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Background of the Study

          Academic attainment is an important parameter in measuring success in students. Observations and reports have shown that success or high academic achievement has become a herculean task to accomplish by students in recent times poor academic performance were recorded both at the secondary and tertiary levels of education in Nigeria (Tenibiaje, 2009). The performance of students at all levels in educational institutions in Nigeria has attracted much criticisms from all and sundry from time immemorial. The decline in the academic performance of students in Nigerian Universities had been observed by Soyinka (1999), when he observed that University system in Nigeria needed restructuring. He went further to say that academic standard has fallen drastically and the quality of graduates being produced by the nation universities is questionable and subject to re-examination.

Poor academic performance of students has been of great concern to educationists, guidance and counsellors in particular. Despite, all guidance programmes and counselling strategies mounted in schools to improve student’s academic students’ academic performances yet poor performances are recorded yearly.

Family background is the foundation for children’s development, as such family background in terms of family structure, size, socio-economic status and educational background play important role in students’ educational attainment and social integration (Osunloye, 2008). However, reviewed literature indicated that there is an awareness of the importance of the home environment or family on siblings or children academic performance. The home has a great influence on the child’s psychological, emotional, social and economic state. In the view of Ajila and Olutola (2000), the state of the home affects the individual since the parents are the first socializing agents in an individual’s life. This is because the family background and context of a child affect his reaction to life situations and his level of performance.

Family structure in terms of single and two parent families has been noted in the literature to have a significant influence on students’ performance and mental development (Tenibiaye, 2009, Eweniyi, 2005). This is because providing a supportive leaning environment at home requires parent time as much as financial resources.

According to Salam and Alawode (2000), the existence of single parents in Nigeria is formerly unknown and where the existed they are ignored as exceptional cases. However, nowadays, they are fast growing family patterns both outside Nigeria. Although there are no available statistics of single-parent families in Nigeria (Salami and Alawode, 2000), practical experience and newspaper reports show that there is an increase of single parents in Nigeria. In the western countries, there is a growing increase in the percentage of adults and children living in single parent households (Nwachukwu, 1998). Single parent families have on average lower income than two-parent families and are thus more constrained in ensuring adequate financial resources to meet their children’s learning needs.

In addition, since single parents must cope, with the double responsibility of work and child-rearing, it may be more challenging for them to provide and maintain a supportive learning environment for the children (OECD/UNESCO, 2003), such families according to Children’s Defence Funds (1994) are faced with the challenges of diminished financial resources, assumption of new roles and responsibilities, establishment of new patterns in founded, intra-familial interaction and reorganization of routines and schedules  (Agulara, 1999). These conditions are not conducive for effective parenting. This is because when the single parent is overburdened by responsibilities and by their own emotional reaction to their situation, they often become irritable, impatient and insensitive to their children’s needs which may affect children’s needs which may affect children performance in school (Nzewumunwah, 1995). This paper examines the impact of family structure (i.e single and two parent families) on the academic performance of students in public secondary schools in Olorunda Local Government of Osun State.

In particular, it examines parental socio-economic background on students’ academic performance of students form single parent homes with students from two parent homes.

In Nigeria, the existence of single-parents is formerly unknown and where they existed they are ignored as exceptional cases. However, nowadays, they are fast growing family patterns both inside and outside Nigeria (Nwachukwu, 1998). Although there are no available statistics of single-parents family in Nigeria. In the western countries, there is a growing increase in the percentage of adults and children living in single parent.

A child from home where the father and the mother are present will be well taken care of and socialized in the best way possible (Ortese, 1998). This is due to the fact that the process of socialization depends, on both parents playing complimentary roles in bringing up the child. Such a child is likely to achieve self-actualization later in life, children from single-parent home are likely to suffer deprivation and denial of some rights and opportunities.

Despite the changing lifestyles and ever-increasing personal mobility that characterize modern society, he family remains the central element of contemporary life. Families offer companionship, security, and a measure of protection against an  often uncaring world. But family structure, like society at large, has undergone significant changes in the years since World War II.

While the nuclear family-with Dad, Mom, and offspring happily coexisting beneath one roof-remains the ideal, variations in family structure are plentiful and often successful. Whatever your particular family situation, it will have tremendous influence upon your baby’s happiness, development, and future. In this article, we will examine all of the many variations of the family structure and its inherent dynamics over the following section:

The Nuclear family is traditionally through of the parents and the siblings. Though this is the most basic family arrangement, it also rife with complexities. One thing multiple children. This question raises a host of others such as, the effect of being the oldest, youngest, and middle child. We will also discuss only children and children who are mush older them their siblings. Finally we will talk about how to form strong family bonds.

The extended family refers to grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. A strong relationship with your extended family can be just as rewarding as close ties inside the nuclear family. However, building those bonds inside the extended family can be a little more difficult because, obviously, everyone does not live under the same roof. In this section, we offer some suggestions for building a close extended family.

The decision to go back to work can be a tough one to make for new parents. Naturally, the financial stability of a regular pay check can take a lot of pressure of your household. Then again, missing your child’s first encounters with the world can not be replaced. Each family must learn how to make this difficult decision for themselves, but on this page you will some advice for weighing the pros and cons.

Numerous extenuating circumstances can result in a single parent. Traditionally, single parents are thought to be a product of a divorce, but a widower or a mother who had never been married can also be a single parent. Regardless of the causes, single parents face an uphill battle.

Parents who have children later in life face several advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, they are most likely more financially stable, secure in their job and home, and clear about what they want. On the other hand, they probably have less energy than their younger counterparts and the situation will only be more pronounced as their child matures.

