THE EFFECT OF SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS ON THEIR ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

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CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

In the last three decades, a substantial increase has been observed in the proportion of adolescents who engaged in sexual activity while at school (Smith, 1997). Adolescents are known to be an adventurous group, and oen engage in risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs, and early unprotected sexual activity (Linbee, Valencia, & Cromer, 2000). Practices such as homosexuality, lesbianism, and sexual orgies are indulged in just for the reason of experimentation and peer influences, owing to a wealth of uncensored information they are exposed to, through an intensifying wave of westernization, the Internet, and electronic media. Perhaps this explains why adolescence has also been described as a time of ‘storm and stress’ (Hall, 1904). In his review, Dahl (2004) indicated that the dramatic increase in morbidity and mortality during this period of life is not attributable to illness or infection, but rather to ‘diiculties in the control of behavior and emotion’. Studies reveal that students’ sexual relationship is on increase and common in most of Africa schools (Jones & Espey, 2008; Mgalla, et al., 1998). The trend is gradually changing and the incidence of student-adolescents’ or youths’ engaging in sexual relationship is high and may constitute problems (Ngalinda, 1998) including social, health and academic. Students’ sexual activity has resulted into increased cases of unplanned pregnancies, poor academic performance, and eventually school dropouts (Mlyakado, 2013; 2013a). However, studies in Nigeria have not seriously investigated the eects of sexual relationship on students’ academic performance. Most of previous studies in Tanzania have invested in studying factors aecting academic performance in general.

Factors studied include such as teachers’ incompetence, student’s low motivation, teachers’ low morale, the level of sexual activity of students, etc. summarized in Timothy (2010). Evidences from other countries may help to understand the existing relationship between students’ sexual relationship and academic performance. In the United States, a number of studies have shown that, teenagers who abstain from sex are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college than their sexually active peers (Sabia & Rees, 2009). Although American context is not comparable to Nigeria due to great dierences of the two countries in socio-economic, educational and technological development, still this study lays a good foundation to understanding sexual behaviors and academic performance of adolescents in dierent contexts including Nigeria. Adolescence is marked by a period of self-discovery. It is characterized by transitions in emotional, social and cognitive development. In high school, students are exposed to social opportunities, and are able to exercise more freedom compared to their experiences during their elementary or middle school years (Eccles, Lord, & Roeser, 1996). This sense of independence is important for adolescents’ personal growth and identity. The transition to high school also indicates a corresponding heightened emphasis on intrinsic motivation and relative ability (Eccles, Lord, & Roeser, 1996). A substantial concern for high school students can be balancing academic achievement with peer acceptance and approval (Juvonen, 2006). Eccles and colleagues (1996) demonstrated that as adolescents negotiate these internal and external challenges, they begin to establish a more coherent sense of personal identity and self-concept. The challenges of this period can help some grow and forge a positive sense of self-esteem. For some, however, the developmental challenges can render them more vulnerable to poor self-esteem, and more susceptible to involvement in risk taking and problem behaviors (Eccles et al., 1996). Studies have found that poor academic self-concept can lead to disengagement from school, and a downward spiral over time toward poor grades, and behavioral transgression (Duncan, Boisjoly, Kremer, Levy & Eccles, 2005; Eccles et al., 1996; Honken & Ralston, 2013).

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

There appears to be a consensus among Nigerian researchers and observers that many traditional values are changing rapidly and for the worse (Naswen, 2001; Ezeh, 2001; Arumala, 2005 and Eruesegbefe, 2005). One area of life in which the decline of traditional values is obvious is in the area of sexuality. One major change has been the acceptance of pre-marital sex in a loving relationship. Osisioma (1998) lamented that in Nigeria, culture no longer has a grip on the youth as our society seems to be plagued with decayed moral codes and values and so the sense of right and wrong is eroded. This seems to aect the youth, adolescent’s inclusive, more than any other group as this is manifested in the acceptance of sex before marriage, homosexual behavior, lesbianism, abortion, drug addiction and indecent dressing. Apart from the blame apportioned to parents for their negligence as earlier mentioned, some people are of the opinion that adolescents are naturally open to the normal sex drive while this drive is incensed by the impact of permissive Western culture transmitted through the sexual stimuli conveyed by the mass media. Denga (1983) pointed out that sexually explicit movies expose young people to adult issues at an “impressionable age.” Others opine that the use of pornographic materials as well as knowledge and use of contraceptives, especially the condom that has been excessively advertised, has contributed immensely to the involvement of adolescents in sexual practices (Onuzulike, 2002). The researcher discovered that sometimes the students’ performances are on the negative as a result of premarital sexual relationships either among the students or with those outside the school. And these have gone a long way to hamper the educational development of the Nigerian youths in general and Kuje and its environs in particular.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of the study is to find out the effect of sexual relationship among secondary school students in Oyo state. The following specified objectives will guide the study: 1. To identify the kinds of premarital sexual relationship among the students 2. To examine the causes of premarital sexual relationship among the students 3. To examine the effects of premarital sexual relationship on the academic performance of the students. 4. To identify the possible means of curbing this menace among the students so as to enhance and improve their academic development and performance in school.

THE EFFECT OF SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS ON THEIR ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE