Academic Performance And Anxiety Of Their Children Education Essay

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Parents play a vital role in the education of children. From the onset of school, they make decisions that affect young peoples future. In this regard, parents' own literacy and educational attainment also influence the schooling of young people. Data show that a considerable proportion of parents are illiterate. The majority of mothers, over 80 percent, have never been to school.

Parents expressed clear aspirations for their children's education. First, most parents want young people to attain a much higher level of schooling than they actually achieve. This is encouraging and opens the door to developing better education policies. Second, parents have different educational aspirations for their sons and daughters. Nearly half of parents feel that a boy should receive an intermediate or higher level of education (class 12 or more), whereas only one-third feels the same for girls. Urban & rural residence also makes a clear difference in parental aspirations; parents in urban areas are more likely than those in rural areas to report that an intermediate or higher level of education is desirable for young people.

Parents in Pakistan usually control all important life events of adolescents, from deciding whether or not a child goes to school, or goes to work, to making decisions regarding marriage. They play a critical role in socializing their children and passing on essential information and life skills. A clear pattern emerges by gender, as parents consider boys to have greater ability than girls to make decisions about their education, work and marriage. Parents in lower socioeconomic strata give greater liberty to boys and consider them capable enough to make important decisions about their life.

For youth as they progress to higher and higher classes, the academics become more and more challenging; this culture of high expectations sets up a situation for stress and early burnout. Hopeful and ambitious parents push their kids hard to move up towards professionalism.

The aspirations and attitudes of parents help determine what young boys and girls do in life, how they utilize opportunities and develop the skills necessary to make a comfortable transition into adulthood. From the onset of school, they make decisions that affect young people's future. In this regard, parents' own literacy and educational attainment also influence the schooling of young people.

Parental literacy makes a profound impact on whether or not a young person goes to school and stays enrolled, or drops out. There exists a strong positive effect of parents' literacy on their children's access to education. The influence of parental literacy is more pronounced for girls than boys, and the influence of mothers' literacy is particularly strong.

In Pakistan, medicine and engineering are two major career paths where the parents want their children to enter. The field of medicine is considered the most respectable job in our society, while that of engineering is considered as having high pay and future progressive opportunities. Other than these, business is considered to be a high paying work with many relying on their family business. These career lines are thought to be with a secure future. Since these professions are revered that much, many children set their mind-set during their mid-school for entering in these fields completely ignoring their real interests, which may lead to stress and anxiety in them if they are unable to keep up to it and prove to be hard for them. I will now give a brief preview about the level of secondary education in Pakistan.

Education in Pakistan

Education is being considered a key to change and progress. Progress and prosperity of the country depends on the kind of education that is provided to the people.

Education assists harmonious development of the individual. It increases the economic, social and political adjustment of the individual in the society. Education is an essential prerequisite for an efficient and equitable development process. It is a recognized fact that without a minimum education level for the entire population, a human centered development process cannot be sustained.

Female Education in Pakistan

The literature on and concern about the determinants of girls' relatively low levels of schooling in Pakistan can be traced back many years. While girls' enrollment rates have risen over time and gender gaps have narrowed, by the turn of the twenty-first century Pakistani girls had achieved levels of enrollment that were no better than those achieved by Indian girls 10 years earlier (Lloyd 2004). In the years since the eastern part of the original nation of Pakistan became the independent nation of Bangladesh, education of girls in Bangladesh has shown much more rapid improvement than in Pakistan, despite a much poorer initial resource base (Lloyd 2004). Currently, Pakistan lags behind all of its Asian neighbors except Nepal with respect to overall enrollment rates for girls. As of 2001/02 the overall percentage of 10- to 14-year-old girls who had ever attended school had not quite reached 60 percent.

Not all girls suffer the same educational disadvantages in Pakistan. Girls living in urban areas whose families come from the highest quartile of the income distribution are almost as likely as their male peers to have attended school or completed the five grades of primary schooling. By contrast, no more than a third as many girls as boys from the lowest income quartile of the income distribution who live in rural areas of Pakistan have ever attended school, and less than a quarter as many girls as boys in the same circumstances have completed primary school. Poor girls living in rural areas thus suffer a triple disadvantage, with their poverty and rural location compounding the gender-based disadvantage experienced by their better-off urban peers. The identification of policy prescriptions that could lead to the achievement of universal primary schooling in the context of these overlapping layers of disadvantage requires a full understanding of their determinants in Pakistan.

In explaining the relatively large and persistent countrywide gender gap in schooling, experts have typically given weight to both demand- and supply-side constraints. These include poverty and parental concerns about the safety and mobility of their daughters on the demand side and underinvestment in girls' schooling on the supply side. The very recent rapid rise in private school enrollment at the primary level in rural Pakistan (Sathar and others 2006; Andrabi, Das, and Khwaja 2002, 2006) suggests the possibility, however, that there may be a large reservoir of unmet demand for girls' schooling in rural areas. These recent and dramatic shifts in the distribution of enrollment between the public and private sectors challenge us to seek a deeper understanding of the factors that may contribute to the multiple educational disadvantages that poor rural girls continue to face in Pakistan.

