FAMILY SIZE AND ACADEMIC ATTAINMENTS OF CHILDREN
The study investigated family size and academic attainments of children in primary schools. The population for the study was 5336 primary four pupils from 59 primary schools in the study Area. Two hundred primary four pupils formed the sample size randomly selected from ten selected public primary schools in the study area. Two research questions and two research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The survey design was adopted as the design for the study. The instruments for data collections were interview and pupils’ raw scores in the First Terminal Examination in 2018/2019 academic session. An independent t-test statistical method was employed in analyzing the data collected. Findings revealed that there is a significant difference in the academic performances of Pupils from small, middle and large family size in primary schools. Based on the findings, it was recommended that Parents should at least have a medium number of four (4) children to enable them to take proper care of the children/family.
Family Size and Academic Attainments of Children
1.1 Background of the Study
It is an established fact that every member of the society belongs to a family. It is incontrovertible that the primary school pupils like every mortal come from a home. While some come from extremely poor homes others have well-to-do parents. There are also those whose parents are illiterate while others have educated parents. Still some come from polygamous families while others come from monogamous families. Similarly, some pupils come from large families’ size while other comes from small families’ size. However, whichever category a learner belongs, it has either positive or negative effect on his or her academic life and brings with him/her to formal education or schooling a way of functioning which carries the imprint of his/her upbringing at home.
Accordingly, the family provides what the pupils take with him/her to school. Herein, the importance of the family in the cultural, moral, social, educational and general upbringing of a child cannot be over-emphasized. Apart from serving as a breeding ground for human continuity, the family which is regarded as a primary social unit in the society is the institution that sets the socialization process on course. It was in position of the unique philosophy of the family that Maduakonam (2013) asserted that should an evaluation of the social influence of the home be carried out, one would find that the home has a greater influence. The home lays the foundation for goals and motivation early in the life of a child. A child first learns what is important through the values or goals that are considered most important in the society by emulating the parents. Children most often absorb the values of the parents but even if they reject them, they will be deeply influenced by them.
Essien (2015) observed that discipline and indiscipline behaviours among children is a function of the family. Ezewo (2016) equally asserted that the preponderance of delinquents among school population were from polygamous homes and large families.
The United Nations Report (2010) highlighted education as a basic right and need which is significant in the accomplishment of the second goal of the Millennium Development Goals. This is because good education guarantees skilled and dynamic citizens. Family backgrounds have been of great important in shaping the performance of children in schools worldwide. This is because; academic performance is usually as a result of motivation that children get from the people they interact with in their initial stages of life. A study conducted in the U.S.A by Rouse and Barrow (2006) revealed that years of schooling completed and educational achievement of students, varied widely by family backgrounds.
The responsibility of training a child always lies in the hand of the parents. This statement agrees with the common assertion of sociologist that education can be an instrument of cultural change which is being taught from home is relevant in this discuss. Therefore, it is not out of place to imagine that parental socio–economic background can have possible effects on the academic achievement of children in school (Ogunshola and Adewale, 2012).
Lisa (2003) in support of the above statement believed that whatsoever affect the development environment of children would possibly affect their education or disposition to it. It will therefore, not be out of place to say that parental status is one of such variables. When a woman’s nutritional status improves, so does the nutrition of her young children. Parents of different occupation classes often have different styles of child rearing, different ways of disciplining their children and different ways of reacting to their children. These differences do not express themselves consistently as expected in the case of every family; rather they influence the average tendencies of families for different occupational classes (Rothestein, 2004 in Ogunshola and Adewale, 2012).
Families in general and parents in particular, are therefore, the most important support system available to the child. The strongest factor in modelling a child’s personality or behaviour is his relationship with his parents. Coleman (2005) proposed that family influence can be separated into components such as economic, human and social capital. Hence a family’s socio-economic status correlates with academic achievements of their children at secondary level. Ibalaoro (2012) indicate that the socio-economic status of a student is based on family income, parental educational level and parental occupation.
Rouse and Barrow (2006) found out that students who came from less disadvantaged families had higher average test scores and were more likely to have never been held back a grade as compared to students from the more disadvantaged families. However they highlighted that it was not clear to reflect the causal effect of family backgrounds on the child’s educational achievement which creates a gap that this study sought to fill by finding out the influence of family backgrounds on the students’ academic performance.
