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Family Location And Socioeconomic Factor As A Determinant Of Accessibility Of Early Childhood Education

ABSTRACT

The purpose of the study was to investigate family location and socioeconomic factors influencing access to early childhood education in drought stricken area in Itam Village Itu LGA Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. The study was guided by four research objectives, to establish the extent to which parental level of education affects access to early childhood education in drought stricken, to establish the influence of household size on pupil access to early childhood education in drought stricken, to assess the extent to which food security factors affects pupils access to education in drought stricken and to assess the extent to which pupils’ involvement in household economic activities affects their access to education in drought stricken area in Itam Village, Itu LGA, Akwa Ibom State. The study adopted descriptive survey design. The target population comprised of all the 24 pre schools in Itam village. The schools had a total number of 281 teachers and 700 form three pupils. From the 8 schools all the 8 headteachers, 90 teachers and 238 pupils were selected for the study. Findings on the effects of parental level of education to access to education revealed that parents level of education was a factor that affected low access to education in the school as indicated by majority 6(85.7%) of principals and majority 47(55.3%) of teachers. Findings also revealed that household size was a factor affecting pupils’ access to education in their school. Findings also showed that inadequate food during drought contributed to inability of pupils to access to education. It was also revealed that pupils’ involvement in household economic activities affected their access to education as was revealed by majority 5(71.4%) of principals. Based on the study findings, the study concluded that parental level of education was a factor that affected pupils’ access to education in drought stricken area in Itam Village, Itu LGA. The study also concluded that access to education was affected by the household size. Families with large number of children were not able to support them educationally hence some children missed out education opportunities. The study concluded that lack or inadequate food during drought was a factor that affected access to education among pupils in drought stricken area in Itam Village, Itu LGA.

 

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

1.1   Background to the study

 

Education forms the basis upon which economic, social and political development of any nation is founded. Investment in education can help to foster economic growth, enhance productivity, contribute to national and social development, and reduce social inequality (World Bank, 2008). UNESCO (2005) argues that the level of a country’s education is one of the key indicators of its level of development. Globally, education is recognized as a basic human right. The Human Rights Charter treats education as one of the human rights. Bishop (1989) indicates that in 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights laid down Article 26, that everyone had the right to education and that education would be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. According to Boit, Njoki and Chang’ach (2012), the purpose of education is to equip the citizenry to reshape their society and eliminate inequality. In particular, secondary education is an important sector in national and individual development. It plays a vital role in creating a country’s human resource base at a level higher than primary education (Achoka, Odebero, Maiyo & Mualuko, 2007).

 

Education is interrupted and a lot of school time lost in areas affected by emergencies such as conflict, floods and drought. These disasters put many children at risk, exposing them to dangerous and rapidly changing situations. The quality of education is affected and disrupted as a result of these disasters, leaving children vulnerable to psychosocial trauma. Providing education in emergencies also mitigates the negative impact of emergencies on development; protracted crises reverse progress towards achieving education development goals such as Education For All and Vision 2030. Emergencies also deny children the right to free and compulsory basic education as enshrined in the Nigeria Constitution 2010.

 

Arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) cover 80% of the territory with an annual rainfall varying from 200 to 500mm, periodical drought are part of climatic system (Kandji, 2006). It’s an induced phenomenon; its impact depends on social and economic contexts as well. Drought leads to vulnerability. ‘Vulnerability’ refers to the capacity of a population to anticipate, cope with, prevent major decline in well-being, and recover from the adverse impact of shocks (Blaikie et al. 1994, World Bank 2001, Tesliuc and Lindert 2004, Brooks, Adger and Kelly 2005). Vulnerability is not a new concept, but interest and concern have been growing in recent years. Drought vulnerability refers to the degree to which households are susceptible to the adverse effects of drought. Vulnerability depends on a combination of factors such as income, occupation, family structure, gender, social class, caste, cultural factors and health. Various asset based approaches have been suggested to identify vulnerable households (Alwang, Siegel & Jorgensen 2001, Kamanou and Morduch 2002, Brooks, Adger & Kelly 2005, Christiaensen & Subbarao 2005, World Bank 2005).

