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Deprivation On Education Material Deprivation Education Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 3864 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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While parents are poor this leads to deprivation among children which tends to make them either materially or culturally deprived, eventually affecting educational outcomes. Impacts of either types of deprivation on education will be reviewed to give a clear picture of findings which have been carried out previously on this issue. To begin, defining both concept of deprivation is of fundamental importance before giving an account of its impact on educational outcome.

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Material deprivation1 is the ‘lack of money to pay for school uniforms, trips and equipment’s, anything that a child might need in their school or home life that involves money or things that needs to be bought with money’, while cultural deprivation2 is where a child is not aware of different cultures and differing values E.g. if a child lives in an all white community he will not know about other cultures, faith ethical backgrounds and will be unaware of diversity this can have a large and pervasive impact on educational attainment. International data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries (OECD, 2006) shows that cultural Deprivation is a widespread problem.

Debates about whether cultural or material factors have more influence in educational achievement has been of great concern for decades, as such Halsey,Heath and Ridge in their longitudinal study Origins and destinations (1980) debate over whether cultural or material factors have more influence in educational achievement they made a distinction between family climate which involve cultural factors measured in terms of level of parental education and attitudes towards education and material deprivation measured in terms of income had a key role in determining how long children stayed in school, Halsey et al concluded that both cultural and material factors affected educational attainment. Kingdom and Cassen, (2007) too had a similarity with Halsey and Ridge research as they argued that both material and cultural deprivation contributed to low achievement and factors as free school meals, low level of family employment, and poor educational qualification of parents contributed to lower achievement.


Prior to my research I will assume Low income as being the inability of parents to provide their children with the most basic material necessities required for a child to reach better grades eg Inability to provide with enough money for copybooks, pencils. As such, arguably Family’s lack of money has a significant impact on the education of their children (Bergeson, 2006). Students from low income families consistently, regardless of any ethnic group or race, score well below average. Children from very poor households, income below 50% of the poverty line scored 7 to 12 points lower than children from near-poor households while children in poor households, income between 50 to 100% of poverty line, scored 4 to 7 points lower (Smith et al., 1997). ). By contrast, a few studies have found little correlation between income and academic achievement.

A study conducted by Mayer (1997) tested student’s reading and mathematical abilities prior to parental income and one sibling after an increase in parental income. The study found that “changes in income between siblings have a very small and statistically insignificant effect on children’s test scores and educational attainment” Families with low income often viewed as households with substantial problems (Edin&Lein,1997) these families over presented in statistics on crime school failure, adolescent pregnancy, family violence and homelessness Orthiner& Randolph (1999):Sercombe (2002). These risks are present because they are economically disadvantaged. The direct effect of income and material deprivation on children’s chance while studying can be of fundamental importance ranging in several dimensions Hobbs (2003) found that in most statistical data collected on factors influencing educational outcomes, Income effect stayed numerically static even when other factors are control, income had a predominant role in affecting educational outcome.

Cited evident from longitudinal studies United States found Income, as having a greater effect on cognitive development and educational attainment than any other factors.

The causal effect between income and educational attainment has been confirmed evidently by Blanden and Gregg (2004) using data from UK. From various researches it can be observed that income influences education directly as well as indirectly in numerous ways, families in adverse financial circumstances may find themselves struggling to provide their children with appropriate educational resources. Evidences have justify how lack of money can have negative impact and it may indirectly hinders educational chances of children who experience deprivation for e.g. lack of diet and effects of malnutrition, even a good school and committed teachers can’t fully compensate for the stress that living in poverty places on a family or for the social exclusion, poor housing, or a lack of books or a computer at home.

This lack of resources means poor children face an uphill struggle just to have the same type of learning environment as their peers. Poor families often can’t afford proper breakfasts or school uniforms. The costs of school trips or of art or music supplies are equally out of reach.3According to Smith and Noble (1995) there are a number of additional cost that are part of maintaining child education-school uniform school dinners travelling to school necessary equipment’s, educational trips, Longitudinal studies by sociologist have tracked children’s performance over time many longitudinal studies consisting of thousands of participants follow number of years suggest that poverty is a factor in educational underachievement.


