ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF STUDENTS IN HEALTH EDUCATION IN UYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF AKWA IBOM STATE
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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education is a social process, and individuals participate in social activities of a community. Learning of individuals depends upon a number of factors. Environmental influence before now have not been considered as one of the factors that affect academic performance in secondary schools hence it has little or no attention in educational discourse and consideration. However, over the past decade remarkable studies have point out a correlation between the environment and academic performance of students. On the flip side, environment plays major role in the life of every individual whether a students, teachers, employer or employee. Though some people are yet to believe that environment brings about better performance (Johnson, 2012).
According to Udoh (2009), in his piece of writing titled "The Environmental Health Problems in Nigeria Schools", Pointed out some harmful practices in our schools. These include sitting of schools, inadequate facilities, poor ventilation etc. He added that, most of our schools have no light, insufficient facilities, sick buildings and no ventilation. He further said that, under these conditions the health of students and teachers may be adversely affected, which will in turn reflect on student’s performance. For that reason, for the students to carry his learning effectively and efficiently, it is necessary that learning takes place in favorable environment. That's why it is pertinent to critically look at the environmental factors that influences academic performance of students, measures that can help improve them and make some recommendation because at the very heart of our educational mission is the goal of improving academic performance. Studies have shown that environmental factors to a large extent affect both the physical and psychological potentials of an individual. This has led to the contention that many students fail to develop their potentials due to inadequate environmental stimulation. However, there are some environmental factors which have contributed to this poor performance of students which are home background, inadequate school facilities, misuse of technology such as internet and school climate such as teacher-student relationship etc. On the other hand, home environment is seriously considered as one of the environmental factors that influences academic achievement of students as home environment is the surroundings, where one live (Udoh, 2009).
According to Ekene, (2005) environment is the collective of all internal and external conditions affecting the existence, growth and welfare of organisms. It is an influence an individual came in contact with after the hereditary has been through the gene plasma. Ekene explained that environment can be divided into physical, social and abstract environment. Physical environment is the objects or materials found in the home, school or community. It also includes the people like parents, siblings and peers (Ekene, 2005). He in addition explained that the social environment is the social life, societies and club affecting the individual.
Abstract environment is the reactions, feedback and the responses received on interactions with others. She further explained that environment can also be classified as urban or rural environment.
Ajila, Otutola, (2000) stated that parent of all classes realized the importance of education. They also pointed out that different families create environment that influences children’s intellectual growth and educational motivation in different ways. The function of the family among others includes rearing, protecting and educating the children and such function can be performed in the home, thus a home is an essential agent of education. Home environments influence adolescents’ aspiration. The social upbringing of the child begins from home (family). It is the home that makes the child to identify himself with the society, culture, religion or social class. Thus the home continues to exercises a strong influence over the child’s live and academic performance in the school. It has to be noted that homes differ in terms of their significances in the social orders. For instance, some have more prestige, money etc. while some have wider experience and knowledge of how to operate within the society or school environment (Ajila, Otutola, 2000).
Ekene (2005), stated that the home is the single most significant environmental factor in enabling children to develop the trust, attitude and skills that will help them to learn and engage positively with the world- a process that starts at birth, if not before. It is the foundation from which babies and young children and youths can grow to achieve their full potential. Good home learning environment provides the love, security, simulation, encouragement and opportunities that help children to flourish. The quality of parent-child relationship is fundamental to children’s longer –term development. Warmth, encouragement and an absence of hostility are key element in positive home environment.
Nanalee, (2007) pointed out that as children grow beyond babyhood, a positive home learning environment provides social interaction, attention and activities which promote the development of positive attitudes to learning, as well as the acquisition of physical, intellectual, language, social and emotional skills. The amount that parents talk to babies and young children and the way they talk to them have been shown to have a direct positive impact on children’s linguistic and intellectual ability. At the age of three and ten parents can provides the building blocks for literacy and cognitive development by; chatting as much as possible during normal daily life, using a wide vocabulary praising rather than criticizing, talking to children about things, using language with a high information content, giving children choices rather than simply directing them, listening and responding to what children say. Research has established that parents’ socio-economic background, including education and income, has a substantial impact on children’s outcomes. Ample evidence also documents the influence of parenting behaviors on children’s development from babyhood to late adolescence.
