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PLoS One. 2010; 5(6): e11190.
Published online 2010 Jun 23. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0011190
PMCID: PMC2890410
PMID: 20585646

Economic Status, Education and Empowerment: Implications for Maternal Health Service Utilization in Developing Countries

Saifuddin Ahmed , Andreea A. Creanga ,
*
Duff G. Gillespie , and Amy O. Tsui

Saifuddin Ahmed

Population, Family and Reproductive Health Department, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America,

Find articles by Saifuddin Ahmed

Andreea A. Creanga

Population, Family and Reproductive Health Department, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America,

Find articles by Andreea A. Creanga

Duff G. Gillespie

Population, Family and Reproductive Health Department, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America,

Find articles by Duff G. Gillespie

Amy O. Tsui

Population, Family and Reproductive Health Department, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America,

Find articles by Amy O. Tsui
Beverley J. Shea, Editor
Population, Family and Reproductive Health Department, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America,
CIET, Canada

Conceived and designed the experiments: SA AAC DG AT. Analyzed the data: AAC. Wrote the paper: SA AAC DG AT. Critically reviewed several versions of the manuscript: SA DG AT.

Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer
Received 2009 Sep 6; Accepted 2010 May 25.
Copyright Ahmed et al.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are properly credited.
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

Abstract

Background

Relative to the attention given to improving the quality of and access to maternal health services, the influence of women’s socio-economic situation on maternal health care use has received scant attention. The objective of this paper is to examine the relationship between women’s economic, educational and empowerment status, introduced as the 3Es, and maternal health service utilization in developing countries.

Methods/Principal Findings

The analysis uses data from the most recent Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 31 countries for which data on all the 3Es are available. Separate logistic regression models are fitted for modern contraceptive use, antenatal care and skilled birth attendance in relation to the three covariates of interest: economic, education and empowerment status, additionally controlling for women’s age and residence. We use meta-analysis techniques to combine and summarize results from multiple countries. The 3Es are significantly associated with utilization of maternal health services. The odds of having a skilled attendant at delivery for women in the poorest wealth quintile are 94% lower than that for women in the highest wealth quintile and almost 5 times higher for women with complete primary education relative to those less educated. The likelihood of using modern contraception and attending four or more antenatal care visits are 2.01 and 2.89 times, respectively, higher for women with complete primary education than for those less educated. Women with the highest empowerment score are between 1.31 and 1.82 times more likely than those with a null empowerment score to use modern contraception, attend four or more antenatal care visits and have a skilled attendant at birth.

Conclusions/Significance

Efforts to expand maternal health service utilization can be accelerated by parallel investments in programs aimed at poverty eradication (MDG 1), universal primary education (MDG 2), and women’s empowerment (MDG 3).

Introduction

The disparity in maternal mortality between poor and rich regions of the world is striking. In 2005, the maternal mortality ratio was highest in developing regions (450 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births), in severe contrast to developed regions (9 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) and countries of the commonwealth of independent states (51 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) [1] . At the global level, maternal mortality has decreased at an average of less than 1% annually between 1990 and 2005, far below the 5.5% annual decline necessary to reach the 5th Millennium Development Goal (MDG), that is to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters by 2015 [1] . Numerous authors suggest that the vast majority of maternal deaths are preventable by giving women access to relatively basic maternal health services [2] – [7] . Conditions amenable to intervention by skilled health providers are involved in about 80% of maternal deaths, and thus, to date, the core strategy for driving down maternal mortality has been to increase access to emergency care around the time of delivery [2] . While skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care are essential to securing significant reductions in maternal mortality, health service expansion by itself is unlikely to be enough.

Underutilization of available maternal health services has been found in areas where the need for such services is greatest [8] – [11] , i.e., among disadvantaged populations. The latter are less healthy and in more need of health services than their better-off counterparts. Decades ago, Hart posited his law of inverse care wherein those least in need of health care–the healthy and wealthy–are more likely to receive care than the sick and the poor [12] . The saliency of Hart’s law is currently well recognized and documented [13] , [14] . Moreover, women from disadvantaged segments of society are in double jeopardy since they find themselves even more disadvantaged within a disadvantaged population–they will be the poorest among the poor and the least educated among the inadequately educated.

