The purpose of the study was to investigate the socio-economic factors influencing student‟s academic performance in public secondary schools in Igembe South District. The objectives of the study were: to establish how parental level of education affected student‟s academic performance, examine the extent to which parental involvement in their children education influenced student‟s academic performance, assess how the amount of income of the parent affected student‟s academic performance and to establish the extent to which parents provided financial and material support to their children for successful academic performance.
The study used the descriptive survey design. The target population for this study consisted of 12 school principals, 36 class teachers and 120 students. The sample was selected using simple random sampling, stratified random sampling and purposeful selection.
The study used questionnaire as research instruments which had structured, closed ended and open ended questions, they achieved a return rate of 88.7%. The research used SPSS to analyze data using descriptive statistics to generate frequencies and percentages.
The main findings of the study were parental level of education has no influence on the student‟s academic performance. The finding also established that parent involvement in child education, income of the parent and financial and material support given to students by their parents influenced student‟s academic performance.
Based these findings the following recommendations were made: sensitization of the parents by government agent on the importance of involvement towards their children education is necessary so that they can be more involved. Parent-school cooperation should be encouraged by the school management and parents need to be encouraged to buy necessary support materials for better academic performance. Parents should be encouraged to buy extra textbooks and other learning material for the students to use at home especially for day scholars. Government should provide textbooks and other learning materials required by secondary school learners in all secondary schools.
Government need to provide fees bursaries to the needy students because majority of the parent are not able to pay school on time due to irregular income and poverty. Finally, since the study was carried in a rural district there is a need to conduct a similar study in as urban setting in other districts to find out if the same findings will be obtained.
Education plays a vital role in the development of human capital and is linked with an individual‟s wellbeing and opportunities for better living, (Battle and Lewis 2002). According to human capital theory, investment in education leads to formation of human capital this is an important factor of economic growth. Education and training imparts skills and productive knowledge and transforms human capital. The stock of skills and productive knowledge embodied in people constitutes human capital (Risen 1989 cited in Mlamelin 2001). Education is the best legacy a nation can give to her citizens especially the youth. This is because the development of any nation or community depends largely on the quality of education of such a nation.
Educators, trainers and researchers have long been interested in exploring variables contributing effectively to quality academic performance. The variables that contribute effectively to quality academic performance are found within and outside the school.
These variables may be termed as learner factors, socio-economic factors, peer groups and school factors. Socio-economic factors may include parental level of education, parental income, financial and material support by parent, language, parental involvement in child education and peer group in school environment.
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