The Influence of Child Abuse and Neglect on Academic Performance of Secondary School Students
Background of the Study
Education, as defined by Fafunwa (2004), is an aggregate of all the processes using which a person develops abilities, attitudes, and other forms of behavior of positive values in the society in which he lives. Whenever we hear of the word “Education, the first place our mind goes to is the school. Most of the time, we tend to think of education in terms of what teachers and their students do in school. Indeed, education is a process that starts the very moment a person or child is born and ends whenever he finally dies. The process of education is which involves several activities and people including the teachers, the students, parents, the government, and every citizen of the country. Teaching is a key factor in education and learning is another; the first teachers a child ever has are his parents, and the learning process starts as soon as he enters the world. Since the teaching-learning process starts with the child’s parent, the mother in particular matters a lot. For instance, if the mother of the child is an educated one with a good means of livelihood, that is, a good earning, one can be sure that the child will be well fed and taught a lot of things that another child from a less enlightened family is not likely to have. A child growing up in a home where both parents can find time to teach and interact with him will certainly have some advantage in terms of his education. His chances will be brighter when there are some things like books newspapers, magazines, radio, television, etc. which will stimulate his learning at home.
The process of education, therefore, involves different activities on the part of the parents, teachers, the community, the government, and the child. The goals are to help him acquire knowledge, skills, and morals in the essence of making the child able to apply his knowledge and skills in such a way as to find solutions to whatever problems confront him in the society In our country, many Nigerian children do not have these skills, knowledge, understanding, etc because they lack the education. Even the parental care and upbringing of the child by the parent, which is supposed to be the first training and education of the child, are found wanting. To this category of children, education is a luxury. Rather total abandonment, starvation, and malnutrition are associated with such children. The majority of such children are subjected to different kinds of abuse and neglect which include child labor, child trafficking, slavery, drug addiction, lack of health care system, among others. The Africa network for prevention and protection against child abuse and neglect (1999) defines child abuse as the denial of the basic rights and needs of the child by parents, schools, government, and society. Ekpe (2001), also stated that “ Neglect” implies a disorder in parent child relationship characterized by a failure of a parent to provide for the child the personal values, and the child suffers from lack of attention, malnutrition, and lack of stimulation. Onwuzurike (1996), stated that any definition of child abuse and neglect should take cognizance of the forms of abuse which include physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and physical abuse. He also said that the demand for a comprehensive understanding of the issue of child abuse made the definition to be complex. Madubuko (1998), stated that child abuse and neglect were intentional acts that endanger the physical, emotional, moral, and educational interests of the child. He also added that child abuse and neglect took different forms. It could take the form of physical abuse, physical neglect, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, social deprivation, and medical neglect.
According to him, physical abuse is a bodily injury that the abusive parent may inflict on the child which includes beating, slapping, twisting the ear, flogging severely, knelling the child down for a long time, etc. Anukam (2002) said that in emotional abuse, the parent was so dependent on the child that the parent-child role was reversed. The child is laid upon the burden of fending for himself and his limited capabilities he cannot meet the demands and therefore becomes frustrated. The child may want to run away from the family environment and its hardship. Sexual abuse implies sexual harassment given to a child by parents, caretakers, teachers, and so on without the child’s consent and understanding sometimes many children are exposed to sexual abuse when they are hawking, trading to augment the family’s income. Medical neglect is when the child’s medical care is neglected even when the child is sick and needs attention or to be taken to the hospital. Physical neglect occurs when a child’s health and safety are endangered due to lack of basic needs and necessities of life and supervision, deprivation of basic needs such as adequate clothing, shelter, malnutrition and starvation, abandonment, and severe beating. Children are subjected to all forms of abuse and neglect like denial of food, shelter, clothing, medical care, education, total abandonment, emotional care, sexual abuse, and so on in our society. Subsequently, the influence of child abuse and neglect are recognized as social problems in both developed and developing countries. Wolfner and Gelles (2002) stated that the united national incidence study of child abuse and neglect revealed that the number of maltreated children increased from 1.8million in 1992 to 4.6 million in 2003.
They concluded that such physically abused and neglected children were at increased risk of hard and visual impairment. In the same manner, the emotional deprivation to a child has been identified to have a grave influence on the mental and physical development of the child. Child abuse and neglect are more likely to exist in disrupted families as well as among those living under unfavorable circumstances like suffering, economic hardship, etc. Nnadindu (2004) observed that children deprived of human emotion encountered difficulties in their emotional and social development. In the opinion of Nnadindu, educational neglect occurs when the child’s basic educational needs are not provided. It is disheartening to see underage children who are supposed to be in school, engaged in hawking goods along the roads. particularly in Udi, a lot of children are denied their educational opportunities and are being sent out to live with people, their uncles, aunts, and so on.
