Effect of poverty on educational attainment’’ in Abakaliki Local Government Area, Ebonyi State
1.1 Background of the Study
Education is a process through which individual acquires skills, competence and attitude. It is the right of every child to be educated, be it traditional or western. Over the years, education has been regarded as culture to man. 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 various perceptions and complexities of the term poverty, a universally agreed definition cannot be arrived at. But poverty is commonly viewed as a state of lacking a means of subsistence that will be capable of providing what could be considered as a secure and good standard of living (Galbraith, 1957).
Barker (1995) viewed that poverty is generally categorized as material deprivation. Here, it is defined as the state of being poor or deficient in money or means of subsistence. Defining poverty solely as being deprived of money is however, not sufficient. Social indicators and indicators of risk and vulnerability must also be considered and understood to obtain a clear picture of poverty. Aluko (1975) and Sen (1987) defined poverty as lack of certain capabilities, such as not being able to participate with dignity in societal endeavours. Here, poverty is seen from the angle of losing one’s pride in the society. People are considered poor as they are looked down upon by the society, the account of losing their pride.
Leroy and Symes (2001) considered poverty as a major anti-risk factors relating the concept of poverty to Nigeria, it will therefore, be considered in a broader way which implies that it has being viewed in various perspectives which includes 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 reach certain stage of development in terms of infrastructure and other developmental indices. As regard poverty in the 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 a man learns 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 enter the larger society.
The role of the home cannot be over-emphasized because the general assumptions that state of poverty in the family or home goes a long way to determine the extent of youths or students educational development. Poverty is general scarcity or the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. Poverty can be measured in terms of absolute and relative poverty. Absolute poverty refers to the deprivation of basic human needs which commonly includes food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care and education, where as relative poverty is defined contextually as economic inequality in the location or society in which people live.
Research has found that there is a high risk of educational under-achievement for children who are from low-income housing circumstances. This is often a process that begins in primary school for some less fortunate children. Students in poverty are at a higher risk than advantaged students for rentation in their grade, special deleterious placement during the school’s hours and even not completing their high school education. There are indeed many explanations for why students tend to drop out of school. Schools in poverty stricken areas have conditions that hinder students from learning in a safe environment. Therefore, it is safe to state that children or students who live at or below the poverty level will have far less success educationally than against children or students who live above poverty line. Poor students have a great deal less health care and this ultimately results in many absence from the academic year. Additionally, poor students are much more likely to suffer from hunger, fatigue, irritability, headaches, ear infection and cold. These illnesses as a result of poverty could potentially restrict a child or students focus and concentrations (Sen, 1999).
Education is seen by many as the routes to alleviate poverty. There is no doubt that meaningful education is the most potent instrument for alleviating and eventually abolishing poverty. In considering effect of poverty on educational attainment or academic performances of students to be less 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 student’s educational attainment.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The existence of massive poverty in Abakaliki Ebonyi State, South-East of Nigeria is potentially disturbing. That the level of poverty in Abakaliki has adversely affected educational development is truly not an understatement. The training and skills acquisition programmes being organized by the multinational, government, and other agencies are welcomed ideas but the people still live in abject lack and want in the midst of economic buoyancy. The issues of poverty have imposed serious problems among our young girls and boys in Nigeria both in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
The people of Abakaliki in particular, still remain backwards in education because of parent’s poverty. Parents who are supposed to give their supports financially to enable their children pay their school fees and buy some relevant textbooks for their studies, failed to do so because there is no reasonable source of income as most of the people engaged in primary occupation such as palm wine tapping, hunting, subsistence farming, weaving, mat making, black smithing etc. It should be noted that income within this class of people is negligible, and so there were records of poor enrollment of children in schools. Therefore, this poor and pitiful state of affairs of the people of Abakaliki in Ebonyi State calls for research on the impact of poverty on educational attainment in Ebonyi State.
1.3 Research Questions
The following research questions have been formulated to serve as a guide in the conduct of this study.
- Does the economic status of parents have effect on a child’s educational attainment?
- What is the effect of environmental factors on the educational attainment of students?
- Does lack of educational materials affect the educational attainment of children?
- To what extent does the poverty level of parents affect the enrollment of children in schools?
- Has there been any positive attempt from the government to ameliorate the trauma of parent’s poverty especially in Ebonyi State?
- In what ways can the problem of poverty and lack of education be tackled among the people of Abakaliiki?
1.4 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to evaluate the problems of poverty on educational attainment of the people of Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. Consequently, this seeks to:
(1) To find out if economic status of parents have effect the child’s educational attainment.
(2) Find out the effect of environmental factors on the educational attainment of students.
(3) Ascertain the effect of educational materials on the attainment of children’s education.
(4) Also evaluate the extent at which the level of parent’s poverty can affect the enrollment of children into schools.
(5) Assess the efforts of government at all levels in Ebonyi State in terms of poverty reduction programmes.
(6) Provide possible ways, the problems of poverty and lack of education could be solved among the people of Abakaliki.
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study is important when looked at from the concept of poverty and the three various factors, the national, community, and home levels or family background which influence student’s educational needs. It is hoped that the study definitely identified some of the essential factors existing at the various levels as they influence students in their performances. The study will give solution on how to improve student’s education attainment.
The study will also focus on the need for government to incorporate parents in planning for students. This is because the parents know best the environment under which the students at home will learn and other variable which affect their performance.
The study will also enable us to know that poverty has become serious problem in Nigeria and Abakaliki people of Ebonyi State in particular. Despites her oil wealth, Nigeria becomes one of the poorest nations in the world. This life span as short and there are social, political and economic difficulties.
Begging has become a vocation to many who now live on the street, the crime rate is alarming as violence, fraud and armed robbery increase. One way of solving the problem of poverty is to introduce measure that would ameliorates an equitable distribution of resources.
Goldstem (1976) believes that the process of alleviating poverty might be beyond the acquisition of literacy and introduction of income general effort. He seems to be suggesting that the cure of poverty would be the inclusion of people in decisions and policies. The living condition of the poor also signifies lack of participatory opportunities in the economic, cultural, political and social areas. The living condition of the fight against poverty should consequently focus on eliminating the deficits mentioned in order to be the long-run.
1.6 Definition of Terms
The following terms used in the course of this study are defined as follows;
Poverty: This is defined as a state in life when one cannot fully participate in his societal activities due to the cost of pride, brought about by lack and wants in the basic needs of life.
Poverty trap: This is defined as a coherent idea or contribution of scholars on the causes of poverty.
Education attainment: This is defined as the extent to which individuals comply with the western system of education.
Life chances: This is defined as the extent to which individuals have access to important societal resources such as food, clothing, shelter, education and health care.
Social stratification: This is the hierarchical arrangement of large society, groups based on their control over basic resources.
Social Exclusion: This defined as the process by which certain individuals and group are systematically barred from access to position that would enable them to have an autonomous livelihood in keeping with the societal standards and values of a given social context.