THE INFLUENCE OF PARENTS’ OCCUPATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND ON EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENT
Background of the Study
Family is the first social group where the child’s earliest education in the society usually begins. The child interacts with the family members, first with the mother, later the father and the siblings (brothers and sisters). With this continuous process of interaction, the child is socialized into the prevalent social practices of the family such as teaching the child good moral values, provision of safety, provision of basic needs as well as education (William, 2009). The family exerts a profound influence on the response of the child to school work through the parents. Family, according to Tor-Anuiin (2004), is a small kinship group whose key function is the socialization of the newborn. Family is the first socialization agent. In this context, family is a social group whose function is to support their children. The warmth which can only be provided by the parents gives the child a sense of belonging and affections which enhance his mental, moral, and educational growth. If children are denied these much needed parental support, affection and warmth during the vital period of their lives, they become negatively affected in all aspects of life (Bane, 2010). This means that the major stakeholders in the education of children are the parents.
Parents are unit of interacting persons whose central purpose is to create and maintain a common culture which promotes the physical, mental, emotional and social development of each of its members (Eweniyi, 2005). Parker (2012) also defined parents as a unit of interacting persons related by marriage, birth or adoption. Parents are created when two or more people construct an intimate place that they define as a family, where they generally share a living space, commitment and a variety of roles and functions (Daval, 2002). According to Okoh (2004), parents are group of people who guarantee the procreating, care and education of the young, the stability of the family and the permanence of society upon which the survival of race depends. Parents have the responsibility to provide attention, support, love, affection and education to meet the physical, mental and social needs of their children (Hartman, 2013).
Parent plays a crucial role in the provision of formal and informal education. Parents’ background represent a number of variables like parental education, occupation, income, gender, status, size of the family having implication on the educational support of school children (Otis, 2010).
Education can be defined as a process of developing knowledge and ability in learners in such a way that they use this knowledge to improve themselves and their society (Crosnoe, 2004). For educational support, Frazer, (2002) defines support as to furnishing someone with the means of sustenance or livelihood. According to Uche (2004), to support is to maintain or provide for. For Think (2009), support means rendering services and assisting someone to achieve his targets. In this context, support means helping and guiding people by providing their needs whether at home or in the school. Educational support therefore is providing school children with basic needs in school such as writing materials, textbooks, pocket money, paying school fees, transportation to school (Jeynes, 2004).
The educational support that parents give to their children is most likely to have a highly significant and dominant effect upon their behaviour in later life (Cotton, 2005). How they respond to school activities and their performance may be highly dependent on the attitudes and behaviour they acquire from their parents at home. However, after starting school the child normally continues to live with the parents and could be deeply influenced by their educational and occupational background. Since parents differ in terms of their background, educational qualification and occupation, the level of support they give to their wards may likely differ. Adekeyi (2005) asserts that it is mainly through attitude and abilities of parents that children become useful and productive members of the society with regards to academic activities.
Parents’ attitude towards their children’s academic activities is very crucial to the future of their children in particular and the society in general. The type of educational support parents give to their children could be a reflection of the parents’ educational and occupational background (Douglas, 2006). Douglas further stresses that parents with good educational background may encourage their children to develop interest in school work hence support them with good learning environment at home.
The levels of educational support parents give to their children may be high, moderate or low. Illiteracy of parents and poor occupational background may have a negative effect on the educational support of their children. Children whose parents are illiterate may be seen to lack home encouragement. Children from such parents may receive very low or no educational support from their parents and this may discourage them from learning (David 2007). David (2007) further posits that parents’ illiteracy, poverty and ignorance may demotivate them from their academic pursuit. Such parents may fail to support, reinforce, give reward or punish their children on their academic performance. This might have forced them to be unserious in learning. This indeed has a serious implication for the learning and performance of such students in schools. They cannot cope properly with the school systems that will make them to achieve their ambitions. On the other hand, literate parents with better occupational background may have interest in their children’s academic performance. They struggle to provide them with needed materials and give them high or moderate levels of educational support since they themselves know the importance of education. They provide adequate support and reward when the children perform better in class assignments, tests and examination. Taking care of children and making provision for their needs, especially educational needs, are very important in determining the academic performance of children.
