Birth Order and Academic Performance of Students in Agricultural Science in Secondary Schools
1.1 Background to the Study
It is an established fact that every member of the society belongs to a family. It is notable that some secondary school students come from extremely poor homes, while their parents are illiterate while others haves educated parents. Some come from a polygamous family, while others come from a monogamous family. Similarly, some learners are fatherless or motherless while some have no parents. Whichever, category a learner belongs, it has either positive or negative effect on his or her academic life and brings with him/her to formal schooling a way of functioning which carries the imprint of his/her upbringing at home.
Accordingly, the home provides what the students take with him/her to school. Herein, the importance of the home in the cultural, moral, societal, educational and general upbringing of a child cannot be over emphasized.
Apart from serving as a breeding ground for human continuity the family which is regarded as a primary social unit in the society is the institution that sets one socialization in process on course. It was in position of the unique philosophy of the family that Maduakonam (2010) asserted that should an evaluation of the social influence of the home be carried out, one would find that the home has a great influence.
The home lays early foundation in the life of a child. A child first learns what is important though the values or goals that are considered most important in the society by emulating the parents. Children most often absorb the values of the parents, but even if they reject them, they will be dead by influenced. Essien (2006) observed that disciplined and indiscipline behaviours among children is a function of the home. To him, parents acting in content with the environment encourage discipline when they fail to teach appropriate societal norms and values.
Parents through their parenting style have significant role to play in the behaviour modification process especially as they are pillars of the home (Owan, 2007).
Ezewu (2010) asserted the preparedness of delinquent among school population were from polygamous homes. However, it is a common knowledge that above have significant influence on the education of the child. For instance, in spite of the government policies of family planning, a number of parents are still producing an uncontrollable number of children, such parents; in this era find it hard to cater for the socio-economic and educational needs of the family members.
With the limited resources of the family, it is indisputable that priority attention will be given to the education of first order birth whereas education of middle birth and last born children suffers setback. When this happens, the disadvantaged children (middle and last born children) are often seen lacking in basic educational materials and some dropping out of the school when parents cannot afford their fees.
In privileged situation, the home is able to provide more than the minimum required for good learning situation. According to Albert (2010), the standard of living is high and the materials comfort provided may be luxurious in the privileged homes.
Children have all the necessary opportunity for education in the home, although it is not impossible that the child fails to make full use of these facilities if the parents concentrate too much on wealth and social position. He opines that children from such family may think that they are a race separate from others and for this reason, fail to benefit fully from social interaction with the other children at school. The middle class home have enough materials, comfort and social standing to make home life sufficiently educative for children especially at the homes levels of education.
It was in this wise that Malu (2010) states that the home background of a learner has a significant influence on his educational achievement in school. He maintained that the home is the most important primary group and the smallest social unit in the society. It has its roots in biological and social nature. As such, it is universal in the sense that no human society could possibly exist or as over existed without some forms of home organization, this is because parents, siblings and family pattern, academic life and personal of young child.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The effectiveness of the Nigerian educational system has over the years been bedeviled by poor academic performance of students resulting from a number of school based and learners centred factors which has hitherto been investigated by researchers.
However, most of the factors found by researchers to have accounted for under performance of the students in both public and school examinations are said to be learners centred and related to. One of such factors is the home background of the learner. It is uncontestable that the home background of a learner can enhance or mar the educational future of the learners.
This is because learners from poor home background may not complete favourably with their counterparts from rich families. A situation where parents keep a large family size with large number of children can affect the education of some, if not all members of the family. Such parents may find it difficult to provide for the educational needs of his wards in equal economic situation in the country.
In such circumstances, it is likely that priority attention would be given to the order of birth in respect to the education of the children consequently, if attention is given to education of first order birth, the education of others in the family would be given little or no attention, hence their academic performance in school is seriously affected.
It is against this background that this study on ‘birth order and academic performance of students in agricultural science in secondary schools in Ukanafun Local Government Area” becomes imperative with a view to making recommendations that will help to enhance the academic performance of students in agricultural science in the area regardless of the position of birth.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective of the study was to examine students’ birth order and their academic performance in agricultural science in secondary schools in Ukanafun Local Government Area.
The study specifically intends:
- To compare the academic performance of students of first order birth and second birth order birth in agricultural science in secondary schools in Ukanafun Local Government Area.
- To examine if there is difference in the academic performance of middle birth students and their last born counterparts in agricultural science in Ukanafun Local Government Area.
1.4 Research Hypotheses
The understated hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:
There is no significant difference in the academic performance of students of first birth order and second order birth in agricultural science in secondary schools in Ukanafun Local Government Area.
There is no significant difference in the academic performance of middle birth students and their last born counterparts in agricultural science in secondary schools Ukanafun Local Government Area.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The finding and result of this study will be of immense benefit to the teachers, parents, students, academic institutions and the society in general in the following:
- It will reveal that the poor performance of students in agricultural science is associated with their position of birth.
- It will reveal that there is a difference in the academic performance of students of first order birth and their members of the family.
- It will help parents to realize the need to embrace family planning policy in producing minimum number of children which they can carter for and providing meaningful education for them.
- It will provide teachers with an in-depth knowledge of the home background variables that influence students’ performance in schools.
- It will help government to plan and implement appropriate support programmes and provide equal access to education for all categories of students to reduce the burdens on parents especially those with large family and meager income.
- It will contribute to the body of existing knowledge of students in schools.
- Finally, it will serve as a reference point and a springboard for further researchers on birth order in relation to students’ academic performance in Agricultural Science as school subjects.
1.6 Delimitation and Limited of the Study
Delimitation: The study was delimited to birth order and academic performance of students in agricultural science in selected secondary schools in Ukanafun Local Government Area with particular emphasis on students of the first order birth and other last born counterparts.
Analysis was on secondary one student’s factors and birth order which contribute to the poor performance of students in Agricultural Science.
Limitation: The researcher had some sorts of limitations in the course of conducting the study which hindered its completion on time. There were inadequate finance, insufficient research information on the topic of the research, researcher’s academic workload, time frame for the research and other unforeseen circumstances.
1.7 Definition of Terms
The following terms used in the study were conceptualized by the researcher as explained below:
Birth: The time when a baby is born or the process of being born.
Order: The way which people or things are placed or arranged in relation to each other.
Birth order: The position of birth as in first, second, third, fourth etc.
Academic performance: The performance of students based on taught lessons as determined by their test and examination scores.
Parents: A person’s father or mother
Parental background: The family status of an individual especially when viewed to be either poor or rich.
Socio-economic status: Amount or one’s income at hand or in deposit, ownership of lands other economic resources.