1.1 Background to the Study
The socio-economic status of parents is expected to have an impact on the academic performance of students in Economics, either positively or negatively depending on the socio-economic status of parents, which maybe is high, middle or low. If a child’s parental socio-economic background is high, it will definitely affect the academic performance of the child positively because the parents will be financially capable to provide the child with educational materials like, books, educational toys, uniforms, etc. Some parent can go as far as providing items such as television, video tapes, cassettes, radio, and magazines that will assist them to learn in the process. Where they (children) do not understand or where they are wanting, the parents will help by explaining to them the complicated areas. In literate homes, the parents also take them [the children] to places, which help enlighten the child such as the theatre to watch plays and movies, and also zoo where most of the animals used in the studies are kept and displayed. Thus this enables the child to become conversant and well exposed to the subject under consideration.
The level of English spoken at home also has an effect on the level of the child’s performance at school, because Economics as a subject is taught in English language at school. In homes where the parents use mother tongue to communicate with their children, children from such homes will find it difficult to measure up with other students in terms of language development.
The level of education attained by parents also contribute positively or negatively to the child’s academic performance at school, because the child’s attitude and motivation to learn Economics is determined by social and economic factors prevailing at home. To some students, because of the low status of their parents, these parents rarely encourage or motivate them (the children) or know what happens at the school except at the end of the term or year when the child comes home with his report card. Since most of such parents are illiterate they cannot motivate their children by telling them to read their books, do their assignments, and mostly they can not correct mistakes made by their children. Most learners form low socio-economic status do not have the recommended textbooks and this tend to affect their performance in Economics. Parents of high socio-economic status, prefer sending their children to private schools or boarding schools instead of public schools, where teachers lack dedication due to lack of effective supervision. Parents of this class are always willing to give adequate attention to their children’s academic pursuit by supplying all the educational materials needed in the school. Ezewu (1991) stated that school education involves financial expenditure by way of fees, textbooks and the equipment at home, which is more likely to prepare a child for schoolwork.
In developing countries, like ours, where family planning is not considered important, there’s a high increase in birth without the corresponding increase in income, which may affect the family and thus they send out their children to go hawking along the streets and market for source of income forgetting about their studies. Where this happens the children do not have enough time to study and practice schoolwork and other assignments and thus the concept of practice makes perfect is defeated. In addition for parents with low socio-economic status their children may be driven out of the school for not paying the school fees. According to Fry (1981) in Ben (2005) children whose parents cannot meet their educational needs, do not have the zeal in studies. Such children cannot be expected to perform very good in terms of (Economics) test and any other examination, since they must have been absent from school.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There’s an increasingly low performance by students in Economics at school and it has been a subject of concern to parents and members of the society. Since the society is a collection of people of different classes e.g. in interest, abilities, cultures, education, attitude, income, types of occupation, place of residence and life style, one of the functions of this social classification lies in determining life opportunities. Thus the class by inheritance will influence the school one attends, the ambition, the language one speaks, the books one reads, the people with whom one associates and the place one lives. Therefore, the joint contribution and the relative importance of socio-economic status of parents should be studies to provide information for improving academic performance or achievement of students in Economics at secondary schools. Hence the need for this study.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
Economics as a science subject is very important in the educational system today, where they result is poor, science students cannot gain admission into higher institutions like school of nursing, health technology and the universities to read Economics related courses. This research is to let parents know their duties towards children and by managing their homes very well, preparing the children for studies and to stop blaming teachers and other people for contributing to the failure of their children. Parents should organized extra lessons for their children that will aid the children in the acquisition of knowledge in Economics.
The study sought to find out the following:
1. The extent to which parents’ socio-economic status affects the students’ academic performance in Economics.
2. Whether parent’s occupation affects children’s academic performance in Economics.
3. The problem associated with family size and children’s academic performance in Economics.
4. The effect of parents’ attitude on children’s academic performance in Economics.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The significance of this study is to help the parents, teachers, society and government re-examine the educational sector with a view to finding possible solution/possible policies to favour students whose parents are of low socio-economic status.
It will help the parents to think about family planning with regards to child spacing and the number of children.