THE EFFECTS OF SINGLE PARENTING ON STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
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The study aimed to assess the effects of single parenting on students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Raymond Village, Sokoto State. The study followed survey design whereby quantitative technique was applied. The data were collected through questionnaires using a random sample of 133 respondents. It was found that, single parenting is caused by divorce, death, separation and not married. Also, the study revealed that, challenges faced by single parents on supporting students’ academic performance in secondary schools were inability to buy school requirements, lack of enough time to check students’ exercise books, inability to supply money for lunch to their children, poor communication and lack of time to give homework to children. It was also realized that, single parenting leads to economic hardships among students, lack of support from parents, lack of school resources, life stress and instability and anxiety and depression. The study concluded that, single parenting is caused by divorce, death, separation and not married. Also, the study confirms that, single parenting hinders students’ academic performance in secondary schools.
1.1 Background of the Study
Children with experience of separation, divorce or death do not perform well or achieve academically. When both parents are present, it implies that the child would obtain most care. However, when one of the parent is absent in a child’s life, a gap is created as the child would lose the support that would have emanated from that parent. Salami and Alawode (2000) have asserted that, single parenting results from, separation of various kinds, divorce, having children from wedlock or death of one spouse which leaves the roles in the hands of a single parent.
Previous studies have consistently found effects of single-parent families on the child’s educational achievement. For instance, in reviewing research results from large longitudinal data (Zill, 1996) found that, students from nuclear intact families had the best academic performance, while students from alternative family types such as stepparent families and single-parent families performed not so well. Children who are raised in a single parent family home are at risk of not reaching their full potential. However, performance of students from stepparent families became that of single -parent families (Sander, 2001).
Similarly, Han and Huang (2000) in their study on college attendance and education expenditure in Taiwan also found that, in Taiwan children in single-parent families had a lower rate of attending college than that from intact families.
The research done by Amoakohene (2013) in Ghana on relationship between single parenting and academic performance of adolescents in senior high school, found that there are some problems that are exceptional, which are only faced by single-parents, which create difficulties to raise children. These problems include: bitterness towards the absent spouse, loneliness, poverty and insecurity about raising children alone without a help. The research concluded that academic performance and single parenting are negatively related, hence the more cases of single parenting the poorer the academic performance.
In Tanzania, the study conducted by Mrinde (2014) about challenges that students with single parents face in attaining secondary school education in Kinondoni Municipal, realized that challenges that single parented students face in attaining secondary education are not only multiple but also self-contradictory. They are complex because no single challenge that stand on its own and be able to explain the challenge without connecting to the other. Therefore the challenges revealed are economic hardship, lack of parental care, lack of supervision and monitoring, lack of guidance and counseling and socialization. It was also revealed that these have affected single parented students’ education attainment as they have poor academic performance, poor attendance, drop out of school, and engaging in bad behaviors. In the view of the finding sit was recommended that single parent students who are living in economic hardship must be identified so as to be helped by the government in the payment of the fees.
The study conducted by Bashagh (2015) on relationship between parental involvement in learning process and students’ academic performance in selected secondary in Arusha City, revealed that low income, teachers attitude towards parents, parents ignorance and low level of education, parents attitudes towards teachers, personal commitments on work and poor communication between teachers and parents were factors hindering parents involvement in learning process and students’ academic performance. Hence there’s no empirical study in the area of single parenting in relation to academic performance in secondary schools in Arusha City, therefore the researcher aimed at assessing the effect of single parenting on students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Arusha City as the research gap.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Students who experience separation, divorce or death of one of their parents do not always perform well or achieve. Also, they are at risk of not reaching their full potential. Different researches have been conducted relating to single parenting and its effect on students’ academic performance but no study has been directed on single parenting in relation to academic performance in secondary schools in Arusha City. This study was, therefore designed to assess the effect of single parenting on the performance of students in secondary schools in Arusha City.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.3.1 General Objectives
The general objective of this study is to assess the effect of single parenting on students’ academic performance in selected secondary schools in Raymond Village, Sokoto State.
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
This Study has the following specific objectives:
- To identify the causes of single parenting in secondary schools in Raymond Village, Sokoto State
- To identify the challenges faced by single parents on supporting students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Raymond Village, Sokoto State.
- To propose the solutions to overcome the identified challenges faced by single parents on students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Raymond Village, Sokoto State.