It is a common belief that educated parents are in a better position to appreciate the need for effective learning and understand the most effective way of enhancing achievement by providing academic help whenever a child needs it. Their perception, value orientation and attitudes towards education are different from their counterparts who are illiterate (not educated). The educated parents normally provide their children with material resources adequate enough to ensure the education of all or most of their children. It includes the ability to pay fees for education i.e. school uniforms, books, learning facilities. In this context, parents’ level of education is categorized as illiterate (i.e. never experienced formal education), primary school leaving certificate, GCE or Grade 11, Ordinary National Diploma (OND), Nigeria Certificate in Education, Bachelor of Arts/Science Education etc, as well as Higher Degree Certificate and Postgraduate.
The parental support provides opportunity for the child to make use of comfortable learning environment at home such as library with relevant materials like textbooks and condusive environment that facilitate learning for the child’s education in the school, provision of financial support for extra- curricular activities that are geared towards the academic achievement of their children (Bolarinwa, 2007). While children from parents with low educational qualification may suffer from material deprivation. Their parents may consider going to school a waste of time, money and energy (Musgrave, 2007). Musgrave further reiterates that child from an educated home would like to follow the steps of the parents. Parents who have a good level of education are likely to have a favoured attitude to their child’s education. However, this may be reflected on the level of occupation of the parents.
Occupation generally refers to a job or profession. It denotes what an individual engages in as a means, or source of livelihood. The occupation provides income or earnings which a person uses in satisfying his or her basic needs. Occupation refers to a set of activities that center on an economic role and is usually associated with earning a living, such as a trade and a profession (Caro, 2009). In every society and culture, there are different categories of occupation. These categories involve specializations of socio-economic functions of individuals in a given society, requiring the classification of work type, professions and vocations (Danasty and Okediran 2002).
Occupation of parents determines the extent to which children’s basic needs are provided (Walter, 2005). This is because children from family with prestigious occupation normally get high income, tend to get sufficient facilities in terms of text books, uniform and other learning materials which children from low income families cannot afford. Where such resources and facilities are lacking, it is inevitable that the learning abilities of a child is seriously affected. And this is inimical to their educational progress. This view is supported by Kenneth (2001) and Taiwo (2007) that the availability of funds from parents and other family members will affect such things as the quality of school attended, the number of books which a child possess and the employment of private tutor.
The different occupations are categorized under seven classes according to their social prestige as opined by Hall and Jones (2005). They are: Class one, the professional and high administrator. Class two, managerial and executive. Class three, inspectoral, supervisory and other non manual high grade. Class four, inspectional, supervisory and other non-manual lower grade. Class five, skilled, manual and routine grade of non-manual. Class six, semi-skilled manual and class seven is the unskilled manual. In this context, all occupations are categorized into five broad groups: professional, managerial, business men, skilled and unskilled workers. The class of occupation parents have may determine the level of educational support given to their children. In Jigawa state majority of the people of this area belong to skilled and unskilled categories of occupation whereby their earnings are very low. This may make it difficult to cater for their children and support them appropriately in their educational needs. In Kano state, however, though majority of the people of this area are rich and they belong to a managerial and business class, yet they do not have much interest in the education of their children much less of supporting them with necessary facilities that can aid learning. Such negative attitudes of parents could not motivate the children and may likely affect their learning abilities.
Another factor which may influence educational support to the school children by their parents is gender. Keller and Keller (2004) define gender as the distinction in roles, behaviour, mental and emotional characteristics between male and female developed by the society. Dahiru (2011) describes gender as the biological sexual characteristics by which the society identifies males and females. However the society defines sex roles, attitude and values as it is being appropriate for one’s sex or the other. There are several assumptions for gender bias in the society. For instance male children are preferred in many cultures to females because males remain in the family and continue the family name. However, girls are not because they are married out to another family (Helen, 2001). Uche (2004) opines that this may influence educational support as some parents may have the belief that a male child would be trained in such a way to help their parents and take care of their family in later years.