However, it is a common knowledge that a number of home variables discussed above have a significant influence on the education of the child. For instance, inspite of the government policies on family planning, a number of parents are still producing an uncontrollable number of children, such parents in this era of global economic recession may not be able to cater for the socio-economic and educational needs of the family members. With the limited resources of the family, it is indisputable that priority attention will be given to the education of some children while others will be survival of the fittest.
Malu (2006) stated that the home background of a learner has a significant influence on his educational achievement in school. He maintained that the home is the most important primary group and the smallest social unit in the society. It has its roots in biological and social nature. As such, it is universal in the sense that no human society could possible exist or has ever existed without some form of home organization. This is because parents, siblings and family members help to shape the characters, behavioural pattern, academic life and personality of a young child.
Moreover, family size is the number of children that are in one family. This number of children is group into small family size which is a family with less than five (5) people. They may include father, mother and the children, living together as a unit. Another family size according to Ekanem (2015) is a middle family size which is a family with not more than seven (7) people and may encompassed the father, mother and five children or other people which ranches from cousins, nieces, nephews amongst others, living together as a unit. The large family size is one with more than seven (7) people living together in one family.
The size of the family may influence the availability of materials such as food, textbooks and other relevant materials which may help the children in their academic process. To Nsemin (2011), the level of attention a child receives depends on the number of siblings a child has which receive assistance from the same parents. This therefore motivated the researcher to investigate into family size and academic attainments of children in primary schools in primary schools in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The family provides what the child takes with him/her to school. Herein, the importance of the family in the cultural, moral, social, educational and general upbringing of a child cannot be over-emphasized. Apart from serving as a breeding ground for human continuity, the family which is regarded as a primary social unit in the society is the institution that sets the socialization process on course.
Experience has shown that among the primary schools pupil’s, there exist some differences which influence pupil’s academic performance, such as some pupils not being able to pay their school fees promptly, while others are often being sent away for non-payment of school fees, others are seen in the class receiving lesson because their parents have paid their school fees in time. This may cause disruption in the pupils learning process. Some pupil have problem with the provision of school uniform but others do not.
Likewise, some pupils are motivated by their parents through the provision of educational materials like text books and exercise books and other parents do not; equally some pupils come to school properly fed, others do not. These then motivated the researcher to ask whether these differences among pupils could have been as a result of different family sizes which could influence the pupils’ academic achievement in school. In the quest to provide answer to this question, the researcher investigated into family size and academic attainments of children in primary schools in primary schools in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area.
Family Size and Academic Attainments of Children
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to examine family size and academic attainments of children in primary schools in primary schools in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Specifically the study sought to:
- Compare the academic performance of Pupils from a small family size (less than five people) and large family size (more than seven people) .
- Examine the academic performance of Pupils from middle family size (between five to seven people) and large family size (more than seven people) .
1.4 Significance of the Study
Increasing significance of this study as it works to promote the value and the contribution of the family size towards the academic performance of children in schools.
- To the parents and guardians, the findings of this study will enable them to have the knowledge and skills to study their children very well to know their educational needs and challenges. Also to have alternative ways of child rearing without abusing them because of large family size.
- To the teachers, the study will help them to develop critical and creative mind in the selection of instructional strategies which will motivate the pupils in the teaching/learning process irrespective of their family sizes.
- To the government, the study will help them to understand the various ways which family size have influence the academic performance of pupils and proffered ways for assisting all the pupils who are from different family sizes to learn effectively.
- The study will help educational planners to understand the effect of family sizes on pupils, so that they know where and how to start combating it in the planning of the educational programme in schools.
- To the school counselors, the study will provide useful information to them for the effective counseling of pupils on the consequences of family sizes on their academic performance in school.
- Through this study, religious organization and non-governmental organizations will understand the effect of family sizes and pupils’ achievement and thus obtain appropriate knowledge on how best to contribute and participate in the educational sector.
- This study will also contribute to the body of knowledge in general by providing direction to future researchers who may which to further their investigation on similar topic
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
(i) Does the academic performance of Pupils from small and large family sizes differs?
(ii) How does the academic performance of Pupils from medium and large family sizes differs?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses are stated to guide the study:
- There is no significant difference in the academic performances of Pupils from small and large family size .
- There is no significant difference in the academic performances of Pupils from medium and large family size .