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Background of the Study

Education has been described as the best legacy that any nation or individual could leave behind for generation yet to unborn. It is the bedrock of civilization and a valuable asset in any nation. It have been used from time immemorial as a veritable instrument of cultural transmission. A lot of factors has marred the desire and pursuit of education and development in the country; inadequate infrastructure, poor government involvement, high cost of education, etc have hampered educational development in Nigeria. Beside these, there are some social problems which have also continued to cripple the quest for education in Nigeria. Over the years in the educational sector, various research studies have been conducted to proffer solution to these intractable educational problems in our society.

 In all, parental role have also been identified as an eminent social force influencing a child’s education. According to Adeyemo (1994), the home is the first station from where the child enters the world, hence its influence is very critical to the development of the child. And because of the very prominent position parents occupy in the home, they have enormous responsibilities regarding the upbringing of their child especially in the education of the child. It is rather unfortunate that parents are often unmindful of the very strategic role they are supposed to play bin the educational development of the children. In essence, they should not allow minor differences and other inexcusable issue to come between them to the detriment of their children

Loye (1976) traced the emotional development of a child to his or her home environment. He asserted that the emotional development of a child is strongly affected by two kinds of relationship namely, the parent child relationship and the parent-parent relationship.

Drinkmeger and mckay (1989) made the submission for four basic ingredients of positive child relationship, and they consist of Mutual Respect which influence effective parent to avoid nagging, debating or talking down on their children. Effective parents take out time to have pleasant moments with their children and shower them with time.  It is important that parents communicate love through words and actions in homes. Children should be encouraged to believe in themselves. In an authoritarian household, the children’s, sense of worth comes from getting rewards and avoiding punishment from parents. The relationship between parents and their children is beyond paying their school fees and providing them with school materials but a show of love from parents to children. This is essential for a healthy, mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual development of single or complete parents.

Davis (1978) advised teachers to learn to discover the reference point that is, the home environment from which the children departed. He further said that unless the teacher discovers these reference points of his or her student, he or she may cause great deal of damage. With reference to the submission that a child’s intellectual capacity started from home, the study therefore tends to look at the effect of single parents on children academic performance.

A single parent is a parent not living with a spouse. The single parent has most of the day to responsibilities in raising the child or children. This herculean task cannot be accomplished by an individual. Mgbiti Ossat (2011) corroborated thus, single parenthood is the practice of raising children or building family without a spouse or partner. As a form of building a family, single parenthood (single parenting) is now permissible in our society. In the western society in general, the child ends up with the primary caregiver usually the mother or the father when there is separation. Some sociologists perceive the prevalence of single parenting as an alternative family form, rather than as a problem in the society.

Regardless of how it is perceived, the increase of families raised by one parent influences the social, economic and political context of family life. In Nigeria, the existence of single parent was formerly unknown and where they existed, they were ignored as exceptional cases. However, in modern times, has become a fast growing family pattern both in and outside Nigeria Nwachukwu (1998). Although there are no available statistic of single parent families in Nigeria, practical experience and newspaper reports show that there is a growing increase in the percentage of adults and children living in single parent household.

Historically, the death of a partner was a major cause of single parenting and other causes include separation, divorce of a married couple, divorce of children that were in cohabitation, early pregnancy, etc. However, children with single parents are three times more likely to drop out of school than children from two parent families. The demographic of single parenting shows a general increase worldwide in children living in single parent homes. A child from a home where the father and mother are present will be taken care of and will socialize in the best way possible. This is due to the fact that the process of socialization depends on both parents playing complementary role in the upbringing of the child, such a child is likely to achieve self actualization later in life, unlike children from single parent home who are likely to suffer deprivation and denial of some right and opportunities.

 Amato (2003) asserted that single parenthood is problematic for the children’s socialization because many with one receive less economic and social support with practical assistance, less information, guidance and supervision, less role modeling than children in two parent families. Among children in single parent families, those from mother absent homes and mother absent household earn lower grades than children from father absent households. Children from father absent households generally find it difficult to connect with school activities both academically and morally (Murkey, 2004).

Statement of Problem

Generally speaking two good head are better than one. The role both parents play in the upbringing of a child is very important for the academic success of the child. Many male and female children in schools are portraying habits which seem not to be in accordance with the school rules and regulation such as lying, fighting, stealing, male and female pupils given to amorous disposition, and unhealthy peer group influence, poor study culture, lack of concentration in class, and late submission of assignments to have negative effect on academic performance of pupils.

This prompted the researcher to investigate effect of single parenthood on the academic performance of primary school pupils in Port Harcourt Local Government Area. Rivers State.

The purpose of this study is to investigate how single parenthood affects the academic performance of primary school pupils in Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State. Specifically, the objectives of this study will be;

Determine the extent to which income status of single parents influences the academic performance of pupils from such homes in public primary school.
Ascertain the level at which educational attainment of single parents influence their children’s/wards academic performance in public primary School.
Assess the level of pupils’ academic performance between those of single parents and intact parents in public primary schools..
Determine if occupational status of single parents have an impact on children’s academic performance in public primary schools.

1.4     Research Questions

The following research question will guide the study.

To what extent does income status of single parents influence students’ academic performance of pupils in Rivers State?
To what extent does educational attainment of single parents influence academic performance of pupils in Rivers State?
What is the striking difference between the academic performance of pupils from single parents and those of two parents in public primary schools in Rivers State?
To what extent does occupational status of single parental homes affect academic performance of pupils in public primary schools Rivers State?

1.5     Hypotheses

Ho1   There is no significant difference in the academic performance of pupils from single parents and those of intact parents in public primary schools in Rivers State.

1.6     Significance of the Study

As widely described, a child plays an important role in the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values and ideal. Unfortunately, the pattern of homes lately had been distorted for one reason or another. Thereby, affecting the academic performance of a child’s upbringing in and out-of-school. The findings anticipated in this study shall therefore assist all stakeholders (parents, students, curriculum planners, policy makers and the government to mention but a few on roles expected of them.

First, it would empower single parents and others alike to have a renewed orientation and be equipped with the necessary information to have an indivisible family. As it will help parents to build a better future for their wards and the society at large.

Secondly, the study outcome would help primary school teachers and other teachers as well, to acknowledge the importance of a stable home as a major pillar for academic success in the life of any student.

Thirdly, as curriculum planners needed to be guided with factors that could assist the curriculum planning and implementation to be successful. This study would therefore afford planners to consider learners’ family stability as a primary determinant of academic breakthrough. Also, the outcome of this study would not exempt students in the scheme of importance it would benefit them. It would enable students to understand even though over a long period of time, that crisis is eminent everywhere they find themselves but should rather allow their conscious to guide their daily conduct and strive to achieve hard work.

Finally, the school counselors would be better equipped with the necessary tool to guide and counsel pupils from single parent homes. Ensuring that the pupils turn to becomes good citizens of the country.

1.7     Scope of the Study

The geographical scope of the study covered all public primary schools in Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State; while the current scope consists of income status, educational attainment and occupational status of single parents and its influence on academic achievement of pupils in primary schools

1.8     Definition of Terms

Single Parenthood: Is a phenomenon whereby the care and training of a child is undertaken by only one of father or mother as a result of death of spouse, divorce, separation, and never-married (Klaush and Own, 2009)

Pupils: These are boys and girls who learn in the primary school.

Performance: This is the extent of achievement of an individual in his or her place of study.

Primary school: This is refers to school for young children who are between the age of 5 and 12.

Divorce: This is the legal ending of marriage.

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