INFLUENCE OF CHILD ABUSE ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
This project work focuses on the effects of child abuse on students’ academic performance. The study attempts to unravel the causes, effects and remedies to child abuse among secondary school students in Lagos State. It was carried out in Bariga Local Government Area of Lagos State. A sample of 100 was randomly drawn from selected secondary schools in the local government and questionnaires were administered to the respondents. The mean percentage test, which was adopted in the study’s analysis, indicated that excessive battering of a child by parents/teacher/guidance; broken homes, child hawking before and after school and unconducive learning environment are all causes of child abuse. Also, it was found that child abuse negatively affects child’s school performance; such abused children are vulnerable to early pregnancy. Ill treatment as well causes permanent and life-long trauma, thereby making children develop low cognition to school subjects. The preaching of good morals by religious leaders to parents and guardians was part of the recommendations made in this study. Also, melting out punishment in form of fine on erring parents/guidance especially those forcing their children to hawk, and prevention from bad for peer influence will help eliminate or reduce to the barest minimum the incidence of child abuse among secondary school students.
1.1 Background to the Study
Child abuse and neglect are fastly becoming universal phenomena in the current world societies despite the fact the child’s rights are being recognized and even to some extent, protected by legislations and constitutions in many countries of the world. Childhood abuse potentially has major economic implications for Nigerian schools and for their students. Even conservative estimates suggest that at least 8 percent of U.S. children experience sexual abuse before age 18, while 17 percent experience physical abuse and 18 percent experience physical neglect (Flisher, Kramer, Hoven, & Greenwald, 2007). Childhood maltreatment, and aversive parenting practices, in general, has the potential to delay the academic progress of students (Shonk & Cicchetti, 2001). It therefore has the potential to undermine schools’ ability to satisfy standards of school progress entailed in the No Child Left Behind legislation (U.S. Department of Education, 2005), putting them at risk for loss of federal funding. It also has the potential to adversely affect students’ economic outcomes in adulthood, via its impact on achievement in middle and high school (Cawley, Heckman, & Vytlacil, 2001).
Child abuse has been defined by the African network for the prevention and protection against child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) as the intentional and unintentional acts which endanger the physical, health, emotional, moral and the educational welfare of the child. Hopper (2004) also described child abuse as any act of maltreatment or subjection that endangers a child’s physical, emotional and health development.
Gelles, (2007) affirmed that child abuse include not only physical assault but also malnourishment, abandonment, neglect, emotional abuse and sexual abuse.
According to Mba (2002), prominent form of child abuse in Nigeria are child battering, child labour, child abandonment, neglect, teenage prostitution, early marriage and forced marriage. Kolander (2000) stated that emotional and sexual abuses are highly noticeable in Nigeria. Oji (2006) observed that babies born by teenage mothers in Nigeria were 625,024 as at the reporting time.