Child Abuse and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Secondary Schools
The study investigated Child Abuse and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Secondary Schools in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area. The population for the study was 987 Junior Secondary two students in the 2016/2017 academic session. Two hundred Junior Secondary two students were randomly selected in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area for the study. Three hypotheses were formulated and tested. A survey research design was adopted for the study. Child Abuse and Students Academic Performance Questionnaire (CASAPQ) and Social Studies Achievement Test were used as the instruments for data collection. Data analysis was done using independent statistical technique. Findings showed that there is a significant difference between child physical, sexual and emotional abuse significantly influence students’ academic performance in social studies in secondary schools in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area. Based on these findings, it is recommended that Government should make it compulsory in every school that sex education is taught as part of their curriculum from secondary schools to university level. This will to check unwanted or premarital pregnancies. Since hawking is the most common form of child abuse in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, the government and non-governmental organizations should educate parents on the dangers of allowing their children to hawk. It was therefore concluded that child abuse influences the academic performance of students in secondary schools especially in the formative age.
1.1 Background to the Study
Education is an instrument of social, mental and economic development through which the right values and attitudes for proper development are inculcated in children for the retention and maintenance of the culture and traditions of a nation. Child abuse and its’ consequences is the unjust treatment given to a child which disturbs the child’s development process. It is a practice whereby children are battered, deprived of some basic needs in the home and at school. The saying that the child is the father of the man recognizes the fact that the quality of today’s child will determine the quality of tomorrow’s man (Akpan, 2013).
Child abuse is not a strange phenomenon in our society. There is no safe place for children anymore because the home, school, street, religious houses, and market are all possible places for child abuse. Also, a child can be abused by siblings, parents, teachers, guardians and so-called mentors. Child abuse is any form of maltreatment given to a child. According to Ugure (2011) child abuse occurs when an elderly person causes harm, injury, risk or death to a child by their actions. Harmful behaviour from parents, older people and caregivers can be intentionally or unintentionally causes a child to be abused. To control the way children are abused, the Child Protection Right Act 1999 was promulgated making child abuse a punishable act under the law in Nigeria by the Child Protection Agency (Lazarus, 2014).
According to Edem (2015), the attitude of school-age children roaming in the street during school hours hawking goods, washing cars, begging for food amongst others is observed with dismay. These activities are a deprivation of the children’s right to education. Apart from that, they are warned not to return with unsold goods, based on this girls turn to be indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners and boys turn to steal in order to make the money for their mistress/masters as the case may be. In this process, some children are killed and others may run into cars when crossing the road. However, the education of the child in this condition becomes the victim of economic downturn the nation for those that attend school, many are hawking and pushing wheelbarrows, carwash as a part-time job to raise the money for daily needs while others feed s and cloth the family through the ventures. As a result of this, the author added that the cumulative influence of these activities may result in poor academic performance as its consequences.
Child Abuse and Students’ Academic Performance in Social Studies in Secondary Schools
Furthermore, Egbor (2012), a child in the southern states in Nigeria is a person between the age of 0-14 years and in the northern states between 0-12 years. However, according to the 1999 Nigerian amended constitution, a child is a person who is below the age of 18 years that is a person who is below legal age of responsibility. Therefore, child abuse is a type of physical or mental injury or maltreatment of a person who is regarded as a child. This definition has expanded considerably to include more than just the beaten and sexually abused child. It extends to any condition injurious to a child’s physical or emotional health that has been inflicted by parents, guardians or any caregiver and schoolmates. The situation should be that of intentional inflicting of injuries other than accidental means like suffering harm by reasons of consequences, malnutrition or deformity which threaten his/her survival. According to Chucks (2013), the abuse of children influences the overall make-up of the child’s future as well as the performance of the child in school and in society at large. It was, therefore, on this background that the researcher focused on investigating into child abuse and students’ academic performance in Social Studies in Secondary schools in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area with the aim of providing a possible solution.
1.2 Statement of the Problems
The world today is undergoing major transformation; global transformations are multidimensional affecting the technological, economic, social, cultural, and political development of human communities particularly those of developing societies like Nigeria. Education in the generic and global context is a strategic instrument for social and economic transformation. The focus of the education system all over the world is the development of human capital required to meet present and future challenges of globalization and the knowledge economy (Dike, 2004). This development is evidenced on the academic performance of students in schools in the area.
Unfortunately, it is a largely accepted fact that abused and neglected children are at higher risk for lower academic performance. Chucks (2013) asserted on the foregoing that children who have suffered from neglect exhibit lower academic performance as maltreatment in the early years of life nearly triple a child’s likelihood of having academic problems and are far more likely to drop out of school before completing high school. This motivated the researcher to ask, could child abuse influence the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area? In view of providing an answer to this question, this study becomes necessary. Similarly, in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area the researcher personally observed that children are found hawking in the streets, begging for food, being beaten at home and in the schools, and working in the school farms during school hours making them to spend time outside the classroom more than the time spent in the classroom learning.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to investigate child abuse and students’ academic performance in social studies in secondary schools in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area. Specifically, the study sought to:
- Examine the effect of Child Physical Abuse on students’ academic performance in social studies in secondary schools in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area.
- Examine the influence of Child Sexual Abuse on students’ academic performance in social studies in secondary schools in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area.
- Examine the influence of Child Emotional Abuse on students’ academic performance in social studies in secondary schools in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be of great significance to parents and guardians, teachers, government, educational planners and school counselors in the following ways:
- To the parents and guardians, the findings of this study will enable them to have the knowledge and skills to study their children very well to know their right from left. Also to have alternative ways of child-rearing without abusing them.
- To the teachers, the study will help them to develop critical and creative mind in the selection of instructional strategies which will motivate the students in the teaching/learning process.
- To the government, the study will help them to understand the various forms of child abuse prevalence in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area and proffered ways for fighting them.
- The study will help educational planners to understand what constitute child abuse and its consequences so that they know where and how to start combating it.
- To the school counselors, the study will provide useful information to them for the effective counseling of both parents and students on the consequences of child abuse.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study in line with the objectives of the study:
- There is no significant difference between Child Physical Abuse and students’ academic performance in social studies in secondary schools.
- There is no significant difference between Child Sexual Abuse and students’ academic performance in social studies in secondary schools.
- There is no significant difference between Child Emotional Abuse and students’ academic performance in social studies in secondary schools.