This study investigated the influence of broken homes on academic achievement of secondary school students in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State. The study was guided by five research questions and two null hypotheses. Ex-post facto research design was adopted for the study. The sample size for the study comprised of 450 secondary school students from broken homes in the study area. Two different instruments were used for this study. The first instrument was in broken Home Questionnaire (BHQ) designed to collect data on students’ family structure (broken or intact) and their academic challenges while the second was students academic performance checklist. The instrument was face validated by experts in the faculty of Education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Cronbach Alpha method was used to determine the internal consistency of the instrument. The data were analysed using mean and standard deviation to answer the research questions while the hypotheses were tested using t-test. The major findings of the study revealed that secondary school students from broken homes within Nsukka Education Zone face education challenges like lack of sufficient text books, inability to meet education related financial obligations, poor academic performance and lack of concentration while in school. Also, result showed that secondary school students from broken homes within Nsukka Education Zone face emotional challenges like emotional stress, despair, inferiority complex, feeling insecure and unhappiness. It was also found that secondary school students from broken homes within Nsukka Education Zone face social challenges like neglect, prone to sickness due to malnutrition, among others. Result also showed no significant statistical difference in the mean academic achievement scores of secondary school students from broken homes based on gender and no significant statistical difference in the mean academic achievement scores of secondary school students from broken homes based on location. The researcher recommends, among others, that State ministry of education should make arrangement for the provision of special packages for secondary school students from broken homes with a view to improving their attendance in school.

Background of the Study
The family is the child's first place of contact with the world. The child as a result, acquires initial education and socialization from parents and other significant persons in the family. Agulana (1999) defined a family as the smallest unit of the society made up of people leaving in the same house. Agulana pointed out that the family lays the psychological, moral, and spiritual foundation in the overall development of the child. Alesina and Giuliano (2007) added that the family is one of the most important socio economic institution in the society, but the nature of the links between family members varies dramatically across nationalities.

Family is broadly defined as any two people who are related to each other through a genetic connection, adoption, marriage, or by mutual agreement (Yara & Tunde-Yara, 2010). According to Bonnie (2001), family members share emotional and economic bonds. Operationally, a family is the smallest unit of the society that is made up of people who are related by blood.

Structurally, a family is either broken or intact. The child is morally upright and emotionally stable when the caring responsibilities are carried out by both parents. The family is the first socializing agent the child comes in contact with. It has great influence on the child’s physical, mental, and moral development. The family lays the foundation of education before the child goes to school and the personality that the child takes to school is determined by the home. Salami (1998) pointed out that both parents have roles to play in child education. The father is to provide the necessary tools for the educational advancement while the mother is supposed to supplement the father’s efforts in this regard. When the father is absent and the mother is not privileged enough to cater for all the basic needs as well as supervise the academic performance of the child, he or she (the child) will be backward or withdrawn. The same thing occurs when the mother is absent and the father is not privileged enough (Ortese, 1998). A child receives better attention when both parents are constitute a home.

According to Hornby (2000), a home as the house, flat/apartment that an individual lives in especially with his or her family. The home is essential in the upbringing of a child as the first environment of a family, whether it is a happy one or not. The home, which is the traditional nuclear family–mother, father and children, is the smallest unit and microcosm of the larger society. Operationally, a home is an apartment whose occupants are made of husband and wife as well as their children. When either of the parents is permanently absent on account of irreconcilable disagreement, the home is said to be broken

A broken home is one that is not structurally intact, as a result of divorce, separation, death of one parent and illegitimacy (Akomolafe and Olorunfemi-Olabisi, 2011). Operationally, a broken home is that in which the husband and the wife are no longer living together as a result of irreconcilable disagreement.

Life in broken homes can be stressful for both the students and their parents. Most people from broken homes suffer from emotional problems such as depression, negative self-concept and aggression. Students from broken homes suffer from lack of concentration resulting to poor academic achievement and maladaptive behaviour such as truancy, lateness to school, examination malpractice and drug abuse (Ikechukwu-Ilomuanya 2010). When families break, it is the children that suffer. Children are important assets to the society. Every child is unique. Children are at the centre of whole process of education and the all round development of the personality of the child is the ultimate goal of education. Therefore, the learning experiences provided to him right from birth by the family contribute towards the achievement of this goal.

The child’s development is influenced by many other factors among which is his genetic endowment and environmental forces operative around him (Mishra & Bamba, 2012). The authors further stated that two agencies that influence most directly the nature and quality of children's educational experiences and development are the family and the school. Families vary greatly in structure and functioning. Variations exist also in school and in children themselves. Given this diversity in families, there is a need to understand how children's experiences within the family contribute to their educational outcomes (Mishra & Bamba, 2012).

When families disintegrate, it is the children that are greatly affected as they often end up with intellectual, physical and emotional scars that persist for life (Anderson, 2002). Most one-parent families, however, eventually become two-parent families through remarriage. Thus, a step-family is created by a new marriage of a single parent. (Ottawa, 2004). According to Bonnie (2001), in the family formed by the second marriage, the children from each spouse’s first marriage become step-siblings. Children born or adopted by the couple of the second marriage are half-siblings to the children from the first marriage, since they share one parent in common.

In a step family, problems in relations between non-biological parents and children may generate tension; the difficulties can be especially great in the marriage of single parents when the children of both parents live with them as siblings (Keith & Amato, 2001). When a female or a male decides to produce and rear children outside wedlock, it is referred to as single parenthood, hence a broken family (Ortese, 1999). According to Child Trends (2004), single parent families refer primarily to families in which only one parent is present, but may include some families where both parents are present but unmarried. No-parent families refer to families where neither parent of the child lives in the household.

In some cases, a step-parent will legally adopt his or her spouse’s children from a previous marriage. The biological father or mother must either be absent with no legal claim to custody, or must grant permission for the step-parent to adopt (Yara & Tunde-Yara, 2010). In situations where a single parent lives with someone outside of marriage, that person may be referred to as a co-parent. All these family structures have been found to influence children’s academic achievement.

Influence of broken home on academic performance of secondary school students could be viewed from the point of gender. According to woolfolk (2001), gender refers to traits and behavior that a particular culture judges to be appropriate for males and females. Operationally, gender refers to socially roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a particular society considers for men and women. It is possible that influence of broken home on academic performance of students may be more on boys than girls or vise vasa. Jacobs, Lanaz, Osgood, Eccles, and Wigfield (2002) found that self-concept of ability and task value in math decline for both genders between first and twelfth grades with no real difference between girls and boys trajectories over time. In fact, by the twelfth grade, girls valued math more than boys when controlling for self-concept of ability in math. Although Lanaz.....

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