1.1 Background to the study
The immense contributions of education to the development of any society in the world cannot be over-emphasized. Education is one of the most important aspects of human resource development. For this reason, every child has the opportunity to achieve his/her academic potential. However, despite the quintessential purpose of education, it is sad to observe that poor academic performance have become more pronounced especially among the student with physical and mental impairments. The Federal Government of Nigeria considers physical disabilities and health disabilities as separate and special education categories for individual with such disability. To this end, disabilities education act, (2004) use the term orthopaedic impairment to refer to conditions that we all call physical disabilities. Students with physical disabilities have problems with the structure or the functioning of their bodies. Similarly, the federal government through individual with health impairment to describe collectively, conditions and diseases that creates special health care for student with health disability.
From the above, poor academic performance is seen as a major underlying problem of children that suffers with physical and health impairment. The implication of this poor performance does not only result in the child having low self-esteem, but it has become a serious source of worry and stresses to the parents, educators, as well the government. For instance, the research conducted by Sittlington and Frank (2009) found that one year after graduation from high school only 6.5% of the 50 students with physical and mental disabilities who had enrolled in were still in school. Additionally, many of the physical and mental disabilities students who were no longer in school were also unemployed. Ellis and Cramer (1995) stated that 62% of physical and mental disabled students were unemployed one year after school graduation. The authors also reported other statistics revealing the serious implication of which demonstrate the extent of the problem and the subsequent cost to society if better solutions are not found. Study shows that 50% of students that were tested and found with drug abuse are students with physical and mental disabilities. Also, students with mental disorder who drop out of school are more likely to experience economic and social difficulties (Barga, 1996). Unemployed adults with disabilities become consumers of public resources instead of contributors (Fass, 2000).
Consequent upon the above, this study becomes very essential with a view to scientifically and empirically investigate the underlying cause(s) of poor academic performance among these students and ultimately find a remedy to the problem.
1.2 Statement of the problem
It has been observed that students with physical and health impaired performed woefully in both internal and external examinations. This poor performance gives special educators, parents and researchers a lot of concern as to what constitutes the causes of this abysmal performance. However, several studies have examined the reasons for physical and health impaired students’ poor performance at school, to include medical problems, below average intelligence, specific learning disability, attention deficient hyperactivity disorder, emotional problems, poor, psychiatric disorders, hormonal abnormality, abnormal brain growth, or other forms of medical disorder. While the above studies only looks at the causes of poor performance medical point of view, little empirical studies have been carried out other institutional factors such as availability of qualified trained teachers, availability of teaching aids and laboratory facilities, student attitudes itself, parental guidance, lack of support by the government etc as capable of affecting the learning of physical and health impaired students and subsequently their academic performance. Hence, it is this gap that this research intends to fill.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The overall purpose of this study is to investigate the causes of physical and mental impaired student’s poor performance in their examinations.
Specifically, this study sought to:
· Find whether shortage of qualified teacher(s) contributed to the poor performance of physical and health impaired students;
· Determine whether inadequate teaching aid and laboratory equipment can lead to poor performance of physical and health impaired students;
· Identify whether lack of parental monitoring can contribute to the poor performance of physical and health impaired students;
· Investigate whether student attitude itself contribute to the poor performance of physical and health impaired students;
· Ascertain whether lack of support by government is responsible for the poor performance of physical and health impaired students;
1.5 Research Questions
Arising from the research objectives, the following questions were raised;
· Does shortage of qualified teacher(s) contributed to the poor performance of physical and health impaired students;
· Can inadequate teaching aid and laboratory equipment can lead to poor performance of physical and health impaired students;
· Does lack of parental monitoring can contribute to the poor performance of physical and health impaired students;
· Can student attitude itself contribute to the poor performance of physical and health impaired students;
· Do lack of government support responsible for the poor performance of physical and health impaired students;
1.6 Significance of the study
The significance of this study is enormous as the findings from this research will contribute significantly policy makers, curriculum designer, teachers, parents as well as the student in general. Firstly, it will expose the reader and other researchers to the various causes that contributed to the poor performance of physical and health impaired students. Parent in the same vein will find the outcome of this research so useful by encouraging them to take the education of their children so serious. On the part of government, it will enable government to provide necessary fund and equipment that could enhance the effective teaching of physical and mental impaired students. Finally, this research is also significant as it serves as a crystal guide to other researchers who might want to conduct researches on the same topic using different countries.
1.7 Scope of the study
The study is expected to cover only one Secondary School in Afijio Local Government Area. Therefore, SPED International Secondary School is the focus of the researcher because it is the only special school in the selected LGA that caters for the interest of the students with special needs.
1.8 Organisation of the study
This reserch shall consist five chapters, chapter one covers the background information and rationale for the research. Effort shall be made in chapter two to review all related literatures underpinning the causes of poor performance among physical and health impaired students. While chapter three tailored towards the methodology, chapter four presents the data, analyses and discus the findings. The last chapter shall summarise, conclude and make meaningful recommendations to improve the academic performance of physical and mentally impaired students.
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