The Influence of Family Size on the Academic Performance of Students


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1.1       Background to the Study

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It is importance that each members of the society belongs to a family group or family order. As the family is the mother of the society. It gives birth to it and to change the society; the family must be changed. It is what happens in the family that reflects in personality behavior of the children. Much of the early learning behaviors attitude takes place at home as the children are being socialized. If one evaluates the social birth order upon the development of individuals, one may not likely find anything with greater birth order than the family.

The psychomotor role of parents within the family needs to be understood by parents. The family is a primary social unit in any society, it is still the source of early stimulation and experience to children and their academic performance. Of course, family size also is a source of early stimulation and experience of pupils in the family and this family size influence their performance academically (Jafry, 2010).

The degree of which women want their children as well as has many they want varies from society to society. A variation which itself can only be explained in terms of their aspects on the society. In some societies, there are religious and economic rewards for having large number of children. In other societies are religious and economic penalties (World Bank, 2006). The adoption of the policy 6-3-3-4 system along with phasing out of grade two teachers in some state of the Federation were seen as the right steps of enhancing the academic performance of pupils and therefore the improvement of the standard of education.

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According to Jafry (2010) the fear of God and respect for constituted authorities are lacking among our youths and children today. About 47-67 years, the parents did a lot in the upliftment of moral behaviour of pupils and students even up to the university level. The author reported that an average Nigerian child is poorly fed, houses and environment stimulation of the pupils is poor.

The Influence of Family Size on the Academic Performance of Students

A Nigerian child is exposed to harsh condition earlier in life because of the economy of the country is devastating to the pupils’ physical and mental health. Most families cannot afford to provide basic reading and writing materials. He/she scarcely has his breakfast each time he goes to school and thus becoming truant and cannot achieve academically (Jafry, 2010).

However, Powell and Steelman (2003) argue that children attainment depends on input of time and money from their parents. The more increase of children in a family the less of both inputs. These inputs are not money along, but other essential things like time, attention, resource, television and so on. However, Booth and Keen (2006) confirmed that children from large families have lower levels of education.

Moreso, the family size as well as birth order also exerts a great influence on the academic performance of pupils in schools. In a family with large number of children, the parents may not be able to cater for the educational needs of all the children. There is bound to be difference in the level of academic performance of members of such family because children of first birth order likely to be given much attention than others in terms of educational materials needs of other members of the family may not be given much attention or totally neglected. This however, presents an area for investigation.

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The Influence of Family Size on the Academic Performance of Students

1.2       Statement of the Problems

Over the years, teachers, parents and researchers have expressed serious concern over the performance of pupils in schools. There have also been prevalent complains that in large families, the middle and last born children have been negatively affected academically. Otherwise, some parents inspite of the government policies on birth order and family planning have refused to see the need of controlling the rate of pregnancy and child bearing. They have failed to recognize the effect of birth order and academic performance that arise from large family which tend to become progressively handicapped as they grow older.

It is a result of the above reasons that this study is conducted on family size and academic performance of pupils’ mathematics of selected pre-primary schools in Esit Eket Local Government Area with a view to suggesting ways by which the academic performance of pupils in Mathematics can be improved regardless of family size.

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