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  • Background to the Study

Education is the most valuable legacy a nation can leave to its people, particularly to its children. Due to the fact that education is critical in the development of any nation or community, this is the case. Education is defined as the process of delivering valuable information to members of a community. According to Okafor (2019), education encompasses all of the experiences that a person has that lead to the acquisition of information and the illumination of intellect. According to Nwabachili and Egbue (2013), education is something that is passed down from one generation to another. In this context, education is defined as the process of socialising a child in order for him or her to grow up as a contributing member of society, which might take place in an informal, formal, or non-formal setting. It is the process of obtaining knowledge about the surroundings and beyond through interaction with one another that is referred to as “informal education.” Formal education, according to Nwabachili and Egbue (2013), is an intentionally organised form of socialisation that takes place in a formal setting such as a classroom. They emphasised that non-formal education encompasses all of the systematic programmes and processes of education and training that are carried out outside of the traditional educational context, such as apprenticeships. It is impossible to acquire all of these levels of education without the assistance of the family.

When we talk about educational achievement, we are talking about how far someone has progressed up the academic ladder. In the words of Azi (2015), academic achievement refers to the highest level of achievement in academics achieved by an individual. This level of academic achievement could be attained through primary, secondary, or tertiary education. Along these lines, Alabi (2017) proposed that educational achievement refers to the amount to which an individual is willing to climb the academic ladder, which might comprise the levels of nursery, primary, secondary, and university education. The extent to which an individual is educated by his or her parents is defined as family educational achievement in the context of this study in accordance with the definitions provided above.

 Child spacing is the practise of waiting between pregnancies in order to have more children. Following pregnancy, a woman’s body has to be given time to relax. When a woman has a child, it is recommended that she wait at least 18 months before trying to conceive again in order to maintain the best possible health for both her body and her child. “Birth spacing” is the term used to describe the 18-month period of rest. When a woman has a period of fewer than 18 months between pregnancies, her body may not be prepared to give birth to a healthy child. Women who do not wait at least 18 months between pregnancies are at an elevated risk of having a child who is born prematurely (such as a premature birth or a low birth weight baby). Both the health of the child and the health of the mother can be jeopardised by these circumstances. In the past, these disorders were linked to increased infant mortality as well as other short- and long-term health issues.

 Child spacing is closely associated with the provision of child spacing services. Services for child spacing are available. Individuals and couples’ capacity to foresee and achieve their intended number of children, as well as the spacing and timing of their deliveries, is measured. Using contraceptive methods and treating involuntary infertility are two approaches to achieving this goal, according to experts (Butler, 2009: p.15). This implies that child spacing may include consideration of the number of children a woman chooses to have, as well as the option of having no children and deciding when she wants to have them. External factors such as marital status, professional considerations, financial circumstances, and any infirmities that may impair their capacity to have children and raise them all have an impact on these decisions. Access to child spacing services increases the likelihood of having healthy children while also allowing moms to devote more time to earning a living through other means. An increase in female participation in economic activities may result in an increase in their output and income, which in turn may result in an increase in economic growth. Increased earnings are frequently reinvested in commercial ventures or used to supplement home expenditures. This results in increased per capita consumption as well as a reduction in poverty (Adeoti, 2009). It is possible that having fewer children will result in more resources being allocated to each child, increased educational involvement, and a reduction in child labour (Huisman and Smits, 2009). In addition to preventing the impending tragedy of overpopulation, child spacing is important for the health of mothers since it prevents unwanted abortions and lowers the number of times a woman gives birth to her children. Every pregnancy raises the chance of adverse effects on maternal health, so it is preferable to avoid having an unneeded pregnancy in the first place. Furthermore, child spacing would result in an improvement in the overall health of the child that is delivered, because a healthy woman would almost certainly give birth to a healthy child (Shie, 2011). Furthermore, child spacing is vital for the educational attainment of children as a whole.

