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The Relationship Between Violent Conflict And Student Academic Achievement In Some Selected Secondary Schools In North West Region, Cameroon

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

This study wills to exam on the relationship between violent conflict and student academic achievement in some selected secondary schools in North West Region, Cameroon. This chapter will also consist of background of the study, the problem statement, followed by purpose of the study, research objectives, research questions, the scope of the study and significance of the study, operational definitions of the study and the conceptual framework

  • BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Violent conflict may affect considerably the level and distribution of returns to education across social groups and gender. Returns to education in turn play a large role in households’ decisions. Due to destruction of industries and infrastructure, job opportunities for skilled labour in conflict-affected countries generally become scarce. Households may respond to job scarcity by redistributing their resources away from investments with lower returns. In wartime contexts, this may mean investing more in the education of boys rather than girls as boys may have a higher probability of finding better paid jobs. This effect is found in Shemyakina (2006) and Chamarbagwala (2008), as discussed in the previous section. Evidence on how this important mechanism operates in different conflicts and across different population groups is however still scarce. Fear plays an important part in explaining the removal of children from schools during violent events. A recently reported fighting strategy in Afghanistan has been the direct targeting of school children on their way to or from school. More than 100 children were killed in this way between 2006 and 2008, according to UNICEF. This tactic for spreading fear has resulted in the closure of around 670 schools in early 2009, depriving around 170,000 children of access to education (IRIN 2009). In contexts of violent conflict, rape and other sexual violence has become common behaviour amongst fighting groups. There have been several reports of acts of sexual violence against children by armed groups and security forces in Sub-Saharan Africa (particularly Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, DR Congo, Somalia, Sudan), Latin America and the Caribbean (Colombia, Haiti), Arab states (Iraq, Palestinian Autonomous Territories), South and West Asia (Afghanistan, Sri Lanka) and East Asia and the Pacific (Philippines) (IRIN 2004).

One of the worst affected countries is DR Congo, where there were 2,727 cases of sexual violence against children have been reported (IRIN 2004). The majority of perpetrators are elements of armed groups. However, national police officers and men from the local community have also exploited the turmoil caused by the war to commit sexual violence against women without fear of punishment (Oxfam 2001, Ward 2002). Fear of physical attacks and sexual violence is likely to hinder the ability of children, particularly although not exclusively girls, to enroll in schools. In such contexts of fear and terror, households may attempt to protect vulnerable members by keeping them at home or sending away to relatives and friends in more secure locations. (Justino, Violent Conflict Impact on Individual Educational Outcomes, 2010)

                     Differences in academic achievement play a crucial role in explaining individual and across countries differences in earnings and economic well-being (Card, 1999; Hanushek and Woessmann, 2011). Individual academic achievement can be influenced by several factors such as personal, household and school characteristics as well as local and national socioeconomic conditions (Glewwe and Kremer, 2006). In this paper, we investigate one potentially important but little studied determinant of academic achievement, namely be living and attending school in a locality affected by a violent conflict. Recent research on the micro-level effects of violent conflicts has provided robust evidence of the negative impact of conflicts on the quantity of education as measured by different educational outcomes, namely school enrollment, school attendance and school attainment (Buvinic et al., 2013; Leon, 2012; Justino, 2012; UNESCO, 2011). (Tilman Brück, 2014).

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the longest – having started in 1948 and most politically relevant conflicts in the world. As a result of the Six Days War in 1967, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (previously part of Jordan and Egypt, respectively) were occupied by Israel. In 1993, the Oslo Accord created the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and for the first time Palestinians had the control over some civilian matters (e.g. education, health and taxation) in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Israel maintained the control over the strategic issues of security, foreign trade and border controls. The Second Intifada (also called the Al-Aqsa Intifada) started in September 2000, ending the relatively peaceful period that followed the Oslo Accord. The Second Intifada has been a violent revolt against the Israeli occupation characterised by frequent clashes between Palestinians and the IDF.3 During that period, numerous violent actions were perpetrated by both the Palestinians and the IDF including the killings of civilian and Palestinians militants in the OPT, Palestinian suicide attacks in Israel, assassination of Palestinians leaders in Palestine and demolitions of Palestinian houses by the IDF. Among other measures, IDF has also imposed days of closures of the borders between Israel and the OPT and used checkpoints to restrict the movement of goods and people within the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (Cali and Miaari, 2013). Given the nature of the conflict, it is not surprising that the number of fatalities has been highly asymmetrical. Between 2000 and 2006, Palestinians killed 234 Israeli civilians and 226 IDF soldiers while the IDF caused more than four thousand Palestinian fatalities (B’Tselem, 2007). While the intensity of violence varied over time and localities, the conflict situation has persisted during the whole period (Tilman Brück, 2014).