Secondary Education in Pakistan

Secondary Education in Pakistan comprises of two stages- Secondary and Higher Secondary.

a) Secondary Stage: The secondary education is of two years duration comprising Grades: IX-X. it covers 13-15 years cohort of children. There is a Secondary Schools Certificate (SSC) examination at the end of the tenth class and is conducted by the Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education throughout the country. The medium of instruction in most of schools is Urdu, except in English medium schools. Streaming of children starts at this stage. Students opt for a group of their choice such as Science, Humanities, and Technical. Urdu, English, Pakistan Studies, Islamic Studies and Mathematics are compulsory subjects. A group of three elective subjects determines the specified stream.

b) Higher Secondary Stage: The higher secondary education (Grades XI-XII) is imparted at both Intermediate Colleges and Higher Secondary Schools. The students follow two years program of study at higher secondary level, which leads to the Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) and is a pre-requisite for entrance to university or an institutions of higher education. The medium of instruction in science subjects is mostly English. The Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education at the end of 12th grade conduct the examinations for higher secondary school certificate.

Division of students takes place at various levels of school education. After the middle stage, students can follow either academic courses in secondary schools or a trade course at vocational institutions. After secondary school stage students can enter Intermediate Colleges or Higher Secondary Schools for pre-university courses or can join polytechnics to take up three-years diploma course in a particular branch of technology or trade. After Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) one can either join general universities or professional institutions such as agricultural, engineering and medical.

Higher secondary education, sometimes also referred to as the "intermediate stage", lasts from Grades XI to XII. It often takes place at university colleges or similar. The earlier term faculty of arts/sciences for higher secondary education is still often used, e.g. in admission materials from higher education institutions.

Regional Boards are granted some autonomy on the subjects and combinations they may offer.

The students are offered the following subjects and streams by, for example, the Federal Board of Secondary and Intermediate Education (FBISE):

Compulsory subjects for all groups: English, Urdu, Islamic education and Pakistan studies

Pre-engineering group: Mathematics, physics and chemistry

Pre-medical group: Biology, physics and chemistry

Science general group:

Mathematics, physics and statistics

Mathematics, economics and statistics

Mathematics, computer studies and physics

Mathematics, computer studies and statistics

Mathematics, computer studies and economics

Humanities group: Three subjects out of 23 elective subjects

Commerce group:

Part one: Principles of accounting, principles of economics, principles of commerce, business mathematics

Part two: Principles of accounting, commercial geography, statistics, computer studies/banking/typing

Medical technology group

Part one: Elementary chemistry and chemical pathology, elementary anatomy and micro-techniques, micro-biology I

Part two: Haematology and blood banking, clinical pathology and serology, micro-biology II.

Parental Choices, Expectations and Involvment

Parental involvement has been shown to be an important variable that positively influences student's education. It includes a wide range of behaviors but generally refers to parents' and family members' use and investment of resources in their children's schooling. These investments can take place in or outside of school, with the intention of improving children's learning. More and more schools are observing the importance and are encouraging families to become more involved. Because of this recent trend, the researchers are interested in understanding what is meant by parental involvement and in what ways it has an influence on student's education. As we know, there are really differences among the students, especially college ones in terms of the presence of their parents. Some students live with their parents in their homes, and some live alone in hostels and apartments etc. Thus there are also possible differences in the level of their parent's involvement to their academic performance.

Choice, although limited by economic and societal factors, has generally been available in most areas of life and some families and politicians feel this should also apply to education. Families had choices about preschool and post secondary schooling but few choices concerning elementary and secondary schooling. There has been a great deal of research attention given to the design and implementation of school choice programs, but less attention to the equally important reasons why parents choose and how parents choose. Overall, the research on the relationship between parental choice and educational outcomes is sparse and inconclusive. The small amount of research on educational choice that has been reported is spread over a wide range of policies and programs. Researchers have turned primarily to private schools to examine the impact of parental choice, overlooking the impact of the choices of parents who participate in controlled choice options in public schools. Additionally, school choice research has focused on the actual program parents choose, not the act of choosing. The lack of attention to the act of choosing, as well as other limitations, leaves a gap in the literature as it relates to the impact of parental choice on academic outcomes of students that participate in public school controlled choice programs.

Parents always want the best of their children and always want their children to live a better life than they did. Parents provide as many resources as they can, but this can also be negative to the child's education. Parents typically do not become involved with their children unless difficulty arises, which then can lead to frustration from the parents (Pomerantz, 2005).

Children often remain with parents in their home, so it is the responsibility of the parents to fulfill the basic needs/educational needs of their children. Moreover parents are always in the favor of controlled life of their children. They also produce such atmosphere at home which does not affect the growth and Education of their children. Therefore, parents always engage themselves to motivate their children for their better success through;

• Discuss their children about the benefits of education.

• Discuss their children about their family background.

• Discuss their children about the lower income community go abroad for earning.

• Parents always engage themselves in giving such other examples to their children about school related topics.

