Broken Homes and Pupils’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Primary Schools

Broken Homes and Pupils’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Primary Schools
Broken Homes and Pupils’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Primary Schools

ABSTRACT: The study investigated Broken Homes and Pupils’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Primary Schools. The population for the study was 8055 primary four pupils in Essien Udim Local Government Area. Two hundred primary four pupils were randomly selected for the study. Two hypotheses were formulated and tested. A survey research design was adopted for the study. Social Studies Achievement Test (SSAT) was used as instrument for data collection. Data analysis was done using independent t-test. Findings showed that there is a significant difference between divorce and single parenting and pupils’ academic performance in social studies in primary schools in Essien Udim Local Government Area. Based on these findings, it is recommended that Government should make it compulsory in every school that sex education is taught as part of their curriculum from primary schools to university level. This will to check unwanted or premarital pregnancies. The government and non-governmental organization should educate parents on the dangers of broken homes. It was therefore concluded that broken homes influence the academic performance of pupils in primary schools especially in the formative age.


Broken Homes and Pupils’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Primary Schools



1.1     Background to the Study

A home is a dwelling-place used as a permanent or semi-permanent residence for an individual, family, household or several families in a tribe. It is often a house, apartment, or building, or alternatively a mobile home, houseboat, yurt or any other portable shelter. Homes typically provide areas and facilities for sleeping, food preparation, eating and hygiene. Larger groups may live in a nursing home, children’s home, convent or any similar institution. A homestead also includes agricultural land and facilities for domesticated animals. Where more secure dwellings are not available, people may live in the informal and sometimes illegal shacks found in slums and shanty towns (Anietie, 2016).

More generally, “home” may be considered to be a geographic area, such as a town. The home is the child’s first place of contact with the world. The child as a result, acquires initial education and socialization from parents and other significant persons in the family. The home lays the psychological, moral, and spiritual foundation in the overall development of the child. Structurally, family/homes are either broken or intact. A broken home in this context is a home that is not structurally intact, as a result of divorce, separation, death of one of parent and illegitimacy. According to Frazer (2014), broken home causes psychological conditions which arises mainly from illegitimacy of children, the label of adopted child, broken homes, divorce and parental deprivation. Such abnormal conditions of the home are likely to have a detrimental effect on school performance of the children and that life in a single parent family or broken home can be stressful for both the child and the parent. Such homes are faced with challenges of inadequate financial resources which may deprive the children and the parents of certain basic need.

Similarly, Udom (2011) maintained that if children from unstable homes are to be compared with those from stable homes, it would be seen that the former have more social, academic and emotional problems and that the home and its structure play a great role in children’s academic performance. In the same vain, Levin (2011), states that the marital instability among parents brings about stress, tension, lack of motivation and frustration to the children and obviously these manifestations act negatively on a child’s academic performance. Also, children of unmarried parents and separated homes are at risk emotionally since some of the children may be subjected to child labour, trafficking as well as abuse by their parents. Also, some of them may be abuse by their peer during play time and this may influence their participation and performance in school as well as their later day performance. Although this may not be completely applicable in all cases of broken homes, as some children irrespective of home background or structure may work hard and become successful in life.

Moreover, Ayodele (2014) stated that the environment where a child finds himself/herself goes a long way in determining his learning ability and ultimately his academic performance in school. Also, that there is a significant difference in cognitive ability between pupils from broken homes and those from stable homes.  However, children may learn differently at different situations but their home background is an important factor that may affect academic performance of pupils especially in their early stage of life. This background refers to the parent’s marital status which may be single, married or divorced and this may influence the child, this is because if the child’s needs are not being properly addressed, his learning ability could be affected due to lack of materials and motivation from parents.

Generally, the home has been identified as an overwhelming factor affecting pupils’ performance academically and it would appear, then, that broken homes may present a very serious danger to the emotional, personality, and mental adjustment of the young children. This impinges on pupils’ academic achievement. Other variable considered in this study that may arise from broken homes is the personality development of the child. Personality is the sum total of the child, as he or she impresses other members of the home.

Moreover, to Freud, the personality of the child is a trinity consisting of Id, ego and superego. The id is a reservoir of psychic energy and the source of the human instincts. It furnishes the power that sustains a child’s activities. The ego is a special part of the id which keeps the individual in touch with the outside world, and finds outlets for the expression of his instincts. The superego is a kind of moral censor which passes judgment on the individual’s striving according to the standards which he has acquired from his parents. It makes him feel guilty when he goes against those standards, and proud of himself when he lives up to them. To Jung (2013), Personality development exerts strong impression about the child’s self and the child’s behavior which significantly relate with their participation in class activities thereby affecting them in school and at home. The school and the home therefore, must provide conditions favourable for social development of children to excel in their academic pursuit. Children should be assisted to achieve socially acceptable pattern rather than the repression of their emotion for emotional feelings and expression in life.

So far researchers have examined the influence of broken homes on academic performance and personality development of children and it could be recalled that childhood is a formation period. During this period, an individual is seen as a child not as an adult and therefore, need to be groomed by an adult in order to achieve in life. To support this statement, Hall (2014) claimed that early childhood is characterized by emotional instabilities and hyper-activities, which cause the child to experience confusion, ignorance and instability. It is the era of parent provision of informal education to the children because the child spends most of his days with parents at home and the environment which the child is being brought up influence the child behavior as well as the academic performance in school.


Broken Homes and Pupils’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Primary Schools

1.2     Statement of the Problems

Home is the first point of contact of children in the world and the home consist of two important adult (father and mother) of which each of them occupy a specific position and function in the overall development of the children. When both parents are present; it implies that the child would derive much care from them and according to psychology; these children develop emotional and psychological attachment to their parent. However, in some homes one of the parents may be absent creating a gap in a child’s life as the child would lose the support that would have emanated from that parent be it the father or mother and this may be as a result of divorce or death.

However, broken homes which may have been as a result of divorce, separation of various kinds or having children out of wedlock leaves the roles in the hands of a single parent which therefore means the role that would have been shared is being carried out by a single parent putting much emphasis on either the father or mother.  The basic school pupils are nonetheless the most fragile because they are still in their formative years meaning any disruptions could have everlasting result on them especially their interaction with others significant people in the society. Nevertheless, Uwaifo (2014) in a study found out that differences in academic performance of children exist in terms of those from single parent and those from two parent families in primary schools. Donkor (2010) also pointed out that many parents complain of the poor performance of their children and this emanates from lack of proper supervision of their children’s homework.

Growing up in a broken home may also cause children to have difficult in future relationship. According to Daniel (2014), children living with newly divorced mothers are more likely to be late for school and are less likely to have a help in their homework and this may affect the academic performance of their children and may also lead to drop out from school. These therefore motivated the researcher to investigate the influence of broken homes on pupils’ academic performance in primary schools in Essien Udim Local Government Area.

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