1.1 THE STUDY’S BACKGROUND
It is widely assumed that students can benefit academically from living in a decent housing unit on or near campus. So much so that, with few exceptions, many colleges and universities, ranging from small liberal arts colleges to large state universities, require students to live on campus during their first year, owing to the failure of appropriate authorities to provide adequate housing for students.
Students over the age of 25, students who are married and/or have children, and students in the military are typically exempt from such a policy because they can afford to provide for themselves a better housing unit outside of campus at a comparatively expensive amount (Loring, 1996). It has been proposed that having a decent housing structure makes students less likely to drop out or transfer, more likely to make academic progress, and more capable of achieving a high level of academic performance.
Despite these common perceptions, estimating the impact of a decent housing unit on student performance is difficult. There is no effective control group for schools that require first-year students to live on campus. Year one students who do not live on campus typically share other characteristics that distinguish them. Even for students, a house is a place to live. It is a place to live or seek refuge. A house is more than just a temporary shelter. Its essence is found in the people who live there (English, 1987).
Overcrowding, insecurity, poor physical condition of housing, and living in deprived neighborhoods are all examples of bad housing. Poor housing conditions can cause a wide range of health problems, ranging from psychological and physiological effects to specific diseases with varying degrees of morbidity (Chapin, 2001).
A substantial body of scientific literature demonstrates convincingly that there are direct causal links between various aspects of poor housing and specific health conditions (Smith, 1990). Infectious diseases, non-infectious respiratory diseases such as asthma, and social and psychological problems have all been linked to poor housing.
Overcrowding, dampness and moulds, and sanitation and basic housing quality have all been identified as three primary components of poor housing that are directly linked to poor health outcomes in the literature. The researcher will investigate these components and their relationship to students’ academic performance as well as the health consequences.
Overcrowding is generally regarded as a threat to mental health rather than physical health, though the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and scabies is also linked to overcrowding. Most studies on crowding use a standard measure based on WHO guidelines of either persons/room or square feet per person.
However, a word of caution is in order because cultures differ in their tolerance for crowded living conditions. Mitchell (1976) proposed that crowding is a more complex variable that necessitates distinguishing between density (the number of people per unit space) and congestion (the simultaneous demands for the use of available space).
Crowding has a negative mental health impact due to a lack of personal control over the available space, rather than the actual small size of the space. Cultural differences in “crowding” definitions also play a mediating role. Crowding, which has been a feature of the Nigerian student housing system, is cause for concern, necessitating research into the impact of housing conditions on academic performance.
1.2 THE PROBLEM’S STATEMENT
The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between student housing conditions and academic performance. The level of research in this area is fraught with difficulties in proving causation: for example, whether poor housing conditions cause certain people to fail to achieve their educational potential, or whether the two are ‘associated’ – that those who are likely to fail at school are concentrated in poorer condition houses or neighborhoods anyway.
There are schools of thought in some areas (such as mental illness) that those who are less able to cope will ‘drift’ into poorer areas and housing conditions. Although the cause and effect arguments may have more traction in academic circles, the evidence for the positive impact of better housing is overwhelming. However, the researcher is investigating the impact of students’ living conditions on their academic performance.
1.3 THE STUDY’S OBJECTIVES
The following are the study’s objectives:
1. To investigate the impact of students’ living conditions on their academic performance.
2. To investigate the state of the housing units available to Nigerian students.
3. To identify the factors influencing students’ academic performance.
1.4 QUESTIONS FOR RESEARCH
1. How do housing conditions affect students’ academic performance?
2. How are the housing units available to Nigerian students in terms of condition?
3. What factors influence students’ academic performance?
HO: There is no significant relationship between student academic performance and housing conditions.
HA: There is a significant relationship between housing conditions and academic performance in students.
1.6 THE STUDY’S SIGNIFICANCE
The following are the study’s implications:
1. The findings of this study will be useful to the general public and government officials charged with the responsibility of providing adequate housing for students in terms of assessing the current situation and its impact on academic performance.
2. This research will also serve as a resource base for other scholars and researchers interested in conducting additional research in this field in the future, and if applied will go so far as to provide new explanations for the topic.
1.7 STUDY SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
Financial constraint- Inadequate funding tends to impede the researcher’s efficiency in locating relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as in the data collection process (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will conduct this study alongside other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
Some Housing Factors Related to Mental Hygiene, F.S. Chapin (2001), American Journal of Public Health, 41, 839-845.
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