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IMPACT OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF PRIMARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
1.1 Background to the Study
One of the objectives of any country’s social policy should be ensuring “social equity”. This implies enabling people to perform various life functions and to participate in various life activities, in order to avoid their exclusion. Transport plays a fundamental role in achieving social equity (Minogue, 1998; Foley, 2004). Transport is considered to be one of the fundamental factors in human life, which impacts access to life functions and their successful performance. Within transport, two elements have a critical role: mobility and accessibility. These form the fundamental requirements of today's globalised society (Hoyle and Knowles, 1998). In certain situations, mobility and accessibility can be hindered, limited or even impossible, and as such this jeopardises the use of transport services, and with that the fulfilment of daily needs. If individuals or entire social groups find themselves in such a situation, they will be exposed to the process of transport disadvantage (Gašparović and Jakovčić, 2014). In today's society, automobiles are considered the main means of transport. As such, automobiles are also an important factor that influences the definition of transport disadvantage for people. Not having, or not being able to drive a car (due to legal or other restrictions) is often listed as the main factor leading to transport disadvantage (Murray and Davis, 2001; Clifton and Lucas, 2004). Furthermore, other factors are considered to be the person's financial standing, and physical characteristics (such as gender or disability). In line with this, certain authors have defined a range of groups they deem to be at a transport disadvantage. One of these groups is children and youth (e.g., Murray and Davis, 2001; Stanley and Stanley, 2004; Dodson, et al., 2004; Hurni, 2006; Hurni, 2007). Though some authors list children and youth as a transport disadvantaged social group, it should be noted that not all age groups of youth are equally exposed to the issue of transport disadvantage. High school pupils from the ages of 15 to 18 years are considered the most exposed. Small children and primary school aged children have a lesser need for mobility than high school pupils.
Transporting students by use of school buses became popular in many parts of the world. In America and Latin America for example, larger proportion of students are using school buses rather than public transport. In America alone, Statistics show that in one year, school buses carry about 24 million students and covers more than 4 billion miles collectively. The students‟ buses are usually painted differently to identify them. In America they are painted yellow. In Argentina school buses are painted orange and in Canada, all school buses are required to be identical in color (O‟Day, 1993). Various countries in Asia have also considered improving students transport using school buses instead of public transport. In Hong Kong, most students use school buses that are managed by specific schools. But there are also special buses for students that are called public students buses. These buses are not managed by schools but they are owned by the government but they are designated for students only. According to Howe and Bryceson (2000) students transport has been a challenge in many African countries. Popular transport for students used to be public transport in most of African countries. But this started to change in 1980s where some schools especially public schools operated school buses for students. The buses operate through parents‟ contribution towards running costs to maintain them. In Uganda and Lesotho for example, it is common now for private schools to transport their students on school buses.
Most public schools in African countries have no school buses. Students use public buses and other means of transport. These students are facing many challenges including arriving late to school and rough treatments from bus conductors. These challenges are not bothering students who use school buses within same countries (ibd). School buses are chosen because generally school buses and other special buses for students are considered to be safer than other public buses. Considering how many students the buses carry and the distance they cover, deaths on the road are extremely rare. School buses in America have a rate of 0.2 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. The rate of deaths in other automobiles transport is eight times higher. Statistics provides a good way of comparing risks involved. In a period of 11 years, from 1994-2004, a total of 71 passengers on school buses died in crashes. But in one year, 2004 alone, traffic accidents killed 31,693 people traveling in cars and light trucks in America (Forkenbrock, 2004).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Most students nowadays goes to school either on foot or by boarding public transport, most of them rely on the erratic public transport system, which is at stake most of the time. Mjingo (2011) also reports that it happens to 98% of all public schools school even as the primary level. Unlike other country where the government has plans to the students but in Nigeria most of these schools have no proper transport arrangements for their students. It is also observed that the students travel to various schools and back home with a lot of difficulty. When travelling from the outskirts of the city to their respective schools, students face the inconvenience of commuting unreliable public transport. This means that the future of transport system for students who use public transport system in Nigeria is uncertain, therefore this research is aimed at investigating the impact of public transport system on academic performance of primary school students.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to find out the impact of public transport system on academic performance of primary school student, specifically the study intends to:
1. Find out the challenges students are faced with in boarding public transport to school
2. Analyze the impact of public transport system on academic performance of primary school student
3. To examine the strategy that can be used to help the students boarding public transport.
1.4 Research Question
1. What are the challenges students are faced with in boarding public transport to school?
2. Is there any impact of public transport system on academic performance of primary school student?
3. What strategy can be used to help the students boarding public transport?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
Ho: there is no significant impact of public transport system on academic performance of primary school student
Hi: there is significant impact of public transport system on academic performance of primary school student