The Impact of Poverty on the Academic Performance of Students in Nigeria

The Impact of Poverty on the Academic Performance of Students in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria


This research work was designed to find out the impact of poverty on the academic performance of students: a case study of Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State. This research work consists of five chapters, the chapter entitles chapter one which consists of an introduction, statement of problems, purpose of the study, the significance of the study, research questions, scope, limitation of the study, and definition of terms. Chapter two cover the review of literature that entails the concept of poverty on the education of the students in Nigerian, the influence of parental economic status on the students at various levels, home environment, and students education and parental education qualification. The third chapter examines research methodology covering the study research design and area of study, population, sample and sampling procedure, an instrument for data collection, method of data collection, and method of data analysis. Chapter four entails the presentation of data analysis. The last chapter which is the fifth chapter covers findings, recommendations, and conclusions. Conclusively, the research work was completed with references sighted during the research work.




Background of the study

Statement of the problem

Purpose of the study

Significance of the study

Research questions

Limitation of the study

Definition of terms


Literature review


Research methodology

Research design

Area of study


Sample and sampling procedure

An instrument for data collection

Method of data collection

Method of data analysis


Analysis of data


Summary, Conclusion, and Recommendation






Education is a process through which an individual acquires skills, competencies, and attitudes. It is the right of every child to be educated, be it traditional or western. Thus, education is been regarded as a culture to man, people, and the nation of the world. This explains why man has to educate an offspring in society. Poverty is one of the factors militating against a man from carrying out his educational activities perfectly. Because of the various perception and complexities of the term poverty, a universally agreed definition cannot be arrived at. But then poverty according to the oxford advanced learners dictionary (2000) defined poverty as the state of being poor.

Oguw Mike (2005) sees poverty as a way of life characterized by low-calorie intake, inaccessibility of adequate health facilities low-quality education system, low life expectancy, unemployment, and under-employment. Leroy and Symes (2001) consider poverty as a major anti-risk factor relating the concept of poverty to Nigeria, it will therefore be considered in a broader way which implies that it has been viewed in various perspectives which include one national state and home background. At the national level, a nation can be considered poor when its economic standard is very low and this automatically makes the nation underdeveloped. The economy of a country that does not reach a certain stage of development in terms of infrastructure and other development indices. As regard poverty at the family level, we are referring to the home background.  Even before the indigenous education or western type of education, the home has always been the agency through which man learns various aspects of life to enable him to live a meaningful life in his environment. The home which is also known as the traditional way of educating the young ones is still regarded as the first school of a child before he enters the larger society.

The role of the home cannot be over-emphasized because the general assumptions that states of poverty in the family or home go a long way to determining the extent of youth or students’ educational development. Education is seen by many as the route to alleviating poverty. There is no doubt that meaningful; education is the most potent instrument for alleviating and eventually abolishing poverty. In considering the effect of poverty on the academic performance of students to be precise, the home background is the most important phenomenon that needs to be seriously considered to enhance the effective study of the relationship between poverty and students’ academic performance. Given this, some factors that needed to be considered in the home or family background are parents’ academic qualification, socio-economic class, and facilities available in-home or home environment as well as parent status.


Evidence shows that in Nigeria, the number of those in poverty has continued to increase every year. By 1999, when the government came into power, it was estimated that more than 70% of Nigeria lived in poverty. In recent years, it has been a controversy in the mind of people that if the poor status of any society or nation, even family can have an impact on the students educational performance. Given this, the study intends to investigate the positive and negative impact of poverty on students’ education in Nigeria. This is because of the diversity of the world poverty by different scholars who have used it in their course of study and how it has affected the learning and performance of the students in their educational development. Goldstem (1976) admitted this concept when he said that the fact that much of youth educational development takes places in a circle or home, the child begins to attend school in psychological tourism, an attempt would be made to determine the influence of parent’s socio-economic performance and the poverty impact on students education. There is a group that contents the poor who have the right to be assisted based on group solidarity. Oijkstra (1984) we know that in Africa, the system of the extended family addresses the issues of poverty in the community.


The purpose of the study is to investigate the effect of poverty on the student’s academic performance in Nigeria emphasizing some selected secondary schools in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State. The study is to find out whether students of a nation can be affected by any economic standard of the nation. The study also tries to find out the extent to which any community standard of living can affect the student’s education in that community. Some teachers are surprised when it comes to evaluating the performance of some students such teachers might find particular students in class performing extremely poorly despite all kinds of skills employed in carrying out an effective teaching and learning process extremely well.

This study will also provide a possible suggestion, in enhancing or improving the student’s academic performance by bringing out strategies to alleviate poverty. For instance by introducing the Britain welfare legislative system by providing accommodation, transportation, feeding, sickness benefits, clothing, etc those families living below the poverty level.


This study is important when looked at from the concept of poverty and the three various factors, the national level, the community level, and the home level or family background which influence students’ educational needs. It is hoped that the study identified some of the essential factors existing in various levels as they influence students in their performance. The study will give solutions on how to improve students’ academic performance. The level of literacy can also influence the level of performance in economic enterprise. This is why the Africa tradition insists on lifelong education as a process of acquiring various types of literacy, cultural, political, religious, etc for meaningful and effective living.

The study will also focus on the need for government to incorporate parents in the planning, for students. This is because the parents know best the environment under which students at home will learn and another variable that affects their performance. The study also enables us to know that poverty has become a serious problem in Nigeria. Despite her oil wealth, Nigeria becomes one of the poorest nations in the world. This life span is short and there are social, political, and economic difficulties. Begging has become a vocation to many who now live on the street. The crime rate is alarming, as violence, fraud, and armed robbery increase. One way of solving the problem of poverty is to introduce measures to ameliorate an equitable distribution of resources.

Henner Hilder Brand (1994) believes that the process of alleviating might be beyond the acquisition of literacy and the introduction of income general efforts. He seems to be suggesting that the cure of poverty would be the conclusion of people in decisions and policies. The living conditions of the poor also signify a lack of participatory opportunities in the economic, cultural, political, and social areas. The living conditions of the fight against poverty should consequently focus on eliminating the deficits mentioned to be effective in the long run.


For the proper examination of this study, the following have been formulated to serve as a guide in the conduct of the investigation.

1. What is the impact of environmental factors on the academic performance of students?

2. To what extent does the economic status of any nation affects its student’s academic performance?

3. Does the economic status of the parent have an impact on the academic performance?

4. Does the educational background of your parent have any impact on your academic performance?

5. Does lack of equipment like textbooks affect academic performance?


This study is limited to some selected secondary schools in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State.


Poverty: It is the lack of basic human needs, such as clean water, nutrition, health care, education, shelter, transportation, etc poverty is said to exist when people or individuals lack the means of satisfying basic needs.

Family: a family is a social group that consists of a father, mother, and children in this work, we can classify a family to be a man, his wife, or wives, and children.

Academic performance/Achievement: This is how students can perform in academic. It also refers to the score or grades obtained by students in examinations in their various schools. it could be a high academic performance which means pass or low academic performance which means failure.

Home Environment: This refers to the surrounding in which the students live. In this study, it means the adequate facility which the home has provided for students. It could be radio, sleeping space, television, and reading room whether conducive for learning or not.

Poverty Alleviation: This is the act of reducing poverty. This course of the study refers to when the problem of poverty is resolved.

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