ANALYZING CONSEQUENCES OF CHILD ABUSE ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AS PERCEIVED BY SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS
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This study investigated the consequences of child abuse on students’ academic performance as perceived by secondary school teachers in some selected secondary schools in Ilorin metropolis.
A total of two hundred teachers (200) were randomly selected from the secondary schools.
The instrument used for the study is questionnaire which is designed for teachers in each selected secondary schools.
Two hundred copies of the questionnaire were distributed to the respondents.
Statistical methods which include, t-test and analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were used for the analysis of the data collected.
Results of the study revealed that consequences of child abuse on students’ academic performance as perceived by teachers ranges from psychological to mental, emotional and physical, it also has negative effect on students academic performance which has adverse effect on the human capital development of the country.
In the light of the research findings, conclusions were drowned and relevant recommendations were made.
Background to the Study
All children are born to grow, to develop, to live, to love and articulate their needs and feelings for their self protection.
Although growing up can be difficult, most children and young people receive the love and care they need to develop into healthy, happy, young adults.
In their development, children need the respect and protection of adults who take care of them seriously, love them, and honestly help them to become oriented in the world. But some children are hurt, neglected and used by adults or other children.
Young children may not be aware that what is happening to them is abuse.
Abuse can mean different things to different children, and can happen once or many times during childhood.
It has been observed that such abuse on children has adverse effect on their academic and intellectual performance. (Herbert, 1990) child abuse is any behavior directed towards a child by a parent, a guardian, other family members or another adult that endangers or impairs a child’s physical or emotional health or development.
Child abuse can take place either as a physical abuse, Sexual abuse, Emotional abuse or Neglect.
A child is physical abused when he/she is hurt or injured by parent or other people.
This could be by hitting, kicking, beaten by objects, throwing and shaking of children and can cause pains, cuts, brushes broken bone and sometimes even death.
Sexual abuse is when children are forced or persuaded into sexual acts or situations by others.
Children might be encouraged to look at pornographic pictures, be harassed by sexual suggestion or comments, be touched sexually or forced to have sex against their wishes, emotionally children are abused when they are not given love, approval or acceptance.
Childhood maltreatment potentially has major economic implications for Nigeria schools and for their students.
Take for instance a conservative estimates suggest that at least 8 percent of U.S. children experience sexual abuse before age 18, while 17 percent experience physical abuse and 18 percent experience physical neglect (Flisher, Kramer, Hoven, Greenwald, Alegria, Bird, et al, 1997, Gorey & Leslie, 1997).
Childhood maltreatment and aversive parenting practices, in general, has the potential to delay the academic progress of students (Shonk & Cicchehi, 2001).
It therefore has the potential to undermine schools’ ability to satisfy standards of school progress entailed in the no child left behind legislation (U. S. Department of Education, 2005), putting them at risk for loss of federal funding.
It also has the potential to adversely affect students’ economic outcomes in adulthood, via its impact on achievement in middle and high school (Cawley, Heckman, & Vytlacil, 2001; Heckman & Rubinstein, 2001).
Although its potential impact is large, evidence of causal effects of abuse on children’s longer term outcomes in school is generally lacking.
The current state of evidence for a link between childhood abuse (physical and sexual abuse or neglect) and school performance is limited to negative associations between abuse and school performance.
On average, children who are abused receive lower ratings of performance from their school teachers, score lower on cognitive assessments and standardized tests of academic achievement, obtain lower grades and get suspended from school and retained in grade more frequently (Erickson, Egeland, & piñata, 1989; Eckenrode, Laird, & Doris, 1993; Kurtz, Gaudin, Wodarski, & Hawing, 1993; Kendall- Tackett & Eckenrode, 1996; Rowe & Eckenrode, 1999; Shonk & Cicchetti, 2001). Abused children are also prone to difficulty in forming new relationship with peers and adults and in adapting to norms of social behaviour (Shields, Cicchetti & Ryan, 1994; Toth & Cochiti 1996). Although these examples of negative associations between abuse and school performance are suggestive of causal effects, they could be spuriously driven by unmeasured factors in families or neighborhoods that are themselves correlated with worse academic outcomes among children (Todd & Wolpin, 2003).
In addition, not much of the previous evidence linking childhood maltreatment to worse school performance generalizes well to older children in middle and high school and to children not already identified as needing services.
All types of abuse may have serious and lasting effect on the child personality.
A frequent symptom of child abuse, neglect is under feeding which is the most common cause of under weight in infancy (James 1992) people who abuse children come from all ethnic religion, geographic, socio economic and Educational groups.
Most abusers are simply lonely, unloved, in mature depressed and angry person. Less than ten percent of them are classified as psychotics or sociopath (James 1992).
Poverty and ignorance on the part of parents have sent small children into the labour market. A child of seven or eight years and upward is engaged as house girls, stewards, cafeteria restaurants and beer drinking parlors.
They are also employed as baby sitters when themselves require such services. Some employers of labour under pay them, make them do chores and other activities beyond and above their physical power.
Some house wives use them to prepare meal for their families, they even go to the extent of leaving an eight years old house girl to cater for a six month old or older children while the family is at work between the hours of 7:30 am to 3:30 pm or 5:00 pm in some cases, such young children are left in their care at night and evening when the couple attend movies, shows, parties and other evening social engagements.
In some extreme cases, some children are always engaged to attend to grinding machines to grind pepper, corn, guinea corn or yam flour while some are loaded with heavy items to hawk around the non- pavement streets maneuvering between heavy traffic and competing with other minor hawkers to sell their wares.