Absolute poverty which can be classified as a form of material deprivation where resources are few and the most basic needs are not met, poor home circumstances disrupt learning for example the lack in availability of lights and books in a certain circumstance and where lack of these basic necessities affects physical wellbeing making learning difficult, in the other hand diet deficiency too affects learning ability among children. With relevance to my research question according to me good diet is one with sufficient/enough proportion or a complete lack of food which may adversely effect on achievement level of an student, with prior to my research I will take diet in term of Breakfast, Lunch and dinner If any of my respondent escape one or even all them is considered to be deprived from diet thus I will try to link the frequency of Breakfast Lunch and dinner to the level of grade obtained. For example if a student is deprived from any of these three it may affect cognitive power as well make the student vulnerable to certain diseases which eventually affect attainment as these diseases and complications prevent students from attending school raising the rate of absenteeism which lower the possibility for success.

The EFA Global Monitoring Report (UNESCO EFA 2006 p.127) states that more than a quarter of children less than five years of age, residing in sub Saharan Africa are below their expected weight, being caused due to poor diet and malnutrition making them vulnerable to disease while decreasing their concentration ability at school. Health status as well as nutritional health status when children are at school have strong beneficial effects on their ability to learn,(Orazen Glewwe& Patrinos 2007pp25-28) conversely nutrition deprived children find it hard to concentrate at in their studies, as Charles E.Basch PHD(2011) reviewed the literature and synthesized it to identify health problems affecting aged youth that are highly affecting urban minority youth in some ways causing bad affect to academic achievement, the latter rightly points out that health problems influence students motivation and ability to learn it has been stated in the JRF (2008) too that physical health can affect educational outcome of children especially those from the lower socio economic groups, who are more prone to poor health

Lack of food diet will make children vulnerable to disease leading to health problem which will affect ability to learn. Family in deprivation may fail to provide an adequate diet for children, who may also miss out meals due to family pressure. Feinstein & Sorhaindo (2006) the resulting poor nutrition can make children vulnerable to metabolic changes and impact upon cognitive ability and performance of the brain. Low birth weight is more prevalent among children born in families from lower socio-economic groups JRF (2008) and is associated with a greater risk to cognitive and physical development through childhood UNICEF (2007) Similarly Raffo et al (2007) Concluded that children living in poor areas have a greater chance to experience health problems which together with other disadvantages can have a great Impact on their chances of achieving better grades at school.. Although health is itself an outcome, it can also be seen as a pathway by which poverty influences other child outcomes, such as cognition that is how a person understands and acts in the world. It is a set of abilities, skills or processes that are part of nearly every human action. As discussed previously, those born with low birth weight and high level blood lead are the poor when compared with non-poor children. The above mentioned conditions have been associated with lower level of IQ and several measures of cognitive operation in young children, and in the case of low birth weight, with higher level of learning incapacities, low grades , and leaving out school at an early age among older children and youths. Johnna Boyd Walker (2009), Good nutrition habits start well before a child enters the world which has an impact on how the latter learns in later life. According to a 1991 report by Denver,Colorado,Education Commision of the state,almost five percent of babies born 5.5 pounds or less have hearing and visionary problems and thus they are admitted to special types of schools during their school years. American School Health Association found in it’s research among fourth grade students that whose who had poor protein intake had lower score on achievement tests than those who were being provided with all the essential food and protein,consequently school children who skip out their breakfast underscored on problem solving tests, skipping breakfast made them vulnerable to infections and illnesses decreasing the body ability which tend to make them more likely to miss school and fall behind their peers, skipping breakfast can have adverse effect on students, it has been proved by a research commissioned by the Ministry of Education, funded by the UNDP and contracted out to the Observatoire des Droits de L’Enfant de la Région de l’Océan Indien (ODEROI) where Standard six students of ZEP schools where questioned they were asked about their regularity of having breakfast, lunch and dinner and where 5% that they had less than three meals daily while 69% had all the three meals, 10 % were not having lunch regularly on school days.