Relative to the attention given to improving the quality of and access to health services, the influence of women’s socio-economic situation on maternal health has received less attention. Within the health community, there is concern that health intervention programs are often solely supply-oriented and ignore the social factors constraining the demand for, access to and effective use of health services. Studies have consistently shown that women’s educational attainment, social status, household wealth and decision-making power are associated with care-seeking behaviors for maternal health services and maternal survival [14] – [25] . A recent study by Kruk et al. [26] finds that higher levels of health expenditure do not automatically mean substantially greater use of skilled birth attendants by poor women; also, they find that at any given level of health care spending poor women’s use of skilled birth attendants varies substantially, depending on equity in the distribution of education. Thus, a comprehensive approach to increasing health service utilization should give attention to the demand, as well as supply, side of health care delivery.

This analysis investigates inequities in use of maternal health services and estimates the magnitude of the relationships between women’s economic, educational and empowerment status (introduced here as the 3Es) and the utilization of maternal health services. The 3Es are specifically linked to the achievement of MDGs 1 (eliminating extreme poverty), 2 (promoting universal primary education) and 3 (promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment). We examine the 3Es’ role in inequitable use of three key service components of maternal health programs: pre-conceptional care (use of modern contraception), gestational care (antenatal care) and delivery care (skilled attendance at birth) in 33 low-income countries. Inequitable use exists when an undesirable health situation is disproportionately found among social and economic groups despite known effective interventions being available [27] . Inequities in service utilization as a result of economic, educational and empowerment differentials do not carry the same gravity and ethical implications as inequities in preventing deaths. However, if such inequities are negatively associated with access to and use of life-saving maternal health services, they are functionally and morally equivalent to inequities in mortality prevention.

Thaddeus and Maine identified three groups of factors obstructing access to care in their 3Ds model–delay in seeking care, delay in arriving at a health facility, and delay in the provision of care [28] . Neither the 3Ds nor the currently described 3Es incorporate all influences on the use of maternal health services, much less maternal mortality. Nonetheless, one can conceptualize the 3Ds as proximate conditions of maternal morbidity and mortality, and the proposed 3Es as antecedents to the 3Ds. For example, lack of education can prevent awareness of life-threatening obstetrical complications, which in turn reduces women’s recognition of the need to seek risk-appropriate health care. Women’s limited decision-making power, as well as constrained economic resources, likewise can inhibit their ability to seek health services and/or contribute to delays in accessing and receiving medical care even in places where services are readily available. Moreover, economic inequities may lead to substandard care offered to impoverished women who ultimately have the highest likelihood of dying during pregnancy, delivery or immediately post-partum.

While the direction of the associations between the 3Es and women’s use of health services is well known, the magnitude of these associations is not. Women’s economic, educational and empowerment status are each related to one of the first three MDGs. In order to inform health policies and advocacy efforts aimed at achieving the MDGs by 2015, it is of utmost importance to know how much changes in women’s economic, educational and empowerment status can contribute to increase women’s utilization of health care services.

Methods

Our analyses examine the relationships between the 3Es and maternal health care utilization, specifically use of modern contraception, attendance of four or more antenatal care visits as per the WHO recommendation [29] , and skilled birth attendance. We use Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from 33 countries for which all variables of interest are available [30] . DHSs are nationally representative surveys that employ standardized questionnaires to collect extensive data from women of reproductive age (15 to 49 years) in developing countries. The DHS obtains information on women’s socio-demographic characteristics, their reproductive behaviors, birth history and maternal health service utilization. We use data on all births to women in the five years prior to the survey year to examine women’s experiences with antenatal care and skilled birth attendance, and data on modern contraceptive use among all the women interviewed for the country-specific DHSs.

We define our 3Es measures to reflect achievement of MDGs 1–3. The DHS lacks questions on household income and consumption expenditures, but a widely employed asset or wealth index is available based on household ownership of various assets and on housing characteristics [31] . The index is generated through a principal-components analysis to score household wealth assets. Subsequently, the score distribution is divided into quintiles, from the poorest 20% to the richest 20%, and women are assigned their household’s quintile classification. MDG 1 is to “eliminate extreme poverty” and therefore, we compare women in the poorest with those in the richest wealth quintile. For women’s education, in order to assess disparities that specifically relate to MDG 2, i.e., to achieve universal primary education, we compare women with complete primary education to those with no or incomplete primary education. For MDG 3, i.e., to promote gender equality and empower women, we use a composite score based on the set of women’s autonomy questions specifically asked in the DHS. This variable is the sum of positive (“yes”) answers given to five distinct questions about women’s involvement in decisions related to their own health care, large household purchases, daily household needs purchases, visits to their family or relatives and daily meal preparation. This sum can range from 0 to 5, and in our analyses, we compare women with an empowerment score of 5 to those with a score of 0.

