INFLUENCE OF CHILD-BEARING ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

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INFLUENCE OF CHILD-BEARING ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT OF STUDENT MOTHERS IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS IN ENUGU STATE

 ABSTRACT

This study was conducted to find the influence of early marriage and childbearing on academic achievement and educational attainment of student mothers in tertiary institutions in Enugu State. Three tertiary institutions in Enugu State were used for the study. Three research questions and two hypotheses guided the study. The survey research design was adopted for the study.  The total population of the study was 450 and the sample size of 150 student mothers was drawn from the population using simple random sampling technique. A 33-structured questionnaire was used to collect data while statistical mean and standard deviation were used for data analysis. Hypotheses were tested using t-test at 0.05 significance level. The findings of this study revealed that early marriage, childbearing and other domestic challenges has no influence on both academic achievement and educational attainment of student mothers. The study also showed that there is no significant difference between childbearing and academic achievement as well as educational attainment of the student mothers. Based on the findings the researcher recommended that coping strategies should be adopted by the student mothers.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Education is believed to provide knowledge and resources that hold potentials for economic empowerment, for better livelihood and social development. Jekayinfa (2009) postulated that the educational system of any society is an elaborate social mechanism designed to bring about in the persons certain skills and attitudes that are adjudged to be useful and desirable in the society. As a result of the necessity for education, there has been the view that one who ceases to learn ceases to exist although the one may be living. Education is not only seen as a human right, but it is also viewed as an instrument to fight poverty and universal apparatus to promote economic advancement for developing countries. Amartya Sen takes this one stride further, claiming that education leads to development, which in turn leads to an increase in freedom (Sen, as cited in Adu-Gyamfi, 2014). For this reason, there are thus several motives to encourage and promote universal education.

All over the world, people hold the view that education is the cardinal channel to accomplish sustainable transformation and development. Education contributes to the progress of analytical mind and reasoning power in the personality which assists him or her to build up a sense of confidence, self-esteem and self-respect. In coming years, a nation that does not educate its children (especially female) will be undermined in terms of the economic productivity and social welfare of its people”. Female education has noteworthy implications for maternal and child welfare development. Education is an ongoing effort towards further development of the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner, so as to produce persons who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically balanced. Such an effort is designed to produce citizens who are knowledgeable and skilled, who possess high moral standards, and who are responsible and capable of attaining a high level of personal wellbeing and be able to contribute to the advancement of the society and the country at large.

Education provides the platform for the acquisition of knowledge, skills, habits and values for productive living in the society. As a result of this, education equips individuals with the personal capabilities for survival in and contribution to the societal development. Globally, socio-economic and political developments are increasingly being driven by the advancement and application of knowledge (education). Education attainment is long-term, it is more about reaching your academic goals and one’s ambition of getting higher degrees and qualifications while Academic performance is short-term and involves more of the statistics of what one did for instance in GPA grades. To this end, higher institutions of learning are established to give students sound and qualitative education so that they can become more productive, self-fulfilling and attain self-actualization. This is why the Federal Government of Nigeria (2004) in the National Policy on Education highlights the aims of higher education as:

  1. the acquisition, development and inculcation of the proper value-orientation for the survival of the individual and society;
  2. the development of the intellectual capacities of individuals to understand and appreciate their environments;
  3. the acquisition of both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to develop into careful members of the community; and
  4. the acquisition of an objective view of the local and external environment.

Higher institutions in Nigeria are expected to achieve the above aims through teaching, research, and dissemination of existing information and the pursuit of service to the community and by being a store house of knowledge. However, study by (Aluede and Aluede, inOnoride, 2011) have shown that many higher institutions in Nigeria are finding it increasingly difficult to achieve the highlighted aims because of many crises that have rocked the institutions. Such crises, in recent times, have come to be recognized as one of the most visible perennial problems of significance when compared with other social vices like cultism, examination malpractices, drug abuse and so on leading to indefinite closure of schools and other attendant problems (Aluede, Jimoh, Agwinede and Omoregie, in Onoride, 2011). Magagula (2007) argued that the basic functions of higher institutions are to teach students and impart knowledge; to develop critical and analytical skills; to inculcate appropriate values, norms and attitudes; to create and extend the existing knowledge with a view to establish facts and truths through critical reflection and objective thinking; and improve the quality of life of community members through community service initiatives. The importance of higher education to national development cannot be overemphasized. However, no meaningful development can take place in a crisis-ridden system torn apart by crisis as witnessed in the educational institutions in the country today. Studies have shown that crisis/conflict in any organization is inevitable and is as old as the higher institutions in Nigeria itself. Today, students’ militancy in the nation’s higher institutions have come to be an issue for serious concern. This is more so in an organization as a higher institution with a structure that allows two or more units or groups to share functional boundaries in achieving its set objectives.

Birth, marriage and death are the standard trio of key events in most people’s live. But out of these three events; ‘marriage’ is a matter of choice (Bunting, 2012). The right to exercise that choice was identified as a principle of law starting from the Roman era and has been established in the international human right instruments. Yet, many girls enter into marriage without any choice of exercising their right to choose. Most of them forced themselves into marriage while schooling for the sake of finding help. Others are simply too young to make a matured decision about their marriage partner or about the consequences of marriages itself. They may have given what passes for ‘counsel’ in the eyes of the law, but in reality, consent to their binding union has been made due to poverty (Bunting, 2012).

