The Effects of Poverty on the Academic Performance of Students

The Effects of Poverty on the Academic Performance   of Students in University of    Abuja    

                                                       CHAPTER ONE

                                                        INTRODUCTION

  • Background to the Study

Education is a process through which individual acquires skills, competencies, and attitude. It is the right of every child to be educated, be it traditional or western. Thus, education has been regarded as culture to man, people and the nation of the world at large. This explains why man has to educate himself and his offspring in the society. Poverty is one of the factors militating against man from carrying out his educational activities perfectly. Because of various perception and complexities of the term poverty, a universally agreed definition cannot be arrived at. Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary (2000), poverty is defined as “the state of being poor.”

Oguw (2005), sees poverty as “a way of life characterized by low calorie intake, inaccessibility of adequate health facilities, and low quality of education system, low life expectancy, unemployment and underdevelopment.” Leroy and Symes (2001) consider poverty as “a major anti-risk factors”. Relating the concept poverty to Nigeria, it is considered in a broader way which implies that it is viewed in various perspectives which impues national, state and home background. At the national level, a nation can be considered poor when her economic standard is very low and this automatically makes the nation underdeveloped. As regard poverty in the family level, it is referring to the home background. Even before the indigenous and western education, the home has always been the agency through which man

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learns various aspect of life to enable him live a meaningful life in his environment.  The role of the home cannot be over emphasized because the general assumption that states of poverty in the family or home goes a long way to determine the extent of youth or students academic performance. Education is seen by many as the route to alleviate poverty. There is no doubt that meaningful education is the most potent instrument to alleviating and eventually abolishing poverty.

Furthermore, poverty in developing countries takes various forms including low nutritional status, low level of education, declining in spending on social services, high percentage of household income spent on food, high infant mortality rate and low life expectancy among others. The depth and severity of poverty according to Nyong (1999), is experienced more landless illiterates, those without regular jobs or other low income services. These groups of people tend to move in-and-out of unorganized causal and informal labor market.

Similarly, the incident of poverty increased sharply between 1980 and 1985 and between 1992 and 1996 in Nigeria. There is however a decrease in poverty level between 1985 and 1992. The figures were 27.3%, 46.3%, 42.7% and 65.6% of the Nigeria population wallowing in poverty as at 1980, 1985, 1992 and 1996 respectively. (FOS, 1999). It is believed that poverty should reduce with increasing education level, as low level of education is one of the visible characteristics of poor people in Nigeria strategies of government towards alleviating poverty were concentrated as mass literacy; therefore poverty is seen as one factor that affect the academic performance of students particularly undergraduates of University of Abuja.

In considering the effects of poverty on academic performance of students, the home background is the most important phenomenon that needs to be considered in order to enhance the effective study of the relationship between poverty and students academic performance. It is in view of this that this study attempts to investigate the effects of poverty on the academic performance of students in University of Abuja.

To educate in the etymological sense, is to induce or draw out of a learner (person) something (matter) through some precipitated action (teaching). Teaching, learning and matter are the three basic components of education. To educate is a deliberate attempt to direct a person; that is to educate an individual morally, physically and mentally so that such an individual become sensitive to individual education. A good fraction of the population is ignorant of what education entails and are easily carried away by the slogan of “free education”. (Omoyemi, 1995).

Education means more than just buying school uniforms and writing materials. It means caring for and nurturing that which is good in the individual and good training which must be purposeful. Formal education according to Nkobi, (1978) takes a tremendously important role when it is realized that children are forced by the demand of the future good, to stay in school from the age of 5-17 and above. Through these years of confinement, the home, teacher and the school each has a vital role to play in reshaping of the child to suite in the society he/she belongs. Thus, through education, the child aspires to the highest level he can go but if the child is from a low income earning home, there tend to be the problem of reading and coping with hunger, it could be informed of buying of books textbooks and handouts. (Omoyeni, 1995).

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Statement of the Research Problem

Academic performance of students in University of Abuja takes different forms which include: ability to critically analyze, productive reading, carrying out research work as well as practical involvement of science students. The performance of students in these areas is poor as this in return has done much harm to the development of the country at large. Since education is the life wire of every society. This amount to the reason why this study cannot come at any other time than now when the rate of failure is high within the university; in this light therefore, attempt is made to investigate how poverty affect the academic performance of students, as parents are expected to provide their children with textbooks, exercise books, bear the cost of transportation, regular feeding, as well as other school expenses that are important to the learning of their children. Failure of parents to perform these roles to a great extend hinder the effective learning of their children and hence affect negatively their academic performance.

However, the experience over the years has showed that the rate of poverty has increased and this has made many students to be faced with the problems of buying books, payment of school fees and hostel accommodation and their daily feeding, as most students could go on ratio in other to survive the school situations.

Consequently, due to the largeness of the population, the welfare of the vast majority of the students is affected in the process of getting a degree. No matter how advanced a nation may be in its technology and education, the average standard of living of its inhabitants will be low if the population is too large for national resources upon which it can draw. The composition of population may give rise to economic and social problems such as poverty. A mixed racial composition of population creates problem of minority groups  as well as differences in economic status, a spares population, widely scattered over an area create problem of education. The low per capital income of a parent goes a long way in affecting the academic performance of their children as there is no welfare package to alleviate poverty of majority and basic education requires a large investment in schools, Polytechnics and Universities a part both government and parents must play in order to give the child the needed training through education. It is in view that this study attempt to vividly and extensively investigate the effects of poverty on the academic performance of students in University of Abuja.

