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PROJECT TOPIC- INFLUENCE OF SPORT PARTICIPATION ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN OHAUKWU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE

PROJECT TOPIC- INFLUENCE OF SPORT PARTICIPATION ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN OHAUKWU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

Background to the Study

The compatibility of sports and academics still leaves a greater number of the general public with a considerable amount of skeptism. While some people question the position of sports in educational programmes, others attribute poor performance in academics to sports participation. Sports is any activity that you do for pleasure and that needs physical effort or skill, usually done in a special area and according to fixed rules (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, 2010).

Sports means athletic activities involving physical exertion and skill of the athlete in its performance within the context of formal rules of behavior (Olumba, 2009). The athlete engages in the activity for pleasure, attainment of physical, mental, social health and for enjoyment of other intrinsic and extrinsic benefits. Sports participation is the act of taking part in athletic activities. The concept academic refers to or is connected to education especially studying in schools and universities.

It involves and is used to describe the whole processes of learning, teaching, research in schools and universities, and the people involved in it (Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, 2010). The term academic performance however refers to the act or process of performing the task of academic activities. It is the way and means through which students and teachers carry out their academic activities.

However, in this research, the terms will be looked at in the perspective of how students conduct or perform their academic activities. Sports participation and academic performance relate to the influence of participation in sports and its effects on the academic performance of students. The prevalent fear ravaging the minds of majority of the general public is that participation hinders the success of their wards, in the entire process of teaching and learning at schools.

This misconception was based on their assumption that children who participate in sports can never do well at school. Davis and Cooper (2004) observed that the most common point of attack against organized athletic activities in school is that most people believe that sports has no positive relationship with academics. Some parents/guardians for obvious reasons associated sports with mischievous behaviors and juvenile delinquency (Thorlindson and Bernburg, 2006).

Furthermore, Vieno, Nation, Perkins and Santinello (2007), also associated sports with social and moral vices including stealing, prostitution, rape, abortion, drug and alcohol consumption. These parents also view sports as a dangerous adventure full of injurious activities hence they deny their wards the opportunity for participation. Factors which contribute to students’ dropout from school emanate from parents and guardians, such as inadequate financial support and bad attitude towards their wards’ education.

Those emanating from students are violating the school rules and regulations, frustration due to failure to study hard and failing in examinations. The factors emanating from the administrative and managerial processes are not even considered as serious factors capable of terminating academic career of children as participating in sports is being considered Bowen, Rose, Power and Glennie, (2008).

Fleming, Catalano, Mazza, Brown, Haggerty and Harachi, (2008). Many researchers have investigated sports participation and its influence on academic performance although the results are conflicting (Feldman and Matjasko, 2005). According to Broh (2002), participation in sports activities in general, is associated with an improved, higher educational aspiration, increased college attendance, and reduced absenteeism.

It is evident that some non-physical education teachers hold classes and even threaten to conduct quizzes during physical education periods. In most schools, principals fail to recognize the existence of the games masters where they exist hence, misappropriating funds allocated for sports in the school interscholastic competitions. As a result, students are being exploited by giving them only plastic cups as prizes during competitions instead of concrete items.

Other factors include unavailability of sports facilities and equipment in schools due to inadequate provision of funds. Most schools do not acquire enough land that will accommodate sports facilities and those old schools who have enough land and adequate sports facilities have shared areas of land meant for volley ball court and some other related activities for farming activities among teachers.

It is regrettable that the only sports facility that is still maintaining its position in schools is the football filed. However, from personal observation and experience, only one or probably two out of ten schools can boast of buying one football (soccer ball) for their students in two years. It is in the light of addressing these odds that the researcher decided to investigate the relationship between sports and academics.

While Akpe (1991) established that students who participate in sports have high cognitive domain and perform better academically than those who do not participate, Ogu (2002) failed to produce reliable results in that he used only respondents who participate in sports. The fact that regular physical activities as noted by Bauman, (2004) have mental and social health benefits as the basis of achieving academic excellence is still like a fantasy to the parents especially those in Ohaukwu Local Government Area.

The students of secondary schools in this area have been chosen because of their suitability in the sense that the area is remote and underdeveloped (rural area) and the respondents are children of ages 11-17 years. For reasonable developments and improvements in both academics and sports to be made in the rural areas, children/students of the age mentioned above must be the target. Development at the grassroots in both sports and academics is the goal of the research work.

The geo-political area focused in the study is Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Ohaukwu is one of the Local Government Areas in Ebonyi North Senatorial Zone. It is comprised of three (3) towns namely: Ngbo, Izhiangbo and Effium. The towns put together make up about twenty-two rural communities with several villages.

