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  1.       Background of the Study

Education is the best legacy a nation can give to her citizens especially the youths. This is because education is very important in the development of any nation. Education is the process of transmitting what is worthwhile to members of the society. According to Okafor (2001), education embraces all those experiences of the individual through which knowledge is acquired and intellect enlightened. For Nwabachili and Egbue (2003) education is what goes on from one generation to another. In this context, education is the process of socializing the child to grow up as a fulfilled member of the society through informal, formal and non-formal process.

Extraversion is indicated by positive feelings (emotions) and tendency to seek company of others. It represents the tendency to be sociable, assertive, active, upbeat, cheerful, optimistic, and talkative. Extraversion individuals like people, prefer groups, enjoy excitement, stimulation, and experience positive effect such as energy, zeal, and excitement (John and Srivastava, 2009). Extraversion is associated with higher levels of positivity. Extraversion could be associated with more positive relationships between parents and children. Consistent with this prediction, Belsky and Barends (2002) reviewed the association between parents’ personality and parent-child relationship quality and found that parents’ extraversion is related to sensitive and responsive parent-child relationships.

The family is the first social environment the child finds itself. According to Clifford (2001), the family remains the primary environment of the child. The author emphasized that family environment has more chances of increasing or decreasing the intellectual achievement of the child than any other environment. Akubue and Okolo (2008) defined the family as a small kinship structural group with the key function of natural socialization of the child. Similarly, in Okunniyi (2004), family is defined as a primary social group of parents, offspring and possibly other members of the household.Family characteristics refer to all the conditions and circumstances in the family which influence the child physically, intellectually and emotionally (Muola, 2010). Children coming from different family backgrounds are affected differently by such family conditions as some children have good family background while some have poor background.  Fleegeand Eke (2009) noted that with some families, the background vary from time to time for the same individuals. Family characteristics have been of great importance in shaping the personality of learners in primary and post primary in Nigeria. This is because high academic performance is as a result of motivation that learners get from the people they interact with in their initial stages of life.  Rouse and Barrow (2006) found out that students who came from less disadvantaged families had higher average test scores and as compared to students from the more disadvantaged families.

The importance of parents’ level of education to academic performance of students cannot be over emphasized. Students from professional occupational backgrounds exhibit higher academic performance (Gary, 2001). In support of this view, Onochie and Okpalla (2005) opined that educational level of parents which is an indicator of socio-economic status has direct influence on children’s values and academic performance in the school. They mentioned that children from illiterate families may learn little or nothing from the home that can help them develop interest in academics. This is in contrast to what is obtainable from children of literate parents who provide the atmosphere conducive for the formation of good study habits (Qeca, 2000).

Parental occupation is also an important family characteristic. The occupation of one’s parents may determine to a large extent one’s opportunity to attend secondary education or not. Ezeji (2001) noted that parents like their children to take to their occupation, such as parents who are lawyers, doctors, engineers among others.

Families are of various sizes. According to Alio (2005) family size has implication for education of learners in primary and post primary level of education. The author emphasized that the size of the family determines to a great extent the relative amount of physical attention and time which each child gets from his parents. Family size has to do with the total number of people in a single family which may include the father, mother, children and even the extended members – all living in one home. Large families are more common among the lower class of the society. Children in large families may suffer poverty and lack parental encouragement (Eamon, 2005).  On the other hand, smaller family sizes have been linked with high academic performance and that students with fewer siblings are likely to receive more parental attention and support that leads to better academic performance.  The family, large or small size, remains the primary environment of every child. Families begin the process of education and provide physical and psychological needs of the child (Majoribank, 2006).

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