Effects of Polygamous Family Setting on Students Academic Performance in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

       Over the years, many educational authorities have sought to find out the reason for the downward trend in the academic achievement of secondary school students just as all stakeholders in Nigerian education system (parents, guardian’s teachers, counselors, etc.) are so much concerned about students achievements and academic standard. This is probably because success in education is highly instrumental to the development of a nation.

   Falola (2010) noted with dismay over the recurrent poor performance of secondary school students in Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) conducted by West African Examination council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) in Nigeria is disturbing and embarrassing. He further noted that the result released by WAEC in 2010 recorded about 80% failure. Further more Uwadiae (2008) stated that in 2008, only 1.8% of the candidates that sat for senior secondary school examination passed.

   Daramola (1994) attributed the poor performance to the students’ background i.e. the type of home environment where the child is raised. He stressed that the environmental condition and the nature of social interaction that goes on in the family may have some positive or negative influence on the academic achievement of a child.

   Among the various factors that influence the academic performance of students, the effects of polygamous family on student academic performance have drawn wide interest and attention of scholars. This is because the behaviour of the child in school or outside is a reflection of his or her home where he comes from.

       Undoubtedly, Odeleye and Oluwatimilehin (2009) opined that the home is the premier agent of education to the child and therefore, the way he lives, the food he eats, his attitude towards challenges and his life style is influenced by the home. Nyarko (2010) held the view that the primary environment of the students is the home which stands to exert tremendous impact on student’s achievements. The type of family system the child is exposed to could influence his academic achievements in school. This is particularly true as Kellaghan (1993) affirmed that academic success of a child depends on what parents do at home. Stephen and Cerci (2001) also observed that parent –child interactions are forces that lead to better academic performance.

     Among the people of Onicha, polygamy is a form of family system in practice. Polygamy has been the form of marriage known and widely practiced before the advent of Christianity in the middle of 19th century (Daramola, 1994). This form of marriage allows a man to marry more than one wife. This was promoted and made desirable by the nature of the economic system of the country that centered on agriculture and needed large labour force for cultivating the soil.

       It is clearly evident that to give a sound and befitting education to children in polygamous family in present day Nigeria with hyper- inflationary trend would not be an easy task and this is the concern of this research which seeks to identify the effects of polygamous family on student academic performance.

     Wilkins (1976) noted that in polygamous family, children are not adequately catered for, as few textbooks may just be provided. He noted also that in polygamous families, it may be the mother’s responsibility to see that the children do their home work, provide them with materials needed for academic work and in most cases, manage and pay school fees. This is contrary to what happens in family type where both parents show active interest in what their child is doing at school.

   In Nigeria today, the family set-up has become more complex and sophisticated than it was a century ago. There is increasing evidence that parental involvements are beneficial for children’s success in schools even as the psychologist and the educationist are consciously emphasizing that students achievement in schools are partly affected by their family background. It is this general assumption that the type of family in which a child belongs to or evolves from have effects on his/her academic performances.

Statement of the Problem

The issue of academic performance of secondary school students from polygamous families has become a house-hold discussion. Considering the powerful influence of the family on the child and its importance as a primary agent of socialization, there is no doubt that the academic achievement of the child can be enhanced or hindered depending on the social climate in the family.

     Children whose school needs (physical and emotional) are not provided for at home, may forever remain underachievers and this could affect the general development (physical and resources) of the country. It appears that many people have not yet recognized that their family type has a great impact on their children’s academic achievement. More researches are therefore needed in this area: what are the effects of polygamous families on students’ academic performance? This is this focus of this study.

Purpose of the Study

   This study examined the effect of polygamous families on students’ academic performance. Consequently, this study will attempt to identify the following:

  • To examine how social climate at home affects students   academic performance in school.
  • To determine how polygamous family settings affect the academic performance of students in school.
  • To find out why students from polygamous family background hardly excel in academics.
  • To determine how parents’ financial ability affect students’ academic performance.

Significance of the Study

 The findings of this study will help to inform the future generation on the avalanche of problems that is associated with polygamous family settings and thus would be mindful of the type of family to rear. It will be of immense advantage to educational planners in designing school programmes that are congruent to the family background of students. Teachers and counselors will be able to use the results to discover for themselves why poor performance of students can be linked to family background; thus it would afford them the opportunity to help students improve their performances.

Scope of the Study

         This study is designed to focus on the effects of polygamous family on students’ academic performance among secondary school students in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi state.

Research Question

   The following research questions formulated will serve as a guide to this study:

  • How do polygamous family settings affect students’ academic performance in school?
  • Why do students with polygamous family background hardly excel in academics?
  • How social climate at home does affects students’ academic achievement?
  • How does parents’ financial ability affect students’ academic performance?
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