The Effects of Family Background on Children’s Academic Performance

Cultural capital, Socioeconomic status, Social status

1.1 Background of the Study
In African society, education is important and highly valued. Through education children learn specific skills, such as literacy and quantitative abilities, that aid in their development into functional adults. Furthermore, adequately acquiring these skills during childhood and adolescence can lead to a successful future as adults. Strong reading and mathematics skills are essential for occupational success in contemporary Africa and for that matter Ghana. According to Meece, Eccles, and Wigfield (1990), due to society’s rapid technological advances, employers are seeking applicants with strong skills which are acquired through successful academic achievement. Sadly, these skills are not fully developed in all children. For example, differences have been found between males and females, and children from poor families and those from affluent families. Studies have searched for possible reasons as to why children living in poverty suffer academically, such as neighbourhood dynamics, teachers, and school characteristics (McLoyd, 1998). To date, there is not a full explanation for the association between family background and academic achievement among children. It is widely recognized that if pupils are to maximize their potential from schooling they will need the full support of their family. Attempts to enhance family involvement in education occupy governments, administrators, educators and parents’ organizations across Africa and especially Ghana. It is anticipated that the family should play a role not only in the promotion of their own children’s achievements but more broadly in school improvement and the democratization of school governance. The European Commission, for example, holds that the degree of parental (family) participation is a significant indicator of the quality of schooling. In England, the Government’s strategy for...
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