1. Background to the Study
Nigeria has faced widespread poverty since the collapse of the oil boom in the 1980s reports UNICEF (2001). About 50% of the population is said to be living below poverty line, with higher proportions in the Northern part of the country. With this development, it is not farfetched that families in these parts cannot afford to send their children to school and be able to provide a home environment and the psychological support needed for progress in school.
This scenario of poverty and a depressed economy has altered family structures and the traditional life cycle in Nigeria. Like in many nations, this has led to the development of different types of family forms as noted by Weitens (2004), and an increase in the number of people having children out of wedlock, getting divorced, being single parents, having step families and mothers taking up paid employment outside the home and being away from their traditional child-care giving roles.
In Nigeria, the traditional set up of the extended family which contributed significantly to child care and socialization has been observed to have diminished especially in the urban areas (UNICEF, 2001). In these centres slums have developed with the influx of rural dwellers and increased urban mobility and led to a setback in health and education provision and a reversal of earlier progress in improving educational access and reducing rates of illiteracy. These varying circumstances have been observed to influence students in and beyond the classroom (Santrock, 2005)
Socioeconomic status of the family has been described as a “powerful factor in educational achievement not in and of itself, but through its influences on the family atmosphere, on choice of neighborhoods and on parents’ way of rearing children” (Papalia, 2004: 412).
Sadker and Sadker (2005) have also noted that when children are poor, they are more likely to drop out of schools, and be... [continues]
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