Research carried out looking on the impact of poor quality accommodation and homelessness reveals that the type and quality of housing experiences by children can significantly affect their social and emotional well-being Rock (1998): Nettleton (2001) ,Rice (2006) research was carried out with children aged between 7 -11 who were living in poor housing in 2006 he too as Rock (1998) and Nettleton(2001) found that housing had an impact on children which lead to worse achievement, children reported having sleeping, studying and playing difficulties experiencing unfit condition and overcrowding, these children even expressed anxiety about their school work and frustration due to lack of working space, children expressed due to unfit housing they were having difficulties which eventually worsen their health as their house was infested with rats, dirt. It is clear from the research evidence that poor housing condition which is a form of material deprivation can have a high social cost for children. The voices of young people in Rockers study (1997) reveal some of the social and emotional cost of poor housing.

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Mustafa (2004) in his study exploring 29 children, who experienced homelessness, used a variety of activities like drawing, writing questionnaire, drama and case study and evident revealed the high cost of homelessness on children’s health and wellbeing of education. Kempson(1996) points out the importance of housing he stated that homes which are overcrowded, cold and generally in poor condition can affect education through lack of quiet room for homework, disturbed sleep, and a general influence on emotional wellbeing, overcrowding has been linked with delinquency, psychiatric disorder and family disorganization(Rutter and Madge,(1976)


Cultural deprivation is where a child is not aware of different cultures and differing value. Most poor children are culturally deprived as their parents themselves have never been to school thus parents themselves don’t attach value to education as such these values are transmitted to children, which eventually affect their level of attainment. Student achievement, particularly for at-risk students, is affected by the values and beliefs of the family and community (Shields, 1991). Some families and communities, particularly in poverty stricken areas, do not value or understand formal education. This leads to students who are unprepared for the school environment. In addition, this leads to misunderstandings regarding student actions and speech by teachers due to variations in norms and values. Payne in his analysis of poverty come with the idea that’ there are “hidden rules” which differentiate the belief, values, and the way people in poverty behave from those who are middle class or materially well off . And because majority of schools function in a completely middle-class perspective foreign to poor children, it is fundamental for educators to firstly understand the class culture which their students form part of and then coach them explicitly the rules of the middle class needed for the functioning of effective education. According to Payne, not only lack of financial resources characterize poverty , but also the extent to which individuals own other resources such as being emotionally stable, having mental skills, spiritually guided, physical wellbeing and mobility, support systems, role models, and a certain degree of group’s hidden rules. (2005, p. 7)

Scholars who are interested in how school replicate using social Inequalities have found the concept of social reproduction to be functional as argued in the work of Bourdieu and his colleagues Bourdieu (1977)a, Wacquant (1992-1993) One of Bourdieu major belief on educational Inequality is that students with more valuable social and cultural fare better in school than the other peers in school with less valuable social and cultural capital. As the value of education is unknown to poor parents children from poor neighborhoods are less likely to be motivated by their parents this may have much to do with the perception that education will not be fully beneficial to them, and poor children have the tendency to be influenced from negative peer. Herbert H Hyman (1967) article ‘The value system of the lower classes’ argued that among lower classes there is a creation of a self-imposed barrier to an improved position, this was done

using methods as Opinion polls and survey which also stated that the lower class attach less value towards education and does value having an occupation that has a high status. In the other hand Ball (2003) argues that upper and middle class children have greater chances of being successful in education as their parents have better economic capital, cultural capital as well as social capital ensuring that their children benefit most from education, these parents leave no stone unturned to motivate their offspring’s from achieving better grades. They are confident in the belief that any educational difficulties experienced by their offspring can be solved by discussing with teachers and they refuse to assume that such difficulties are evidence of their children’s’ low academic abilities.  Upper and middle class parents are mostly well educated and certainly are able to help and motivate their children with homework.

