INFLUENCE OF PARENTAL BACKGROUND ON THE EDUCATION OF HANDICAPPED CHILDREN IN OHAOZARA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI  STATE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

In the past, people looked at handicapped children as outcast in the society or people who were destined to be so due to the sins they must have committed. But with the introduction of special education, things have changed. Hollander (1987) observed that a new concept in social philosophy, and also learning theories together with development in technology are all producing positive change in the society. Most parents have often thought of education of handicapped children as a wasteful venture.

Hewett (1990) asserts that education has come as a weapon for every child’s unique needs to tenable him assume his rightful place in the society, with the privileges and responsibilities involved in it. The handicapped children are no exception yin this regard. Their education falls within the broad spectrum of special education. Baller (1987) asserts that genetically, most handicapped children are equipped with innate intellectual capacities, but they are not given equal opportunity like normal children in terms of education.

In Nigeria, the education of the handicapped has continued to lag behind in spite of efforts made in the past and in recent times by both missionaries and governmental agencies to enlighten the public and parents in particular on the importance of education for the handicapped. The United Nations proclaimed (1981) as the international year for the disabled persons. The purpose of the year is to focus ‘world attention” on the plight of millions of disabled persons with a view of providing for their needs and to enable them play their parts as equal and full citizens of society where they belong.

Obianyor (1987) noted that for centuries in Nigeria disabled or handicapped persons have been stigmatized due to fear based on ignorance and misinformation. This takes its origin from the cultural belief of the people. Most of the cultures believe that the worst offences to the gods which inevitably cause handicap are the indifference of the family to its gods, such as refusal to worship or sacrifice to the gods and refusal to pay the vow made to the gods when the family was in need.

Some of the cultures also believe that the gods punish a baby who in his previous life misused any of his organs. For instance, the dumb might have talked ill of the gods or lied to the gods and the lame must have committed some wicked offence with his limbs. The people believe that pregnant women who walked in an unholy bush would have a handicapped baby. According to Nwokolo (1991), influence of parental background on the education of the handicapped is almost universal. In Ohaozara Local Government Area, it affects their social, economic, educational, mental and psychological well-being. From the days of Aristotle who equated deafness to mental incapacity to the present day, the handicapped have had to fight more or less losing battles or survival in many countries.

In some communities in Nigeria and in Ohaozara Local Government Area, it is an eye-sore and a wound in the pride of the rich family to beget a handicapped child. Parents and relations are ashamed of introducing their handicapped children as members of their families. They are always kept indoors. As a result of this, most handicapped children are denied education. All these therefore, justify the interest the researcher has in examining the influence of parental background on the education of handicapped children in Ohaozara Local Government Area.

Statement of the Problem

The problem of the study is to find out or discuss the influences of parental background on the education of the handicapped children who are regarded as those who cannot be educated or cannot contribute to the economic development of any nation. From genesis, handicapped children have been considered to be inferior to normal children and as such their education is considered as a waste to the family.

The indifference shown towards the education of the handicapped by their parents, therefore is the researcher’s interest to investigate and find out the influence of parental background on the education of the handicapped children in Ohaozara Local Government Area.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to investigate the influence of parental background on the education of the handicapped children in Ohaozara Government Area of Ebonyi State. Specifically this study sought to:

  1. Investigate how financial background of parents influence the education of handicapped children in Ohaoraza Local Government Area.
  2. Examine how the literacy level of parents influence the education of the handicapped children.
  3. Examine how parental religious affiliation influence the education of the handicapped children.
  4. Investigate how parental occupation influence the education of the handicapped children in Ohaozara Local Government Area.

Significance of the Study

Nigeria is a developing country and in order to achieve progress, Nigeria needs education for all.

According to Obianyor (1987) education is of great importance to both the individual and to the nation. Education of handicapped children are needed for the political, social and economic development of a nation.

The significance of this study therefore is to enable readers share some problems faced by handicapped children from their parents, in terms of educational provision or opportunities.

The suggestions or recommendation will assist parents of handicapped children in understanding their children’s potentials and limitations in the field of academics or vocational training.

The study will also enable the government to correct parents negative belief on the education of the handicapped children by providing free and compulsory education for handicapped children.

Scope of the Study

This study focuses on the influence of parental background on the education of the handicapped children in Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Accordingly, such factors like parental religious affiliations, financial background, literacy level of parents as well as parental occupations as influential indices in the education of the handicapped children, all join to constitute integral part of this study.

Research Questions

To give guide to this study, the below research questions were formulated:

  1. How does financial background of parents influence the education of the handicapped children in Ohaozara Local Government Area?
  2. How does the literacy level of parents influence the education of the handicapped children?
  3. How does parental religious affiliations influence the education of the handicapped children?
  4. How does parental occupation influence the education of the handicapped children in Ohaozara Local Government Area?
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