 Aside from the effects of child spacing on the health of the mother and child, there is also a link between birth spacing and educational attainment for both parents. Children who grow up with poor educational and developmental outcomes may face a variety of difficulties, including reduced employment and lower wages, higher rates of early and non-marital childbearing, as well as lower incomes, with all of the associated risks to the health and well-being of their families. This suggests that improvements in child spacing may be connected to economic and social growth, and that these changes must be realised in order to achieve long-term poverty reduction (Blakeslee, 2017). Children who are well-prepared for school have superior educational opportunities. This is why children are created and nurtured through socialisation processes that have been carefully tailored to their needs. In order to keep up with the evolving demands of the realms of competition and excellence, socialisation procedures are carried out at home and in educational institutions. In order to achieve these goals, it is critical to conduct a thorough investigation into the elements that influence the educational prospects of schoolchildren.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The alarmingly low levels of educational attainment among school-aged children have been a subject of concern for those involved in the educational system. Children who are not appropriately spaced become a challenge when it comes to distributing them across the classroom. Children in a clustered family have lower educational attainment prospects because the majority of them drop out of school or never attend any school at all as a result of an excessive amount of responsibility placed on the head of the family, which results in a lack of resources to send all of the children to school in the first place. This is especially prevalent among poor families in rural areas, who are particularly vulnerable. On the other hand, research from throughout the world indicates that parents who practise child spacing provide their children with a greater opportunity to attend good schools and achieve higher levels of educational attainment. Such parents are more concerned with providing the greatest education possible to the few children they have. Because they have more resources to dedicate to their individual children, they have been able to provide them with additional facilities and educationally oriented properties. As a result, it is an undeniable fact that child spacing has an impact on the educational attainment of a family. People who do not follow child spacing are likely to be unaware of the concept of having a limited family size, which can be taught to them through child spacing counselling that is helpful in educating all members of Nigerian society.

 Because of this, this research aims to determine the benefits of child spacing on the educational achievement of the family as a whole. The standard of living of the people, which is determined by the number of children in the household, must also be considered. Educational attainment is determined by the number of children in the household and the level of awareness about child spacing among the population. The purpose of the study is to determine whether or not people in the study region require counselling on child spacing and whether or not they are knowledgeable about child spacing.

1.3. Purpose of the Study

 The primary goal of this research is to determine the benefits of child spacing on the academic enrolment and achievement of children in Mangu Local Government Area. Other specific objectives of the research include the following:

  1. Examine the standard of living of the individuals in relation to the size of their families.
  2. Examine the educational level of the children in the household in relation to the spacing of their births.
  • Determine whether or not people are aware of child spacing and whether or not it is beneficial in raising children’s educational attainment.
  1. Determine the appropriateness of child spacing counseling in the context of implementing child spacing, which will improve the educational attainment of the family.

1.4. Research Questions

 The following research questions were posed to serve as a guide for the investigation:

  1. What is the standard of life for the children in relation to the size of their family?
  2. To w-hat extent are parents aware of child spacing and its impact on the educational attainment of their children’s children?
  3. What are the benefits of child spacing on educational attainment of the children?
  4. What is the role of child spacing counseling in encouraging parents to practice child spacing in order to improve the educational achievement of their children?

1.5. Significance of the Study

Parents, government officials, and policymakers will all profit from the findings of this research.

 Parents will gain an understanding of the benefits of child spacing on their children’s educational attainment, the importance of child spacing in order to give time to their children as they are born, and the importance of good health for both the children and the mother in the future. As a result of this study, parents or those who are planning to become parents will be the primary beneficiaries because all of the issues identified and solutions offered will be beneficial to them.

 Child spacing and child spacing are beneficial to children’s educational performance, but the government will need to raise awareness of these benefits among the general public. Their mission will be to spread this understanding throughout rural communities, where the problem of cluster children is particularly widespread. As a result, they will encourage child spacing among a large number of households.

 The findings of this study will be beneficial to policymakers because they will be able to develop policies that will encourage child spacing and child spacing among parents and intending parents in the Mangu Local Government Area.

1.6. Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The researcher is aware of other issues that need to be addressed in the domains of family and education. However, the most important feature of this study is the evaluation of the benefits of child spacing on family educational attainment as well as the implications of this for child spacing counseling. It is only two districts in the Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State that are the subject of the study. It is also restricted to those parents who live in the designated districts. Despite the fact that the study is restricted to a single local government area, the conclusions of the study will be applicable to other sections of the state and the country as a whole.

1.7. Definition of Terms  

            The following terms are defined with regards to how they are used in this study:

Academic Achievement: A person’s level of educational attainment is the extent to which he or she has been able to achieve his or her educational goals.

Parent: A male or female adult who gives birth to a younger human being is referred to as a parent.

Family: The term “family” refers to the grouping of a mother, father, and children. Alternatively, it could be a single parent (father or mother) and their children.

Family Size: The total number of people that live in a given family is referred to as the family size.

Counselling: Counseling is the practice of providing direction to an individual in order to assist him or her in discovering herself or himself.

Benefits: The significance of something to an individual is expressed in terms of its advantages. It does this by assisting the individual in a specific manner.

Child spacing: Child spacing is defined as the amount of time that elapses between two births or pregnancies.

Enrolment: This refers to the degree of attendance by an individual or group of individuals.

Children Enrolment: This is the extent to which children attend schools. Children enrolment could be high or low depending on the how important parents deem education is for their children. Sometimes, the enrolment of children in school is hampard by finances.

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