Violent conflict is one of the most important development challenges facing the world today. Although the incidence of civil wars has decreased in recent years (Harbom and Wallensteen 2009), the legacy of violence persists across many countries around the world, especially in Africa, Caucasia, the Balkans, and the Middle East. The economic, political and social consequences of civil wars are immense. War displaces population, destroys capital and infrastructure, disrupts schooling, damages the social fabric, endangers civil liberties, and creates health and famine crises. Almost 750,000 people die as a result of armed conflict each year (Geneva Declaration Secretariat 2008), and more than 20 million people were internally displaced by civil wars at the end of 2007 (UNHCR 2008). Any of these effects will have considerable consequences for long-term development outcomes, including the educational attainment of populations exposed to violence. Yet while there is a growing consensus that development interventions and the promotion of democracy worldwide cannot be disassociated from the restrictions caused by violent conflict, we have limited rigorous evidence on the consequences of violent conflict on the lives of people exposed to violence. Violent conflict results in deaths, injuries, disability and psychological trauma to men, women and children. These outcomes of violence may often be enough to push previously vulnerable households below critical thresholds. These may become impossible to overcome if the household is unable to replace labor or capital, and may last across generations if the impact on children’s education and health is significant (Case and Paxson 2006, Maccini and Young 2009). Below we review emerging empirical literature on the impact of violent conflict on educational outcomes amongst children and young men and women affected by violence. Violent conflict may affect considerably the level and distribution of returns to education across social groups and gender. Returns to education in turn play a large role in households’ decisions.

Due to destruction of industries and infrastructure, job opportunities for skilled labour in conflict-affected countries generally become scarce. Households may respond to job scarcity by redistributing their resources away from investments with lower returns. In wartime contexts, this may mean investing more in the education of boys rather than girls as boys may have a higher probability of finding better paid jobs. This effect is found in Shemyakina (2006) and Chamarbagwala (2008), as discussed in the previous section. Evidence on how this important mechanism operates in different conflicts and across different population groups is however still scarce (Justino, How Does Violent Conflict Impact on Individual Educational Outcomes?, 2010).

               In Africa According to Walker (1999), studies carried out have shown that when one form of violence was found in the family, other forms were more likely to also occur and that violence in the family has a direct relationship to community violence and other forms of aggression and gender based violence. Law enforcement in many countries will not intervene in what is often called a “domestic quarrel” even though psychological research indicates that without such intervention, abusers are unlikely to seek help to stop their battering behaviour. Research has found a strong relationship between violence in the home and violence in the community. Golden (2000) reports that it has been found that prior history of abuse can increase the likelihood of abusive behaviour. According to Steinberg (1996), parental conflict and aggression or a conflict atmosphere in the home is related to offspring’s personal or violent crimes. Murphy and O’Farrell (1994) highlighted the view that parents play a central role in shaping the child’s development through their influence. Thus if parents keep having conflicts in their homes, children are bound to be affected as they grow up. They also asserted that children learn through imitating and identification with the parents and other significant adults. If the children grow up in a family where violence is a common phenomenon, they may end up doing the same in their families, unless intervention is carried out. The first important influence on children is the family but children and families are interactive members of a large system of social institutions, such as the school, the workplace and community. Parental involvement and education improve both family and child functioning. It has been found out that parental involvement in a child might have lasting effects on its behaviour. Steinberg (1996) assets that conflict is a critical aspect of family functioning that often outweighs the influence of family structure on the child’s development. He also reports that studies carried out have found that children’s health and social development is most effectively promoted by love and at least some moderate parental control. According to Seifert and Hoffnung (1997), children who have lived for years in situations of neglect or abuse suffer severe stress.

