BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Right from the beginning of ages, the effect of early marriage on the academic performance of the girl child has been a topic for debate. In 2004, Children’s national Day, the UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Education in Nigeria, had a presentation of statistical result of schooling children to non-schooling children in the contemporary society. the research presentation shows that over 7.2 million Nigerian children are out of school as they engaged themselves in hawking, as maid to people or otherwise. Meanwhile, from the above result, 87% of these children found outside school were girls. In a press briefing organized by the Chairman of National Orientation Agency, Dr. Chukwuemeka Chukwudi the major reasons why more girl child are found outside school was because female children are given out on marriage at an early age range.
It is no longer a matter of argument that females constitute more than fifty percent (50%) of worlds active population (UNESCO, 2008). Although they make immense contribution to national development, they still face a number of difficulties that limit their potentials in promoting personal and collective development. A key area of concern in this regard is that of their education, which can only at best be described as dwindling as and less than equal to that of the male. (Obaya, 2003). The marriage institution is very vital in any society; it’s legitimate in the productive process and ensures the meaningful preparation of the social norm of society. Yet the timing and the resultant impact of early marriage is a source of concern for many who cherish the equitable participation of female in modern education. When girls are married at age of 10 to 14, their educational careers are disrupted especially if an avenue for second chance learning is not provided. Once girls are left behind in this process, they add to the burden of development of the society and their positive roles and contributions are limited early. It is impossible to allow girls to marry at the ages of maturity, when they must have had opportunities for the attainment of basic education. meanwhile, one understand that the idea of girls being giving out to men for marriage at an early stage of life is not really because their parents, long for such life, but simply because of the poverty level of families. The indicator of prevailing poverty among the poor, rural and urban populace that the world receives from the UNDP annually is a clear evidence of lack of equitable distribution of wealth in society. As a result, several families live below the poverty line, living on less than N50 per day. We know for a fact that most of the families in Africa are extended, especially, with devastating impact of diseases including malnutrition, and HIV/AIDS. Consequently, families are less able to cater for the educational needs of their wards. When choices are made on who goes to school, the males are given preferential treatment, thereby leaving the girl child largely not catered for. This means that poverty’s impact on child education is felt more by the girl child, as most girls are giving out in marriage on a reason of getting money from the son in-law to sponsor the male child’s education. The question is: why must this be the case. Apart from the fact that parents do give this girl child out on marriage early, thus impeding their chances of education, it is observed likewise that, there are instances where the females themselves bear n themselves poor self concepts of being unable to cope with challenges of modern impressions society placed on them. This then becomes a very serious impediments to their learning and educational pursuits. There is a populate belief in society that modern education only emphasizes instrumental goals, that is, that it is mainly employment oriented. Therefore when learners complete educational programmes without commensurate assurance for modern sector jobs, society sees a mismatch and lack of energy. This discourages participation, given that no serious meaning is ever attached to learning itself. Similarly, schools do not teach skills that may help learners to become self reliant and gain self employment from their formal training.
Moreover, the female child sometimes agree to their parental ideas as regard getting married at a very early stage of life, tentatively because or the knowledge they have acquired that all perspective of education is masculine in nature.