Research Questions

  1. What are the effects of poverty on the academic performance of students in University of Abuja?
  2. What are the effects of poverty on the final class of degree students come out with in University of Abuja?
  3. To what extend dose the income level of parents affect the academic performance of students in University of Abuja?
  4. What are the possible ways of reducing poverty among students in University of Abuja?
    • Objectives of the Study
  5. To determine the effect of poverty on the academic performance of students in University of Abuja.To determine the effects of poverty on the final class of degree students will come out with in University of Abuja.
  6. To reveal the income level of parents and how it affects the academic performance of students in University of Abuja.
  7. To suggest possible ways of reducing poverty among students in University of Abuja.

Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This study focuses on the University of Abuja, Abuja. The scope of the study is restricted to the effect of poverty on the academic performance of students in University of Abuja. This study will therefore be limited to the University of Abuja, Abuja; for the purpose of time and money.

  • Significant of the Study

Poverty has been existing in man’s society right from antiquity. It is therefore very important for everyone especially students of University of Abuja to be aware of how it affects their academic performance as seen below.

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It will enable students to be aware of the effects of poverty on their academic performance as well as reason for their failure.

This study will also be of great importance to parents and guidance that are in charge of their children’s education so as to work hard in other to adequately provide for their educational needs.

Lecturers will also find this study useful as this will guild their method of teaching as well as limiting their proposed principle which sometimes limit the capacity of students who are from poor socio-economic homes.

This study will also be useful to the school administration as they will help reduce food items as well as other learning material that may be difficult to afford by students from poor background.

Also, government and other non-governmental organization will find this study useful as it will enable them to support the students in other to motivate leaning; such as providing adequate transport for students as well as supporting the financial needs of students who are from poor background.

This study will also be beneficial to students as it will help them to know areas where they need to adjust in other to increase their academic performance. Also, the society at large will find this study useful as it will help them to know the reason why students perform poorly in school.

Finally researchers will also find this study useful as it will serve as reference material to their work.

  • Operational Definition of Terms
  1. Poverty: This refers to the state of being poor or to live in lack. It also refers to as a state of being poor in health, material wealth education among others. Poverty also implies scarcity, dearth, or the state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possessions or money. It is the inability to getting choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. It means lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society.
  2. Academic Performance: This is the outcome of education-the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals. Academic performance is commonly measured by examination or continues assessment but there is no general agreement on how it is best tested or which aspects are most important –procedural knowledge such as skills or declarative knowledge such as facts. In addition, academic performance refers to the sum total of information a student has out of his /her disposal when he/she finishes a course of study, the ability to get a pass grade in a course. It’s also the identifiable operations a student is expected to perform on the material of a course, that is, on the facts, theories, problems, principles and point of view which he/she encounters while taking the course.
  3. Student: Is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution. In some nations, the English term (or its cognate in another language) is reserve for those who attend university. Also, student is used for anyone who is learning, including mid-career adults who are taking vocational education or returning to university.
  4. University: This is an institution of higher education and research which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects and provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education.
  5. Socio-economic status (SES): This is an economic and sociological combined total measure of person’s work experience and of an individual’s or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation. When analyzing a family’s socio-economic status, the household income, earners’ education, and occupation are examined, as well as combined income, versus with an individual, when their own attributes are assessed. Also, socio-economic status is commonly conceptualized as the social standing or class of an individual or group. It can also be defined as the position of an individual on a socio-economic scale that measures such factors as education, income, type of occupation, place of residence, and in some populations, ethnicity and religion.
  6. Education: There is no precise definition for the word education; however different authors have put forward their ideas on what they feel it should be.

Plato believes that education develops in the body and in the soul (of the pupil) all the beauty and all the perfection of which he is capable of.

Dewey an American pragmatist views education as the development of all these capabilities in the individual, which will enable him/her to control his/her environment and fulfill his/her responsibilities.

An education historian and former Minister in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Fafunwa (1967) defines education as comprising all efforts, conscious and direct, incidental and indirect, made by a given society to accomplish certain objectives that are considered desirable in terms of individual’s needs as well as the needs of society where the programme is based.

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UNESCO refers to education as an organized and sustained instruction designed to communicate a combination of knowledge, skills and understanding valuable for all activities of life.

Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which the knowledge, skills and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research. It is an experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, or acts may be considered educational. It is a process of taking an individual from foolishness to wisdom and from light to darkness. It can take place in formal and informal educational settings. Dewey (1916).

  1. Absolute Poverty: Also know as extreme or abject poverty is stated as a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services. To Joseph Wresinski the founder of ATD Fourth World, Absolute poverty is seen as “the absence of one or more factors enabling individuals and families to assume basic responsibilities and to enjoy fundamental rights. The situation may become widespread and result in more serious and permanent consequences. The lack of basic security leads to chronic poverty when it simultaneously affects several aspects of peoples’ lives, when it is prolonged and when it is severely compromises people’s chance of regaining their rights and of resuming their responsibilities in the foreseeable future.”
  2. Family: By definition, is a group of persons directly linked by kin connections the adult members of whom assume responsibility for caring for children. It can also be defined as the smallest unit/institution in the society that is made up of father, mother, and their biological or adopted children living in the same residence.

According to Collins English dictionary is a primary social group consisting of parents and their offspring.

Furthermore, the family according to oxford dictionary of sociology “is an intimate domestic group made up of people related to one another by bonds of blood, sexual mating, or legal ties”.

  1. Status: Is a state, condition, or situation. It also means the position of an individual in relation to another or others, especially in regard to social or professional standing. It also refers to a hierarchical position of a social ladder, resulting from one’s role in the labor system.
  2. Background: This refers to natural or hereditary factors, the genetic

Characteristics within an individual which either inhibit or facilitate his ability to learn.

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