1.4 Research Questions
This following research questions guided the study on Single Parenting on academic performance.
- Are there visible challenges facing single parents in Raymond Village, Sokoto?
- Are there possible solutions to the challenges of single parenting on students’ academic performance, in secondary schools in Raymond Village, Sokoto?
- Are there any significant relationship between single parenting and academic performance?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
H0: There is no significant relationship between single parenting factors and students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Raymond Village, Sokoto.
H1: There is a significant relationship between single parenting factors and students’ academic performance in secondary schools in Raymond Village, Sokoto
1.6 Theoretical Framework
Lev Vygotsky’s Theory of Cognitive Development (1978)
Vygotsky’s cognitive development theory (1978) stresses that parents play a central role in the process of making meaning. Vygotsky further states cognitive development stems from social interactions from guided learning within the zone of proximal development as children and their partners co-construct knowledge. For Vygotsky, the environment in which children grow up will affect how they think and what they think about (Roth & Lee, 2007). He also believed that there were certain higher functions developed through the direct interaction with significant people in a child’s life. The absence of the missing parent to guide, discipline, direct, model, and teach may be one of the causes that a child from a single parent family may not perform at their full potential (Rothstein, 2004). To Vygotsky, the development of the mind is the interweaving of biological development of the human body and the appropriation of the cultural or ideal or material heritage which exists in the present to coordinate people with each other and the physical world (Bronfenbrenner, 2002).
Also, Vygotsky’s concept of cognitive development suggests that the social world defines the way children think. Vygotsky’s (1978) believed that children learn more when their learning is best supported at opportune times when the caregiver aides them in learning new tasks.
“When children raised in single-parent households are left alone for long periods or left in the hands of uninvolved caregivers, their academic skills are not being fully supported” (Knox & Virginia, 1996).
Therefore, the researcher has employed Vygotsky’s cognitive development theory because it places parents as partners in their child’s life is crucial as he believed that everything a child learns is through the interactions with knowledgeable partners, Thus children who experience cooperative and assistive, rather than punitive styles of parenting, will quickly increase cognitive skills and be motivated to learn. This applies to practical skills like writing or building things from blocks, as well as the learning of ethical and problem-solving behavior (Brooks, 2011).
1.7 Conceptual Framework
The Figure below shows variables that guide this study. There are independent variables, intervening variables and dependent variable. Independent variables are represented by single parenting factors. While, intervening variables are parents’ education, gender, parent occupation and family size and Dependent variable is students’ performance.
1.8 Significance of the Study
Firstly, the outcome of this study would serve as an input for legislation on policies relating to parenting. The study recommendations would assist the Nigerian lawmakers to have a deeper horizon of single parenting and on the need to act fast because of its consequences on the nation. Secondly, as curriculum planners needed to be guided with factors that could assist the curriculum planning and implementation to be successful. This study would therefore afford planners to consider learners’ family stability as a primary determinant of academic breakthrough. In addition, the outcome of this study would not exempt students in the scheme of importance it would benefit them. It would enable students to understand even though over a long period of time, that crisis is eminent everywhere they find themselves but should rather allow their conscious to guide their daily conduct and strive to achieve hard work. Thirdly, the study outcome would help secondary school teachers to acknowledge the importance of children upraised with both parents as a major pillar for academic success in the academic of any student. Fourthly, the school counselors would be better equipped with the necessary tool to guide and counsel students from single parents’ homes. Such would offer them the zeal and courage to forge ahead in life especially with their studies aimed at discouraging any form of distractions. It would help to become aware of the need to students from single parents, aspire to improve their educational performance.
1.9 Limitations of the Study
The researcher encountered the following limitations; the lack of openness of the respondents in giving the true information they had, to avoid this limitation the research assured the respondents with confidentiality by holding a discussion with respondents before the exercise. The researcher prepared the questionnaires in simple English language that could be understood to students.
1.10 Delimitation of the Study
Curran, (1991) argues that, the ideal setting for any study should be easily accessible to the inquirer. The study was conducted in Arusha City Council, the location was chosen due to the homogeneous nature of the study population and the well-developed infrastructure.
1.11 Operational Definitions of Terms
Academic Performance (AP): A In this study, Academic performance means student’s grade or marks obtained from National examinations.
Parenting: In this study, parenting means the skills and task responsibilities of raising child/children.
Single Parenting:. In this study single parenting means a mother or father who looks after children on their own, without the other partner.
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