We fit logistic regression models for the following three service utilization outcomes: 1) modern contraceptive use, 2) attendance of four or more antenatal care visits as recommended by the WHO, and 3) skilled attendance at birth. In addition to the 3Es, each model adjusts for the woman’s age (years) and residence (urban/rural). The estimated standard errors of the log odds ratios are adjusted as well for the complex survey design using the Taylor linearization method [32] .

We use meta-analytic techniques to combine and summarize the results from multiple countries. Considering the heterogeneity among the countries, we fit random effects models using the DerSimonian and Laird method [33] . This method is extensively used in the literature for meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials, cohort, case-control, as well as cross-sectional studies such as DHSs. The pooled odds ratios estimate the average weighted association between the three health service utilization outcomes and each of the 3Es. We investigate the quantitative and qualitative heterogeneity among the 33 country surveys included, as well as the influence of single surveys on the overall meta-analysis estimate through sensitivity analyses. Exploratory analyses showed that primary education is almost universal in Moldova and Armenia, and therefore, country-specific estimates for the associations between education and maternal health care use cannot be obtained for these two countries. Analyses conducted on all 33 countries and after excluding Armenia and Moldova showed that the pooled estimates do not change significantly; thus, for consistency, we present the results after excluding these two countries from all the pooled analyses.

All analyses are performed using Stata version 9.1 (Stata Corporation, College Station, TX).

Results

As expected, women experiencing inequities in the 3Es in the 31 countries (21 of which are in Africa) are less likely to use health services than women who are better-off. Table 1 summarizes the meta-analysis results, pooled adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and their confidence intervals (CI), for maternal health service use among women in the 31 countries and, as a sub-analysis, for women in African countries. Results for the 31 countries closely match those for the 21 African countries suggesting the importance of the 3Es for women everywhere. As seen in Figure 1 , the odds of the poorest 20% compared to the richest 20% of women are 74%, 84% and 94% lower for use of modern contraception, attendance of four or more antenatal care visits and skilled attendance at delivery, respectively (pooled-OR: 0.26, 95% CI 0.21–0.32; pooled-OR: 0.16, 95% CI 0.13–0.21; and, pooled-OR: 0.06, 95% CI 0.05–0.09). The most dramatic pattern of association observed is for inequities in education ( Figure 2 ). Women who have completed primary education are almost five times more likely to have had a skilled birth attendant at delivery (pooled-OR: 4.89, 95% CI 4.34–5.52) than less educated women. Furthermore, women with complete primary education are almost three times more likely to have made at least four antenatal care visits (pooled-OR: 2.89, 95% CI 2.56–3.27) and twice as likely to use modern contraception (pooled-OR: 2.01, 95% CI 1.78–2.28) than women with no or less than primary education ( Figure 2 ). The pattern for the subsample of African countries is very similar.

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Figure 1
Meta-analysis of the regression model results of maternal health care utilization on women’s economic status: 31 developing countries.

Note: Comparing women in the poorest with women in the richest wealth quintile.

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Figure 2
Meta-analysis of the regression model results of maternal health care utilization on women’s education: 31 developing countries.

Note: Comparing women with complete primary education with women with no or incomplete primary education.

Table 1

Pooled odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals from meta-analysis of maternal health care service utilization on women’s economic, educational and empowerment status: 31 developing countries.
Millennium Development Goals and the 3Es
MDG 1: Eliminate extreme povertyMDG 2: Achieve universal primary educationMDG 3: Empower women
Use of maternal health care servicesEconomic status* pooled OR (95% CI)Educational status** pooled OR (95% CI)Empowerment status*** pooled OR (95% CI)
Modern contraception
All countries0.26 (0.21, 0.32)2.01 (1.78, 2.28)1.82 (1.52, 2.17)
African countries0.23 (0.17, 0.31)2.40 (2.01, 2.87)1.49 (1.28, 1.73)
Antenatal care (4+ visits)
All countries0.16 (0.13, 0.21)2.89 (2.56, 3.27)1.52 (1.37, 1.66)
African countries0.22 (0.16, 0.30)2.74 (2.31, 3.25)1.29 (1.18, 1.40)
Skilled birth attendance
All countries0.06 (0.05, 0.09)4.89 (4.34, 5.52)1.31 (1.11, 1.54)
African countries0.09 (0.07, 0.12)4.81 (4.07, 5.70)1.19 (1.06, 1.33)
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Note: All figures are statistically significant at a level p<0.05; * Comparing women in the poorest with women in the richest wealth quintile; ** Comparing women with complete primary education with women with no or incomplete primary education; *** Comparing women with the highest to women with no decision-making power.