Barry Sugarman (1970) related certain aspects of middle class and working class subculture more directly to different in educational attainment, sugarman argues that disparities in the nature of occupation lead in the production in differential attitude and outlook ,the working class for example had less control over their future the opportunity to improve their level of upward mobility seemed to be low these workers had values and attitudes such as to be fatalistic, they tend to have behaviors as Immediate gratification and present time orientation, they never need care of having a brighter future they had orientations which emphasized on collectivism rather than individualism and these attitudes and orientation were an established part of working class subculture, pupils from lower class origin would therefore be socialized in term of them which accounted for their lower levels of educational attainment. Questionnaire data has been used by sugarman to support his theory but the methodological disadvantages of questionnaires data made critics argue that Sugar man had been a failure in the collection of valid data on social class differences in values and attitudes and also that insufficient attention has been given by him to intra-class differences in values and attitudes.

Many researchers have noted that way of living of the poor differs in some ways from other members of society.it has been argued that in different societies poor share the same characteristics and its circumstances are the same which eventually cause in the development of a new culture and this culture are learned shared and socially transmitted behavior of a social group, such group develop as what is called a culture of poverty a relatively distinct subculture of the poor with its own norms and values. This concept of culture of poverty was introduced in the late 1950’s by Oscar Lewis (1959, 1961,1966),

Culture of poverty is a design for living transmitted from one generation to the next, by the time children are aged 6 or 7 they have usually absorbed the basic value and attitudes.  Some parents in poverty situations see great importance in educating their children in order to rise above the poverty of their young lives and these children can grow and emerge stronger because of their impoverished start in life.  Other parents who have not known the value of education themselves often fail to see value in school attendance for their children.  Poor parents provide little support at home or support to schools few books at home, home conditions for doing homework may be bad.

Children are poorly motivated to do well at school and they do not perceive the benefit of education. Parental involvement appears to make a greater difference to performance in some situations Raffo et al (2007) P.15 thus lower level of parental support among poor may be the reason why poor perform badly at school. Dubois et al(1994) showed that family support and the quality of parent child relationships significantly predicted school adjustment in a sample of159 young US adolescents (aged 10 -12) followed in a two year longitudinal study. At-home parental involvement clearly and consistently has significant effects on pupil achievement and adjustment which far outweigh other forms of involvement. George and Kaplan (1998) in their study found that parental involvement has a significant effect on achievement as they found that the more parents showed a positive attitude to science the better the pupil achievement in science was better parental interest as such was of great interest to Douglas too, the latter related educational attainment to numerous factors for eg size of the family and quality of school but to his concern the single most important variable was the level of parental interest in children’s education, the latter measured level of parental involvement in terms of the frequency of parental visit to school and the amount of time spent to discuss child progress with teachers, he even found parents who wanted their wards to stay at school beyond minimum leaving age their ward had better grade than those parent who had a lack of encouragement to motivate their ward to achieve better, Douglas found parental interest became increasingly important as a spur to higher attainment. In “The Home and the School”, Douglas investigated the Primary school (7-11) careers of 5362 children born in the first week of March 1946 .In a subsequent study entitled “All Our Futures [1968]”, Douglas carried out a follow up study of 4720 of the original sample of pupils at age 16+. A survey commissioned by the Ministry of Education, funded by the UNDP and contracted out to the Observatoire des Droits de l’Enfant de la Région de l’Océan Indien ODEROI (2008), showed how parent level of interest correlated to parents level of education in this study with the ZEP school 14% of both parents were unable to complete their primary level of education while 45% of fathers completed six years of schooling as the higher level of education while for mothers it was 47% respectively. An index of parents’ education of both mother and father can be used for the explanation of level of parental interest in the studies of their wards. Higher percentage of ZEP school pupils were deprived of parental help in doing homework. Concerning homework 15% of standard six pupils never get homework, which lead to no follow up from parents suggesting that there were no parental interest and discussions on school work and progress of pupil. 40% of ZEP school children who got homework to do receive no help from parents and 58% of those whose parents never checked or help them with their homework never bother to do homework, thus it can be seen how parental interest and involvement is of fundamental importance for a pupil to succeed. Maybe a little bit of motivation and encouragement from the parents part may help pupils of ZEP school to achieve better grades.


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