THE EFFECT OF POVERTY ON STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS (A STUDY OF OMUO-EKITI, EKITI EAST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EKITI STATE)

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Access to education is one of the important basic human rights in all societies. In Nigeria, the provision of education has been one of the most critical issues of government social policy especially since after independence in 1960. Poverty has however remained a stumbling block for most people to attain this basic right. Poverty is a universal social problem that cuts across nations, race, locations, culture and religion. It has been in existence from the time of the establishment of the human race on planet earth. Poverty stricken members of the human race have always struggled in a number of ways to attain decent living standards. Poverty presents a number of challenges to its victims such as access to proper health facilities, education, nutrition, employment and the realization of personal aspirations.

Of particular concern to this study are challenges that poverty stricken students face in their quest for education. The plight of poverty stricken students in exasperated by stringent school policies that pertain the payment of fees, attitudes by teachers and fellow students, shortage of food, school wear and stationery. An unsupportive home environment further complicates the poverty stricken students’ drive to acquire decent education. The current economic crisis where the prices of basic goods are very high adds more suffering to the already poverty stricken students. Higher needs such as esteem needs like education can become dominant only when lower needs such as hunger and thirst have been gratified. According to Maslow’s theory, a hungry child cannot pay attention in class since his or her images will be dominated by food. This brings attention in class since his or her images will be dominated by food. This brings to light hindrances poor children experience as they pursue their education.

Research has shown that millions of children do not have access to secondary education despite the concerted efforts to push the cause forward. Chitiga and Chinoona (2011), Kaba and Musonda (2011), Saito (2011), Okeke et al. (2012) identified child labour, poverty and lack of sponsorship, quest for wealth, bereavement, truancy, broken homes and engagement of children and as house helps, as factors or the clog in the wheel of children’s access to secondary education. According to World Bank Report (2012), more than 350 million people, over half of Africa’s population, live below the poverty line of one dollar a day. This implies that poverty to a larger extent, excludes many children from school. The World Bank Report (2012) defines poverty as the inability to attain a minimum standard of living, not having enough to eat, a low life expectancy, a higher rate of infant mortality, low educational standards, enrolment and opportunities, poor drinking water, inadequate health care, unfit housing conditions and lack of active participation in decision- making processes. Thus, poverty is a broad, multifaceted and multi-dimensional concept that involves the economic, social, political and environmental well-being of the people. The researchers define poverty as being unable to afford basic human needs (financial and material). Poverty affects the children’s psychosocial development across multiple contexts including family, home, neighbourhood, and school (Chilton et al. 2007) and has more detrimental effects on socio-emotional functioning, cognitive functioning, and academic achievement (Conger and Donellan 2007). Children living in poverty are much more prone to health and safety risks associated with malnutrition, disease, infection, and injury than are children who are not poor (Donald et al. 2010; Jenson 2007; Lacour and Tissington 2011).

However the term poverty can be view in two forms namely; moneyless-ness and incapacity. Moneyless-ness: Is an act of failing to have a chief control of one’s transactional and precautionary motive of holding money, a state where no money to sustain the daily transaction and future crises assurance.

Yet it is a common thing among average Nigerian to say “Am Poor” or “Am a Poor Man”. Those who live in cities consider themselves as not meeting up with the required human needs of existence. Hence there is always the difficulty in deciding where to draw the line between the poor and the rich. In measuring the level of poverty the following approaches could be used.

Firstly, poverty line serves as a boundary between what is poverty and what is not. There are two ways of approaching poverty for the purpose of measuring it. This could be called: dimension of poverty boundary and depth. The second approach used to measure the level of poverty based on single and multiple poverty indicate: indicators would constitute selected categories of observable facts which can be given quantitative expression. The numerical values of such indicators would serve to determine the poverty point and depth, which is also referred to as a degree of poverty indicators such as income.

Again poverty could be measured at micro and macro levels. Poverty might be the condition of individual families when seen in that wads, it is examined at a micro level. It may also be seen as a condition of population within communities’ region countries and this is measured at a macro level. The macro level conclusion can evidently be considered as an aggregate of the micro. Poverty has always been conceptualized in both relative and absolute senses. This is generally based on whether relative or absolute standard are adopted in the determination of the minimum. Incomes requires to basic life’s necessities.

Relative poverty is concerned with the position of difference group of individual in terms of their income and consumption levels. Absolute deprivation of certain basic necessities of life the most obvious being food, while relative, housing and an absolute are associated with spending on non food items such as clothing, housing fuel as well as education and health they play significant roles in the poverty status of the people. In order to avoid the irreconcilable arguments on absolute and relative poverty between countries, the poor and non-poor is known by the establishment definition of a minimum standard of living a poverty line relevant to that country.

To this end, Poverty stricken students fall victim to these harsh and to some extent insensitive regulations. The right to education is every Nigerian’s right as enshrined in the Bill of rights in the constitution of the country. Not all citizens acquire education since many poor children end up dropping out of school due to financial constraints.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Poverty is detrimental to academic achievement in Secondary School in Ekiti East Local Government Area of Ekiti State. Poor students suffer from starvation at home, have no proper uniforms and fail to meet payment deadlines. These problems negatively affect their learning progress. The problems of the students’ academic performance as a result of poverty will still remain static not changing if there is no proper consideration and understanding of a research work like this.

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Updated: 8th February 2018 — 9:33 pm

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