PROJECT TOPIC- INFLUENCE OF SPORT PARTICIPATION ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN OHAUKWU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE

Statement of the Problem

Sport has become a very important part of the Nigerian culture. It has captured the newspaper headlines, television screens and international affairs to the extent that today Sports has social, political and economic overtones (Olumba, 2009). Participation in sports is always associated with health and wealth. As posited by Akpe, (1991) men and women who participate in sports are rewarded in kind or in cash all over the world.

The recently concluded CAF African Cup of Nations, in South Africa 2012 is an example which is still very fresh in the memories of every body all over the world. The gesture of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in the welcome ceremony organized for the Nigerian Super Eagles offered an opportunity for these players and their coaches to receive national awards and handsome cash rewards.

This has not only raised and placed the participants in the upper social class, promoted their health and increased their wealth but also has given them global recognition and made them role models. Sports participation among students and its implications on academic performance is important for several reasons. Thus, Coakley, (2004) in Olumba, (2009), noted that sports has permeated nearly every aspect of life and therefore should merit an intensive study particularly as it affects human behaviours and institutions.

The place of sports and academics has created confusion in the society today and Ohaukwu Local Government Area is not left out. Despite all these well documented benefits of physical activities and those that we experience every day, some people still have the notion that taking part in sports is a time-wasting venture. Even the non-physical education teachers usually vote against sports participation during staff meetings with the point that it affects adversely the performance of students in their studies.

In some schools, sporting arenas have been converted into gardens or used to build school structures. Oworu (2004) noted that students’ poor performance was attributed to participation in sports according to the teachers and principals’ comments in the result sheets of the students. These had resulted to extinction of most sports activities and downfall in sports participation at the grassroots as a good number of children/students are restricted from participation.

This is as a result of strong beliefs in the mind set of people that participation in sports has very little or nothing good at all to offer or contribute to leading a meaningful life hence participants are regarded as dregs of the society. Although news and daily experiences have shown the elevation of the nation’s sportsmen/women who fully embraced sports to an enviable height and are been celebrated, adored and worshiped like an idol, there is still the belief that sports cannot make but rather mar academic achievement. It is in the light of providing reliable information to be used in addressing these conflicting results, correct the people’s misconception of sports participation and academic performance particularly in Ohaukwu Local Government Area that this research was conducted.

Purpose of the Study  

          The purpose of this study was to find out the influence of sports participation on academic performance. Specifically, the study determined:

  1. The influence of sports participation on the educational aspiration of students.
  2. The influence of sports participation on students’ absenteeism.
  3. The influence of sports participation on students’ results.
  4. The influence of sports participation on students’ dropout.
  5. The influence of sports participation on students’ socialization.

Research Questions:

Since the purpose of the study is to determine the influence of sports participation on academic performance of secondary school students in Ohaukwu L.G.A, the following research questions will guide the study:

  1. What is the influence of sports participation on the educational aspiration of students?
  2. What is the influence of sports participation on students’ absenteeism?
  3. What is the influence of sports participation on students’ results?
  4. What is the influence of sports participation on students’ dropout?
  5. What is the influence of sports participation on students’ socialization?

Significance of the Study

As a result of common notion of people that sports is a stumbling block to achieving academic excellence and participants are regarded as sheep that strayed from the fold, the study is targeted at highlighting the effects of sports participation on academic performance. The result will be useful in orientating the parents, teachers and principals, the Secondary Education Board (SEB) as well as the general public on the need to embrace and encourage active participation in sports by students in our secondary schools.

Furthermore, it will act as a strong force for seeking government approval of funds for improvement of sports and academic training in the schools. It will equally serve as reference point for future researchers in similar areas of study. Finally, it will add to the existing pool of knowledge.

Scope of the Study

The study is delimited to Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The study is restricted to the influence of sport participation on academic performance of secondary school students in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. It focused on the influence of sports participation on educational aspiration of students, influence of sports participation on absenteeism, influence of sports participation on results, influence of sports participation on school dropout and influence of sports participation on socialization.

The respondents are teachers of secondary schools in this area who supplied information on the students to the researcher. However, the study has been so delimited in order to obtain unbiased information that will be used to make decisions concerning students’ academics and sports participation in the area and beyond. Influence of sport participation on academic performance of students in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi State

PROJECT TOPIC- INFLUENCE OF SPORT PARTICIPATION ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN OHAUKWU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE

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