1.1   Background to the Study

A child’s leaving the supervision of only his parents and moving into school for the first time as the start of his or her formal educational career is a very vital point of a child’s life, development and socialization. One would think that the decision as to when a child should be put into school would be a very simple one and can be arrived at offhandedly. However, it remains one of the polarising issues in child education as the age at which a child begins school known as entry age, is very vital and can either bear positively or not on the child’s performance in school even after kindergarten and primary school.

The issue is a polarising one as parents often have their own personal interests in view in deciding the entry age of their children. Left for some, the child would be sent to school formally even before it begins crawling for the purpose of them gaining for free time and for some others to make the child finish primary and secondary schools at very young age. Some other parents retain their children and extend their entry age for fear of weaning them early.

This issue is often rife among educated parents who know the advantage of a child finishing school at a very young age and also those who often project their own self upon their children. This is the reason why the Education Board has taken it upon itself to draw out the entry ages for school levels.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Deciding on the appropriate entry age for one’s children can be a very difficult venture. This is as children have different developmental paces. So that it is difficult building a line for a child and determining how much it can acquire at a given stage. Which brings us to the research problem that we are presented with here namely to enquire into how parents expectations and the child’s entry age determine their academic performance.

1.3   Research Questions

1.3.1      what are the common parental expectations that bear greatly upon the child’s performance in Secondary school level.

1.3.2      What model can be designed with which to determine the appropriate entry age for a child.

1.4   Objectives of the Study

The singular purpose of this research work is to study in detail the effects of parental expectations and age of entry on the academic performance of the child. In doing this the present researcher hopes to:

  • Discuss in full the major factors that inform the parent’s decision of their children/wards entry age. Sometimes the decision isn’t informed by appropriate factors that aim at designing a learning career that will best suit the child. Often times, as we mentioned in the background to the study, it is for the parent’s convenience rather than the child’s pace.
  • Study the parent’s expectations of a child at each level of his or her secondary school life and how these parents enforce these expectations on their wards. A mild and subtle inculcating of these expectations can motivate the child to unconsciously follow them while a strict one can leave the child unmotivated and lagging behind without developing his or her potentials fully.

1.5   Significance of the Study

This research work is of immense significance to parents of Lagos state secondary schools who are wont to sending their children very early to school because of the very busy nature of Lagos state which doesn’t the usually working parents time to stay home and look after the child till be or she is weaned. It shows the importance of entry age in determining a child’s academic performance so that they do not see the case limitedly as something to be factored in by only economic reasons. It shows the place of entry age in the adolescent's entire developmental process.

It also throws light on the state and federal education boards' work in them it provides useful material in studying entry age and it’s effects on the future of the child and how best to review it with the often dynamic needs of the society.

1.6   Research Hypothesis

The assumption on which this research is conducted is that both the parental age and the entry age can affect the child’s academic performance wither positively or negatively always depending on the two.

1.7   Scope of the Study

The research will first focus on secondary schools in the Lagos state Nigeria as the state seems to have the highest cases of entry level being a very polarising issue. Normally it is the school which determines whether a child who is applying into the school is of the right age especially if the school runs a boarding house. But currently parents choose to reserve that right thereby creating discrepancies in the school system. In the case studies, schools will be picked from one state owned school and one privately owned school to see how the established entry age is implemented by both kinds of schools.




1.8   Limitations of the Study

The major limitations of this study is that of time and space to conduct as much extensive research on the issue as the present researcher would have preferred and time to document all the findings and recommendations.

1.9   Definition of Terms

Entry Age

This is the age at which a child formally enters public school for nursery, primary, secondary or tertiary school levels. The ages for each are determined by the school boards and are different in each country and is subject to modifications with time.