1.1 Background of the Study
Education is a legacy a parent can give to a child. The importance of education in the upbringing of children cannot be over-emphasized. Education of the children is not only the responsibilities of teachers but also the sole responsibility of the parents as they are regarded as the first teachers. It is a known fact that the children of today are leaders of tomorrow. As a matter of national priority, it is the fundamental responsibility of government to provide for the education of students for the overall growth and development of the nation. Education socializes the child to grow up as a fulfilled member of the society through informal interaction with parents, siblings, peers and other significant members of the society; through formal training and acculturation receive in schools and through non-formal processes where the student learnt trade or vocational skills such as tailoring, carpentry and barbing.
Education as asserted by Akpan (2012) can be grouped or classified into three forms which include: informal education which is the acquiring of knowledge, skills and attitudes about the environment through daily interaction with the people of the immediate environment. Formal education which is a consciously planned training receive in a formal setting by students under the guidance of teacher. The non-formal education involves the systematic programmes and processes of educational training that is done outside the school setting. It involves the training of the students on vocational skills and trade by specialist in a particular field. These forms of education cannot be achieved without the involvement of the parents since they are first significant people the child comes in contact with at the early stage of development.
Parents’ Socio- Economic Background and Academic Performance of Secondary School Students in Biology
Parent are people from whom one is immediately biologically descended; a mother or a father (Livio, 2011). Parents are also people who take care of a child at home. They may include aunty, uncle, sisters and other significant persons in the society. Parents lay the desired social, moral, emotional, spiritual and intellectual foundations for the child. According to Edwin (2010), parents include the biological father and mother as well as the foster father and mother at home which provide the basic needs of the child to the child. The parents at home do a lot of things to influence the life of a child among which includes socialization of a child, child care and protection, emotional and social support.
Parents are the child’s first contact when a child is born; these people play significant roles in determining the inert characteristics of the child. In most societies like Nigeria, parents are the first teachers for the socialization of children and could be by sharing of materials substances (such as food); the giving and receiving of care and nurture; right and obligations. Thus, one’s experience of one’s home shifts overtime. From the perspective of the children, the parents seem to locate children socially and play a major role in their enculturation and socialization. From the point of view of parent(s) they have the goal of which is to produce, acculturate and socialize children (Ejide, 2013).
Socio-economic refers to individual’s or groups’ demographic, social and economic position in relation to others. In this study, socio-economic status was measured in terms of level of education, income, interest in education, means of recreation and environment. Socioeconomic status is an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person’s work experience and of an individual’s or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation (Sam, 2013). Socio-economic background can also be seen as a person’s position in a given group, society or culture as determined by wealth, occupation, education and social class. Amutabi (2003) discusses the impact of socio-economic background on children’s readiness for school.
The author asserted that the segregating nature of social class, ethnicity may well reduce the variety of enriching experiences thought to be prerequisite for creating readiness to learn among children. Since education start from the home this is the first place of contact of the child to the world and parent being the first teacher to the child, it can be posited that parent’s socio-economic background can have possible effects on the educational performance of secondary school students. Home environment is one of such variables. The home environment involves the location of the house, the facilities in the house as well as the people in the immediate environment. When the environment where the child lives in motivating the child with ease will interact freely with the other members of such environment which indirectly influence their learning experiences.
Parents of different occupational classes often have different styles of child rearing, and disciplining their children as well as reacting to their children educational needs. These differences do not express themselves consistently as expected in the case of every home; rather they influence the average tendencies of parents for different occupational classes and educational outcome of the children (Rothestain 2004).
Another socio-economic background of the parents is the parents’ education which is an important factor found in literature to have a positive relationship with students’ academic performance. Parent educational status refers to the level which the father and mother attain educationally and it is the qualification of the parents (father and mother). Some parents are formally educated which means they have formal education while some parents are not formally educated. Formal education involves education carried out in schools while the non-formal education is any organized educational activity that takes place outside the conventional school system with no specific target group such as carpentry, mechanics, tailoring, shoe mending, computer operating and blacksmithing (Inyang, 2016).
According to Percus (2011), the relationship between parental educational status and students’ academic performance in science has been widely reported that students from educated parent with good occupation like parents who are teachers, doctors, and lawyers among others, children whose parents are degree holders may likely want their children to study harder to become master’s degree holders and Ph.D holders as well. Formally educated Parents do, however, share some unique demography characteristics that differentiate them from non-formally educated parents. Formally educated parents assist the children in doing their assignment at home, pay for home teachers to teach the children at home after school, buy books that the children will read at home and monitor the level of their children academic performance in school in comparison to non-formally educated parents.