Parents by virtue of their occupations and educational background live in entirely different geographical locations. This may influence educational support to students because majority of parents who live in rural areas are poor and cannot adequately afford good meals let alone meeting the educational needs of their children. They are therefore unable to provide their children with school requirement (Oko and Eloigwu, 2002). This indeed has a serious implication for the learning and performance of those less privileged students in school, as such; students from such parents are forced to miss classes, unable to do their assignments and most seriously are driven out of school due to non payment of school fees (Osunloye, 2008). Furthermore, the levels of enlightenment of parents on education in the rural areas are negligible and cannot be compared with parents in the urban areas. In urban areas there is availability of social amenities, reading materials, good schools, and access to good roads (Ridge, 2010). Lack of adequate materials in one area or the other may likely affect the educational support given to students in those areas.
Parents living in ignorance and poverty are at great risk of hunger, homelessness, family stress and educational failure (Saifi, 2011). These environmental factors contribute much more to the situation of the children that live in poverty for being likely to have learning disability than non poverty stricken students (Hijazi, Naqbi 2006). If a student has not eaten for days and has clothes that do not fit, how is he/she expected to be focused in a classroom? Children coming from poverty inflicted homes are not provided with the same tools as the children from wealthy homes. They are enrolled in schools more belatedly than the children of wealthy parents. Li-Grining (2007) affirms that the problem starts with the parents and their lack of education and understanding of the needs of children.
As a result of ignorance and lack of sufficient resources of some parents, their children have been forced into uninspired careers due to unavailability of financial resources. Such individuals are forced out of school and made to engage in hawking, selling packaged drinking water and the likes so as to save money for their school expenses. The persistence of this in life of an individual student may spell doom for his academic success (Walter, 2008).
In Kano and Jigawa states which are the study areas, students in these areas, due to lack of proper educational support engage in stealing, fighting, abscondment from school, robbery, cultism, cheating, examination malpractice while some engage in some menial jobs like selling of sachet water, sugar cane, “suya” or pushing barrows in order to take care of themselves. Against the backdrop of the foregoing, the researcher is interested in investigating the influence of parents’ educational and occupational background on educational support of secondary school students in Kano and Jigawa states.
Statement of the Problem
The family constitutes the child’s immediate and primary social environment. It is the most primary group and the smallest social unit in any given society. The children receive their first physical, mental, religious and emotional and educational training from the parents that oversee the activity of family. Parents are the operators of the child’s development. They are the first educators of their children and are responsible for providing children with the right platform for learning.
However, illiteracy of parents and poor occupational background may have negative effect on the educational support of their children. Children whose parents are illiterates may be seen to lack home encouragement and such children may receive low or no educational support from their parents and this may discourage them from learning. At the same time, occupation of parents determine the extent to which students/children basic needs are provided, that is why children from family of prestigious occupation normally get sufficient facilities in terms of text book, uniform and other learning facilities. Where such resources and facilities are lacking, it is inevitable that the learning abilities of a child is seriously affected in terms of their educational progress. Gender disparity also has a negative effect on the educational support of school children as some parents preferred male child and support them well educationally as they remain in the family and continue with the family name, but female are not so because they are married to another family. So this gender bias in the society may affect the educational support of school children by their parents. Again, the parents’ geographical locations may determine the level of educational support to the students. Where parents live in rural areas that cannot adequately afford good meals let alone meeting the educational needs of their children, such students from such parents are forced to miss classes, unable to do their assignments and most seriously are driven out of school due to non-payment of school fees.
The consequences of not supporting the students in schools are many. Students by their nature do get involved in very many activities outside their studies. When students lose interest in their studies, failure rate will be higher. They may engage in very many unlawful activities like fighting, truancy, examination malpractices, cultism, stealing and consequently drop out of school. Furthermore, student’s low or negative educational support may result in failure. When failures become persistent, students may easily withdraw from the school system. Based on the background, the central problem of this study is to find out whether parents’ occupational and educational background has any influence on the educational support of secondary school students in Jigawa and Kano States.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study generally is to investigate the influence of parents’ occupational and educational background on educational support of secondary school students in Jigawa and Kano States. Specifically, the purpose of the study is to determine the:
1. levels of educational support given to secondary school students by their parents in Jigawa and Kano States.
2. influence of parents’ occupation on the educational support given to the students
3. influence of parents’ level of education on the educational support given to the students
4. influence of students’ gender on the level of the educational support by their parents
5. influence of parents’ location on the level of educational support given to the students.
