The purpose of the study was to determine the influence of parental occupational background and family status on students’ interest in junior secondary social studies in Jigawa state. Six research questions and four hypotheses guided the study. Literature was reviewed un four major sub-headings namely conceptual framework, theoretical framework, review of empirical studies, and summary of literature reviewed. The study adopted expo-facto design. The population of the study covers all the five thousand six hundred and eighty-seven (5,687) JS3 students in Jigawa State. Purposive sampling technique was used to sample four hundred and eighty JSS3 students. A structured questionnaire developed by the researcher and validated by research experts which yielded a reliability index of 0.87 was used for data collection. The data collected were analyzed using mean and standard deviation to answer the research questions while Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to test the research hypotheses. The major findings of the study were that parental occupational background and family status have low influence on students’ interest in social studies in terms of gender; that parental occupational background and family status have significant influence on students’ interest in social studies in terms of location among others. Based on the findings of the study, relevant conclusions were drawn and recommendations were made.
Background of the Study
Social studies education has been given a prominent place as a core subject in junior secondary schools in Nigeria. The subject was introduced in 1982. The importance of social studies cannot be over-emphasized. This is because the learning of social studies equips learners with functional knowledge, attitudes, skills, and values. The functional knowledge, attitude, skills, and values which social studies offers could have been the reason the Federal Government of Nigeria made the subject compulsory.
Social studies content of instruction is society focused. The curriculum is integrated and the composition of the content is derived from various sources. The sources are: the social sciences, humanities and physical sciences (Nwanyanwu, 2005). The components of social studies curriculum is organized to address the problems of man and to equip the learner with realistic skills, knowledge, values and attitude to be responsive and responsible to environmental problems and challenges. The learners are further equipped with desirable values and attitudes capable of strengthening national unity, co-operation, tolerance, and national consciousness. Through right attitudes and values, learners will appreciate the fact that Nigeria as a multi-ethnic society requires peace and accommodation of one another (ethnic and religious group notwithstanding) in order to achieve effective nation building (Mezieobi, 2013). These lofty ideals and objectives of social studies cannot be achieved if the social studies learners have no genuine interest in subject.
Ahmed (2009) explains that, the first and crucial step towards effective realization of subject curriculum objectives (social studies inclusive) is the ability of the students to study such subject with interest. This explanation, perhaps, shows why Abdullahi (2010) remarks that the extent to which social studies curriculum objectives are achieved depends on the extent to which social studies students read, study and understand social studies curriculum contents. The above statement was borne out of the fact that social studies curriculum content is organized sequentially, such that effective reading with interest of the initial content of the social studies curriculum will facilitate effective reading of the subsequent contents.
However, the major worry of this study is that research evidence from several scholars such as Suleman (2009), Ahmed (2009), Bello (2011), Mohammed (2011) among other proved that students decline in their general performance in social studies. Interest, according to Adam (2010), means attention to something. In this context, interest means attention to studying of social studies. Furthermore, Adeleye (2011) views interest as the curiosity to do something. In the context of this study interest means the curiosity to study relevant social studies materials. The application of curiosity in studying social studies by students could enhance their performance in junior secondary school social studies.
Success, in an educational institution, is measured by academic performance of students. Over the years, the importance of students doing well in school has become the common concern of parent, legislators, teachers, counselors, psychologist and other stakeholders. According to Bello (2002), parents devote a lot of resources to their children’s education because they believe that student’s interest in education and by implication good academic performance will provide a stable future for them. However, students’ interest in academic activities both in schools and homes has been on the decline. Wilkins (2001) opined that many educational authorities have sought to find out reasons for the downward trend in interest of secondary school students in educational activities. Uwaifo (2008) attributed the cause of low interest of children in educational activities to a combination of personal and institutional factors. The personal factors include the level of individual’s aspiration, intelligence, knowledge and ability, while institutional factors are family or parental influence.
Family, according to Akubue (2006), is defined as a group of persons united by ties of marriage, blood or adoption, constituting a single household, interacting with each other in their respective social roles as husband and wife, father and mother, brother and sister and creating a common culture. Family is also defined as a single social unit in human society which is extricably interwoven with all other system (Agulana, 2009). Whatever the short comings the above definitions may have, family is universally and culturally accepted as a social institution throughout the world. It is also recognized as the bedrock of any society responsible for primary socialization of its members. In support of the above, Robboy (2010) states categorically that everyone knows a great deal about families because all human beings were probably socialized by parents and teachers.
