Birth Order and Academic Performance of Students in Agricultural Science



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.

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