The axiom is that once a girl is married while schooling she has automatically become a woman regardless her age and it may possibly affect her academic performance and well-being. There are various forms and causes of female marriage while still schooling, but one issue is prominent, which is marriage while still in school affects the female’s academic performances because combining domestic jobs to lectures, assignments and exams is a task that can’t be met. The right to free and full consent to marriage is recognized in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and in other human right instruments (Shehu, 2010; Bunting, 2012). Female Students getting married has a profound physical, intellectual, psychological and emotional impacts, which has the capacity to dash away the educational opportunities and chances for personal growth. It almost leads to pregnancy and childbearing, and is likely to result into a lifetime domestic and sexual subservience.

For many young girls in developing countries, marriage is perceived as a means of securing and protecting their future. Girls are forced into marriage while still schooling by their families while they are still children in the hope that marriage will yield them returns financially and socially without considering the negative effect it will bring to the students’ academic (Shobba, 2009). On the contrary, marriage while schooling violates the rights of the female students with negative implications. It compromises their overall development, leaving them socially isolated with little or no education, skills and opportunities for employment and self-realization. These conditions ultimately make married female students susceptible to poor academic performance. These married female students are required to do a disproportionate number of chores, which includes new roles and responsibilities as wives and mothers. The young bride’s status in the family is frequently dependent on her, demonstrating their fertility often within the first year of her marriage. At this time, she is not psychologically, emotionally and physiologically prepared for these roles. Additionally, this married female students are made responsible for the care and well-being of future generations while still children themselves. Young mothers with no decision-making powers, restricted mobility and no economic resources are likely to transmit this vulnerability to their kids. Therefore, marriage of female students while still schooling directly compounds to feminization of poor academic performance and intergenerational poverty (Shobba, 2009).

 The mindset of the society does not allow girls for higher education in that, it promotes gender inequality and ensures prioritization of economic resources for boy-child (ren). They get fewer opportunities not only in education, but also in all facets of life (Daraz, 2012). Studies conducted by Goldien, as cited in Onoride (2011) revealed that many young married female students face many problems and leave their education uncompleted due to different social and cultural factors. Even if they are fortunate to complete their education, their performance is abysmally poor. This termination of education and abysmal poor performance in their studies is the outcome of the challenges encountered when combining education with their responsibilities as home-keepers in their families.

There has been consensus in literature that marriage of girls still in school disrupts, disturbs and distorts the academic performance and well-being of female students, but these does not imply that all married female students perform poorly in education (https://nairaproject.com/projects/3674.htm) Marriage while still in school poses great threat to the academic performance and well-being of students coerced into it. Poor attendance to class, limited time to read and study, digressed focus from academics to families’ welfare, withdrawal at times and poor time management. All these challenges have been identified in existing literature as the effects of marriage on the academic performance and well-being on female students. Results from some studies revealed that physical discomforts, dizziness, morning sickness, tiredness, excessive spitting and general body pains were some common physiological challenges reported that prevented most pregnant students from learning effectively. In most situations, morning sickness prevented students from attending morning lectures particular when the lecture is scheduled for the early hours of the day. Regular missing of impromptu scheduled lectures and examinations is also common as pregnant student reported that sometimes these activities coincide with their planned antenatal care visits which they have no control over (https://nairaproject.com/projects/3674.htm).

A woman may enthusiastically embrace the simultaneous roles of mother and student; however, undertaking these two roles, even in ideal conditions, can pull one person in two directions (Springer, Parker, &Leviten-Reid, 2009).

Combining motherhood and studying without compromising the activities of either one is a great dilemma for student mothers. When a woman must focus all her attention on her studies, her behavior may contrast with her traditional motherhood role (Visick, 2009). While discourse regarding the “good mother” in any society is based on the traditional motherhood role (Goodwin &Huppatz, 2010), its definitions vary by society given the different experiences and challenges of motherhood in diverse cultures (Zhang, 2011). Role challenges cause women to abandon one role for the sake of the other (Springer et al., 2009). Myths, expectations, and ideals available in the campus culture can influence this behavior.

Academic activities are intertwined with challenging competitions. Therefore, motherhood responsibilities impose a large burden on students’ shoulders. The academic community focuses mainly on success, development, and never-ending competitions without providing any support (Moghadam, Khiaban, Esmaeli&Salsali, 2017). Therefore, taking on motherhood along with studies is not considered normal in universities. Student mothers experience unpleasant emotional pressures and receive negative feedback from the academic setting, implying that education is the first priority. Moreover, prejudice towards student mothers and the labelling of them as non-productive stimulate avoidance behaviors and a discriminatory allocation of educational resources to other students (Springer et al., 2009).

