IMPACT OF EARLY MARRIAGE ON THE EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT OF ADOLESCENCE IN ENUGU NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA ENUGU STATE
This study determined the impact of early marriage on the educational attainment of adolescence in Enugu North L.G.A. Three research questions were raised and answered while three hypotheses were formulated and tested. The literature review related to this study was conducted under the following: factors that induce early marriage, consequences of early marriage, gender differential, and importance of female education. The research design is survey and instrument is questionnaire. The population of this study is one thousand (1000) while the sample is hundred and thirty (130). The instrument was administered and responses collected on the spot. The responses were analyzed using mean, frequency and percentage. Results shows that greater percentages of youths were being forced to into early marriage by their parents/guardians. Girls were affected by early marriage more than their male counterparts. These notwithstanding, the girls were trained more at higher degree level more than the boys whose training ended mostly at SSCE or below. Recommendations and suggestions were made for further research.
Background of the Study
Education is the process by which society through schools, colleges, universities and other institutions transmits its cultural heritage, values, skills from one generation to another. (Ukeje, 1980). According to Ozochi (2008), Education too many is seen as a solution for vast range of task of the society and bed rock for national development. The National policy in Nigeria education (2004 revised) saw education as a dynamic instrument per excellence for effecting national development and a potent means for ensuring the welfare of the people and the equalization of life chance. The benefits derivable from educational investment equip the individual for proper understanding of important phenomena and further exploitation of human and material resources.
It is on this background that Okeke (2004) opined that who so neglect learning in his youth loses the past and is dead for the future. Ocho (1988) is of the opinion that the central purpose of education is virtue or character training, acquisition of knowledge, understanding and physical skills. Every nation should therefore take its educational system and process very serious because an error made in the training of the child becomes a perpetual and mortal error and disabilities in education in subsequent decades. Education is equally the process whereby one is prepared for the task of living happily with one’s neighbours and advancing the cause of one’s society as well as finding solution to its nagging problems (Okeke, 2004).
In traditional African society, the role of female was pegged and circumscribed. It was considered a taboo sending a female to school. This is because of the attitude towards of education for women. It was considered a waste of money, time and effort considering that most women in no time get married into another family, to raise the children that serve as farm hands for their father. In addition to raising the children for the man, the women still helped to keep the house and provide meal for all. Hence the saying some years back that women’s education ends in the kitchen. This primitive attitude exposes women to early marriage.
According to UNICEF (2008), Early marriage better known as child marriage is defined as marriage carried below the age 18years before the girl is physically, physiologically and psychologically ready to shoulder the responsibilities of marriage and child bearing. Early marriage also means the individual becomes sexually active early, raising children while children themselves. The marriage of a young girl affects not only her life but the life of the children she will bear.
According to AGHI (2003), both boys and girls are affected by child marriage but the issue impacts more negatively on girls in far larger number, with more intensity and is wide ranging. Child marriage is practised with the belief that it reduces promiscuity among girls. This is purely because of the importance attached to virginity. Often time’s husbands want their wives to be virgins and for their parents, it is a great honour for their daughters to be found virgins by their husbands, and so girls are marriage off long before they attain maturity.
In the past, when a young girl is married, her husband is expected to wait until she reaches puberty age before consummating the marriage. The girl will stay with her mother in-law for two to three years. This is no longer taking place nowadays. Uzodike (1990);suggested that cohabitation between the husband and the wife should not occur until the girl reach puberty stage, it is not into practice today rather children under thirteen years of age who are scarcely developed are subjected into intercourse with their husbands long before they attain maturity. The young girl that is not fully matured enters into marital life without completing her education and when pregnant is likely to develop childbirth complications like VVF (Vesico Virginal Fistula). This poses problem to both the girl child and the society in general.
Statement of Problem
The present state of the nation (Nigeria) demands that youths should be educated first before marriage. It is on this note that the researchers would like to investigate on the causes of early marriage among adolescent of Enugu north L.G.A. the study also identified the impact it has on the educational attainment of our youths. Consequently determined the involvement of parents in such marriage since education is a major instrument for the development of any nation. Early marriage puts the youth at a disadvantage by their loss of educational opportunities. The level of the development for any nation is measured by the level of the educational attainment of the people in the area. The more people in the area are educated, the more the area will be developed.