This action is aimed at trimming down the family sizes so that the little income of the families can be used to take care of the younger ones. This brings a great opportunity for the caretakers who use such children as their maids, house helps, and hawkers. In Udi, a lot of children are being subjected to these forms of abuse. you will see these children hawking along the roads, in the village, and Orie- Agu market to make money for their caretakers at the expense of their education. This kind of abuse in Udi is noticeable in places like Nkwo-Agu market, Orie-Agu market, Afor Nachi, and motors parks in Udi Urban Area and as well as along busy highways. The implication is that these children who are abused and neglected in most cases are denied their rights and opportunities of developing their full capability. This is more serious in the area of academic activities of the little ones that go to school, with the result that they appear to be more inactive in the school activities when compared with other students who are well taken care of. However, the incidence of child abuse and neglect has been recognized as a major problem in our society not only in developing villages. In short, it is a global issue. Kalu (2003) stated that neglected or physically or sexually abused children performed poorly in school, they received lower states than non- maltreated children. Neglected children show the poorest academic performance and physically abused children had the most disciplinary problems. Children abused, hardly perform well in the secondary school system. This is because they have no time to read, as they spend most of their time hawking and performing domestic works which are regarded as their primary professions. They also lack concentration as their mind are focused elsewhere. They don’t acquire the necessary materials which will aid them in their studies. Abused and neglected children are always at the bottom ladder at the end of each examination and assessment in school.
In senior secondary school, they don’t perform well because they lack a solid foundation and also the necessary parental encouragement and care which are very important at this level of academic pursuit. At this level, they rarely make use of textbooks but only rely more on what the teacher teaches them because they will not have another chance or time to read at home due to the work they will face after school hours. In the end, they fail in the final senior secondary school examination.
Statement of the Problem
Child abuse and neglect have been a global problem and this underscores the reasons why different international bodies such as African Network for the prevention and protection against child abuse and neglect (ANPPCAN) have been working hard in fighting against the ill. Parents who are not well-to-do in towns and cities abuse the right of their children by withdrawing them from school to augment the family income. Some of these children may be away from school for more than a term and even a whole session before they can go back to school. The economic situation in most homes deprives the students of their rightful educational advancement. The child that is under abuse and neglect suffers a lot of physical assaults and deprivation which adversely affect his normal development both physically, mentally, and socially. The child under abuse and neglect also suffers setbacks that affect his academic performance and overall development.
In Udi L.G, a lot of children are subjected to different forms of abuse and neglect like denial of food, shelter, clothing, sexual abuse, education, medical care, etc. Most of these children are being sent out to live with their under-aunt relations etc. This brings a great opportunity for the caretakers who use such children as their maids, house-helps, and hawkers. You will see these children hawking along the roads in the village and the Orie-Agu market in the name of making money for their caretakers at the expense of their education. This kind of abuse in Udi is noticeable in places like Nkwo Agu market, Orie-Agu market, After Nachi Udi Station, After-Manya, etc.
Purpose of the Study
1. To determine the extent to which child abuse and neglect affect the educational development of a child.
2. To find out how street hawking and performing domestic works affects the education of a child.
3. To find out the difference between child abuse and child discipline.
In particular, the purpose of the study is
i. To find out the forms of child abuse and neglect prevalent among secondary school students in the Udi Local Government Area.
ii. To determine the level of academic performance of abused and neglected children of secondary school students in the Udi Local Government Area.
iii. To find out the influence of child abuse and neglect on academic performance of secondary school students in Udi Local Government Area
Significance of the Study
The study of child abuse and neglect is of great importance because the integration of relevant information and data made available in the research will help in the formulation of policies by the government and relevant agencies that would enhance the welfare and rights of children. It is also of great importance especially to the educational planners for the study will unveil the influence of child abuse and neglect on the academic performance of secondary school students in our educational institutions and will also offer solutions to remedy the situation.
Again, information from this study will equip parents and teachers with the knowledge that will enable them to distinguish between child discipline and child abuse and also help them take proper care of children entrusted to their care.
Scope of the Study
The study was limited to the influence of child abuse and neglect on the academic performance of secondary school students in the Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State
The following research question was formulated to guide the study.
1. What are the forms of child abuse and neglect in secondary school in the Udi Local Government Area?
2. How do the abused and neglected children perform in their examination?
3. How do the abused and neglected children cope with school demands?
Copyright © 2023 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0
If you like this article, see others like it:
- Funding Language Education for Sustainable National Development in the 21st Century
- Application of Time Management Strategies to the Administration of Public Senior Secondary Schools
- The Effect of Marital Problems on the Education of Children in Nigeria
- Causes of Immorality Among Students
- Teaching Methods and Students’ Performance in the English Language