The study was carried out to determine the extent Demographic characteristics (age, gender, socio-economic status and grade level) predict social competence and emotional intelligence of Junior Secondary (JS) students. Five research questions were answered and two hypotheses formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance. The social cognitive learning theory by Bandura provided basis for explaining the relationship between demographic variables, social competence and emotional intelligence. The study adopted the correlational survey design. Two hundred and eighty eight (288) JS 1 and JS 3 students constituted the sample. Using a disproportionate stratified random sampling technique, one boys’ and one girls’ secondary schools in Nsukka urban were chosen for the study. In each of the selected schools, two arms of JS I and two arms of JS 3 were randomly selected. All the students in these arms were used for the study. Two instruments namely a-36 item adapted version of emotional intelligence questionnaire students short-form and a 30-item researcher developed social competence scale were used for data collection. Internal consistency reliability estimates of 0.65 and 0.83 were established for the emotional intelligence questionnaire and the social competence scale respectively. The instruments were administered on the students by the researcher and four research assistants. The data were analyzed using mean and standard deviation for answering research questions 1 and 2, while Pearson product moment correlation coefficient was used to answer research questions 3, 4, and 5. The hypotheses were tested using regression analysis. The results showed that the students had high emotional intelligence ( ´ = 3.52 , SD = 0.47) and average social competence ( ´ = 3.46, SD = 0.45). There was high and significant correlation (r = .735, p < .000) between emotional intelligence and social competence. The demographic variables namely age, gender, socio- economic status and grade level explained 13.1% (R2 = .131) of the variance in social competent and 10.8% (R2 = .180) of the variance in emotional intelligence. Age (t = -3.569, p < .000), gender (t = 3.157, p < .002) and grade level (t = 5.172, p < .000) significantly predicted social competence. Age (t = -3.426, p <
.001), gender (t = 2.326, p < .021) and grade level (t = 4.216, p < .000) also significantly predicted emotional intelligence of the students at p < .05. Socio-economic status did not significantly predict emotional intelligence (t = 1.682, p <

.094) and social competence (t = .705, p < .482) at p < .05. Based on the findings, it was recommended that demographic characteristics such as age, gender and grade level should be considered when taking decisions related to social competence and emotional intelligence of students in Junior Secondary Schools.

Background of the Study
Education has remained the most outstanding priority in the world today and
human development remains the purpose of education. This explains why researchers
in the world over have continued to seek ways of improving human development
through knowledge acquisition. The major goal of the school is to enhance emotional
and intellectual growth as well as moral and social competence of the students.
Principally, children are sent to school to acquire functional literacy and social
competence, and also to develop emotional intelligence that would make them
competent in the society. The National Policy on Education (Federal Republic of
Nigeria, 2004) recognized the role of schools when it stated that schools provide
children the opportunity for

“The acquisition of appropriate skills and the development of mental, physical and social abilities as well as the competences for the individuals to live and contribute to the development of the society; the training of the mind in the understanding of the world; and promotion of the physical, emotional and psychological development of all children” (p. 8).

This policy document recognized emotional intelligence and social competence
among others as important roles of education.
Secondary education is the education given to students after primary education
and before tertiary education. This level of education, according to the National

Policy on Education, (Federal Republic of Nigeria) aims at raising a generation of people that can think for themselves, respect the dignity of labour, respect other peoples’ views and feelings. This goal of secondary education also underscores the importance of social competence and emotional intelligence in school system.

Social competence refers to a wide range of skills and behaviours that children need for a successful social adaptation. As noted by Gale Encyclopedia (2012), social competence is a child’s ability to establish and maintain high quality and mutually satisfying relationships and to avoid negative treatment or victimization from others. In order words, it is the ability to relate well with others. Semrud–Clikeman (2007) saw social competence as a complex multidimensional concept comprising skills such as social, emotional, cognitive and behavioural, and motivational and expectancy sets needed for a positive social adaptation. This definition refers to social competence as skills for success in social situations. According to Rubin and Rose (1992), social competence is the capacity to achieve personal goals in a social interaction while simultaneously maintaining positive relations. To them, social competence involves the ability to take other people’s perspective concerning a situation, learn from past experiences and apply that learning to changes in social interaction.

Social competence is the basis for future interaction with others and for individuals perceptions of their own behaviours (Semrud-Clikeman, 2007). Therefore, social competence determines the present and future success of a person in social undertaking. Gardner (1999) viewed social competence as a life-long, intercultural and social learning skills comprising abilities such as flexibility, working in a team, motivating colleagues and clients.

Therefore, team spirit is one of the abilities in social competence. This conceptualization of social competence agrees with the description of social characteristics of pupils by Wikipedia (2011). According to it, friendship and team spirit are two important social characteristics. Friends often have similar attitudes, interest and personality traits. Friendship is based on understanding and accommodation of others with more or less similar characteristics. It may help pupils to develop skills for managing their emotions and provide them companionship.

Team work on the other hand increases ones capacity to accommodate others and working with others to attain objectives. It encourages pupils sociability and makes them bold enough to breakout of gender role stereotype (Hartup, 1993). Team work is a technique that is applied in problem-solving in schools. Evidence from studies (Gale Encyclpedia, 2012) indicate that popular children exhibit characteristics reflecting high level of social competence. They are friendly, cooperative, helpful, nice and understanding. They are good problem-solvers, companions and play partners. They can be said to exhibit high levels of friendship and team spirit. Popularity with peers can therefore be a measure of social competence. Three sub-domains of social competence have been identified by Grashman cited in Semrud-Clikeman (2007). They include adaptive behaviour, social skills and peer acceptance, with peer acceptance and social skills being often used to assess social competence.....

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