The Effect of Marital Problems on the Education of Children in Nigeria (A Case Study of Jos North LGA Plateau State)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Marriage is a basic institution in every society designed by God as a social agreement between two individuals to become husband and wife (Becker, 2002; Uka, Obidoa & Uzoechina, 2013). It is an institution that gives legitimacy to a sexual relationship and reproduction for legitimate children (Ryan & Powelson, 2010). Marriage involves joining in matrimony two individuals of a different gender to become one flesh as husband and wife, given the need for companionship, procreation, continuing and sustaining family ties (Gbenda & Akume, 2002; Abane, 2003; Bumpass, 2009). Nevertheless, marital instability in present-day society is of huge concern as it is associated with separation, divorce, and widowhood (Omoniyi-Oyafunke, Falola & Salau, 2014). According to Uka, et al., (2013), marriage is a legalizing of a special relationship between a man and woman to which the society approves; and it places partners under legal and social obligations to themselves and the society. Although the concepts of marriage and family are often used synonymously, they are not the same but have distinct meanings. The term family is defined as any two people who are related to each other (Sarker, 2007). To Onwuasoanya (2006) the family is the household and those who live in one house, and a network of persons such as the couple, their offspring, and kin intimately held together by a bond of social and kinship relationship. The significance of the family devoid of instability is recognized by researchers locally and worldwide (Becker, 2002; Sarker, 2007; Uka et al., 2013; Omoniyi-Oyafunke et al., 2014). This is because the family without instability grows and is one where the positive relationship is promoted and sustained. As a consequence, Sarker (2007) refers to marital instability as the interpersonal association and interaction within the marital relationship. Moreover, Lesmin and Sarker (2008) defined marital instability as the process whereby marriages break down through separation, desertion, or divorce. Hence, the increasing incidence of marital disharmony such as the occurrence of divorce shows that there is marital instability in several families in the Nigerian context (Ezennay, 2006). Marital instability occurs as an attempt of one individual or partner to checkmate the behaviour and anticipations of the other (Uka et al., 2013). This threatens the household stability as well as the well-being of the children, as it often impacts their academic adjustment and achievement. Several people in contemporary society believe that the educational system has failed, but evidently, the schooling system has not failed rather it is the partnership that has failed, with schools taking on the responsibility that families and communities once assumed (Castro-Martin & Bumpass, 2009). The family stability often has a marked influence on the student‟s motivation for learning and on her to cope with academics. The home environment is a strong pointer to the academic adjustment and achievement of children. This is because several children‟s academic potentials are now confronted with increasing difficulties as a result of parental marital instability (Sarker, 2007). The contact between the parent, teachers, and students makes a lot of impact on the academic performance of the students. So those who do not regularly attend lectures because of a lack of proper monitoring by their parents could experience challenges adjusting academically (Bumpass, 2009). Parents are thereby faced with the problem of enriching their home environment to establish a positive effect on the student‟s academic performance in school (Castro-Martin & Bumpass, 2009).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
The increase in marital problems in Nigeria is one of the most visible changes in contemporary family life. (Lesthaeghe 2005). Several studies have reported how children living in problem marriages and other lone parent families tend to have lower levels of economic well-being, and how the cross-national variation in these gaps is closely related to support from the welfare state (Vleminckx and Smeeding 2000; Aassveet al. 2007; Heuveline and Weinshenker 2008). The increase of the new forms of marital problems calls for a deep analysis of the new phenomena to understand their causes and consequences. Problems and the breakdown of family and conjugal ties have relevant consequences of demographic, social, and economic nature for the persons involved including children. There are negative consequences on the well-being of separated or divorced parents as well as on their children and the risks of poverty for women with children. The general problem, therefore, is to examine the extent to which marital problems affect children educationally.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the effect of marital problems on the education of children in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study are;
- To examine the need for effective education for the Nigerian child.
- To assess the level of marital problems in Nigerian homes and how it affects children’s educational development.
- To examine the effect of marital problems on the academic performance or achievement of children in Nigeria.
- To recommend ways of improving the educational development of children from problematic homes.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the need for effective education for Nigerian children?
- What is the level of marital problems in Nigerian homes and how does it affects children’s educational development?
- What is the effect of marital problems on the academic performance or achievement of children in Nigeria?
- What are the ways of improving the educational development of children from problematic homes?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: Marital problems do not have a significant effect on the education/academic performance of children in Nigeria.
H1: Marital problems have a significant effect on the education/academic performance of children in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would greatly improve the educational performance of children who are from troubled families as it tends to address such educational challenges that may arise. The study would also be of immense importance to students, researchers, and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject through the provision of relevant literature.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is to examine the effect of marital problems on the education of children in Nigeria using selected primary schools in Jos North LGA of Plateau state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing the relevant materials, literature, or information and the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted to the research work.
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