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Influence Of Parental Socioeconomic Status On Students’ Academic Performance In Public Secondary Schools In Tana River County, Kenya

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ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of parental socioeconomic status on students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Tana River County, Kenya. The study sought to determine the influence of parents’ income, educational level, occupation and parental involvement in education on students’ academic performance. A descriptive survey design using a sample of 158 students, 17 teachers and 11 parents’ representatives was used to execute the study. Questionnaires were used to collect information from students and teachers while interview schedule was used to collect information from parents. Quantitative data from the questionnaires was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics using Statistical Package of Social Science (SPSS). The qualitative data was managed through thematic techniques. Target population was parents’ representatives, teachers and students in Tana River County. The findings of the study were that parents income influences students’ academic performance, parents’ level of education influences students’ academic performance, parents’ occupation influences students’ academic performance and parental involvement in education influences students’ academic performance to a great extent. In order to improve students’ academic performance the study recommends that; schools should put in place systems to enhance parental involvement in education, the government should increase bursary allocation to students from poor families to retain them in school and parents should be highly sensitized about the benefits of parental involvement in education.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Education is a fundamental human right, the key to sustainable development, a crucial tool for effective participation in societies and it enhances peace and stability among countries (Ninomiya, 2003). Posse and Melgosa (2002) identified three environments that must come into play in the educational process which include; the family, the school and the community. The researchers opined that for a successful educational process to be realized the objectives of these three environments must be harmonized.

Ford and Harris (1997) examined parental influences on African-American students’ school achievements. They focused on parents’ level of education, marital status and family income and found that children from high and middle socio-economic families are exposed to a better learning environment at home. This is because of provision and availability of extra learning facilities like computers, televisions, radios, different types of reading materials among others. They maintained that most students in low socioeconomic status families are not exposed to these learning facilities. Ngorosho (2010) found four key variables as significant indicators of home environment that is conducive for learning in rural eastern Tanzania. These variables are: Father’s and mother’s education, source of light, house hold materials and the academic materials like books for school subjects in the homes. She maintained that these variables play a pivotal role in children’s education.

The Government of Kenya upholds education as a fundamental human right and recognizes that it is crucial for the attainment of self-fulfillment and National Development (GoK, 2007, Children Act Cap 586, 2001). The Kenyan government has made consistent efforts to enhance quality and equity in education to all Kenyans. For instance it has waived tuition fee for public secondary schools (GoK, 2007).  The government through Basic Education Act of 2013 No 14 section 35 also promises to give students appropriate incentives to learn and complete basic education. Further, in a bid to enhance equity and access to education, the government of Kenya through sessional paper No1 of 2005 commits itself to providing extra resources for the development of infrastructure in hard- to- reach and arid areas like Tana River county and north eastern regions.

Despite the government effort to foster quality and equity in education to all Kenyan children, counties like Tana River County still exhibit poor academic performance. Since Kenya’s independence in 1963, arid regions like Tana River County have continued to exhibit lower access, participation, completion and achievement rates in education (Sifuna, 2005).According to the Tana River County Integrated development Plan of 2013, the inhabitants of this region face an arid climatic condition coupled with frequent weather extremes. Barrow and Mogaka (2007) posited that economic investment opportunities in such regions are mainly limited to herding and small -scale retail trade. Poor communication networks, low literate communities, lack of social role models and limitations of basic school resources are some of the challenges facing learners and general inhabitants in this region (GoK, 2007).

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The Kenya Education commission popularly referred to as Ominde Commission (RoK, 1964) was mandated with charting a new education policy for the country.  One of its mandates was to address the issue of education inequality across the races and regions in the country. The Ominde report identified Tana River and North Eastern regions as warranting higher grand allocation, boarding schools and mobile schools as immediate strategies to uplift school participation. A charitable Trust called Tana River Life Foundation (TRLF) was set up in December 2005 by Gabriel Teo with the objective of assisting the marginalized in this county through education and acquisition of livelihood skills (Gabriel, 2005). According to Gabriel (2005) the main beneficiaries of TRLF are: Orphans, children of subsistence farmers, nomadic pastoralists and single parent families without any regular source of income. Despite all incentives and efforts by the Government and NGOs to enhance quality and participations in education, this region still perform dismally in academics.

Harris (2006) posited that for proper social and emotional development, students require a strong and reliable primary care giver who provides unconditional love, guidance and general support. They also require safe, predictable, and stable environment. Children raised from arid regions like Tana River County are much less likely to have these vital needs met than their counterparts from regions with favorable climatic conditions. Most families in these regions tend to practice pastoralism. This occupation entails moving from place to place in search of greener pastures and water for animals. Parents tend to be overworked; they are overstressed and authoritarian with children and fail to form solid, healthy relationship with their children leading to emotional and social challenges which may translate to poor academic performance (Ahnert & Pinquart, 2006).

Tana River County continues to exhibit dismal academic attainment despite the Kenyan government commitment to foster quality and equity in education in all counties in the country .The following table shows the Tana River County KCSE results from the year 2010 to the year 2014:

Table 1.0 Tana River County KCSE Results from 2010-2014

Year Entry Mean Score Mean Grade
2010 882 2.888 D
2011 890 2.953 D
2012 952 2.911 D
2013 780 3.0 D
2014 1152 3.35 D

 

(Source: Tana River County Education Office, 2015)

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

Despite the Kenyan Government effort in funding public schools, there still exists poor academic performance among students. In Tana River County, 100% of public secondary schools have had a mean grade of less than C+ in the last five years in KCSE exams (Tana River County DEOs office report, 2015). This means that majority of students in this county do not attain the minimum university admission qualification which is C+ and above (MoE, 2002). This dismal academic performance has raised concerns from parents and other educational stakeholders. Some blame teachers and students for poor academic performance in the county.

