EFFECT OF SINGLE PARENTING ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

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 CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study 

Education is of great importance to every nation.  It therefore attracts considerable attention to the family, community and to all tiers of government; education is discussed, planned and processed (Omolewa, 2001).  It is believed that education recreates both the individuals and the nation, influences values and attitudes for a worthwhile living.  The National Policy on Education (2009) is not wrong with its assertion that education is “an instrument par excellence” and the world at large had keyed into this, by recognizing education as the panacea to development and survival of man itself.

It is not surprising therefore that the processes of education are offered by the three levels– primary, secondary and tertiary education. As a result, education is classified on the concurrent list. That is, administration, funding, policy formulation and maintenance of schools or matters relating to education can both be deliberated upon by the Federal and State governments. Over the years, there had been public outcry concerning the fate of educational system in Nigeria and the breeding of graduates with little technical know–how which has resulted in serious setbacks to the industrial and economic development of the nation and its place among comity of nations in the 21st century.  Investigations into the factor that influence academic performance of students in and out-of-school could be trace to individual family or home.  The family or home is an integral part of the society which is a sub-system of the social structure.  It is an axiom that good homes breed a productive nation .This is the brain-child of why, every society aspires for development.

The well-being of any society is the aggregate of the well-being of the individual families that make up the society.  So, the home is a quite essential factor on the learner’s psychological, social, emotional and economic state.  Most homes are made up of father and the mother with or without siblings or extended relations.  In the African societies, some homes could be polygamous while others could take the form of monogamy.  One is not so surprised that African Traditional Religion (ATR) influences all aspect of one’s life and it is practical in nature. 

The beliefs and practices of ATRs are based upon the faith of the indigenous people. Such are declining now since the arrival of Islam and Christianity at the beginning of the 20th century (Yombi, 2011). 

The educational pursuit of every child is relatively determined by the pattern of family or home he/she comes from. Be it wealthy or poor, educated or otherwise, traditional belief or aspirations. Parents who failed in their responsibilities to assist and guide their wards through every stage of development in life may likely have to contend with poor academic performance sooner or later and the development of unwholesome behaviours,  as foundation to the success or failures in any child is laid upon the home and at the initial stage in life.  Parents therefore have a great role to play in seeing to it that the students acquire the appropriate social, psychological, moral and academic development.  Those found in this category are mostly adolescents who needed to be tutored not only by the teachers but with combined efforts of the parents.

In Nigeria, there are widespread cases of single-parenthood across all regions and tribes which has become a major source of concern to the socio-economic and socio-cultural development.  Single parenting can be defined as a situation in which one of the two individuals involved in the conception of the child is being responsible for the upbringing of the child (Henshin, 1985).  This idea is relatively unknown before now in Nigeria but is fast growing family patterns both inside and outside the shores of the land (Nwachukwu, 1998).  Children from single parent homes are likely to suffer deprivation, and denial of some rights and opportunities. 

They are more exposed to anti-social behaviours and poor academic records.

Divorce and separation of various kinds or death of one spouse may leave a child with no option than to have a single parent.  The benefits of a two-parents family far outweigh that of a single parent family, as mothers play the traditional role of child care and home-making while the father’s role is that of economic responsibilities and discipline of children. But in single parent families, double responsibilities are required of time, attention and money of the parent.  Hence, less attention is given to the education of the child. Invariably the cost of receiving education today is high to be financed only by a single parent who may be financially handicapped. In the case of the few wealthy single parents in the locality of the research study the task is more with the nature of their job which affects adequate supervision of a child’s growth and development.