It is not out of place to imagine that the type of family, parents’ level of education and their socio economic background can have possible effects on the academic performance of children in school. Children from families with low socio-economic status are at a greater risk of hunger, homeless, sickness, physical and mental disabilities, violence, teen parenthood, family stress and educational failure. Student from low socio economic background that encounter these environmental factors are four times more likely to have learning disabilities than students from high socio economic background while a combination of these environmental factors accelerate academic success. A student, who has not eaten for days and has clothes that do not fit, cannot maintain focus in a classroom.
Ekene, (2005) argues that students from high social economics status compared to students from low social economic status families that students coming from low socio economic background are not provide the same tools as the students from wealthy families, they are entering schools already behind those not living in similar conditions. Similarly it is believed that factors such as malnutrition lack of motivation in homes, spousal violence, and single parents as well as impoverished home environment affects the development of intellectual ability negatively. This means that students from low socio-economic backgrounds tend to be below or just an average in their intellectual development particularly when this phenomenon is accessed in terms of scores or tests.
Academic achievement stands for performance outcomes that point out the extent to which a person has accomplished specific goals that were the focus of activities in instructional environments, specifically in school. School systems mostly define cognitive goals that either apply across multiple subject areas (e.g., critical thinking) or include the acquisition of knowledge and understanding in a specific intellectual domain (e.g., numeracy, literacy, science, history). Therefore, academic achievement should be considered to be a multifaceted construct that comprises different domains of learning. Among the many criteria that indicate academic achievement, there are very general indicators such as procedural and declarative knowledge acquired in an educational system, more curricular-based criteria such as grades or performance on an educational achievement test, and cumulative indicators of academic achievement such as certificates (Mario, 2006).
According to Bossaert, Doumen, Bugse and Verschuerenc (2011), academic achievement is commonly measured by examination or continuous assessment; however, there is a general agreement on how it is best tested. In some countries, the achievement of school is measured by the academic performance index. In Nigeria, academic performance is measured majorly by the student’s performance in external examinations like WEAC Examinations both Senior and Junior WEAC, NECO examinations and JAMB examinations. Chukwudi, (2013) discovered that individual differences in academic performance have been linked to differences in intelligence and personality. He explained that students with higher mental abilities as demonstrated by IQ test (quick learners) and those who are higher in conscientiousness (linked to effort and achievement motivation) tend to achieve highly in academic settings. Early academic achievement enhances later academic achievement. However, a number of factors contribute to that. It has also been discovered that certain factors can either influence or hinder the academic performance of students at any level of education. Such factors emanating from the school environment, curriculum planning and implementation, siblings/ Peer group influence, Home Environment eg parents, socialization patterns in the home, location of the home, modern gadgets at home and so on. The target of this study is on home environmental factors affecting the academic performance of students. The student’s home environment can either accelerate or hinder a student’s academic performance.
The World Health Organization defined Health Education as "encompassing of consciously constructed opportunities for learning involving some form of communication designed to improve health literacy, including improving knowledge and developing life skills which are conducive to individual and community health” WHO still put it that, Health education is any combination of learning experiences designed to help individuals and communities improve their health, by increasing their knowledge or influencing their attitudes. However, Health education is a profession of educating people concerning health. Areas surrounded by this profession include environmental health, physical health, social health, emotional health, intellectual health, and spiritual health. It can be in addition defined as the principle by which individuals and groups of people learn to behave in a manner conducive to the promotion, maintenance, or restoration of health. On the other hand, as there are numerous definitions of health, there are also many definitions of health education. The Joint Committee on Health Education and Promotion Terminology of 2001 pointed out that Health Education is "any combination of planned learning experiences based on sound theories that provide individuals, groups, and communities the opportunity to acquire information and the skills needed to make quality health decisions." The reason of health education is to positively influence the health behavior of individuals and communities as well as the living and working conditions that influence their health.
The importance of health education includes:
- Health education get better the health status of individuals, families, communities, states, and the nation.
- Health education improves the quality of life for all people.
- Health education decreases premature deaths.
- By focusing on prevention, health education reduces the costs (both financial and human) that individuals, employers, families, insurance companies, medical facilities, communities, the state and the nation would spend on medical treatment.