Similarly, inequities in women’s empowerment in the 31 countries are associated with lower maternal health service utilization, although not as substantially as for the other 2Es. The most pronounced association for women’s empowerment is with modern contraceptive use. Women with the highest empowerment score (5) have an 82% higher odds of using modern contraception than women with a zero empowerment score (pooled-OR: 1.82, 95% CI 1.52–2.17). Similarly, women with the maximum as compared to the minimum empowerment score are, respectively, 1.52 (95% CI 1.37–1.66) and 1.31 (95% CI 1.11–1.54) times significantly more likely to have attended four or more antenatal care visits and have had a skilled birth attendant ( Figure 3 ).

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Figure 3
Meta-analysis of the regression model results of maternal health care utilization on women’s empowerment: 31 developing countries.

Note: Comparing women with the highest to women with no decision-making.

Discussion

This analysis deepens our awareness of the wide ranging, strong and persistent associations of three key socio-economic factors with utilization of critical services that influence maternal health in 31 developing countries with approximately one fifth (18.9%) of the world’s population. The paper introduces the 3Es (women’s economic, educational and empowerment status) and shows their direct linkage to the uptake of three of the most basic maternal health services. While studies conducted in various individual countries have consistently shown that women’s household wealth, educational attainment and decision-making power are associated with the use of maternal health services and maternal survival, this study is the first to provide multi-country evidence from the developing world of the magnitude of their association with modern contraception use, antenatal care and skilled birth attendance. Of the three socio-economic factors under study, women’s empowerment is the least strong factor associated with women’s use of maternal health services in all countries, and especially so among African countries. Not many studies have extensively investigated the association between women’s empowerment and the use of one or more reproductive health services. Most recently, Fotso et al. have identified women’s household wealth and education as strong correlates for place of delivery in Nairobi, Kenya, while the association with women’s autonomy was weaker [34] .

While our analysis supports Hart’s inverse care law–that the more disadvantaged a population the less likely they are to have accessible health services–neither the poor nor the rich can use services that do not exist. Efforts to lower maternal mortality will fail in the absence of basic maternal health services, which, in turn, are unlikely to become available without pro-poor health policies [35] . In places where health services are available, they often fall short of being patient-friendly. It is reasonable to assume that an expansion of high quality services may increase women’s motivation to use these services [36] . If so, women with means, in terms of education, decision-making autonomy and access to economic resources, are more likely to cope effectively with the challenges presented by health systems.

This analysis is not without limitations. Importantly, the analyses draw on cross-sectional data; and thus, only associations and no causal relationships are examined. The pooled cross-country analyses employ random effects models to account for the quantitative heterogeneity among the countries included in the analysis. However, our inability to control all sources of qualitative heterogeneity among data from 31 countries might have biased our estimates of the relationship between the 3Es and maternal health service use. While the DHSs offer the unique advantage of performing cross-country analyses of data collected using a standardized questionnaire and methodology, when interpreting these results one needs to consider that surveys included in this analysis were conducted over an 8-year period (1998–2006) and represent populations in a select and limited number of developing countries.

The empowerment variable used in our analyses is not a validated measure of women’s decision-making power. There is no current scientific consensus on the construct of women’s empowerment; thus, we conducted preliminary analyses testing three different such measures: (1) the empowerment score described above, (2) the one of five women’s decision making variables in the DHS that had the most pronounced relationship with the study outcomes (i.e. women’s autonomy to decide on their own health), and (3) the gender equity index developed by Social Watch in 2005 [37] . Use of all three measures produced similar results. We present the findings using the empowerment score in order to make use of all available data in the context of qualitative heterogeneity (i.e. cultural diversity) among the countries studied. The considerable variation between countries with regard to the relationship between women’s empowerment and their use of maternal health services draws attention to the need to develop locally sensitive and meaningful measures of women’s empowerment. It is clear that a globally standardized measure cannot adequately reflect differences between individual cultures and the specific needs of women in various countries. Despite measurement limitations, this analysis clearly demonstrates a significant and positive relationship between women’s empowerment and maternal health service utilization, and highlights the importance of enhancing women’s autonomy to raise maternal health service use in developing countries.