According to Olayinka (2004), family, especially stable family, is the bed rock of any society. Obayan (2004) reported that a stable and well developed childhood can be guaranteed by a stable family. Kilgore, Snyder, & Lentz (2000) claimed that the family environment is the most powerful influence in determining a child’s academic achievement. It is obvious that families have substantial influence on a child’s academic performance in school subjects including social studies. Could the kind of occupation the parents do as well as the degree of stability of the family be factors in family influence on students’ interest in academic activities? Moreover, how do gender and location, as moderator variables, interact with parental occupation and family stability to influence students’ interest in social studies?
Gender, according to Robert (2007), is a social construct which is not biologically determined but a concept equivalent to race or class. Lee (2001) noted that gender is an ascribed attribute that differentiate feminine from masculine in the society. Gender is by this attribute seen as the categorization in the world of matter into sex. Offorma (2004) viewed gender as a learned socially constructed condition ascribed to male and female. Offorma further noted that gender is enforced through cultural practices, as gender identity is the outcome of cultural learning; hence the expectations from male and female are dependent on their cultural milieus. In the context of this study, gender is a cultural construction that assigns roles, attitudes and values considered appropriate for each sex. Indeed, these cultural roles assigned to male and female could have interactive influence on parental occupation and family stability as factors of students’ interest in social studies. Usman (2009) found out in a study that the female students are more affected in their academic achievement by family instability. On the contrary, Danladi (2010) found out in a study that family status affects both male and female students’ academic performance. Gender is an important variable in this study because male and female children react differently to family instability. In support of this statement, Anderson (2013) explains that while the male children can cope with family statuswith minimal stress, the female children find it difficult to move on in an unstable family. Thus, this study seeks to determine among other things the influence of parental occupation and family stability on students’ interest in junior secondary social studies in terms of gender.
Location is another variable which the study seeks to determine its place in the influence of parental occupation and family stability on students’ interest in social studies. Location is a place where somebody or something resides in the world. Oguniyi (2008) noted that location can also mean a settlement whether a village, town or city usually by human beings. Benton (2000) also described location as a geographical place or an area. Contextually, location in this study implies a geographical place or area where something or somebody is situated, be it rural or urban area. Location is also an important variable in this study because the place of residence of the children, that is urban or rural area, could influence the way reacts to family instability. In support of this statement, Onoja (2014) reported that while the urban children easily adapt to the cases of family instability, the rural children are serious affected emotionally and psychologically. Therefore, this study seeks to determine if location is a variable of influence in parental occupation and family stability as determinants of students’ interest in social studies.
Indeed, studies as the present one is important especially in Jigawa State to enable education stakeholders plan effectively on the ways to reduce the influence which family status could have on students’ interest in academic activities. In Jigawa state, research evidence abounds on the increasing rate of family status as a result of dominant polygamous family system (Danladi, 2010). On the other hand, the increasing rate of unemployment in Nigeria which compelled most parents to be under employed could have influence on students’ interest in school subjects including social studies. The reason for the concern in social studies is that the subject deals with man in the society. Thus, it contains reasonable contents that discuss the family since she is regarded as the basic unit of the society (Mohammed, 2011). Therefore, students from unstable family may lose interest in social studies once the contents on family issues are taught in the classroom. Furthermore, considering the location of Jigawa State in the core Northern Nigeria where peace and national consciousness is required, effective learning of social studies with interest by the students becomes necessary. However, the major worry is that inspite of the importance of social studies in training responsible citizens, not much has been done to find out the influence of parental occupation and family stability on students’ interest in junior secondary school social studies in Jigawa State. It is against this background that the present study seeks to determine the influence of parental occupation and family stability on students’ interest in social studies in junior secondary schools in Jigawa State.
Statement of the Problem
Social studies is an emerging subject of instruction in junior secondary schools in Nigeria. The nature and scope of social studies, particularly at the junior secondary school level, is focused on man’s activities in the society. The subject centres on developing individuals who are socially, economically, and politically responsible. Hence, social studies curriculum is described as the embodiment of social, economic, and political needs of the contemporary society. It is important to note that the ability of social studies curriculum, to develop socially, economically, and politically responsible individuals, depends on the interest of students in social studies. However, the major worry of the study is that research evidence shows that there is increasing rate of family status in the Jigawa State and this could affect students’ interest in junior secondary school social studies. The reason for the concern in social studies is that the subject deals with man in the society. Thus, it contains reasonable issues that discuss the family since she is regarded as the basic unit of the society. Therefore, students from unstable family may lose interest in social studies once the contents that contain family issues are taught in the classroom. Therefore, the problem of this study put in question form is. Could the occupation of parents and family stability be influencing students’ interest in social studies in Jigawa State? How are gender and location interacting with parents’ occupation and family status to influence students’ interest in social studies in Jigawa State?