A parent can offer many of these beneficial, extrinsic, and motivational factors, but one important part is the context and manner in which the motivation is given /received. Mainly, an underlying self-efficacy must always be present because if a child believes she can do well, then she wills (Pint Rich, 2004).

Almost all parents want to educate their children in the best possible educational environment. Their decision to invest in children depends on a number of social, economic and cultural factors. Education in Pakistan is offered by both public and private sector educational institutions. It is free of cost in public schools whereas in private schools, the parents have to bear the financial burden. For the last three decades private sector is emerging as an important source of imparting education in Pakistan. It provides education at all levels. Many aspects regarding the education system of Pakistan have been discussed in various studies so far.

Majority of the parents want to provide their children with the best possible educational environment. Their decision to invest in children in form of education depends on a number of social, economic and cultural factors. Education in Pakistan is offered both by public as well as private sector. It is free of cost in public schools whereas in private schools, the parents have to shoulder the finances. For the last three decades private sector is emerging as an important source of imparting education in Pakistan providing education at all levels. In recent years, the private schools have improved their quality, attracting good input through fee concession ranging from a percentage to full fee concession. These schools, on one hand are educating youth and on other hand, are emerging as an important sector for the investors interested in investment in this sector. Many aspects regarding the education system of Pakistan have been discussed in various studies so far. However, the factors which motivate the parents to make a decision about private sector are yet to be explored.

The parents usually decide to educate their youngsters in private school at the time when they are completely dissatisfied with public schools. Educational environment, teacher student ratio, parents' education, their profession and smaller size of classes at private schools are among the few reasons which help parents in selection of school. The private schools are more effective than public schools with same students and parents composition mainly due to school environment (Dronkers and Peter, 2003). School choice is highly associated with parent's occupational status. The parents with higher occupational status prefer private school over public school for their children .The school choice of parents show their satisfaction with the institute they choose. The private education can produce higher per capita income and the societies choose public education if majority of its agents are earning income below average (Glomm and Ravikumar,1992).

Academic Performance

Academic Performance is used to label the observable manifestation of knowledge, skills, concepts, and understanding and ideas. It is usually referred to as the student's performance in school, in the bases of their knowledge to certain subjects; this is usually measured through different evaluation techniques such as quizzes, and examinations. The acquisitions of particular grades on examinations indicate student's ability, mastery of the content, and skills in applying learned knowledge to particular situations. A student's success is generally judged on examination performance. Academic performance may also refer to how students deal with their studies and how they cope with or accomplish different tasks given to them by their teachers. basically, academic performance depends on the students himself. However, there are many factors known to be contributing to a student's academic performance. In this study, we present some of the factors contributing to one's performance, academically speaking, but we give focus on parental choice in determining subjects of their children at intermediate level education.


Anxiety is an unpleasant emotion triggered by anticipation of future events, memories of past events, or ruminations about the self.

Stimulated by real or imagined dangers, anxiety afflicts people of all ages and social backgrounds. When the anxiety results from irrational fears, it can disrupt or disable normal life. Some researchers believe anxiety is synonymous with fear, occurring in varying degrees and in situations in which people feel threatened by some danger. Others describe anxiety as an unpleasant emotion caused by unidentifiable dangers or dangers that, in reality, pose no threat. Unlike fear, which is caused by realistic, known dangers, anxiety can be more difficult to identify and to alleviate.

Rather than attempting to formulate a strict definition of anxiety, most psychologists simply make the distinction between normal anxiety and neurotic anxiety, or anxiety disorders. Normal (sometimes called objective) anxiety occurs when people react appropriately to the situation causing the anxiety. For example, most people feel anxious on the first day at a new job for any number of reasons. They are uncertain how they will be received by coworkers, they may be unfamiliar with their duties, or they may be unsure they made the correct decision in taking the job. Despite these feelings and any accompanying physiological responses, they carry on and eventually adapt. In contrast, anxiety that is characteristic of anxiety disorders is disproportionately intense. Anxious feelings interfere with a person's ability to carry out normal or desired activities. Many people experience stage fright-the fear of speaking in public in front of large groups of people. There is little, if any, real danger posed by either situation, yet each can stimulate intense feelings of anxiety that can affect or derail a person's desires or obligations. Sigmund Freud described neurotic anxiety as a danger signal. In his id-ego-superego scheme of human behavior, anxiety occurs when unconscious sexual or aggressive tendencies conflict with physical or moral limitations.

Statement of the Problem

In my view, students in Pakistan, especially students that belong to the lower and middle socio-economic status experience much more anxiety as the whole family depends on them to earn for the family as well. The parents expect that students attain top grades and enter a respectable career line where they may get a high pay. Such expectations and control of parents on their subject of choice can cause unnecessary distress in students.

Objective of the Study

This study aims to determine the effects of parental involvement and choice in determining subjects among college going students regarding academic performance and anxiety. This study specifically focuses on the intermediate level of education. It seeks to answer the following aspects of the main problem

Anxiety caused due to parental choices

The association of parental choice of subjects and their academic performance.