The relationship between the loss of parents and academic performance among selected secondary school pupils in Mufulira district,Zambia

Thumbnail Image
Muma, Paxyldah
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The University of Zambia
This study investigated the relationship between the loss of parents and academic performance of grade 11 and 12 pupils in selected secondary schools in Mufulira District. The six Secondary Schools that participated in the study were purposively sampled because they had been in existence for more than eight years and were co-education government institutions. Orphans were also purposively sampled and the basis for using this method was to target those pupils who had been in the same school for three years and had traceable records of their academic performance. The study used the Ex Post Facto research design because this design is ideal where the independent variable (which in this case was orphanhood) had already happened. The dependant variable was academic performance. The study was guided by Bowlbys’ attachment theory and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The sample for the study was 118 respondents consisting of eighty-two (82) orphaned pupils, twenty-four (24) Grade teachers, six (6) Guidance and Counselling teachers and six (6) School managers. Data was collected using questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis. Qualitative data was analysed using themes while the quantitative data was analysed quantitatively using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences to generate descriptive statistics. The findings of the study revealed that some orphans exhibited varying psychological reactions as a result of the encounter they had with the death of their parents. The study also revealed a decline in the academic performance of the orphans owing to the various challenges they faced such as adjusting to new environments when they were moved from their original homes to those of their new guardians, lack of psychological care from the siblings of their late parents or relatives, noninvolvement of guardians in their education activities, and working to raise money for school fees and food. The study recommended that school managers, guidance and counseling teachers and grade teachers should take keen interest in the affairs of the orphans and provide them with individualized attention so that they (orphans) can concentrate on their academic work. Government and other stakeholders should set-up more facilities where orphans could be accommodated with foster parents and encouraged to concentrate on their studies.
Academic performance--Orphans--Zambia