The study examined the Influence Of Social Economic Background On Secondary School Student Perception Of Their School Learning Environment In Calabar Municipality, Cross River State. To achieve the purpose of the study, the researcher developed three (3) objectives, research questions and null hypotheses that guided the conduct of the study. The research design used for the study is a correlational research design. The population of the study consists of all the teachers and SS II students in public senior secondary schools in Calabar Municipality. The sampling technique used for the study is simple random sampling technique, with a sample size of 400 (one hundred and twenty (120) teachers, and two hundred and eighty (280) students). The instrument used for the data collection was self structured. The instrument was validated using two other senior lecturers from measurement and evaluation, while the reliability of the instrument was achieved using test-retest method to obtain a reliability coefficient value of 0.85. The data gathered were analyzed using mean and standard deviation for the research questions, while the null hypotheses were tested using z-text statistical tool at 0.05 level of significant. Based on the analysis of the data, the findings of the study revealed that there is a significant relationship between educational attainment level of parents, income level of parents, parental occupation and academic performance of students in public senior secondary schools in Calabar Municipality. Based on the findings of the study, the researcher recommends that: parents should try as much as possible to improve that level of education. This is because higher level of educational attainment of parents would have a positive relationship with the students’ academic performance in public senior secondary schools, parents should try to be engaged in meaningful occupation to increase their income level because hence the parental income level of the students has a positive and significant relationship on the students’ academic performance among others.
Keywords: Relationship, Parents, Socio-Economic Background, Academic Performance, Parental income level, Parental Educational level, Parental Occupation, Calabar Municipality
1.1 Background to the study
Socio-economic background or status refers to 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 status on children’s readiness for school. He asserts 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. Social class and ethnicity, dictate neighborhood, housing, and access to resources that affect enrichment or deprivation as well as the acquisition of specific value systems. American Psychological Association, APA (2001) describes the relationship of family socio- economic status and children’s readiness for school across all socio-economic groups; parents face major challenges when it comes to providing optimal care and education for their children. For families in poverty these challenges can be formidable.
So without parents not being ready to train their children, their performance in school might be discouraging due to individual differences. Even when some are being cared for properly, it is observed that they still could not cope with the system thereby leading to their failure or poor academic performance.
The family also provides an ascribed social class for its members. A child’s initial social class is a very important variable in determining his/her educational attainment, selection of marital partner, place of residence, religious and political preferences, occupation and even life expectancy. As the saying goes “it is easier to climb the ladder of success if your parents own the ladder (Thompson &Hickey, 2002). The family is to a large extent where individuals acquire their specific social positions in society and parent socioeconomic background goes a long way in improving the child’s life and welfare in all ramifications. The school as an important agency for socialization is responsible for polishing the individuals for adult life. The major function of the school as an agent of socialization is the transmission of the cognitive aspect of culture (i.e. knowledge and ideas) from one generation to the other and preparation for adult roles. The school serves as both formal and informal socializing agent. Through its hidden curriculum it trains the individual to become useful to himself and society in general. The school provides conscious and systematic training among others.
Buchi (2005) further stated that family socio-economic status which forms the subject of this study, includes housing condition, availability of reading materials and opportunities for intellectual development. Family factors, such as unsatisfactory housing condition may have a serious effect on educational achievement of a child. Large families, insufficient amenities, due to poor economic condition could distract the interest and attention of the Learner, which may affect the whole process. On the other hand, Buchi (2005) observed that, children from poor families or those lacking those materials or amenities go to the school hoping to find the essential qualities lacking in their homes.
The socio-economic status of the family has its own consequences on educational achievement. Inability to pay regular school fees due to unfavourable economic situation can force some parents to send their children to substandard schools or even withdraw them from the school. Where such resources and facilitates are lacking, it is inevitable that the education of the child could be seriously affected in terms of their educational progress. Poor socio-economic status parents cannot afford to provide all the material resources that are very important for educational advancement of their children in school. The absence or denial of such resources to their children is borne out of the necessity of their economic circumstances, not because they do not have similar aspiration like the high and middle socio-economic parents who have these material recourses at their disposal (Blaks, 2006).
