education of its members. According to Goode (1984:142) “…parents strongly influence the ideas and behaviours of their children, even in our own society”. Experience in the family is so intense that they usually have lifelong impact on individuals. They lay down our basic sense of self, establishing our initial motivations, ideas about who we area and what we deserve out of life (Henslin 2003).

Due to the influence the family usually has on the child, the child usually accepts and believes anything he sees being done at home as the usual norm except otherwise when he goes to another environment and sees a different thing. In other words, children absorb the life of their parents. This conforms with Westlake and Westlake (1992) view that “parents have a strong influence on character development” and “children imitate their parents”. Personality and intellectual skills originated in the home remain important forces during school year.

This research aims to find out the effects of family background on the educational performance of the students. It is known that the type of education a child acquired is usually influenced

  1. Hereditary factors
  2. Home environment factors which include wealth of parents, education, occupation, family climate, parental attitude to children’s education and so on.
  3. School environment factors such as teaching facilities, availability and quality of teachers, teaching methods and so on.

These factors usually affect the child’s educational life which in turn affects the occupational choice of students. The occupational choice made by students determines their choices of subject and hence their performance in that subject. The performance of students in a particular subject is also influenced by the support they receive from their parents in that subject area. As such if the parents of a child are Arts incline, research has shown that the child will have the support of the parents if he (the child) is also a lover of art. This is due to the influences parents usually have on children.

According to Majoribanks (1996), family background is key to a student life and outside of school is the most important influence on student learning and includes factors such as socio-economic status, parenting practices and aspirations, family size and neighbourhood. To Khado (1998), the environment in which a student comes from can greatly influence his performance at school and parents and individual experiences at home play tremendous roles in building the personality of the child and making the child what he is. In otherwords, the environment at home is a primary socialization agent and influences a child’s interest in school and aspirations for the future.

1.2    Statement of Problem

        The family which is the most idealized institution is the factor mostly responsible for the child’s performance as well as the social institution with a lasting influence. If there is a deformation in this aspect, the child might be deformed for the rest of his life. The environment of a child could make or mar a child. A very good example of this is the experiment conducted on Viki a chimpanzee reared in the household of an American psychologist as sited in Enang (2009), the chimpanzee could perform activities which similar animals reared in orthodox environments could not perform.

This explains the fact that the family which is a child’s first environment could either make the child perform well or be retarded in terms of performance.

The problem of the study is therefore whether family background affects the performance of the students.

1.3    Purpose of the Study

        The purpose of this research was to find out the extent to which family background influence the performance of students especially in government as a subject.

1.4    Research Hypotheses

        The following hypotheses were generated to help in the study.

  1. There is no significant influence between family income status and students performance in government.
  2. There is no significant influence between parental attitude and students performance in government.
  3. There is no significant difference between family size and students performance in government.

1.5    Significance of the Study

        The findings of this research work will be useful to the parents, teachers, students and the society at large.

This study will help parents to know how their behaviour towards their child’s academics can boost or retard the students academic performance. It will help the parents to know the areas in which they are to improve concerning their children’s academic either by providing materials that will help in learning or creating an enabling environment for their children.

To the teachers, it will help them to know those factors that militate against students’ performance in government as a subject. It will help the teachers to know how to manage those factors that are related to the teaching field and so improve on it to aid performance.  It will help the student to know those things that can impede their performance and how to remedy it.

1.6    Delimitation of the Study

        This study was delimited to Etim-Ekpo Local Government Area Public Secondary Schools.

1.7    Assumption of the Study

        The family is said to be the most idealized of all society’s institutions and its class and race not only affect its members but determines the quality of family life.


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