EFFECT OF SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS ON THE ENROLLMENT OF PUPILS INTO SCIENCE CLASSES
1.0 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The hope that parents hold for their children’s success in life is often first vetted through their children’s success in school. Indeed, doing well academically is related to doing well in life economically (Butler, Beach, & Winfree, 2008). Yet for many children, chances of academic success are diminished because of poverty (Ducan & Brooks-Gunn, 2000); family economic status is a strong predictor of children’s academic outcomes (Sirin, 2005). Children’s academic success is considered to be a key mechanism for disrupting the intergenerational transmission of poverty (Orfield, Losen, Wald, & Swanson, 2004). However, researchers and practitioner need to know more about the processes that link family economic status with children’s academic outcome to effectively intervene in the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Education is the best legacy a nation can give to her citizens especially the youths. This is because the development of any nation or community depends largely on the quality of education of such a nation. It is generally believed that the basis for any true development must commence with the development of human resources. Much then is said that formal education remains the vehicle for socio-economic development and social mobilization in any society. Nigeria like any other development nations has witnessed prolong military rule and aborted civilian administration, which necessitate the promulgation of decrees, edicts and laws concerning educational practices at federal, state and local government levels. The inconsistent continuation of government, due to coup d’etat de-emphasized the continuity in the implementation of educational laws and policies since 1970’s till the present time. This gradually laid the foundation of fallen standard in education at the primary school level of education (Shittu, 2004). Danesy (2004) opined that poverty of parents has elastic effects on their children academic works as they lack enough resources and funds to sponsor their education and good school, good housing facilities and medical care and social welfare services. Mba (2001) lamented that poverty of the parent has made education and learning impossible for children in the rural areas. He lamented that poverty has further caused other problems, such as disease, frustration, poor performance, and psychological problems and so on. Good parenting support by strong economic home background could enhance strong academic performance of the pupil. Frequent changes of ministers and commissioners for education by successive government coupled with the politicization of education by political parties that emerged in the country’s political scene since 1979 have also brought about disparity in educational practices, which caused differential academic performance and class room functioning of both teachers and pupils, from state to state (Danesty, 2004). These measures have not improved the socio-economic and educational status of families in the country. They have rather increased their sufferings and widened the socio-economic gap between families. Johnson (1996) lamented that in contrast, some parents become poor due to these hard measures, such that they can no longer provide adequately for good education of their children. Also, they can no longer provide shelter, clothing and special need of their children in school (such as provision of text books, school uniforms and good medical care and so on). High level of illiteracy, poverty and low socio-economic status coupled with high rate of paternal and maternal deprivation of pupil’s academic choice, which was necessitate by poor-economic situation of the country has thrown many farmer and old rural dwellers into untold financial problems such as poverty, lack of money to purchase necessary textbooks and working materials for their wards who are supposed science students. Also, many rural and suburban dwellers can no longer pay the school fees of their wards. These ugly situation have prompt pupils to drop out of school to engage in subsistence farming and become housemaids or engage in other menial jobs to support their academic pursuit or fall back to an easier-to-fund class of education. Hence, many pupils have since taken school as a secondary assignment and school attendance on rotational basis. The resultant problem posed by this, is poor academic performance in school examination. Parents with low socio-economic status often lacks the financial, social and educational support that characterizes families with high socio-economic status. Lower income families have inadequate or limited access to community resources that promote and support children’s development and school readiness. At secondary school level, children hailing from low socio-economic status are trained to respect authority and obey orders that employers like in manual laborers. Conformity and obedience are encouraged rather than individual critical thinking and evaluative abilities amongst the pupils at this. It is good to note that the quality of parents and home background of a pupil goes a long way to predict the quality and regularity of the satisfaction and provision of a child’s functional survival and academic needs. Poor parental care with gross deprivation of social and economic needs of a child, usually yield poor academic performance of the child. On the other hand, suffers parental and material deprivation and care due to divorce or death, or absconding of one of the parent, the child’s schooling may be affected as the mother alone may not be financially buoyant to pay school fee especially for a scientifically career oriented student, purchase books and uniforms, such child may play truant, thus his performance in school may be adversely affected (Shittu, 2004). Danesy and Okediran (2002) lamented that street hawking among school pupils have psychologically imposed other problems, like sex networking behaviour, juvenile delinquent behaviour, which takes much of the pupils’ school time that necessitate the poor academic performance and drop out syndrome noticed among school pupils. Nevertheless, they also lamented that the maternal and paternal deprivation of the essential needs of the pupils have prompted their poor performance. Education not only providesknowledge, but also inculcates values, training of instincts and fostering the right attitude and habits. So the quality of education obtained by students is of great concern to most parents. The various economic, sociological, political, financial, familial and cultural positions of parents in general have impact on both the quality and standard of education to wards in a quest for attaining enviable attributes. Education is considered as a human right that should be accorded to all human beings, in fact, it was the reason why a lot of international human right bodies consider education as a fundamental human right. The first and perhaps the greatest challenge facing Nigeria and making it difficult for good quality education that is capable of bringing about sustainable development is corruption and inadequate attention.
Education in Jos North a city in the Middle Belt of Nigeria with a population of about 900,000 residents based on the 2006 census, Popularly called “J-town” or “Jesus Our Saviour” by the residents, the administrative capital of Plateau State and a Local Government Area in Plateau State, Nigeria, is not exonerated from the same general menace. These issues underscore the need for this study.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Nigeria today is regarded as a third world country as a result of developmental redundancy. The common assertion of sociologist that the responsibility of training a child always lies in the land of the parents and the education can be an instrument of cultural change which is being taught from home is relevant in this discourse. It is not out of place to imagine that parental socio-economic background can have possible effects on the academic line of pupils in school. Whatsoever affect the development environment of children would possibly affect their education or disposition to it. In line with the above assertion, Hill, Henry, and Wilson (2004) also argued that socio-economic status of parent do not only affect the academic line, but also makes it impossible for children from law background not to compete well with their counterparts from high socio-economic background under the same academic environment.
From the issues above, the problem of this study to investigate the effects of socioeconomic status on the enrollment of pupils into science classes in Jos North.