Due to cultural differences between the countries included in this analysis, we do not consider the potential interactions between two or all the 3Es. Future studies assessing the associations examined here in one country or in a group of culturally similar countries should consider more complex analytical approaches and include interaction terms between women’s economic, educational and empowerment status as might be appropriate. More research and in-depth country-specific assessments are needed to better understand the relationships between the 3Es and, for example, women’s choice of contraceptive methods, their willingness to attend antenatal care, their preparedness to deliver in a health facility and have a skilled attendant at birth. Such research would subsequently inform the implementation of interventions and programs to better address women’s health needs and to better position them to seeking and obtaining the health care they need.

There are many benefits associated with women’s higher socio-economic status; among these are the reduction of infant and child mortality, better infant and child nutrition and health, lower fertility rates, enhanced participation of women in labor force and politics, protection against abuse and exploitation. Health-related policies should incorporate and address inequalities in women’s education, empowerment and economic status, as improvements in the latter may yield high returns that accrue to individuals, families, and societies at large.

In conclusion, our findings suggest that substantial increase in the use of maternal health services can be achieved by accelerating socioeconomic development and effectively addressing basic human needs of schooling, economic welfare, and gender-based discrimination. Inasmuch as appropriate reproductive and obstetric services and care are essential, our study shows that there are potentially large systemic benefits to be gained with improved socioeconomic status, which will also reduce health inequities. These benefits are preventive in nature, materializing before and during pregnancy and thereby lowering the risk of maternal complications and death. Efforts to achieve the MDG 5 target of reducing maternal mortality by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015 will require not only significant investments in the expansion of appropriate maternal health services but also parallel investments in programs aimed at poverty eradication (MDG 1), universal primary education (MDG 2), and women’s empowerment (MDG 3).

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of Ms. Sabrina Karklins in reviewing this paper.

Footnotes

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Funding: The authors have no support or funding to report.

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Pedagogic Sociology

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Title: The influences of selected socio-economic factors of parents and parenting attitudes on the academic achievements of their wards

The influences of selected socio-economic factors of parents and parenting attitudes on the academic achievements of their wards

The case of pupils in Archbishop Porter "A" Primary School, Effia Kuma

Bachelor Thesis, 2012

59 Pages

Pedagogy – Pedagogic Sociology

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Excerpt

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

DEDICATION

LIST OF TABLES

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Research
Significance of the Study
Delimitation
Limitations
Organisation of the study

TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Introduction
Conceptual bases of parental roles, economic status and student academic achievement.
Empirical review on influence of parental variables on pupils’ performance
Issues about education, parenting, socio-economic status and
students’ achievement
Conclusion

THREE: METHODLOGY
Research design
Population
Sample and Sampling Technique
Instruments
Data Collection Procedure
Data Analysis Technique

FOUR: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Background information
Academic performance of pupils
Socio-economic status of parents
Parenting attitude/responsibilities
Socio-economic status of parents and pupils’ academic performance
Parenting attitudes and pupils’ academic performance
Socio-economic status of parents and their parenting attitudes/responsibilities

FIVE: SUMMARY, COCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Summary
Conclusion
Recommendations
Suggestions for further research

REFERENCES

APPENDICES
A Questionnaire
B Pupils’ Score

ABSTRACT

The purpose of the study was to explore the relation between selected Socio-economic and parenting factors on the academic performance of pupils. The study used a descriptive research designed type. A total of twenty-nine (29) pupils who are in Basic two were used for the study.

Questionnaires and test were the instruments used in gathering data on pupils and their parents. Responses from the pupils and their parents were treated statistically using frequency tables, percentages, mean, standard deviation and Pearson’s Correlation as the tools.

Major findings from the study indicated that pupils’ academic performance is just above average; and that the Socio- economic and parenting factors of the parents of the pupils’ are also average. The study further established that there is a significant, medium and positive relation existing between the Socio-economic status of pupils’ parents and pupils’ academic performance; the parenting attitudes and pupils’ academic performance. Finally, the study again established that there is a significant, medium relation between the Socio- economic status of pupils’ parents and their parenting attitude or responsible parenting. Based the findings, suggestions in the form of recommendations were offered, which included; the need for deepened teacher – parent collaboration and the school undertaking activities to attract parents to the school.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This work would not have been possible without the help and support of some very important individuals and I am indeed indebted to the them. My supervisor – Joseph Tuffour Kwarteng – deserves my commendation for the courage and motivation he imbibed in me when he approved my proposal and subsequently moderating the entire exercise.

