Relationship between parental socio-economic status and student academic achievement: the case of selected secondary schools in urban informal settlements in Westlands division, Nairobi county
The purpose of this study was to investigate critical parental socioeconomic factors effecting the academic achievement of students in selected secondary schools in urban informal settlements in Westlands District in Nairobi County. The study was premised on the classical Liberal Theory of Equal Opportunity and social Darwinism proposed by Charles Darwin. A descriptive survey design using a sample of 125 respondents comprising of 91 students, 18 teachers and 16 parents was used to execute the study. The main tools for data collection were questionnaires for students, Focus Group Discussions for teachers and Interview schedules for parents. The quantitative data from the questionnaires was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics while the qualitative data from interviews was managed through thematic techniques. The major findings of the study were that, first; the physical and other critical instructional resources were grossly inadequate and/or in a pathetic condition and not conducive to education provision. Second, there was a strong non-significant negative correlation between the occupation of parents and ability to finance education. Third, that there is a significant positive correlation between good parent-teacher relationship and their involvement in their children‟s academic achievement. After the statistical analysis it was concluded that, parental occupation, parental involvement in learning activities and effective parent-teacher relationship were facilitating factors. On the other hand the parents‟ low ability to finance education, coupled with the poor status of physical and instructional resources were inhibiting factors to students to academic achievement and attainment in the study locale. It was therefore recommended that the government should strengthen the collaboration between key education development partners to mobilize physical teaching/learning resources and strengthen education in Westlands informal settlements. Unemployment should be controlled; poor students should be provided scholarships, free books and other stationary. In addition it was recommended that the government should take steps to raise socioeconomic status of people.