1.1 Background of the study
Over the years, many educational authorities have developed interest to understand the reasons for the downward trend in educational achievement of children. Obemeata (1971), and Daramola (1994) attributed it to the children’s background which depends on the type of family where they are raised. They stressed that the environmental condition and the nature of social interaction that goes on in the family may have some positive or negative influence on the education of children. Daramola (1994) further stated that the factors affecting children’s education include family type , psychological conditions in the family, availability of equal opportunities, social climate and level of proper care that exist in families they come from. The family as a primary agent of socialization, has powerful influence on children which could in no doubt enhance or hinder educational achievement of children depending on the social climate in such family.
Variance in psycho-social emotional fortification in the polygamy family background could be an indicator to high or low educational performance of children. Polygamy has been cited as a possible contributor to Africa’s low savings rates, widespread incidence of HIV, high levels of child mortality, and poor educational performance of children (Uwaifo, 2008). Polygamous marriage is a system of marriage in which a man marries more than one wife at a time. The number of wives which ranges from two to many or may not depend on the religious and economic capability of the man. This form of marriage has given rise to what sociologists oen refer to as the extended family. This is a common practice in Nigeria the varying structure of any family from society to society has brought this practice (Asikhia, 2010). In Africa generally, Polygamy remains common in most regions stretching from Senegal to Tanzania, it is common for more than one third of married women to be polygamous (Akanle, 2007).
Polygamous marriage is common in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, but is also known to occur in Europe, North America, and other Western societies (Zsolnai, 2002). To our knowledge, accurate and current statistics on the prevalence of polygamy around the world are not available. In Nigeria, Cross River state in particular estimates range from 20% to 50% of all marriages, with higher rates reported among less educated husbands and wives, among Muslims, and among rural residents; however, in recent years, there has been an observed increase in the rates of polygamy among highly educated men who can aord a second wife (Aremu,2000). The moral decadence of the society today, may be as a result of the inability of polygamous parents to give the children adequate financial support for their education ,some polygamous family may not give their children the educational materials they need due to lack of funds. This may result in poor feeding and general maintenance of the family members. Parents serve a useful purpose in the up bringing of their children in the home, but in polygamous home there is not much in interaction between fathers and their children because of the large number.