However, some factors like family size, parental educational levels, parental income levels and parental occupation, etc. have influenced the academic performance and achievement of the senior secondary students in Rivers State. It is against this background that the study seeks to investigate the relationship between Social Economic Background On Secondary School Student Perception Of Their School Learning Environment In Calabar Municipality, Cross River State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The notion that the standard of education has fallen, has generated a lot of arguments among scholars and educationists. Teachers, government and students are often blamed for this phenomenon without investigating other factors that could hinder high standard of education. Every child in school performs differently in terms of academics, which may either be positive or negative. Experience has shown that among the secondary school students there are variations in the type of schools children attend. Peters (2000) observed that most parents seem to be more interested in the feeding and clothing of their children than in their educational progress. Some parents do not care about teaching and encouraging their children at home. They believe that the school teachers will do everything.
It has been observed that many students do not pass well in both internal and external examinations such as West African School Certificate (WASC), National Examination Council (NECO) and Junior Secondary School Certificate (JSSC). Obanya (2004), Ebenuwa-Okoh (2010), and Atanda & Jaiyeoba (2011) noted that some of the factors responsible for the low performance of students in schools are low socio-economic status of parents and lack of seriousness on the part of the students. There is poor students’ academic performance and achievement in public senior secondary schools as a result of parental socio-economic status or background. These status includes; parental level of education, parental occupation, the family population or size and parental level of income. Some scholars like, Uba, (2016), Oti, (2008) and Owen (2009) have actually carried out studies on the relationship between parental socio- economic status and students’ career choice in Rivers State. In this case, emphases were not given to the students’ academic performance which has necessitated this research or study. In the light of this, this study intends to find out the relationship between Social Economic Background On Secondary School Student Perception Of Their School Learning Environment In Calabar Municipality, Cross River State.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to examine the Influence of Social Economic Background On Secondary School Student Perception Of Their School Learning Environment In Calabar Municipality, Cross River State. Specifically, the study sought:
1. To find out the extent of the relationship between educational attainment level of parents and academic performance of students in Senior Secondary Schools.
2. To determine the extent of the relationship between income levels and academic performance of students in Senior Secondary Schools.
3. To determine the extent of the relationship between parents occupation and academic performance of students in Senior Secondary Schools.
1.4 Research Questions
For the purpose of this research work, the following research questions have been formulated:
1. What is the extent of the relationship between educational attainment level of parents and academic performance of students in senior secondary schools in Calabar Municipality?
2. What is the extent of the relationship between income levels of parents and academic performance of students in senior secondary schools in Calabar Municipality?
3. What is the extent of the relationship between parents’ occupation and academic performance of students in senior secondary schools in Calabar Municipality?
The following hypotheses are proposed to be tested.
1. There is no significant relationship between educational attainment level of parents and academic performance of students in senior secondary schools in Calabar Municipality.
2. There is no significant relationship between income levels of parents and academic performance of students in senior secondary schools in Calabar Municipality.
3. There is no significant relationship between parents’ occupation and academic performance of students in senior secondary schools in Calabar Municipality.
1.6 Significance Of The Study
The result of the relationship between the socio-economic background and students’ academic performance will help to make useful recommendations to improve the teaching profession if need be.
The teacher would be able to take new dimensions to teach those less privileged from poor background if all these problems are identified, known and taken note of. For instance, an extra lesson could be given by the teacher to some sections of the class that are weak academically in certain aspects of their learning.
Even instructional materials like television, radios, field trips and different programs might be provided for all the students and it will give those that come from poor environment some of the experiences which those students who come from rich environment have. Therefore from this type of study it can be noted that continual educational decisions could be made about students from, various social classes, cultural and economic background.
1.7 Scope Of Study
This research work restricts the researcher to just one of the reasons or factors affecting the educational performance of students at the senior school certificate examination (SSCE) in some selected secondary schools in Calabar Municipality. These schools are the sample population which represents the entire population. The senior secondary I (SS I) students will in these schools represent the entire students population.
1.8 Limitation Of The Study
Due to the limitations faced by the researcher financially and in terms of time allocated for this work the study would be restricted to three secondary schools as earlier mentioned.
1.9 Definition Of Terms
Social Class: Social class can be defined as a level o r class in society. this level is made up of individual who see income and occupation, value and some attitude towards social issues.
Economic Background: This has to do with wealth; the family is rich or poor. If they have factors land, houses, cars or if they don’t have at all.
Higher Education: This has to do with the educational qualification e.g. NCE, Bed, Med etc.
Lower Education: This refers to education which starts with the educational life of the students e.g. primary school, SSCE etc
Stimulating Homes: These are situations where individual are kept alert mentally by parents, by involving them in brain tasking activities and provision of learning requirements.