1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
It is widely believed that students can acquire better academic benefits from living in a decent housing unit within or around the campus. So much so, that many colleges and universities, ranging from small liberal arts colleges to large state universities, require students to live on campus during their first year with few exceptions coupled with the failure of the appropriate authorities in the provision of decent housing for students. Typically, students exempt from such a policy include students over the age of 25, students that are married and/or have children, and students in the military as they can afford to provide for themselves a better housing unit outside the campus at a comparatively expensive amount (Loring, 1996). It has been suggested that availability of decent housing structure causes students to be less likely to drop out or transfer, more likely to make academic progress, and more capable of achieving a high level of academic performance.
Despite these common perceptions, there are inherent difficulties in estimating the impact decent housing unit has on student performance. For the schools that require the year one students to live on campus, there is no effective control group. Typically, year one students that do not live on campus share other features with each other that set them apart. A house even for students is a place where one lives. It is a place of residence or refuge. A house is not a mere transient shelter. Its essence lies in the people who live in it (English, 1987).
Bad housing covers a wide range of issues, including overcrowding, insecurity, housing that is in poor physical condition, and living in deprived neighborhoods. The range of health problems which can be attributed to poor housing conditions is large, from psychological and physiological effects to specific diseases varying in the degree of associated morbidity (Chapin, 2001). There is a large and significant body of scientific literature that demonstrates convincingly that there are direct causal links between different aspects of poor housing and particular health conditions (Smith, 1990). Health problems that have been associated with poor housing include the infectious diseases, non-infectious respiratory diseases such as asthma, and social and psychological problems.
The literature has identified three primary components of poor housing that are directly linked to poor health outcomes: overcrowding, dampness and moulds, and sanitation and basic housing quality. The researcher will explore t these components and its relationship with students academic performance coupled with the health consequences. Crowding is generally considered as more of a threat to mental than physical health, although the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and scabies is also associated with overcrowding. Most studies investigating crowding adopt a standard measure based on WHO guidelines of either persons/room or sq. ft / person. However, a caution is in order since cultures vary in terms of their tolerance for crowded living conditions. Mitchell (1976) proposed that crowding is a more complex variable that requires a distinction between density– the number of people per unit space, and congestion, which reflects the simultaneous demands for the use of available space. The adverse mental health effect of crowding stems from the lack of personal control over the available space, rather than the actual small size of the space. Cultural variations in definitions of “crowding” also play a mediating role. Crowding which has been part of students housing system in Nigeria calls for concern making it necessary to carry out research on the effect of housing condition on student’s academic performance.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This study is designed to examine the relationship between housing conditions and academic performance of students. The level of research in this area is fraught with difficulty around proving causation: for example, whether poor housing conditions cause certain people to fail in achieving their educational potential, or whether the two are ‘associated’ – that those who are likely to fail at school tend to be concentrated in poorer condition houses or neighbourhoods anyway. In some areas (such as mental ill-health) there are schools of thought that those less able to cope will ‘drift’ into poorer areas and housing conditions. Although there may be more mileage in academic circles around the cause and effect arguments, the evidence for the positive impact of better housing is overwhelming. However, the researcher is analyzing the effect of housing conditions o students academic performance.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
To examine the effect of housing conditions on students academic performance.
To examine the condition of the housing units available to Nigerian students.
To determine the factors affecting academic performance of students.
How to get complete project materials
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