1.1 Background of the Study
Children are regarded as important elements of development. Therefore, their welfare in the society is an index of social and economic development of that society. But most of them are denied this right, being engaged by parents in some form of child labour. According to Gunnarson and Orazem (2003), child labour is any work done by children under fifteen (15) years of age, and generally takes two forms: the paid work and the unpaid child work.
In Nigeria, the number of children exposed to child labour has increased greatly, especially in the rural areas. This could be traceable to poverty, limited access to free and compulsory education, illiteracy of parents, and adult unemployment. The child labour activities that these children are engaged in are hawking, farming, babysitting, processing of palm fruits, etc. These child labour activities disturb their acquisition of relevant education.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
All secondary school children are expected to revise their notes, do their home works and rest after school day activities which will increase their academic performance. It has been observed that not all students revise their notes, do home works, and rest after school hours. The students instead, engage in activities such as domestic chores, selling of goods after school, and farming. By so doing, the students have their attention divided between academic work, household activities, and income generating activities.
This ugly trend existed at a time academic performance of students is declining. Arising from the above, the question that comes to my mind is; could this attitude have any effect on the academic performance of students? This motivates the researcher to carry out this study.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The major objectives of the study are:
1. To find out whether child labour can affect the academic performance of students in Oruk Anam L.G.A.
2. To determine the differences in academic performance of students exposed to child labour in secondary schools in Oruk Anam.
3. To determine the differences in academic performance of students who are not exposed to child labour in secondary schools in Oruk Anam.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The findings would be of significance to children, parents, community, government, Ministry of Education, educators, and curriculum planners in the following ways:
i) It would enlighten children on the importance of schools through regular school attendance, which would make them appreciate the value of their academic performance.
ii) It would make parents and the community to develop positive interest towards their children’s educational pursuits in secondary school levels.
iii) It would encourage the government to introduce free and compulsory education.
iv) It would encourage curriculum planners to introduce appropriate curricula to suit each season of the year.
v) It would make educators to appreciate students through award of certificates of regular attendance to students who deserve it.
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions were formulated and adopted for the research work:
i) Does child labour affect the academic performance of students in Oruk Anam Local Government Area?
ii) What is the difference in academic performance of students exposed to child labour in secondary schools in Oruk Anam Local Government Area?
iii) What is the difference in academic performance of students who are not exposed to child labour in secondary schools in Oruk Anam Local Government Area?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated for the study:
1. H0: There is no significant difference between child labour and academic performance of students in secondary schools in Oruk Anam L.G.A.
2. H0: There is no significant difference in academic performance of students exposed to child labour in secondary schools in Oruk Anam Local Government Area.
3. H0: There is no significant difference in academic performance of students who are not exposed to child labour in secondary schools in Oruk Anam Local Government Area.
1.7 Assumptions of the Study
In writing this project, the following assumptions were made:
a) Students in secondary schools are between the age bracket of 11 and 17 years.
b) Each student has equal opportunity to excel academically in the absence of child labour activities.
c) Children with poor family background are more prone to child labour activities.
1.8 Scope/Delimitation of the study
This study was confined to the two zones of Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State; Oruk zone and Anam zone. The students in these zones are engaged in child labour activities like housekeeping, farming, harvesting and processing of palm fruits. These activities interfere with their regular school attendance thus creating serious concerns on their educational background.
1.9 Limitations of the Study
The researcher would have covered all the secondary schools in the entire Local Government Area, but was constrained by lateness in returning of the questionnaires by the respondents.