On the contrary, formally education parents do also tend to have specific challenges that impede their ability to effectively educate their children. These challenges may be evidenced across all homes, they are perhaps most potent in formally educated parents that they are too busy and handover the children to be taken care of by caregivers and home teachers without paying keen attention to children educational development, lack of motivation to the children and lack of steady parental care for their children (king 2011).
The level of income of the parent is another factor which assists parents to be classified socially to different strata in the society which may play important role in the academic performance of the students in secondary schools and universities. According to Samuel (2014) the level of in come is the amount of money the parents (father and mother) receive monthly, weekly or daily from their occupational activities. Samuel emphasized that the level of income of the parents may be determined by the level of education the parents attain and this may influence the level of exposure of the parent which makes the parents to be versatile n encouraging the children academically.
The children from these rich parents may be inherently motivated to be like their parents when they grow and this will make them to study well in school. On the other hand children from poor parents are likely to experience learning disabilities and developmental delay than children from rich parents. Although some students from poor background are motivated and encouraged by their parents academically by providing home teachers for these children at home, this tends to increase the intrinsic motivation of the children and increase the academic performance in school.
Children from rich parents tend to be exposed to good learning materials at home which assist them in doing their homework and assignment as some parents have personal libraries at home where the children can sit and read comfortably. These students live mostly in the urban areas where there are adequate basic amenities like hospitals, public libraries, research centers and other educational resources centers. Contrary, parents who are poor may not be exposed to good learning materials at home to assist the children in doing their homework and assignment. These poor parents may not have personal libraries at home where the children can sit and read comfortably. These sorts of students live mostly in the rural areas where there are no adequate basic amenities (Utah 2015).
In related work Byoung (2012) stated that the students need safe, healthy and stimulating environment in which they grow and learn at home. During the secondary school stage, the students can spend long time at home where the environment plays critical role in children’s formation and development. According to Enang (2012), the actions and how people behave depends on who the people stay with and where they stay; since the development of the child is determined by the environment and the biological make up the child. This condition requires careful planning and arrangement of the educational related activities at home such as home lesson to optimized experiences that support learning. Therefore, the home environment is of paramount importance in shaping and reshaping intellectual ability of the students.
This implies that supportive and favorable home environment enriched with enough learning facilities, favorable climate makes students more comfortable, concentrated on their academic activities that resulted in high academic performance. This educational process occurs in physical, social, cultural and psychological environment. A proper and adequate learning environment is very much necessary for a meaningful learning. Kainuwa and Yusuf (2013) stated that the home environment and the processes food preparation and washing of clothes provide a network of physical, social and intellectual forces and factors which affect the student’s learning. According to them, the home’s level of encouragement, expectations and educational activities in the home are related to socio-economic status of parents.
Apart from the socio-economic status such as educational status and income level by parents, another socio-economic factor is the availability of facilities in the home which enable children to develop problem solving skills and promote interest in learning science. When students are not exposed to good facilities like home library, play materials, information and communication technology and garden precisely in the home, they tend to be performing high in school. These material like the information and communication technology facilities and play materials can be used by the students with their parents to during recreation and these may influence their performance in school. Udom (2009) identified recreational facilities as the major factor contributing to children motivation to learn at home and increases students’ academic performance in the school system.
Parents’ Socio- Economic Background and Academic Performance of Secondary School Students in Biology
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Biology is a core science subject that is highly relevant to the nations biologically and health development being the study of life. As important as the subject is, student academic performance in senior secondary certificate is low, government, parents and teachers and students blame one another for student’s poor academic performance in biology in senior secondary schools. Despite the zeal of parents to send their children to school, academic performance differs from one individual to another for example, some children withdraw from school without completing their course of study even at primary level.
It has been observed that home is the first point of contact of children in the world and the home consist of two important adults’ father and mother of which each of them occupy a specific position and function in the overall development of 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 parents. However, in some homes a gap in a child’s life may be created when the child loses the support that would have emanated from the parent due to poverty, lack of formal education of the parents, poor environment, parent’s marital status and place of recreation of the parents.
Experience has shown that among the secondary school students, there exist some difference s which influences student’s academic performance, such as some students being able to pay their school fees. Some student have problem with the provision of school uniform but others do not. Likewise, some students are motivated by their parents through the provision of educational materials like text books and exercise books and other parents do not; equally some student’s cone to school properly fed, others do not. These then motivated the researcher to ask whether these differences among students which arises as a result of different home socio- economic background could influence the students’ academic performance in school. In the quest to provide answer to this question, triggers the investigation into parents’ socio- economic background and academic performance of secondary school students in Biology in Abak Local Government Area.