They also state that students often receive long term support from parents or other adults at home as well as strong support from teachers and others at school. Involving parents in learning activities with their children at home is one kind of parental involvement that many educators believe is an important aspect of the child’s learning. If the family is undergoing conflict, parents will not have time for their children.

After an inter-clan civil war broke out in Somalia in 1991 as a result of the fighting, Somali civilians were susceptible to war violence, including killings, kidnappings, and rape, and widespread famine make difficulty more students to achieve their academic goal of learning (for a more thorough history of Somalia see Bradbury, 1997). Thus far, only a few studies have investigated the psychological wellbeing of young Somali refugees. (Ellis, 2007).

  • PROBLEM STATEMENT

 According to (Chukwuemeka, 2013) environments play major roles in the life of every individual whether a student, teacher, employer or employee. The challenge of education today is to offer experiences that provide students with opportunities to develop the understanding, skills, and attitudes necessary to become lifelong learners, capable of identifying and solving problems and dealing with change.

 Students‟ academic success is greatly influenced by the type of school they attend (Dahie, Mohamed, & Mohamed, 2017).  There are two major mechanisms by which parental school involvement promotes achievement. The first is by increasing social capital. That is, parental school involvement increases parents’ skills and information (i.e., social capital), which makes them better equipped to assist their children in their school-related activities. As parents establish relationships with school personnel, they learn important information about the school’s expectations for behavior and homework; they also learn how to help with homework and how to augment children’s learning at home (Lareau, 1996). For example, if parental school involvement promotes achievement through its effects on the completion and accuracy of homework, then providing homework monitors after school might be an appropriate intervention strategy. (Taylor, January 2015.).

Armed conflict over the past four years has taken a toll on children and young people’s ability to access education. School buildings have been destroyed or damaged during indiscriminate or disproportionate shelling. A 10 year-old girl, who used to live in Galkayo South, in the Galgadud region [sic] in central Somalia, until she fled in January 2010, explained: ‘In Galkayo, fighting started between al-Shabab and Ahlu Sunna Waal Jama. It was in January 2010. Al-Shabab came into the town. I was going to school in level two, but the building was destroyed in that last fighting. It was a private school. There were children in the school who died and were injured.’ (Italics in original) Attacks on innocent children and teachers in learning institutions have warranted parents’ skepticism about sending their children to school as the latter are vulnerable to abduction and other life threatening consequences during raids at schools. (Eno, 2014).

 

  In Somalia, today there is no parent teacher association (PTA).  Recent days badly cases reported are those whereby a woman packs and leaves her matrimonial home with her children because she can no longer tolerate her husband’s behavior. There are even cases whereby it is the men who move out of their homes to look for peace elsewhere.

There have also been cases of explosives or killings, where the head of the family dies which may lead the child drop out of learning. There is also the case of street children, some of whom are on the streets because they have run away from violent home environments. These incidents take place not only in rural areas but also in urban ones. However, this study will determine the relationship between violence conflict and student academic achievement in some selected secondary schools in North West Region, Cameroon.

 

1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

In this study, the researchers will examine family violence and student academic achievement in some selected secondary schools in North West Region, Cameroon.

1.4 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

1- To determine the relationship between family violence and student academic achievement in some selected secondary schools in North West Region, Cameroon.

2-To examine the relationship between school violence and student Academic achievement in some selected secondary schools in North West Region, Cameroon.

3- To find out the relationship between peer group violence and student achievement in some selected secondary schools in North West Region, Cameroon.

1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1- Is there a relationship between family violence and student academic achievement in some selected secondary schools in North West Region, Cameroon?

2- Is there a relationship between school violence and student Academic achievement in some selected secondary schools in North West Region, Cameroon?

3- Is there a relationship between peer group violence and student achievement in some selected secondary schools in North West Region, Cameroon

Department
EDUCATION
Project ID
EDUU304
Price
5000XAF
International: $20
No of pages
65
Instruments/method
QUENTITATIVE
Reference
DESCRIPTIVE
Analytical tool
YES
Format
 MS Word & PDF
Chapters
1-5
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