My spouse deserves a special mention for his support, encouragement and serving as time keeper to ensure that I meet all standards set for my assignments and this project – I am so grateful.

I am also grateful to all to all my course mates for their motivation – few of them deserve special commendation for the significant roles they played in making me enjoy this course and been such great friends and mothers.

My appreciation also goes the pupils of Archbishop Porter ‘A’ school, Effia Kuma for the joy and efficiency exhibited during the study. I equally thank the parents for their cooperation.

My final appreciation goes to members of staff of my school and members of my church for their various roles in motivating me to stand up to challenging moments and aspire to higher heights – I will forever be grateful to each one of you.

DEDICATION

To the Late Christina Pobee (Maa) and the Late Dorothy Ada Payne (Mamaa) may their souls rest in peace.

LIST OF TABLES

1. Statistics on the academic performance of pupils

2. Highest qualification of one of parents

3. Occupational status of one of your parents

4. Position of the bread winner in his/her work place

5. Estimated income of family at the end of the month

6. Families with car

7. Families with Television

8. Families with fridge

9. Parents holding Religious positions

10. Families affording three meals a day

11. Families with siblings attaining tertiary education

12. Overall Socio-economic status of parents

13. Overall results of parental attitude/ responsibilities to pupils

14. Descriptive Statistics parenting attitude/level of responsibility

15. Relation between socio-economic status of parents and pupils’ academic performance

16. Relation between parenting attitude and pupils’ academic performance

17. Relation between socio-economic status of parents and parenting attitude

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

An individual’s educational achievements is closely linked to numerous factors for which some may be known and others not. Battle and Lewis (2002), share the view that one’s life chances, income and his/her overall well being is determined by his/her education. Education is therefore viewed as the medium through which mankind gains a full capacity of his/her potentialities – through integrated activities such as teaching, learning, assessment, remedial activities and classification of pupils’ achievement levels for placement and/or decision making. Consequently, the significance of education in the overall development of children cannot be overemphasised.

In Ghana, the education of children of all school going age can be said to be a national priority. This is evidenced in the implementation of the Free Compulsory Basic Education (fCUBE) policy. Practically, governments- both past and present – have displayed commitment to the implementation of this policy in the form of “creating opportunities and strengths in primary education” (Mankoe 2001:12). Some of the opportunities in primary school education include; payment of capitation grant of GHc 4.50 per pupil per year(GHc 1.50 per term), provision of free meals, provision of teachers, provision of free textbooks and in some cases exercise books and syllabuses – including other teaching learning materials and support for pupils. All these injections are virtually free and aimed at alleviating if not completely to the barest minimum the financial obligations of parents on the basic education of their wards. This comes with the assumption that parents have very little financial obligations when it comes to their wards primary education.

Many researchers (Barry 2005; Crosnoe, Jonhson & Elder 2004) in their works have identified that the academic achievement of children in school have links with the Socio-economic status (SES) of their parents. Some of these socio-economic variables used by Barry for the study included the following; sex, race, family backgrounds, neighbourhood, parents’ educational attainment, nature of work and family incomes, among other things. Majoribanks, (1996), have observed that there are direct links between family backgrounds and the achievement of pupils.

Conditions at the home of children or pupils basically constitute the fundamental social agent influencing the interest aspirations and performances. Linking this assertion to that of the study conducted by Jeynes (2002), it has been established that the SES of parents and the extent of their responsible parenting influence the academic performance of their children in the school and in their engagement in extracurricular activities of these as well .

Researchers have concluded that economic hardships that arise in families and which eventually either motivates or derail the learning attitudes of children have their roots in the SES of parents (Baharudin and Luster, 1998; Jeynes, 2002; Majoribanks, 1999; Eamon, 2005). In each of the literature cited their conclusions point to the fact that SES of parents do influence the total development of their wards to a large extent. That the effects of the SES of parents predisposes the pupils to conditions that may either enhance or derail their learning and schooling attitudes.

The SES of parents has been described by Ainley et al, (1995) as a parent’s overall social and economic position as a result of his/her education, kind of profession, income levels and wealth – among other indicators that go to establish his/her social and financial independence or self reliance.

