This study investigate the Relevance of Geography Education  . To carry out this study, four null hypotheses were formulated to give direction. The sample of the study consists one hundred (100) randomly selected students from selected secondary schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State. The instrument used for data collection was a self developed questionnaire. The data collected were analyzed and the formulated hypotheses were tested using independent t-test of unrelated sample and Chi-square statistical methods. All the hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significant. The results of the data analysis showed: There is significant relationship between parental educational attainment and students’ academic achievement in Economics; There is prominent association between occupational background of parents and student’s academic achievement; There is significant difference in the mean scores  between Socio- Economic Status and Students’ academic achievement due to gender and there is significant association between parental socio-economic status (SES) and academic achievement. Based on the findings of the study the following recommendations were made: – Parents should always try to encourage their children in all that they do and try to give moral support so that the children can be emotionally stable and have confidence in all that they do, whether at school or at home; Parents should do more to improve the conditions of their   environment to suite the purpose of their children to perform better in school works; Teachers should make sure that their method of instructions in school address  the two personality i.e. introvert and extrovert need of the students; Government should bring back the governing system as this will help to bridge the gap between the performances of children from high and low socio-economic class. Keywords:- Keywords Socio- Economic Status, Gender, Academic Achievement, Economics



1.1     Background to the Study

Geography is regarded as a social science course which deals with man, his environment and the interaction that exists between man and his environment and as such, it is given the maximum support of the whole universe. In Nigeria, geography was dominated by expatriate in the early period both in personnel and philosophy.  Akinbode , (1995) observed that although geography was taught in Nigerian schools and Colleges of education before the Second World War, its proper foundation could be traced back to 1948, when the subject was inaugurated as one of the foundation discipline in the newly and only university college located in Ibadan. The period also witnessed the training of few geographers at first degree level because it proved to be difficult and seemingly impossible discipline (Ojo,1978).

The poor performances of students’ in secondary schools pose a persistent challenge to educators and researchers who have tried to identify the factors that might be responsible for these poor results. Many reasons have been given such as; lack of qualified and dedicated teachers, lack of instructional materials, some attributed it to teacher’s methodology, lack of ability of students to manipulate the English language. Yet not enough attention has been paid to the socio-economic background and gender issues on students’ academic performance in geography. There are differences in socio-economic background, and different entry behaviors of student in our schools, especially with the exit of boarding house system in many public secondary schools in Nigeria, (the socio-economic background affects students’ performances) (Nelsson, 2001). Eitzen, (2003) stated that socio economic background is a function of parental education, occupation and income. It has been argued that parents who have formal education see the need for adequate monitoring of their children in the school. Literate parents struggle to provide educationally rich and stimulating home for their children.

Available evidence demonstrates that childhood socio-economic variables and early life conditions influence child’s performance in school (Roberts, Bornstein and Slater, 2002). Children from poor home backgrounds show poorer cognitive and low performance in school at intents, and worse verbal and achievement outcomes in the first 5 years of life. Duncan, Brooks-Gunn, and Klebanoel, (2004) revealed that children are also more likely to experience worse school performance than their more advantaged counter parts. Isangedighi, (2007)  low socio-economic conditions in child-hood is related to functional illiteracy in adult hood, (Bpydar, Brooks-Gunn, and Furstenberg, 1997), and child hood social economic background has been associated with low performance, and cognitive function in middle age and total number of years of completing education. Documented evidence associates the educational attainment of parents to their children’s level of intelligence, (Matarazzo, 2002).

Some other studies indicate that home background; particularly the provision of learning experience, cognitive and effective stimulation significantly influences academic performance of students (Sangedighi, 2007). The educational background to a large extent dictates the type of parental occupation. The type of parental occupation affects the level of attention accorded the educational progress and the monitory of students by their parents.  For example, bank workers are to work early and close late, such people hardly find it convenient to visit their children at school and check their school works at home. This is opposed to civil servants who have more time to spend with their children and also occupations of the parents determine the structure of their income or earning. Farley, (2003), Eitzen and smith, (2003) pointed out that a family’s socio-economic background is based on the parent income, occupation and education. In general, parents of high economic background have high incomes, highly respected occupation and are well educated. Parents of low socio-economic background have low incomes, unskilled or semi-skilled jobs are poorly educated. Parents of middle socio-economic class have medium business of professional occupations and a good education. It should be noted that not all families can be classified according to the criteria discussed here, some parents are very well educated but have very low income, while some parents have very high incomes but are not well educated for example (business men).

The influence of socio-economic background on academic performance is apparently observed and felt throughout the formative years of life, from infancy through early childhood and play age to adolescence, of all these formative stages of life, the period of adolescence is generally considered the most crucial Ezewu, (1998) sub-served to the view that adolescence is the most important period of human life. He further described adolescence as the spring of life of human being and a very important era in the total life span. Hess, (2000) identified children from a lower class as slow learners, aggressors and truants, his studies also compared the relative intelligence of children of high and low socio-economic background which he disposed that those from high socio-economic background homes score higher on IQ test than those children from low socio-economic background homes. The differences are more marked in later childhood and adolescence than in infancy. The relationship between family size and academic performance of a student is brought into focus by Yoloye, (1994) in Ogundele, (1998) that it is reasonable to expect that the father with several wives would be under greater financial strain than the father only with one wife, and therefore the polygamous man may have greater difficulty in sending his children to fee paying schools. The success or failure of parents to provide food,  adequate clothing and school materials, develop interest in school activities of their child, encourage their child in his/her education show love and affection to their child, would go a long way to determine the academic success or failure of their children in school.