If you have another child many year after your first born, your new baby may have three parents. A much older sibling can help watch, mentor, and care for your new baby of course, not big brother or sister will course, not big another or sister will want to embrace this role.

Parents who have children in their teens face a variety of problems. First, there is the social stigma attached to have a child at such an early age. Without the support of your family and friends, the new parents will most likely not get the financial and emotional support they need to bring a child into the world. As a result been parents have difficultly going to college and finding satisfying careers.

In past generations, step families were uncommon and most people did not know how to relate to them. Now, as the stigmas attached against divorce and remarriage continue to dissolve, more and more step families are coming together. While it’s never easy to merge two families together, step families can be an opportunity to forge new, lasting, loving bonds.

In addition, the literature is replace with the negative effects of single parenting on the child and the society. Johnson and Medinnus (1968) in Ortese (1998) found that most medical students whose fathers had been absent while they were ages one to five of life of were more psychopathic and criminal in behavior than those whose parents were not absent during this period. The child is morally upright and emotionally stable when the caring responsibilities are carried out by both parents. The family is the first socializing agent the child comes into contact with, it has agent influence on the child’s physical mental and moral development, the family lays the foundation of education before the child goes to school and the personality that the child takes to schools is determined home (Maduewesi and Emenugu, 1997). Fadeye (1985) pointed out that both parents have roles to play in child education. The father is to provide the necessary tools for the educational advancement while the mother is supposed to supplement the father’s efforts in this regard. When the father is absent and the mother is not privileged enough to cater for all the basic needs as well as supervised the academic performance of the child he/she (the child) will be backward or withdrawn.

The same thing occurs when the mother is absent and the father is not privileged enough (Ortese, 1998). A single parent faces doubled responsibilities requiring time, attention and money of the parent. Hence, less attention is paid to the education of the child.

Teachers commonly describe children form single parents as more hostile, aggressive, anxious, fearful, hyperactive and distractible than children form intact families (Nwachukwu, 1998). One is therefore motivated to ask the question “What is the influence of single-parenthood on the academic achievement of the secondary school students in Nigeria?”.

However, at this junction education becomes, imperative in prompting respect for human rights and democratic values, creating the condition for equality, mutual understanding and cooperation among people. Thus, it is an indispensable pre-requisite for developing the capacity of participating in all aspect of development.

Education is an important social objectives in any society. The role and its possible contribution to the intellectual growth and development of the society have become point of common concern in both developed and developing countries especially Nigeria.

Education in this context enables individual and the society to make all rounded participation in the development process by acquiring knowledge, abilities and skills (Fafunwa, 1974).

Regarding the relationship between duration and socio economic development education is the back borne  for both social and economic realization.

Statement of the Problem

In recent, past people continue to wonder and ask different question: why do family exist? Is it because to have the union of a man and a woman as husband and wife? It is no longer news that in our society, a male and female are being given into marriage to become husband and wife? Single-parent families have a negative impact on the child in that it is bad for the child’s upbringing and cognitive development. Indeed, children from single-parent families are at greater risk than children in two-parent families, even when they have the same academic abilities. Thiessen (1997) posited that children from single-parent families are three times more likely to drop out of high school than children from parent families. The problem of this, to the present study lies on the fact that students’ performance inn school is predated by their upbringing which perhaps is influenced in their family background but children from single-parent homes are likely to suffer deprivation and denial of some rights and opportunities which may have tremendous influence on their performance in real life situations.

Purpose of the Study

The following are the specified purposes of the study:

  1. To identify the influence of family type and size on student academic performance.
  2. To identify the roles of family members of student academic performance in Olorunda Local Government Area of Osun State.
  3. To establish the relationship between family type and size of student academic performance.
  4. To identify the effects of family type and size on the academic performance of students in Olorunda Government Area of Osun State.

Research Questions

The following are the research questions raised and responded to under this study, they include the following:

  1. What are the influences of family type and size?
  2. What are the roles of each family members on student academic performance?
  3. Is there any relationship between family size and the educational attainment of student?
  4. What are the consequences of family type and size on student academic performance?



Research Hypotheses

  1. There is no significant difference between the academic performance of students based on family type.
  2. There is no significant difference between the academic performance of student from nuclear and extended family.
  3. There is no significant difference between the academic performance of students from small and large family.
  4. There is no significant difference between the academic performance of students that comes from public and private schools.

Scope of the Study

The findings of the study were restricted to Olorunda Local Government Area of Osun State. However, the researcher centered her findings mainly on parent and children or student who are in secondary school the St. James students including the Basic (Junior and Senior) class becomes the targeted population.

Three hundred students were randomly selected as sample for the study.

Operational Definition of Terms

Family: A family is defined as a group consisting of one or two parents and their children. Most often family members are related by ties of marriage, blood or adoption.

Education: The word “education” was derived from the Latin word “educate” meaning to bring up, to lead out, to raise up, to educate.

Education is transmission of culture from the older generation to the young (Kaunda [1963] and Castle [1966] Fafunwa [1974]) is of the opinion that “the end objective of education is to produce an individual who is honest, respectful, skilled, co-operative and who would” conform to the social order.

Nuclear Family: This is made up of a man, his wife and child or children.

Polygamous Family: This is made up of one man, his wives and their children.

Extended Family: This is made up of one man, his wife or wives, the children and other relatives, like grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and their children.

Education Attainment: A particular level of intellectual, moral and social instruction achieved in teaching and learning process.

Significance of Study

It is expectation that carrying out this research exercise will help the Ministry of Education, parents and guidance counselors, students and the society at large to perceive family size as one of the hurdles that aid educational attainment in Nigeria.

Therefore, this research work intends to charge behavi0ours and attitudes towards questionable character carefree attitudes towards family life.


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