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1.1       Background to the Study

Child Labour is found in all societies and social class. It is found in the rich or poor home, as well as illiterate or literate homes. The parents abuse their children by frequently using them in their farm work, trade and businesses. This is to help support the income of the home and sometimes to provide for children needs. They are sometime asked by their parents to do some menial jobs such as house helps, cooks, baby sitters, and gardeners to help improve the income of the home (Apebende, Umoren, Ukpepi and Ndifon, 2010).

The rich on the other hand have enough to care for their children but they exploit the children they employ as house helps and cooks. This they do by over working the servants in the daily house chores, while their own children are over pampered.

The servants or house helps work 24 hours a day, without any rest. Others do not have good food, clothes and sometimes no good place to lay their heads. Some are treated like animals, they are beaten, kicked pushed, and sometimes, hot oil, water and even acid is used on them. (Falaye, 2013).

Many more, caregivers called abusive names such as; good for nothing, block head, etc. sometimes some are tired hands and feet and locked in a room, for hours and even days. These actions demoralize the child (Falaye, 2013).

Those who go to school may not be attentive in class because of the work they do at home. The classroom may be the only place where they have a rest from such home activities so they may fall asleep in the class. They may therefore not partake in classroom activities and so may not acquire any learning (Apebende, Umoren, Ukpepi and Ndifon, 2010).

The children of the rich parents may not be allowed to take part in the general activities in the home. They may therefore not know how to cook, wash or care generally for the home. This constitutes an abuse because the child needs to be exposed to such activities because it is certain that the child may need such knowledge in future (Falaye, 2013).

The term Child Labour is seen as the process by which children are exposed to maltreatments by parents or guardian (Apebende, Umoren, Ukpepi and Ndifon, 2010). Axmaher (2010) defined Child Labour as any mistreatment or neglect of the child that result in non-accidental harm or injury and which cannot be reasonably explained. Obekpa (2011) view Child Labour as any condition injurious to physical or emotional health that has been inflicted by parents, guardian or other caretakers. Igbo and Ekoja (2013) defines it as a non-accidental injury inflicted on a child by a parent or guardian.

An abuse according to Isanghedehi (2004) could be seen in three perspectives physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. To Oniyama, Oniyama and Asamaigbo (2004), Child Labour manifest in four main categories viz; physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.

Physical abuse refers to any contact with the body of the child, which may result in an injury. Such contact may involve beating, hitting, kicking, shaking, punching, biting or any act or omission that is not an accident but that which brings some injuries to the child’s body.

Emotional abuse is any act on the part of a parents or caregiver that has the potential for or has actually caused serious emotional cognitive, mental or behavioral disorders. Emotional abuse is evident when a parent or care giver uses abusive words such as blockhead, good for nothing, a mistake, on the child or when the child is locked up in a room, tired both hands and feet, or not allowed to make friends. Mba (2013) maintained that emotional abuse implies constantly blaming the child, belittling and or berating the child, being unconcerned about the child’s welfare and overtly rejection of the child by parents or caretakers or caregivers.

Sexual abuse occurs when a parent or care giver engages in inappropriate sexual behaviours with the child. This may take the form of actual sexual intercourse, kissing, or foundling or genitals or either the abuser or the abused. According to Uzoezie (2004) sexual abuse occurs when an adult or older person uses his or her power over a child. The abuse may trick, bribe, threaten and if possible force a child to take part in sexual activity.

Neglect according to Okpara (2001) include inadequate feeding, shelter and lack of supervision, inadequate body care, poor clothing, poor and denial of medicinal attention and inadequate provision of educational materials and supervision. Other aspects of neglect may include letting the child live in a filthy environment and non provision of proper nourishment.

Other aspects of Child Labour may include child exploitation, slavery, trafficking and abandonment. The different forms of abuse affect the child in all spheres of life including academic attainment.

Conversely, a child is said to be abused when the parents, care givers or any human action leads to physical, emotional and sexual abuse of the child. It also involves failure of the parents to provide the necessary love and care for the child.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

At the heart of every educational system lays the desire for the students, teachers and the institutions to achieve their educational goals; however, the extent to which this desire is achieved in the study period of a student varies based on individual differences. Individual differences in academic performance have been linked to differences in intelligence and personality. Students with higher mental ability as demonstrated by IQ tests and those who are higher in conscientiousness (linked to effort and achievement motivation) tend to perform highly in academic settings. A recent meta-analysis suggested that mental curiosity (as measured by typical intellectual engagement) has an important influence on academic performance in addition to intelligence and conscientiousness. Despite high mental abilities, conscientiousness and intellectual engagement demonstrated by most children it has been observed of late that the academic performance of children in public primary schools in the State, particularly, in Bwari Area Council is becoming low. It has also been observed that in this recent times issues of Child Labour and neglect is on the rise in the Area Council due to economic depression caused by the global economic backdrop and incessant social/civil unrests. One wonders if such low academic performance is as a result of the abuse/maltreatment children are exposed to. This became the motivation to investigate the effect of Child Labour on academic performance of primary school pupils in Bwari Area Council.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The broad objective of the study is to investigate the Impact of child labour on students’ academic performance among senior secondary school in Bwari Area Council, FCT Abuja. Specifically, the study seeks to investigate;

  1. The effect of Child Labour on primary school pupils’ assessments grades and academic performance.
  2. The effect of Child Labour on primary school pupils’ participation in the class and academic performance.

1.4       Research Questions

In order to achieve the objectives the following questions are hereby posed;

  1. What is the extent of the effect of Child Labour on primary school pupils’ assessments grades and academic performance?
  2. What is the extent of the effect of Child Labour on primary school pupils’ participation in the class and academic performance?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

In furtherance of the objectives the following hypotheses are hereby projected;

HO 1:  Child Labour has no significant effect on pupils’ assessments grades and academic performance.

HO 2:   Child Labour has no significant effect on pupils’ participation in the class and academic performance.

1.6       Significance of the Study

In a society where children’s academic performance in most public schools is getting lower, any study which will discover some of the causes will be very relevant. Many research studies have been carried out outside of FCT Abuja on Child Labour and its effect on pupils’ academic performance. There is need therefore for such a study to be carried out in our locality with different cultural settings. The result of this study will be an added advantage to governments stand on child’s right act and care, if it shows a significant influence. Parents, Guardians, Teachers, other caregivers and the general public will find the result of this study useful, as it will reveal to them the need for effective care and protection of their children, especially the importance of providing educational needs for a higher academic performance. The research will also be a resource of value to other researchers carrying out research on the topic or similar subject matter.


1.7       Scope of the Study

The study is intended to cover all the 195 public primary schools in Bwari Area Council. However, due to time and financial limitations the study is limited to 20 selected public primary schools. The researcher deems it appropriate to select these primary schools because all the state owned primary schools are attended by almost children of the same social class and a bound the face the same social and life challenges. Also, the calibers of teachers that teach in such schools are mostly of same social orientation. More so, the researcher targets to cover 10% of the total number of public primary schools in the Area Council.

The study is also limited to the issue of Child Labour and academic performance of primary school pupils since it will be too cumbersome to study all the factors that deter academic performance of school children in the area.


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