Studies showed that whenever the roles of mother and student overlapped, student mothers made their families and children a priority over their educational duties (Forster and Offei-Ansah,2012). Priority to the family and responsibilities of marital life created problems for doing academic tasks, because the comfort of the family and children was more important than studies for female students (Forster &Offei-Ansah, 2012). In a study entitled College students as mothers, Erk stated that U.S. student mothers made many sacrifices to overcome obstacles and achieve success (Erk, 2013). One example of sacrifice mentioned by the participants was the need to spend time with a sick child at the cost of losing educational goals.

 Other studies have confirmed that one cause of emotional turmoil and stress for student mothers was their child’s illness. Almost all student mothers stated that the fear of losing a child to illness was so great that they stayed with their ill children all the time until they got well, even if it prevented them from attending to academic tasks (Esia-Donkoh, 2014). Adofo (2013) also stated that student mothers had to look after their sick children; therefore, they could not prepare for examinations and often did not pass them successfully (Adofo, 2013). It is difficult for women to pursue academic careers and family life. Therefore, choosing to become a mother gives the appearance that a woman is unmotivated, less committed, less interested in doing what she must do to get to the next step on the ladder (Williams, as cited in Onoride, 2011). According to Egenti and Omoruyi (2011) the stress or trauma which they have to go through makes them feel psychologically ill-disposed towards the programme. This has led some of their colleagues to drop out of the programme. Some come late for lectures because of their marital demands or even stay away from lectures for a reasonable period as a result of home pressure or demand. All these affect their learning and level of achievement (Egenti and Omoruyi, 2011).

With regards to the above revealed challenges encountered by the student mothers, this study therefore intends to identify the influence of pregnancy and child bearing on the academic achievement and educational attainment of student mothers. 

Statement of the Problem

There has been consensus in literature that marriage of girls still in school disrupts, disturbs and distorts the academic performance and well-being of female students. Marriage while still in school poses great threat to the academic achievement and well-being of students coerced into it. Poor attendance to class, limited time to read and study, digressed focus from academics to families’ welfare, withdrawal at times and poor time management. All these challenges have been identified in existing literature as the effects of marriage on the academic achievement and well-being on female students.  Studies have revealed that many young married female students face many problems and leave their education uncompleted due to different social and cultural factors.

There have been studies on academic achievement of married female students in higher institutions challenges and coping strategies of student mothers; relationship between academic achievement and child bearing.

The present study therefore intends to investigate the influence of child bearing on the educational attainment and academic achievement of student mothers in tertiary institutions in Enugu State.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to identify the influence of child-bearing on the academic achievement and educational attainment of student mothers in higher institutions in Enugu State.

Specifically study sought to;

  1. Find the factors contributing to early marriage and child-bearing during education,
  2. Find the effects of child-bearing on the academic achievement of the student mothers,
  3. Find the effects of child-bearing on the educational attainment of the student mothers.
  4. Proffer solution to the effects.

Significance of the Study

The result from this study will be beneficial to both Federal and State government, Educators and Educational Planners, nursing and student mothers, families, high institutions.

Federal and State government will be equipped from the result of this study that funds, higher access education, poverty easing programs should be made available for education at all levels as this has been observed to be the cause of early marriage and consequential child bearing of the female student. The result from this study will reveal to educators, educational planners and the general public that girls are in no way inferior to men and should be guided, educated encouraged to continue to aspire higher and climb educational ladder.

The findings of this study will also guide young mothers who wish to further their education to post graduate studies such as M.Sc, Ph.D and so on. They will get well acquainted with the inherent challenges in continuing education in the tertiary institutions and the possible coping strategies they could adopt to face these challenges.

The findings of the study will not only be useful to the family as a unit but to the nation as a whole in its quest for empowering women through education.  The authorities and policy–makers in the Department of Education may use information derived from this study to devise strategies that would bring changes to the traditional perspective that motherhood and educational responsibilities cannot be met at the same time.

It is the wish of all educational institutions to design and deliver programme that meet the needs and aspirations of different categories of beneficiaries. The findings could therefore serve as a guide to tertiary institutions in their quest to improve on their programme. This could occur as the study will serve as a source of information on the challenges confronting the student nursing mothers and the support services the university must provide to make academic work meaningful to them.

The results of this study may also be used by the researchers as a baseline study for future studies in the area. 

Scope of the Study

The study will identified the influence of child-bearingon the academic achievement and educational attainment of the student mothers in tertiary institutions in Enugu State. The topic was chosen in order to investigate how the challenges of child bearing influence the academic achievement and educational attainment of student mothers.Enugu State was chosen because it is where the researcher is residing. Enugu State is bounded in the North by Kogi State, South by Abia State, East by Ebonyi State and West by Anambra State. 

Research Questions

The following research questions guided this study;

  1. What are the factors contributing to early marriage and child-bearing during education?
  2. What are the effects of child-bearing on the academic achievement of student mothers in tertiary institutions?
  3. What are the effects of child-bearing on the educational attainment of student mothers in tertiary institutions?
  4. What are the proffered solution to these effects?

Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated at 0.05 level of significance. The hypotheses formulated in the study are:

HO1 There is no significance difference between child-bearing and academic achievement of the student mothers.

HO2 There is no significance difference between child-bearing and educational attainment of the student mothers.

 

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