Given this situation, the problem of the study therefore is to find out really if the already mentioned environmental factors are the main factors that affect the academic achievement of secondary schools students in health education in Uyo.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
On a key note, Students’ academic achievement is one of the key determinants in assessing superiority of education. Most of the students of health education in secondary schools can state the factors contributing in their better academic achievement. Figuratively speaking, excellent education does not happen by chance. It is a product of effective teaching and learning coupled with the effort of the teacher, the school, the students, parents and their various home environments.
Often a time the blames on the failure of students in school are shifted to the teachers and the school authorities.
On the other hand, most families in our society seem not to give enough attention to the education of their children. It appears some of the parents have erroneous notion about the performance of their children, they do not know and seem to fulfill their role of guidance and encouragement in the child’s performance in schools. Some people also have the notion that the mass failure or success in schools could be traced back to the teachers and the school authorities. At the same time as other people see socio-economic status of the family as an influence to the child’s academic success.
Nevertheless, some research works have exposed that the achievement of the students is a joint effort of both the school authorities and that of the parents in different home environment.
This calls for further research to find out the causes of the failure of the students and then proffer solution to that. In Akwa Ibom state for instance, some students and parents have the notion that the factors responsible for the re-occurrence massive failure of student in junior and senior West African School Certificate Examinations (WASCE) is the factor originating from the school authorities and the teachers alone. Some students even go to special Centre’s while few enlightened parents maintained that there are some factors in student’s home environment which also contribute to that. It is on this principle that this study was set out to identify some of the environmental factors affecting the students’ academic achievement and proffer solution to that. Present study is to discover through literature review and then to analyze those factors which have characteristic hammer on students’ academic achievement in secondary schools.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The study is guided by the following objectives
- To compare students' academic achievement in public and private secondary schools offering health education in Uyo.
- To establish the relationship between school facilities and students academic achievement in health education in Uyo.
- To examine the relationship between male and female student academic achievement in health education in Uyo
- To establish environmental factors that affect academic achievement of students pursuing health education at secondary schools in Uyo
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What factors affect student use of school facilities?
- What are the environmental factors that affect student's academic achievement?
- What influence has home background on the academic achievement of students?
- What influence has technology on student's academic achievement?
- Is there a significant difference in academic achievement between public and private secondary schools offering health education in Uyo?
- Is there a significant relationship between school facilities and student achievement in Uyo?
- Is there a significant relationship between environmental factors and student’s academic achievement in Uyo?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings from this study will be useful:
- To health education secondary school managers in Uyo, the findings of the study will help them establish how to enhance quality in their education;
- To education planners, the study findings will help them find out how environmental factors play an important role in the teaching/learning process and hence to students' academic achievement;
- To parents and/or guardians, the study findings will guide them in identifying reason why they should pay attention to home environment and then seek quality education instead of any other motive to enroll their children in such and such secondary schools;
- To the government of Uyo and other policy makers the study findings will provide information the inequality in education and they will also reveal to them that this inequality is not only closed by setting central exams but also by considering other factors.
1.7 ASSUMPTIONS OF THE STUDY
The following assumptions are made by the researcher. It is assumed that majority of the schools in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State are faced by the problem of educational factors and the student of these schools are either higher or lowers achievers.
- The population under this study is a representative of the entire Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
- The study resources for educational factors in schools are favourable and a good working relationship between students, parents and teachers as well as schools authority will produce a desirable outcomes.
- They study assumed that good work also assess critics for further research to be conducted upon.
1.8 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The environmental factors and academic achievement of students in Health Education in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom were the influence of this study with a major focus on Secondary schools. Other areas focus by the study was use of educational factors in searching and learning of health education.
1.9 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
There are some of limitations of this study, despite the fact that research would be successful in any research work, it may be impossible to take good care of all problems involved, the only thing a researcher can do is to consider those factors that are essential to research. The actual limitation of the study is financial constraints as well as time constraints due to other academic pressure.
1.10 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
It is pertinent to define some terms to enhance better understanding. The researcher has taken to briefly define the following terms:
- Academic achievement is student's success in gathering by meeting short- or long-term goals and objectives in schooling
- Health Education: Health education is the theory by which persons and groups of people gain knowledge of to act in a way helpful to the promotion, upholding, or restoration of health.
- Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.
- Environmental factors are recognized characteristics in an environment that impact the continued existence, operations, and influence that contributes to a result or outcome.