An Evaluation Of Married Women’s Academic Performance In Higher Institution

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An Evaluation Of Married Women’s Academic Performance In Higher Institution

Chapter One


Background Of The Study

According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), the world’s population is expected to be 6.8 billion people. More than half of these people are women, and more than 70% of them are illiterate and unemployed (Haese & Kirsten, 2006). Many receiving education at different levels, especially at the tertiary level, are restricted or handicapped in a variety of ways, rendering high academic achievement out of reach for many. Many women live in a dynamic web with many responsibilities and activities that force them to play “different roles” at many times in order to meet the needs of their families. These functions have been classified as reproductive, productive, and group roles in theory (Bakare-Yusuf, 2003:10; Haese & Kirsten, 2006). Bakare-Yusuf, like many other feminist theorists, believes that women, both now and in the past, play critical reproductive and constructive positions that help patriarchal economic and productive supremacy. Women’s roles are shifting all over the world, but not necessarily for the better. Women and, in particular, married women, have yet to attain self-fulfillment and success in all facets of life, owing to shortcomings resulting from stagnancy or no improvement in women’s education, that is, enrolment rate and academic performance in tertiary institutions of learning. In this regard, Ossat (2005) sees higher education as both a goal and a challenge for women. In May 2002, the federal government of Nigeria, in a joint venture with UNICEF, published the findings on an analysis of the situation of women and children in Nigeria. Education and women‟s development were key issues on which the searchlight was focused and these were discussed intensively. Both are regarded as being inseparable and complementary. In a different study conducted in South Africa, a further assessment shows that higher education – any type, not excluding women – has come underconsiderable pressure to be more responsive to the marketplace and to produce new kinds of knowledge workers (Jansen, 2001).Women are workers at home, although most of them are not remunerated for the services they render there. In addition, poorly remunerated in their various places of work, women. In Nigeria are among the poorest in Africa and the developing world. Also, they are less empowered, thereby making it difficult for them to perform their tasks and roles at home (Potokri, 2010), in the workplace and in the larger society efficiently and effectively because of the improperly connected variables: women, education and development. To be precise, higher education for a married woman cannot be neglected, quantified or overemphasised. Higher education for women is worth prioritising, hence it cannot be overemphasised. Although most countries consider higher education for women a desirable instrument for development, its current under provision is a major stumbling block to economic, social, mental and political

development. On account of this, the low participation and low enrolment of women in higher education has been viewed as being synonymous with low economic productivity, the prevalence of preventable diseases, malnutrition, the population explosion and mass poverty (Bolarin, 2005). Similarly, Dike (2002) reveals that higher education for women gives them a greater sense of how to reduce risks in life and change their behaviour. The barriers to women‟s participation, enrolment and academic performance, as well as

to completing their education are numerous and have been documented by several studies (Howard, 2001; Jamil, 2003). These barriers are related to policy, infrastructure, household and family resources and community beliefs and practices. Jamil (2003) articulates that many notable barriers to women‟s education are not by law within the limits or responsibility of the government or the education sector. Household conditions and cultural values and traditions are examples of the types of barriers to women’s education that may not be affected by government leadership and intervention. He goes on to say that the relationship is indirect and based on power rather than control. Although legislation, school-related facilities, and schooling and instruction can be difficult to reform, they are all within the mandate and organizational control of the government (Jamil, 2003; USAID, 2000).

Statement Of Problem

In Nigerian society, marriage is a significant cultural, traditional, and religious occurrence, particularly for women and young girls. According to data from the CBN (2000) study, 86.6 percent of Nigerian women are married, with 3.7 percent widowed and 5.2 percent divorced or separated. Furthermore, cultural norms keep a large number of women from pursuing higher education. In Nigeria, a common saying goes, “Women’s education ends in the kitchen,” meaning that education isn’t useful to them; in other words, education isn’t intended for them. When they marry, the situation becomes even worse. Women’s chances of furthering their education are slim at that stage. In Nigeria, women, particularly married women, are relegated to the kitchen, where their primary function is childbearing (Abe, 1987; Okeke, 2001). As a result, the Nigerian female child is mentally programmed to see herself as a potential homemaker and mother of children from an early age. In a nutshell, married women are confined to their homes, owing to the belief that their husbands would meet all of their needs. As a result, higher education for women is seen as a waste of time, money, and resources in general. Furthermore, elders and traditional chiefs see it as a path to adultery and non-submissive behavior in women, as well as the loss of their marriage prospects. Simply put, some traditional chiefs believe it pushes women outside the bounds of tradition and community, forcing them to act and live in ways that are inconsistent with current traditions, norms, and beliefs. On this basis, it is widely assumed that once they are married and living in their husband’s home, they will not need additional education and will be able to cope with any kind or sort of education they had prior to marriage. Elders and traditional chiefs (male) maintain that a married woman only needs a primary and secondary education to run her household as intended (Falola, 2001). Higher education, especially university, is in theory an area of equal opportunity today. A century ago this was not the case, and anyone who argued for a university education for women, not to speak of married women, was regarded as eccentric. It was widely believed that higher education for women would lead to brain fever, sterility and even death; suggesting that they could not cope with studies at that level. With regard to the above, most married women made little or no effort to enrol in higher education; this was made even more difficult for them as admission policies and programmes did not favour them and some universities and tertiary institutions of learning did not admit married women. One element of the Millennium Development Goals that must not be overlooked if women are to be truly motivated is equal educational opportunities at all levels. The Nigerian government has attempted to achieve this aim, but cultural traditions and religion, among other factors, have severely hampered their efforts. At this point, it’s important to look not just at married women’s involvement in higher education, but also at how those who are studying are doing in terms of academics

Objective Of The Study

  1. To investigate the dominant cultural practices that impact the education of married women in Nigeria
  2. To examine the key trends in academic performance of married women students in higher institution in Nigeria
  3. To investigate the differences/similarities in the academic performance of married women students and single women students in Nigerian higher institution

Research Questions

  1. What are the dominant cultural practices that impact the education of married women in Nigeria?
  2. What are the key trends in the academic performance of married women students in higher institution in Nigeria?
  3. What are the differences/similarities in the academic performance of married women students and single women students in Nigerian higher institution?

Significance of the study

This study will be of significant to the general public and most especially to married ladies who feel that the stress from marriage and taking care of the home can hinder them from furthering their education or even attaining good academic performance

Scope of the study

My aim in this study was to understand and explain the academic performance of married women students in higher education. The study population was drawn from two higher education institutions , a university and a college of education. University of Calabar and College of education Akampa

Limitation of the study

Finance, inadequate research materials and time constraint were the major challenges the researcher encountered during the course of this study.

Definition of terms

Academic Performance:

Academic performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has attained their short or long-term educational goals.

Married Woman:

Is a female partner in a continuing marital relationship.

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