Internal and external factors affect the student academic performance. This entire host of reasons are at work when society refuse to take responsibility and when children themselves behave inappropriately or fail to meet a passing standard. In fact, there probably are as many factors as there are struggling students. However, by grouping factors according to sources, you can begin to identify where specific performance factors come from and how they intertwine with each other. Children’s behavior and attitude towards school is influenced by our society today.
There are some reasons for poor performance that are specific or related to the students and not related to external factors. For example, bullying. The evolution of technology and social media communication has, in some countries if not most, made it easier than ever for young people to be exposed to environments that can make bullying unbearable and even more threatening than ever before. Self motivation, learning disability is student-centered and may create an obstacle to reaching certain academic standards. Motivation also can play a factor in poor performance. A student may be fully capable of earning high grades but might simply not care enough about education to exert the effort. Issues of motivation could be placed upon the parents or even the school, but sometimes a child simply does not enjoy learning.
Africa loses an estimated 20,000 skilled personnel a year to developed countries in search of better employment opportunities including qualified teachers. South Africa as an example; the country needs 15000 more Teachers a year while Zimbabwe’s ratio of student to qualified teacher is 42:1 for primary school while secondary is 31:1 and Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa. Teachers play a significant role in student performance and also can be responsible for poor student performance. For example, if a teacher lacks experience or is dispassionate about teaching, the children might not be able to develop comprehensive understandings of the subject material. Furthermore, if the teacher suffers from a classroom management problem, such as extreme authoritarianism, the classroom environment might hinder fruitful class discussions and collaborative learning. It also can deter students from applying themselves to the best of their abilities. Food for thought, something has got to be done!
The number of children enrolled in primary schools more than doubled between 1990 and 2012, from 62 million to 149 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is a huge increase in enrollment compared to what the schools are able to accommodate, let alone increase the number of qualified teachers. Schools themselves can then be contributors to low student performance when one analyses these numbers. In such an environment, students then have to put forth less effort because the expectations placed upon them have been lowered in order to cope with increased demand for education. Furthermore, governments’ lack of ability to provide more school funding increases the disparity.
In schools that can’t afford more teachers or building expansions, classes sometimes become overcrowded to the point that children learn under trees and teachers have to spend more time on ‘classroom’ management than on teaching, which can result in lower student performance. Rural and township schools are the most affected and in these areas you also find the highest levels of poverty, given that 32 of the world’s 38 heavily indebted poor countries are in Africa. Food for thought, something has got to be done!
Finally, family-related factors can play a critical role in a student’s academic performance. Average life expectancy in Africa is only 46 years due to HIV/AIDS. For instance, when both parents are deceased as a result of HIV/AIDS, older children take the responsibility to raise and provide for their siblings. Such heavy responsibility on a minor has a huge impact on academic performance. In most cases the older children are forced into early marriages and or prostitution in order to escape this responsibility. ‘Child marriages’ is one family related major contributor to factors that affect academic performance of children.
It is estimated that 29 million children remain out of school in sub-‐Saharan Africa, 54% of whom are girls.
In urban areas most working parents are too busy to care about their children’s performance, causing children to lose their academic focus. Furthermore, living in poverty also can distract a child from academics because survival becomes a more immediate and pressing priority. Both of these examples include situations in which the parents are not intentionally harming a child’s education, but such cases still can impact the problem. In extreme examples, if a parent or other family member is abusive, that situation easily can consume a student’s attention and cause his or her academic performance to decline dramatically.