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Many factors such as inadequate school facilities, cultural factors and inadequate teachers among others have been cited as the possible causes of poor academic performance in the county (Tana River County Integrated Development Plan, 2013). However, parents’ socio-economic status is hardly mentioned. This study was therefore set to determine the influence of parental socio-economic status on students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Tana River County.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The class strata in Kenyan society based on socio- economic ground have become common phenomena. There is unequal distribution of wealth (resources) among citizens. Thus there arise the educated and the illiterate poverty stricken masses. This study therefore considered the influence of those stratified classes on student’s academic performance. The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of parental socioeconomic status on students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Tana River County.

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study were as follows:

 1.4.1 Main Objective

The main objective of the study was to determine the influence of parents’ socioeconomic status on students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Tana River County.

1.4.2 Specific Objectives

In order to achieve the main objective the study aimed at achieving the following specific objectives:

  • To determine the influence of parents’ income on students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Tana River County.
  • To examine the extent to which parents’ level of education influences students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Tana River County.
  • To establish the level to which parents’ occupation influences students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Tana River County.
  • To determine the extent to which parental involvement in education influences students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Tana River County.

1.5 Research Questions

1.5.1 Main Research Question

To what extent does parents’ socio-economic status influence students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Tana River County?

1.5.2 Specific Research Questions

The study was guided by the following research questions:

  • To what extent does parents’ income influence students’ academic performance in public secondary schools?
  • How does parents’ level of education influence students’ academic performance in public secondary schools?
  • How does parents’ occupation influence students’ academic performance in public secondary schools?
  • How does parental involvement in education influence students’ academic performance in public secondary schools?

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study will be of significance to the  parents, teachers and educational researchers because the information collected by the researcher will actually contribute to their general understanding of the influence of parental socio-economic status on students’ academic performance. The Ministry of Education and policy makers in education sector may also use the findings in this study to address the problem of poor academic performance in Tana River County.

This study will also contribute to the body of knowledge in general by providing direction to future researchers who may wish to further their investigation on similar topic. Through this study, religious organizations and nongovernmental organizations will understand the influence of parents’ socio-economic status on students’ educational success and thus obtain appropriate knowledge on how best to contribute/participate in education sector.

1.7 Limitations of the Study

The main limitation of this study was transportation problems due to poor road network system and long distance from one school to another in the locale of study. Therefore, the study was limited to the areas that are easily accessible. This is because it would be very expensive for the researcher to access the really hard to reach areas.

Another limitation for this study was difficulty in separating objective responses from subjective ones especially on the sensitive issue touching on parents’ income level. The researcher overcame this limitation by assuring parents that the information given would only be used for academic purpose and also ensured that they were interviewed separately.

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1.8 Delimitations of the Study

According to Dusick (2011) delimitations are those characteristics selected by the researcher to define the boundaries of the study. They involve what to be included and those not to be included in the study.

The study only looked at the influence of parental socio- economic status on students’ academic performance in public secondary schools and not private ones. The study did not capture private secondary schools because according to the Tana River county Integrated development Plan of 2013 there are no private secondary schools in the county but public schools only.  The study was also confined to four independent variables only which are: parents’ level of income, parents’ educational level, parents’ occupation and parental involvement in educational activities. The data collection instruments were questionnaire and interview schedules. The respondents/participants were: class teachers, parents and form three and four students only. Form three and four students were involved in the study because they have more experience and knowledge of their parental socioeconomic status as compared to their counterparts in form one and two.

1.9 Basic Assumption of the Study

The assumption of this study was as follows;

The target respondents were expected to participate in giving the desired information for the study and that they would be truthful, honest and objective to the questionnaires especially after being assured that the information would only be used for academic purpose.

2.0 Definition of Significant Terms

Socio- economic status: This refers to individual’s/group’s demographic, social and economic position in relation to others. In this study, socio-economic status was measured in terms of parents’ level of income, level of education, and occupational status.

Occupation: Is an activity that serves as one’s regular source of livelihood. In this study, occupation was measured in terms of parents’ work content, occupational prestige (formal or informal occupation), occupational class and occupation as an indicator of education/skills and income.

Level of education: This means the stage one reached educationally from primary level, secondary level, tertiary level/ college or university stage.

 Academic performance: Is the outcome of the students after assessments. This study measured academic performance basing on the average grades scored by students in exams (whether A, B, C, D or grade E).

Education: Is the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, especially at a school, college, or university. In this study education was measured through the analysis of data such as scores/grades obtained from educational assessments to infer the abilities and proficiencies of students.

Income: This refers to the monetary payment received for goods or services, or from other sources, as rents or investment. In this study income level was measured basing on the total monetary payments of parents’ goods or services, rents or other investments. Parental involvement in education: This refers to the amount of participation a parent has when it comes to schooling and her child’s life. In this study parental involvement in education was measured in terms of: Parent-teacher communication, parents’ visits to school, parental supervision of students’ educational progress, assistance of students with assignments at home and parental participation in school meetings.


Pages:  104

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF               

Chapters: 1-5                                          

Source: Imsuinfo

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.

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