EFFECT OF HOUSING CONDITIONS ON STUDENT ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
It is widely believed that students can acquire better academic benefits from living in a decent housing unitwithin or around the campus.So much so, that many colleges and universities, ranging from small liberal arts colleges tolarge state universities, require students to live on campus during their first year with fewexceptionscoupled with the failure of the appropriate authorities in the provision of decent housing for students. Typically, students exempt from such a policy include students over the age of25, students that are married and/or have children, and students in the military as they can afford to provide for themselves a better housing unit outside the campus at a comparatively expensive amount (Loring, 1996). It has beensuggested that availability of decent housing structure causes students to be less likely to drop out or transfer, morelikely to make academic progress, and more capable of achieving a high level of academicperformance.
Despite these common perceptions, there are inherent difficulties in estimating the impactdecent housing unit has on student performance. For the schools that require the year one studentsto live on campus, there is no effective control group. Typically, year one students thatdo not live on campus share other features with each other that set them apart.A house even for students is a place where one lives. It isa place of residence or refuge. A house is not a mere transient shelter. Its essence lies in the people who live in it (English, 1987).
Badhousingcoversawiderangeofissues,includingovercrowding,insecurity,housingthatisinpoorphysicalcondition,andlivingindeprivedneighborhoods.The range of health problems which can be attributed to poor housing conditions is large, from psychological and physiological effects to specific diseases varying in the degree of associated morbidity (Chapin, 2001). There is a large and significant body of scientific literature that demonstrates convincingly that there are direct causal links between different aspects of poor housing and particular health conditions (Smith, 1990). Health problems that have been associated with poor housing include the infectious diseases, non-infectious respiratory diseases such as asthma, and social and psychological problems.
The literature has identified three primary components of poor housing that are directly linked to poor health outcomes: overcrowding, dampness and moulds, and sanitation and basic housing quality. The researcher will explore t these components and its relationship with students academic performance coupled with the health consequences.Crowding is generally considered as more ofa threat to mental than physical health, although the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and scabies is also associated with overcrowding. Most studies investigating crowding adopt a standard measure based on WHO guidelines of either persons/room or sq. ft / person. However, a caution is inorder since cultures vary in terms of their tolerance for crowded living conditions. Mitchell (1976) proposed that crowding is a more complex variable that requires a distinction between density– the number of people per unit space, and congestion, which reflects the simultaneous demands for the use of available space. The adverse mental health effect of crowding stems from the lack of personal control over the available space, rather than the actual small size of the space. Cultural variations in definitions of “crowding” also play a mediating role. Crowding which has been part of students housing system in Nigeria calls for concern making it necessary to carry out research on the effect of housing condition on student’s academic performance.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This study is designed to examine the relationship between housing conditions and academic performance of students. The level of research in this area is fraught with difficultyaround proving causation: for example, whether poor housing conditions cause certain peopleto fail in achieving their educational potential, or whether the two are ‘associated’ – that thosewho are likely to fail at school tend to be concentrated in poorer condition houses orneighbourhoods anyway. In some areas (such as mental ill-health) there are schools ofthought that those less able to cope will ‘drift’ into poorer areas and housing conditions. Although there may be more mileage in academic circles around the cause andeffect arguments, the evidence for the positive impact of better housing isoverwhelming. However, the researcher is analyzing the effect of housing conditions ofstudents’ academic performance.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the effect of housing conditions on students’ academic performance.
- To examine the condition of the housing unitsavailable to Nigerian students.
- To determine the factors affecting academic performance of students.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the effect of housing conditions on student’s academic performance?
- What is the condition of the housing unitsavailable to Nigerian students?
- What are the factors affecting academic performance of students?