Gender inequality in the educational achievement and opportunity has in recent years been recognized as one of the major obstacles to women in the development worldwide. Various findings reveal gender differences in teaching of Geography in the Senior Secondary Schools. Smith and Walker, (2008) reported that female students performed better than male students at age nine and ten years when their memories for thinking has not developed while male students had an edge over the female students from age eleven and above because they have possessed adequate memories for abstract thinking. James (2001) asserted that female students performed better than the male students with the use of Inquiry Method used in the teaching of Geography while Okeke (2000) found no correlation in the performance of boys compared to the girls. However, Ibe (2004) suggested that education for the future that will equip the individual with the power to adopt to change irrespective of gender should be the most important goal of education of any society that wants to progress.

1.2     Statement of the Problem.

It is obvious that there is a significant relationship between socio-economic background of the parents and academic performance of the students. Daramola (2000) remarked that adolescence from high socio-economic background have advantages over the adolescents from low socio-economic class. In a higher class family the basic facilities and opportunities that facilitate academic achievement are provided for the adolescents, such things include television, radio, computer etc., on the other hand, the adolescents from low socio-economic class is handicapped as these facilities which enhance his performance in school are lacking. Invariably, the situation contributes to the widening stratification and inequality in the society including Nigeria. This is a counter to the yearning and the dream of Nigeria for an equalitarian society. The issue if not checked is capable of breeding anti-social behavior like truancy, running away from school, pilfering, stealing, low national manpower, by the less opportune adolescents. It could also create inferiority complex and warped personality among such students’.  Therefore effect of socio-economic background calls for urgent attention to be carefully addressed hence the need for the researcher to investigate parental socio-economic background and gender issue on students’ academic performance in Geography.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to find out the influences of socio- economic background and gender issues on students academic performances in geography specifically, the objectives are to;

  • determine whether parental educational attainment has roles to play in students’ academic achievement in geography,
  • find out if parental occupation has relationship with students’ academic achievement in geography,
  • determine whether there is gender difference in the mean scores between socio-economic background and students’ academic achievement,
  • find out if there is any relationship between parental socio-economic background and academic performance of students.

1.4     Research Questions

The study sought to find answers to the following questions:

  1. Does the parental educational attainment affect the academic achievement in geography?
  2. Can the parents occupational background affects the students’ academic achievement in Geography?
  3. Is there significant difference in the mean scores between socio-economic status and students ‘academic achievement due to gender?
  4. Is there any relationship between parental socio-economic background and academic performance of students?

1.5     Significance of the Study

The study is significant to so many people like the curriculum developers, experts and educators and  other practitioners in education industries have studied empirically on the basis to formulate educational policies that can provide equal opportunities to the students’ from high socio-economic and those students’ from low socio-economic backgrounds.  This study will enhance not only the teachers, principal of secondary schools, the curriculum planner guidance counselors and other educational administrator on how they can bridge the gap between students’ whose parents’ socio-economic background are high and those whose parents have low socio-economic background .  The study would also acquaint the students to keep abreast with their studies in school, not minding their parental socio-economic background. Finally, the research would also be a great use to parents as it would inform them of what is expected of them in their children’s educational pursuits not minding their socio-economic background.

1.6     Scope of the Study

The study covers Ikere-Ekiti in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State; it was created on 11th May 1989. Ikere Local Government Area situated in the rain forest belt region of Nigeria {tropical} region, the rocky out look of Ikere makes it air attractive, Ikere Local Government Area has a land of 202.38 square kilometer, the population of Ikere as at 2006 was 147,355, ikere is located on the latitude 70 28N, 70 32N and longitude 50 12E, 50 16E on the globe. The latitude ranges from 1,400-2,200 above the sea level. It is bounded in the North by Ado-Ekiti Local Government, in the West Ilawe and Igbara-Odo in Ekiti South West Local Government, Ise-orun Local Government in the East and finally Akure North in the South.

However the study will focus majorly on senior secondary class students, out of about twenty secondary schools located in this area only four will be randomly selected for this research.

1.7     Operational Terms

Socio-economic background: – function of parental education, occupation income.

Academic performance: – outcome of academic exercise measured by the result of examination, recorded in the students’ report card.

Educational status: – level of educational attainment by an individual in all systems of education.

Occupational status: –  parents position as measured by his income per month or per year which is a result of his profession.



The chapter would discuss the related literature on the relationship between parental socio-economic background and academic performance of students. The literature would be discussed under following headings:

  1. Concept of socio-economic background.
  2. Concept of gender and educational performance of students
  3. Concept of academic performance of students and socio-economic background of parents.
  4. Relationship between parental socio-economic background and academic performance.
  5. Appraisal of the Literature Review.TEACHING


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