It is easy for them to be knocked down by vehicles or their wares been stolen from them or sales of the day snatched away from them.
There are some critical situations where some Nigerians employ twelve to fifteen years old female juveniles as prostitutes.
They are used to promote their business and win customers for them, money collected from such immoral practice are gathered at the end of the day to the landlord or landlady who in turn gives out commissions to the young innocent children.
Looking at the society today education plays prominent role in the life of an individual, it is believed that without education one is in total darkness, the individual will be ignorant of the knowledge about him/herself, the society and the world at large.
No wonder, people all over the world are expected to strive to acquire education especially in a country like Nigeria where great premium or importance is placed on paper qualification/ certification (Ahmed 1996).
Education has been generally acclaimed as a very potent tool for growth and development of economic, political, social and human resources worldwide (Oshamehin, 2005).
This implies that, there is a global awareness of the importance of education as the most predictable and significant instrument for sustainable human and material development.
Thus, Nigeria like other developing countries in Africa, being aware of the role and relevance of Education, adopted Education as an instrument per excellence for all round development of the individual and the nation (Ocholi, 1999).
This fact is briefly highlighted in the National Policy on Education (N.P.E, 2003 or 2004 Edition) with states that:
“Education will continue to be highly rated in the national development plans because education is the most important instrument of a change as any fundamental change in the intellectual and social outlook of any society has to be proceeded by an education revolution.”
From this statement it is assumed that, the Nigerian society must have been well transformed and illuminated by the golden light of education, but is surprising that studies (Akinboye, 1985, Animba, 1991 & Okoye, 1991) revealed that the laudable aims and objectives of education are yet to be fully achieved in Nigeria because of the problems of child abuse which has a great consequence on students academic performance some of these previous evidence linking childhood maltreatment to worse school performance generalizes well to older children in middle and high school and to children to already identified as needing services evidence of the impacts of maltreatment on academic performance in the general population of middle and high school students on schooling attainment in the general education population and on economic outcomes in adulthood.
It is on this ground that this research is carried out to further the study particularly in selected secondary schools in Ilorin metropolis on the consequences of child abuse on students’ academic performance.
Statement of the Problem
Child abuse is not just a social problem; it is rather an intellectual and economic problem which is evident in the performance of children in schools.
In a situation where over seventy percent (70%) of student that write the WAEC and NECO cannot boast of five credit pass including Mathematics and English Language, then education sector need to be looked into.
A common feature of some Nigerians in the twentieth century is to see and treat children the way they want.
They see children as some body who should be seen and not heard, children, should be seen to and not capable to replying who should be abused and neglected.
The cultural traditional system continues to relegate the position of children to the background without giving, them their fundamental human right with dignity and the capability of growing and developing to adulthood. (Kolade 2004).
The impact of such cruelty on educational development of the children cannot be over emphasized, such children if at all are provided with opportunity to attend schools are bound to be failures, delinquent, lack conducive home, environments and conducive relationship with peer group in the school.
Kolade, Racheal & Fehintola (2004), carried out a research on the impact of child abuse on student academic performance in secondary school in Oyun Local Government of Kwara State, the out come of the research revealed that child labour adversely affect student performance in school.
To the best knowledge of the researcher, there was however no specification as to the sources of the data analyzed by previous researchers on the abuse of student, which is the gap the researcher wishes to fill on the impact and consequences of child abuse on students’ academic performance.
Also Mbong (2002) in his work on implication of child abuse on the education sector in Nigeria looked at how child labour and abuse has adversely affected the education sector in Nigeria without paying special interest on the children performance.
The following research questions were formulated to aid this study:
1. What is the consequence of child abuse on student’s academic performance as perceived by teachers in Ilorin Metropolis?
2. Is there any difference in the consequences of child abuse on the academic performance of students as perceived by teachers on the basis of gender?
3. Is there any difference in the consequences of child abuse on the academic performance of students based on religion?
4. Is there any difference in the consequences of child abuse on the academic performance of students based on teaching experience?
5. Is there any difference in the consequences of the academic performance of students as perceived by teachers based on subject area?
The following hypotheses have been formulated to guide the research study.
1. There is no significant difference in the perception of teachers on child abuse on the academic performance of students based on gender
2. There is no significant difference in the perception of teachers on child abuse on the academic performance of students based on religion.
3. There is no significant difference in the perception of teachers on child abuse on academic performance of students based on teaching experience.
4. There is no significant difference in the perception of teachers on child abuse on academic performance of students based on subject taught.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to critically examine and evaluate the consequences of child abuse on the academic performance of secondary school students as perceived by teachers in Ilorin metropolis.
The specific objectives include:
1. To draw out how children are abused.
2. To show how child abuse impact on the development of these students.
3. To study particularly how abuse affect the academic performance of students.
4. To explore possible option of stopping child abuse in Nigeria, paying particular reference to Ilorin metropolis.
Significance of the Study
The finding of this research work is useful for every stakeholder in the Education sector, the government, the parents, the students, the society, and the non- governmental organization (NGO’s).
It will help the government to enact laws and polices that will prevent child abuse and ensure that those who indulge in child abuse are punished and given orientation.
It will also help the school management and teachers to easily identify abused children and know what to do to help such abused students in improving on their academic performance through guidance and counseling.
The research will also help the parents to understand the danger of abusing their children and provide them with impetus to achieve academic excellence.
It also helps the non-governmental organization in their advocacy against child abuse.
Above all, it helps the student to stand for their right and protect their future by remaining focused and undistracted on their academics.