Literature reviewed gives the implication that the SES of parents do not only influence the learning habitats of their wards, but also spill over to determine the kind of parenting they offer to their children. This latter assertion is made in the context of the level of interest shown by parents in the educational activities and issues of their wards. The resultant outcome of the combination of the SES of parents and the kind of parenting they offer their children in no doubt go a long way to determine the academic achievements of their children (Baharudin and Luster, 1998; Jeynes, 2002; Majoribanks, 1999; Eamon, 2005; Ainley et al, 1995). That parents with low SES tend to have their children performing below the required standard of achievement, whiles children of parents with high SES may perform either up to the standard achievement levels or even beyond. In each of the cases illustrated above, SES of parents has been identified to have a bearing on the kind of parenting attitudes exhibited towards their wards – with the resultant being that their wards may either meet the academic and educational standards confronting him/her or miss out.

Notwithstanding, the research findings (Baharudin and Luster, 1998; Jeynes, 2002; Majoribanks, 1999; Eamon, 2005; Ainley et al, 1995) do not constitute a predictive indicators operating as definite yardsticks for the well being and academic achievements of pupils in the Archbishop Porter Primary School in Effia Kuma in the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis. The reasons being that children from low SES parents who happen to receive the right parenting attitude and support for teachers could do well in their academic performances in school; whiles as a pupil a from parent with high SES who may encounter a non supportive school conditions – either from parents, or class teacher or both may not do well in his/her academic pursuits.

It is therefore a worthwhile venture for teachers and the academia to undertake various academic exercises capable of bringing to the fore empirical facts on the subject-matter under discussion in a customised manner. Through this teachers will be better and professionally placed to offer learners the relevant support towards their academic pursuits and further map out schemes to enhance effective collaboration with parents for the welfare of their wards. It is in this light, that this study is being initiated to specifically investigate primary school pupils in the context of how selected parental based factors influence their academic performances in school.

Statement of Problem

Governments’ commitment and support in the direction of providing Free Compulsory Basic Education to all Ghanaian children have been massive over the years. This is evidenced in the provision of funding and materials to children free of charge. Parents therefore do not have excuse when it comes to access to education for their wards. Financial constraint as an inhibitor to primary education can no longer be considered a key factor. The reason being that Capitation Grants is paid to run the schools; pupils are fed on free meals during school and free school uniforms and exercise books are occasionally given to pupils free of charge. In addition, textbooks and teaching learning materials are supplied by the Ministry of Education through the Ghana Education Service.

These interventions therefore seem to suggest that greater percentages of the financial burdens of parents who have their wards in the Archbishop Porter “A” School are lessened dramatically. It is therefore assumed that the key responsibility of parents therefore is to show much interest in the school activities and learning of their wards – by way of good parenting.

Presently, the general outcry amongst teachers at the Archbishop Porter Primary School is that parents are not supportive when it comes to the learning of their wards; as a result the children are not performing well academically. However, there is no definite evidence to this assertion, no literature exist that empirically accounts for the relation between the performance of pupils and the attitude of parents with specific reference to the primary school children in Archbishop Porter “A” School at Effia Kuma.

The problem therefore is that with the numerous interventions made by governments to make primary education free over the years, is there still a relation between the SES of parents and the academic achievements of their wards; and what kind of parenting is being received by the pupils of Archbishop Porter Primary School; and to what extent are the two variables named influencing the academic achievements of the pupil. In an attempt to find answers to these enquiries this study was initiated, so as to find out the extent to which SES of parents and the parenting attitudes influences pupils’ academic achievement.

Purpose of the study

The general objective of the study is to establish the relation between a parents’ SES, parenting attitudes and the academic achievement of their wards. In a more detail form the specific objectives of the study was as follows;

1. To identify the level of academic achievement of pupils in the subjects areas studied regularly in school,
2. To find the SES of parents based on some selected factors,
3. To find the extent to which parents are offering responsible parenting to their wards,
4. To find the relation between the SES of parents and the academic achievement of their wards,
5. To find the relation parenting attitudes and the academic achievement of their wards,
6. Establish the relation between the SES of parents and their parenting attitudes.

Research Questions

The study was guided by the following research questions;

1. What are the levels of academic achievement of pupils in Archbishop Porter “A” Primary School?
2. What is the SES of parents of the pupils in Archbishop Porter “A” Primary School?
3. To what extent are parents supporting the school activities of their wards in the form of responsible parenting?
4. Is there any statistical relation between the SES of parents and the academic achievements of pupils?
5. Is there any statistical relation between parenting attitudes and the academic achievement of the pupil?
6. Is there a statistical relation between the SES of parents and the kind of parenting they offer to their wards education?

