Determinants of Poor Academic Performance

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Determinants Of Poor Academic Performance
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The study empirically examines the causes of poor academic performance of the students in the native area, Ward 6, enrolled at Gokomere High School, Matova Secondary School, St Stanslous Secondary School and Chidzikwe Secondary School using Ordinary Least Squares approach for a sample of 200 native students. The study seeks to address the achievement of one of the Millenium Development Goals by effectively addressing the hindering factors underpinning the native children's academic performance. Human development is an instrument of economic growth and hence has to be promoted. The determinants of academic performance have been found to include the walking distance to school, sex of child, education status of parent/guardian, nutrition levels, late entrance and repetition at school and language spoken at home. The study failed to prove that late entrance and repetition at school indicate poor academic performance.  

INTRODUCTION
The development of any nation or community depends largely on the quality of education of such a nation. It is generally believed that the basis for any true development must commence with the development of human resources (Akanle, 2007). Hence formal education remains the vehicle for social-economic development and social mobilization in any society.  

Given the importance of education to development, why then it is not taken seriously as indicated by low pass rates. What then mainly determines academic performance in the specific case of Ward 6 secondary students? Well, in factual context, many ideas come to our mind if we think why some students perform better than others: is it because they study more? Do they have a higher capacity to learn? Does the personal background, way of life and environment of the student favor his/her performance?  

Most programs undertaken to improve educational efficiency in developing countries focus on changing the educational system itself (Harbison and Hanushek, 1993). Policy planners generally recommend revising the curriculum, increasing the number of schools, and distributing educational materials more widely and equitably. Zimbabwe, in particular, has given priority in the last decades to building new schools and equipping urban schools with computers.  

As this standard course of action is not based on empirical data, it overlooks the role of family and personal factors in shaping the academic trajectory of school children. Gender and nutritional status of the child and educational level of the parents have also been shown to influence school performance (Harbison and Hanushek 1993; Lockheed and Verspoor 1992), as have preschool cognitive abilities, a finding from a study of school children in rural Guatemala (Gorman and Pollitt 1993). Of particular importance is that some of these non-educational influences may also be changed through reasonable governmental policies.  

It has been generally noticed that native students in Ward 6 perform far poorly than their counterparts who come to learn as borders. This is supported by a very small percentage of native students who obtain five ordinary level passes including Maths, English and Science and those who proceed to Advanced level each year. Also from the percentage proceeding to ‘A' level another few will make their way to the university. Many students after failing just...
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