AN INVESTIGATION INTO EFFECT OF EARLY MARRIAGE AND PREGNANCY AND PREGNANCY ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF FEMALE STUDENTS IN NIGERIA ( EDUCATION PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS)
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Pregnancy at whatever stage in life can be a life changing experience that cuts across boundaries of race, educational attainment and socio-economic status (Kost et al., 2010). Motherhood places demands on one’s life which were hitherto non-existent prior to the birth of the woman. When a girl that should be in school becomes pregnant, her entire life could be completely altered as her hopes and aspirations could be shattered. Teenage parents are parents between the ages of 13 and 19 years (Kost et al., 2010). Maynard (1997), believe that Early pregnancy is a delinquent behavior resulting from stress, dislike, malice, boredom and unhappiness experienced by a teenage girl within her home environment. Other predisposing factors include alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual promiscuity, social and health problems among adolescents and sexual abuses resulting to unwanted sex and pregnancy (Gaby, 2012). Dilworth (2002) observed a relationship between risk behaviours (drinking, smoking and drugs) and likelihood of becoming pregnant among teenagers, while Singh and Daroch (2000) singled out poverty as both the causes and consequences of teen pregnancy and child bearing.
Early marriage before the age of 18 is a violation of a number of international human rights charters and conventions such as 1989 Convention on The Rights of the Child (CRC), 1979 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEFADW), the 1989 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the 1990 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Women. However, for many young girls in developing countries, marriage is perceived as a means of securing their future and protecting them. Girls are forced into marriage by their families while they are still children in the hope that marriage will benefit them both financially and socially. On the contrary, early marriage violates the rights of children with often more negative consequences on the girls than the boys. This 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 girls more vulnerable to poverty. Young married girls are indeed a unique group, coming under great pressure on a number of fronts. They are required to do a disproportionate amount of domestic chores, which includes new roles and responsibilities as wives and mothers.