Significance of the Study

Every research work potentially have the capacity to unravel new knowledge or better still describe a prevailing situation and further attempt to suggest possible interventions or recommendation. The significance of this study therefore lies in its ability to satisfy the above named assertions within the school system in the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis. On a more specific note, the study will be useful to parents, class teachers, head teachers and circuit supervisors in the form of providing information on factors influencing the academic achievements of pupils in the schools.

Again, the study has the potential to inform school authorities; SMCs and PTA of the school on the SES of parents and their parenting attitudes; and how it is affecting the general profile of the school’s activities and their wards; and how the situation could be addressed in favour of the pupils.

The documented report of the findings of the study will be a reference material in the educational circles – precisely offer new and additional knowledge in research and development on educational issues in the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis.

Finally, the study has the capacity to inform teachers on the needs an challenges facing their pupils and resultantly guide them to effectively their needs professionally.

Delimitation of the study

The study was delimited to Archbishop Porter Primary School at Effia Kuma in the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis; and further restricted to the primary school. The study did not cover upper primary pupils and students at the Junior High School level.

It took the form of a case study of pupils in a sampled class and the scope will be as follows; established the SES of their parents, explored the kind of concern parents’ show to their wards’ education in the form of their parenting attitudes and established the academic achievement of the pupils. The study established the correlation between the named parental variables and the academic achievements of pupils.

The scope for the measuring of the pupils’ achievement will be on the six subjects studied by primary school pupils, namely; Mathematics, Language and Literacy, Natural Science, Information Communication Technology, Religious and Moral Education and Creative Arts.

The study will not attempt to predict the future performance of the pupils, but basically relate the parental attitudes and SES to the academic performance of their wards by way of computing the statistical relations among the variables.

Limitations of the Study

Due to time and financial constraints the study was restricted to the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolis and precisely to the Effia Tanokrom Circuit. These limitations raises reliability and validity questions .To ensure the validity and the reliability of the study the following steps were taken in the course of the study, (a) questionnaires and items therein were derived from the literature review so as to measure what the study indented to investigate – in this case explore the SES of parents, their parenting styles and the academic performance of their wards, (b) the sampled class had all its members participating in the study to give the room for generalization of the findings, (c) the main subjects of the study were given ample time to give their responses and again their anxiety about the exercise were allayed with the assurance that they were part of an academic exercise and not under investigation and that their responses will be treated confidential.

Finally, the internal consistency of the instruments was tested using Cronbach’s Alpha Coefficient. The results were as follow;, 39 item questionnaire (α = .91) and the 18 test results (α = .94).

Organisation of the Study

The report of the study is organised into five chapters, followed by references and appendices. The first chapter is the introduction and contains the background information, statement of problems, research questions, the purpose and significance of the study. Information on limitations and delimitations of the study is also catered for in this chapter. Organisation of the study as a sub-topic closes the entire chapter.

The second chapter is titled literature review and looks into concepts, research findings and publications relevant to issues on Socio-economic status, parenting and student performance. It is followed by Chapter Three which outlines the methods that were used for the study. It describes the research design type used, population and the sample for the study; instruments used and procedures for data collection; and then ends with the methods used for analysing collected data.

Chapter Four is titled as results and discussions and comes after chapter three. It covers the results or findings of the study together with their corresponding discussions. It offers medium for inferences to be made by virtue of responses gathered from the participants of the research. This chapter is immediately followed by Chapter Five which contains the summary, conclusions and recommendations of the study. References and appendices are provided at the back of the report and that close the entire document.

[…]


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Details

Title
The influences of selected socio-economic factors of parents and parenting attitudes on the academic achievements of their wards
Subtitle
The case of pupils in Archbishop Porter "A" Primary School, Effia Kuma
Course
Bachelor of Basic Education – Social Studies (General)
Authors
Year
2012
Pages
59
Catalog Number
V207456
ISBN (eBook)
9783656348108
ISBN (Book)
9783656347835
File size
731 KB
Language
English
Tags

archbishop

porter

primary

school

effia

kuma

Price (Book)
34.99 €
Price (eBook)
24.99 €
Quote paper
Gifty Esi Barnes (Author), James Sunney Quaicoe (Author) , 2012, The influences of selected socio-economic factors of parents and parenting attitudes on the academic achievements of their wards, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/207456

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