THE EFFECT OF POVERTY ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS
Background to the Study
Education is a process through which individual acquires skills, competencies, and attitude. It is the right of every child to be educated, be it traditional or western. Thus, education is been regarded as culture to man, people and the nation of the world at large. This explains why man has to educate himself and his offspring in the society. Poverty is one of the factors militating against man from carrying out his educational activities perfectly. Because of the various perception and complexities of the term poverty, a universally agreed definition cannot be arrived at. But then poverty according to the oxford advanced learners dictionary (2000) defined poverty as the state of being poor. Oguw Mike (2005) sees poverty as a way of life characterized by low calorie intake, inaccessibility of adequate health facilities low quality education system, low life expectancy, unemployment and under-employment. Leroy and Symes (2001) consider poverty as a major anti-risk factors relating the concept poverty to Nigeria, it will therefore be considered in a broader way which implies that it has be viewed in various perspectives which include one national state and home background. At the national level, a nation can be considered poor when her economic standard is very low and this automatically makes the nation underdeveloped. The economy of a country that does not reached certain stage of development in terms of infrastructure and other development indices. As regard poverty in the family level, we are referring to the home background. Even before the indigenous education or western type of education, the home has always been the agency through which man learns various aspect of life to enable him live a meaningful life in his environment. The home which is also known as traditional way of educating the young ones is still regarded as the first school of a child before he enters the larger society.
The role of the home cannot be over emphasized because the general assumptions that states of poverty in the family or home goes to a long way to determine the extent of youth or students educational development. Education is seen by many as the route to alleviate poverty. There is no doubt that meaningful; education is the most potent instrument for alleviating and eventually abolishing poverty. In considering the effect of poverty on academic performance of students to be precise, the home background is the most important phenomenon that needs to be seriously considered in order to enhance the effective study of the relationship between poverty and students academic performance. In view of this, some factors that needed to be considered in the home or family background are parents academic qualification, socio-economic class and facilities available in home or home environment as well as parent status.
Access to education is one of the important basic human rights in all societies. In Nigeria, the provision of education has been one of the most critical issues of government social policy especially since after independence in 1960. Poverty has however remained a stumbling block for most people to attain this basic right. Poverty is a universal social problem that cuts across nations, race, locations, culture and religion. It has been in existence from the time of the establishment of the human race on planet earth. Poverty stricken members of the human race have always struggled in a number of ways to attain decent living standards. Poverty presents a number of challenges to its victims such as access to proper health facilities, education, nutrition, employment and the realization of personal aspirations. Of particular concern to this study are challenges that poverty stricken students face in their quest for education. The plight of poverty stricken students in exasperated by stringent school policies that pertain the payment of fees, attitudes by teachers and fellow students, shortage of food, school wear and stationery. An unsupported home environment further complicates the poverty stricken students’ drive to acquire decent education(Harris, 2006). The current economic crisis where the prices of basic goods are very high adds more suffering to the already poverty stricken students.
Higher needs such as esteem needs like education can become dominant only when lower needs such as hunger and thirst have been gratified. According to Maslow’s theory, a hungry child cannot pay attention in class since his or her images will be dominated by food. This brings attention in class since his or her images will be dominated by food.
This brings to light hindrances poor children experience as they pursue their education.
Presently, the World Vision organization is carrying out a Primary Schools Supplementary Feeding Programme. The programme benefits children between the ages of three to thirteen years who belong to either a school or a pre-school that is attached to a primary school.
Secondary school students do not benefit from this programme despite their family socio economic background and status. However, the researcher feels that Secondary School students need more food than their primary school counterparts since they belong to the adolescence stage. During adolescence boys and girls experience physical changes that prepare that prepare the body for reproduction. It is during this stage when the body requires proper diet that will facilitate maximum physical, sexual and mental development. Malnutrition as a result of poor diet might lead to ill health which contributed to absenteeism at school.
Secondary School is the only school that offers secondary education in the cluster of schools. Walking over long distances might lead to late coming at school and at home after school in evening. Fatigue and hunger might lead to drowsiness during learning as a result of walking over long distances. Children from rich families would usually cycle to school. This puts them at the advantage of arriving at school early without having lost any considerable amount of energy.
The government of Nigeria has made an effort to help the economically disadvantaged access education through the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM). However, this programme meets part of the educational expenses for the poverty stricken students, leaving the balance as a responsibility of the family.
The timeous payment of school fees, provision of stationery and presentation in complete school uniform are heavy requirements for poverty stricken students to meet. School authorities set deadlines for payments of school fees and levies. Failure to meet these deadlines warrants suspension from attending lessons. Poverty stricken students fall victim to these harsh and to some extent insensitive regulations. Not all citizens acquire education since many poor children end up dropping out of school due to financial constraints.
Statement of the Problem
Childhood poverty poses serious problems for public education. Children raised in poverty generally achieve at lower levels than their more advantaged peers and researchers have found that income level is one of the most powerful predictors of students’ academic performance. The American Association of School Administrators (2008) stated: “The many and varied effects of poverty form the single greatest factor limiting student Performance. The most prevalent and persistent gaps in student Performance are a result of the effects of poverty.”
Poverty is detrimental to academic Performance at Secondary School in the Akoko South East localGovernment. Poor students suffer from starvation at home, have no proper uniforms and fail to meet payment deadlines. These problems negatively affect their learning progress.
The following research question are raised for the purpose of this study;
- What are the effect of poverty on students’ academic performance
ii What are the cause of poverty in secondary schools in Akoko South East localGovernment
iii What other factors affects poverty on academic performance of students in Akoko South East localGovernment
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to find out the effects of poverty on students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Akoko South East localGovernment Area of Ondo state .
The purpose of this study will be achieved through pursuing the following objectives.
To identify the educational level of poverty stricken students’ parents in Akoko South East localGovernment
To establish the academic performance of poverty stricken students at Akoko South East localGovernment Secondary School in Ekiti
To identify the cause of poverty in secondary schools in Akoko South East localGovernment
To evaluate the effects of poverty on academic performance of students in Akoko South East localGovernment
To examine other factors that affect students academic performance.
Significance of the Study
This research work is relevant in that its kinds to be carried out in the Local Government Area. The results obtained from the study will assist the parents, students, individuals and government to identify the effects of poverty on the academic performance of students in Akoko South East localGovernment Area of Ondo state .
Scope of the study
The study is focused on students from Secondary School in Akoko South East localGovernment. Focus is centered on dropouts as result of poverty and not of delinquency or teenage pregnancy.
Operational Definition of Terms
Poverty: Poverty refers to an absolute lack of the minimum requirements necessary to sustain and maintain life, health and physical efficiency such as food, water, clothing and shelter
Student: A person who is studying at a university or other place of higher education
Parents: A parent is a caregiver of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is the caretaker of a child (where “child” refers to offspring, not necessarily age). A biological parent consists of a person whose gamete resulted in a child, a male through the sperm, and a female through the ovum
Academic Performance:Is used to describe things that relate to the work done in schools, colleges, and universities, especially work which involves studying and reasoning rather than practical or technical skills
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