1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education has been and remains to be the most important tool for development of any nation socially, economically and politically. At an individual level, education helps students to fulfill their personal potentials, acquire crucial knowledge, attitudes and skills for their lives. Education also enables one to build esteem and reduce poverty by increasing productivity (Sifuna, 2007). This cannot be realized if students do not learn effectively and eventually fail their final school examinations. So, it is vital to invest in education and get rid of all obstacles that hinder students’ effective participation, learning and good performance, in order to ensure that the kind of education provided meets the expectation of an individual student and the needs of the nation as a whole.
The family is the basic unit of socialization and source of one’s personality that affects a child’s development in a negative or positive way, based on the structure or pattern of the family concerned. When parents are living together with their children, positive impacts result in the physical growth and mental development of all family members, particularly the children.
There are many factors that may be the cause of students’ poor performance, among them could be family structure. This is a reason that made researchers for a number of years examine relationships between changing family structures and students’ school performance. The change in family structure may be caused by separation, divorce, death, or never-married parents. Bartlett and Burton (2007) conceived that inequalities in provision and achievement of education exist between individuals for a host of complex reasons but also, significantly, between social groups and various population categories. It is thought that single parenthood as one form of population category can affect the provision of education and achievement of students in education. With limited finances and time available, parents are less likely to provide the adequate support that children need to perform to the best of their ability. On the one hand, some students may come from families with single fathers who are not able to provide care and love supposedly obtained from mothers, while others may come from families with single mothers who lack fatherhood provided by fathers. So, the absence of one parent may interrupt children’s normal growth and development as well as school achievement.
According to Vassar (2002), the family has to carry out its duties and responsibilities as the principal educator and supervisor of morals and character. In that regard, if the family is headed by a single parent it is often so very difficult for the single parent to provide the required children nurturing as per expected moral standards of the particular society due to reasons beyond his or her biological make-up. In most African culture there is a well-marked social distance between parents of one sex and children of the opposite sex, such as that of father and daughter. In that way, father-headed families will find fathers being unable to either nurture, counsel or guide their daughters into the best societal accepted characters. As a result of family structure and gender roles of single parents being inappropriate, they lead to problems such as psychological distress in the children. Thus, this situation at the end may affect the children’s effectiveness in school activities.
Currently there is a great concern about several family matters; especially those related to separation of couples. When compared to the past years, surveys show that, the breakdown of marriages greatly affects the parenting system and the well-being of children is being compromised at the community level and at school level. Children from single parent families have lower academic achievement in academic arena (Barajas, 2011). It has been found that students, who come from single parenting system that resulted from separation of any kind like, divorce or any other, are performing poorly in academics (Yuanzhang et al, 2008). This study concentrated on girls who still face other challenges in the community, like early marriages, discrimination, female genital mutilation and early pregnancies. The incidence of separation of parents compounds the girls’ problems, which totally destroy the chances of girls sailing smoothly in their academic endeavors. Therefore, this study focuses on the assessment of factors contributing to poor academic performance among single parented girls in secondary schools, a case study of Amaeyi girls school Awka.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Family structure is one of the determinant factors on children’s performance in school. Broken families in any way, affects the development of a child’s well-being that include all spheres of life (Jeynes, 2012). Further studies conducted by Brown, Manning and Stykes, (2014) pointed out that, family complexity is a reality for many of today’s children and its prevalence depends on family structure.
In recent years, there is evidence that the quality of education is falling among the students from certain family structures. Frieman (2001) points out, for instance, that children raised in fatherless families from infancy perceived themselves to be less cognitively and physically competent than their peers from father-present families.
When there is a breakdown in the family structure, it may have incredible impact on children and their ability to function normally or achieve academically. In most situations, the children no longer have two parents to depend on. Therefore, they have to rely on one parent to meet most, if not all of their needs such as provision of school fees, petty cash, parental love, care, emotional support to love schooling. These families acquire a new model after the breakdown; they become families headed by fathers only or mothers only. It is clear that many children are currently living under single parents. Nonetheless, parents are primarily responsible for the educational and career development of their children (Salami and Alawode, 2000). Hence, children under such a family structure might not receive the necessary attention they required because the single parent might be overwhelmed by many responsibilities. These problems make it glaring that there is a need to carry out a study on the assessment of factors contributing to poor academic performance among single parented girls in secondary schools, a case study of Amaeyi girls school Awka
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to examine to the assessment of factors contributing to poor academic performance among single parented girls in secondary schools, a case study of Amaeyi girls school Awka. The specific objectives of this study include the following:
1. To find out the prevalence of single parented girls in Amaeyi girls school Awka.
2. To ascertain the academic performance of single parented girls in Amaeyi girls school Awka.
3. To find out the influence of poor parenting on the poor academic performance among single parented girls in Amaeyi girls school Awka.
4. To determine the implication of broken homes on the poor academic performance among single parented girls in Amaeyi girls school Awka.
5. To investigate the ways on how to reduce poor academic performance among single parented girls in Amaeyi girls school Awka.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The relevant research questions related to this study include the following:
1. What is the prevalence of single parented girls in Amaeyi girls school Awka?
2. What is the academic performance of single parented girls in Amaeyi girls school Awka?
3. What is the influence of poor parenting on the poor academic performance among single parented girls in Amaeyi girls school Awka?
4. What is the implication of broken homes on the poor academic performance among single parented girls in Amaeyi girls school Awka?
5. What are the ways on how to reduce poor academic performance among single parented girls in Amaeyi girls school Awka?