The humanitarian emergencies from drought have been increasing in severity since 2001 when Nigeria had the `first’ worst drought in 60 years.   In the last decade alone, four major food crises were declared in Nigeria all caused by drought.   Kandji (2006) noted that drought is one of the hurdles that may prevent Nigeria from achieving the millennium development goals (MDGs) especially those related to poverty eradication, attainment of food security and promotion of environmental sustainability. The reoccurring nature of drought in Nigeria and the increasing humanitarian suffering loss of lives, conflict, food insecurity and child mal-nourishment in its wake demonstrate the need for a sustainable strategy to end drought triggered humanitarian crisis in Nigeria. Livestock production account for about 90 percent of employment and family incomes for the arid and semi- arid areas of the north and the northeast in Nigeria. Many in these communities have been hardest hit by drought and are dependent on food aid.

 

Drought is a recurring climatic event and a global phenomenon, but its features vary from region to region. It is a chronic problem in arid and semi-arid regions. Conceptually, drought is considered to describe a situation of limited rainfall substantially below what has been established as a ‘normal’ value for the area concerned, leading to adverse consequences for human welfare.

 

According to Anderson (1967) the parental level of education, occupation and income levels play a significant role in access to and retention of pupils in education Juma (1994) also noted that education experience and outlook of parents is transmitted to their offspring, they are able to provide necessities and pay school levies their children hence encouraging the access and retention of pupils in schools because they understand the value of education also noted on the same vein by Tyler (1997). According to Taiwa (1993) parents are second teachers to their children, guides and counselors.

 

Many countries over the world are affected by drought mostly are ASALs. In Africa in (1999) 29 countries were affected by drought and children affected severely than the adults. They included Senegal, Upper Volta, and Chad in the South and Morocco,

 

Algeria, Libya and Egypt in the North. The zone extends South East through Somalia and Northern Nigeria. In South of equator the zone covers Lesotho parts of Cape, Northern Transvaal and Free State province of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and parts of Zimbabwe. These regions observed reduced participation of children in (UNESCO, 2009). Since independence, access to secondary education has expanded in absolute numbers with substantial increase in number of pre schools both public and private. The number of schools increased from a mere 151 in 1963 to 4197 in 2004 (Government of Nigeria, 2006). Although secondary enrolment increased over time from 30,000 to 928,149 during the same period, the expansion does not correspond with the population increase for the children aged 14 – 17 years. The 1999 population census projections show that in 2000 there were 3.1 million children aged 14 – 17 years and the number is projected to increase to about 3.6 million children of the same cohort by 2010 (GOK, 1998). The implication of this is that close to 80.6 percent of pre school age children are not involved in pre school.

 

The drought that often hits various region of the country creates serious food shortages, putting more than one million Nigerians at risk of hunger. Itam Village in Itu LGA in Akwa Ibom State is one of the areas that often experiences serious food shortage during droughts and has a population of 125,940 according to Nigeria 2009 census data. It occupies an area of 2,093Km2. The area is dry and the main source of livelihood is rain fed marginal farming and people keeping livestock such as sheep, indigenous cattle and goats. During drought households are affected and hence access to education is disrupted. Schools register low attendance where pupils are involved in household income generating activities. Loss of income for the parents implies inability for parents to provide for school levies. In Itam village of Mbere LGA, the perennial drought coupled with hunger threat has had an effect of access to pre school education. Parents are continuously torn between sacrificing to fight hunger and meeting school costs for their children (UNESCO, 2011).

 

1.2   Statement of the problem

 

In Nigeria, drought is the single most critical natural hazard in terms of shattered livelihoods, hunger, deaths and nutrition-related diseases. The arid areas and semi arid LGAs, commonly referred to as the arid and semi arid lands (ASALs), are usually the worst affected. The ASALs in Nigeria occupy 80% of Nigeria’s land mass and support approximately 30% of the total population. They stretch out over at least 40 LGAs or part of those LGAs of which Itu LGA is one of the LGAs. Most schools in Itu LGA are in rural areas which experience semi-arid climate which leads to low crop yields in most seasons in most cases. The area is characterized by a hot and dry climate with low and erratic rainfall. Drought affects access to education. The data from the DEOs office in the LGA shows that the transition rates have been oscillating between 30% to 40%. Pre school in Sikago village registers low school attendance during drought periods. Principals complain of low participation of pupils in school and this is an indication that there are factors that hinder children from accessing secondary education. This study therefore sought to establish family location and socioeconomic factors influencing access to early childhood education in drought stricken area in Itam Village Itu LGA Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria

1.3   Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study was to establish family location and socioeconomic factors influencing access to early childhood education in drought stricken area in Itam Village Itu LGA Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria.

