Child Abuse and Students Academic Performance

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the study

Child abuse has remained a global issue in most countries including Nigeria. It is an age- long human problem. The United Nations Convention (1990) defines a child as a person under the age of 1 year. According to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) a child is a person from birth to 18 years of age. Childhood is very important period in human development. It is the formative period that spans through adolescence to early adulthood.

However, education all over the world is generally accepted to be the right of every child. Childhood is expected to be the best time to lay a balanced socio-emotional stability for an expected adult. The ingredients in which the child should grow are expected to be put in place during childhood. It is in recognition of this fact that the United Nations (1990), has put in place the “Rights of the child” to which Nigeria is a signatory. It affirmed the rights of the child to enjoy special protection, opportunities and facilities for his/her development, healthy living and good manners. These United Nations Rights of the child attempts to eliminate all forms of impediments which would hamper the optimal growth and educational development of the child. Notably, the United Nations document has made provisions for conditions which will enable the child to grow and develop into a stable and emotionally balanced adult.

Unfortunately, the poor economic realities of Nigeria has militated against the Rights of the child such that child abuse becomes a resultant effect with child labour being at the fore front of the abuse(Abdu,2008) have been recorded throughout history. It has always been maintained that the level of development of any given society can be measured by the way it looks after its less privileged ones .However, a country cannot preserve its future  if it abuse is on the increase especially in developing countries like Nigeria.

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According to Akan(2008), in some families, many parents because of many social, political and economic activities tend to neglect their children. In schools such children are not given the basic motivation and encouragement necessary for development of positive attitude towards effective learning. Teachers in schools, who are expected to play a significant role in the educational life of their learners, more often than not tend to exhibit total lack of interest in their students while some even ridicule and subject them to various forms of maltreatment. The abused students then exhibit recalcitrant and unruly behaviours which consequently deteriorate their academic (Ludan, 2009).

According to Isangedighi (2004) most of children from extremely poor homes do not have the prescribed texts and other sundry materials needed for effective learning in the classroom. He added that some children in an attempt to fend for themselves resort to street hawking and commercial sex.

Child abuse is an issue of grave concern to the counselors, schools teachers and administrators, parents and governments the world over. Accordingly, Okon and Ekere(2006), maintained that the child is a valuable gift from God and should be cared for. In some homes, parent-child relationship is a source of distress and trauma which results in a parent maltreating his child physically, sexually, psychologically and neglect by failure to provide him with love, care,  attention and other needs.

Nevertheless, the consequences of child abuse in recent years has become a topical issue that is receiving international attention. This is due to the fact that an abused child constitutes a serious hazard to the society. For instance, abused children have been linked to violent crimes, stealing, prostitution and other undesirable behaviours. With such stated crimes, that are inimical to peaceful societies, it becomes imperative that urgent steps must be taken to address the issue of child abuse and neglect in our society. More so, the resultant effect of child above child in schools cannot be over emphasized given that every child needs a conducive environment and a good parent’s tutelage to function well and achieve optimally in school.

  1. Statement of the problem
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Over the year, there has been public outcry on the continuous decline in the academic performance of students in schools. The abysmal performance of students in internal and public examinations has become increasingly worrisome. This has necessitated research into the factors that are responsible for this academic quagmire.

To tackle this menace, the government at all level and well meaning individuals and organizations have made concerted efforts to improve on the academic performance of students in school through the provision of basic educational materials, yet the performance of students in school to a greater extend remain nothing to write home about (Breland, 2007).

Nevertheless, available data have shown that not much research has been conducted along the line of child abuse in relation of students’ academic performance. Accordingly, the poor academic performance of students in schools, most especially students from extremely poor homes might not be unconnected with the various forms of child abuse they have been subject to. It is against this background therefore, that this study “child abuse and students academic performance on Economics in Secondary Schools.

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