Significance of the Study
This study will be tremendously beneficial both theoretically and practically. Theoretically, it is inclined to the Albert Bandura’s social learning theory (1977), which states that behaviour is learned from the environment through the process of observational learning and that performance in school learning is traceable to parental background of the learner. It is equally inclined to Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivational needs that speaks of basic needs that are necessary to the self actualization of the adolescent. According to the theory, unsatisfied needs create tension and make individual unhappy. However, these needs cannot be achieved without the support by the parents to the students. These theories are related to the present study.
Practically, the study will be of immense benefit to students, teachers, parents, principals of educational institutions, guidance counselors, sociologists of education, government, the society and the future researchers.
The findings of the study will help the students to understand that their parents’ educational and occupational backgrounds are the major determinants of their educational support. The knowledge they may acquire will motivate them to work hard in their studies and excel in examinations and get better jobs. To realize this, findings of this study can be presented to the students through peer group education programmes, seminars and symposia.
The results of this study will help teachers to realize that the students come from different homes with parents having different educational and occupational backgrounds. So this may help the teachers to know how to treat the students based on their own backgrounds. As such, the findings of this study can be presented at workshops and seminars to teachers for better understanding of students’ background.
Furthermore, the findings of this study will throw more light on the need for the parents to understand the importance of giving equal educational support to both male and female students. This equal educational support will afford male and female students the equal opportunity to have hope for higher education in future. To further achieve this, the results of this study can be presented to parents through radio, television and mass mobilization programmes.
The secondary school principals will benefit from the findings of the study. For instance, the knowledge about students’ parental background and the students’ problems will serve as a veritable platform for school principals to invite the parents and discuss their children’s needs and the importance of giving these children adequate educational support. This aspect of findings can be presented at a PTA meeting and seminar organized by the educational institutions in collaboration with state government agencies.
The study is also fundamental to the school guidance counselors. It will assist them to counsel the students from different background appropriately with respect to the academic demands of such students. The guidance counselors can remedy any shortfall in motivation from low socio-economic status of some students by providing the required motivation to improve on their academic achievement.
The results of this study will further help the sociologists of education to understand that parents and children interact to achieve a common goal in a society. The knowledge of this will enable them to assist both parents and students achieve a common goal for positive future living. This particular finding can become realistic through dialogue, meeting, seminars and pamphlets.
The results of this study will form an important basis for the organization of conferences, seminars, and workshops by the federal and state government, institutions of higher learning, and government agencies and for the society at large. These conferences, seminars and workshops could be designed to equip parents in the society on how to give their children adequate educational support to help them achieve their feat.
The result of the study will also be significant to the society. It will provide awareness on the influence of parents’ occupational and educational background on educational support of their school children. With this awareness, the general public will understand the need for parental education and occupation in the educational growth of the child, through provision of essential learning materials and needed educational assistance at home.
The findings of the study will be useful to future researchers as the information collected will form a data-base for related studies.
Scope of the Study
The study was carried out in Jigawa and Kano states on the influence of parents’ educational and occupational background on educational support of secondary school students. The study also focused on the influence of parents’ occupation on the educational support to the students, the influence of parents’ level of education on the educational support to the students, the influence of students’ gender on the level of educational support, and the influence of parents’ location on the level of educational support of students.
The following research questions guided the study:
1) What are the levels of educational support given by parents to the students of secondary schools in Jigawa and Kano States?
2) What is the influence of parents’ occupation on the educational support given to the students?
3) What is the influence of parental level of education on the educational support to the students?
4) What is the influence of students’ gender on the level of the educational support by their parents?
5) What is the influence of parents’ location on the level of educational support to the students?
The following null hypotheses guided the study and were tested at 0.05 level of significance.
HO1: There is no significant difference in the frequencies of the ratings of the educational support to the students based on parents’ occupation.
HO2: There is no significant difference in the frequencies of the ratings of the educational support to the students based on parental levels of education.
HO3: There is no significant difference in the frequencies of the ratings of the educational support to the students based on students’ gender.
HO4: There is no significant difference in the frequencies of the ratings of the educational support to the students based on parents’ location..