1.4   Objective of the study

 

This study was guided by the following objectives

 

  1. To determine the extent to which parental level of education affects access to early childhood education in drought stricken area in Itam Village, Itu LGA, Akwa Ibom
  2. To establish the influence of household size on pupil access to early childhood education in drought stricken area in Itam Village, Itu LGA, Akwa Ibom
  • To assess the extent to which food security factors affects pupils access to education in drought stricken area in Itam Village, Itu LGA, Akwa Ibom
  1. To assess the extent to which pupils’ involvement in household economic activities affects their access to education in drought stricken area in Itam Village, Itu LGA, Akwa Ibom

1.5   Research questions

 

  1. To what extent does parental level of education affects access to early childhood education in drought stricken area in Itam Village, Itu LGA, Akwa Ibom State?
  2. How does household size influence access to early childhood education in drought stricken area in Itam Village, Itu LGA, Akwa Ibom State?
  • How does a food security factor affect pupils’ access to education in drought stricken area in Itam Village, Itu LGA, Akwa Ibom State?
  1. In what ways does pupils involvement in household economic activities affects their access to education in drought stricken area in Itam Village, Itu LGA, Akwa Ibom State?

 

1.6   Significance of the study

 

This study would provide relevant information on family location and socioeconomic factors influencing access to early childhood education in drought stricken area in Itam Village Itu LGA Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. This information would be important to the Ministry of Education in its efforts to deal with pupils’ participation and access in pre schools in drought prone areas. The findings may be beneficial to the government and education stakeholders by suggesting how they can put on intervention measures during emergency situations such as drought periods. The school headteachers also would benefit from the study and come up with strategies which will help to increase and access participation in secondary education through the involvement of the State government. The local community particularly those that are most vulnerable may be made aware of the effective strategies that can be used in mitigating drought effects on access to education. The community may be sensitized on awareness of drought hazards and the related mitigation strategies to which they are exposed and hence be able to take specific actions to minimize its threat to the education of their children. The study also suggests some of the possible measures that could be adopted in an effort to increase access to education in drought stricken areas. Finally, the results obtained were useful to scholars in the field of educational access by enriching the existing literature.

 

1.7   Limitations of the study

 

The main limitation of the study is that the researcher did not access to parents themselves so as to give first hand information on the family location and socioeconomic factors affecting access to education. The absence of parents’ involvement in the study was due to difficulties in accessing them. However, the researcher used the responses from the pupils. Another limitation is that some of the respondents gave socially acceptable responses to please the researcher and not to expose the negative side of the government’s role in drought mitigation. However, efforts are made in explaining to the respondents on the importance of the study and requesting the respondents to be sincere and honest.

 

1.8   Delimitations of the study

 

The study was conducted in Itam Village in Itu LGA; Akwa Ibom State only which is practically rural set up, the findings may be generalized to other rural areas with caution. The study investigated the family location and socioeconomic factors affecting access to secondary education in the village the study involved the headteachers, teachers and pupils’. Though there were other factors that affect pupils’ access to education, the researcher restricted herself to variables such as parental level of education, household size, food security factors and pupils involvement in family economic activities.

 

1.9       Organisation of the study

 

The study was organized into five chapters; chapter one highlights the backgrounds and statement of the problem, purpose, objectives, significance, limitations, delimitations, assumptions and definitions of significant terms of the study. Chapter two dwells on literature review organized under the following subheadings: Introduction, family location and socioeconomic factors influencing pupils’ access to education, parental level of education household size, food security factors and pupils involvement in household economic activities. A theoretical and conceptual framework will be provided. Chapter three describes the research methodology to be used which will include the following: sample and sampling techniques, research instrument, instrument validity and reliability, data collection procedures and data analysis techniques. Chapter four is data analysis and presentation of the findings. Chapter five comprises of the summary of the findings, conclusions and recommendation.

 

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