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1.1      Background of the study

The 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. ChukwuemekaChukwudi 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.


This study is specifically concerned with many and varied problems of the handicapped in Benin City, the handicaps here are referred to females whom are giving out to marriage at a very early age, this considering how this is affecting their education. the problems are in the following areas:

a.           What is early marriage?

b.           What are the causes of early marriage?

c.           How does the early marriage affect female education?

d.           What is the government doing to stop early marriage?

e.           What is the general attitude towards early marriage?

f.             In what area can we find higher rate of early marriage?

g.           What percentage of females get a second chance for education alter early marriage and otherwise.


          It is expected that findings from this study will help in the following areas:

1.           Help to identify what early marriage is all about.

2.           Enumerate the causes of early marriage

3.           Identify the effect of early marriage on the academic performance on girl child.

4.           Identify government aid towards the stopping of early marriage in Nigeria.

5.           To know the general attitude of the public towards early marriage.

6.           Should be able to tell if early marriage is higher in the rural areas or in the urban area.

7.           Identify the percentage of those that get a second chance for education after early marriage and the percentage of those that do not get second chance for education after early marriage.


Early marriages have been found to be at a very high rate in Asian, Africa Continents, even Latin America. The research work done by WOTCLEE, UNICEF and the ministry of education revealed that the future of Nigeria is being endangered as more than 50% Nigerians active population are derived of education as they are given out for marriage at a very early age. Meanwhile, the purpose of this research is to look at the situation of early marriage, its effect on academic performance of the girl child and then proffering avenues to reduce to the barest minimum, the idea of early marriage in our society.



For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher; 

H0: there are no possible reasons for early marriage in Nigeria

H1: there are possible reasons for early marriage in Nigeria

H02:there are no educational effects of early marriage on female academic performance in Nigeria

DEFINITION OF TERMS                                 

Commensurate: In the right proportion, appropriate.

Contemporary: Of the time or period being referred to. Belonging to the same time.

Education: A process of training and instruction, especially of children and young people on schools, College,  etc which is designed to given knowledge and develop skills.

Legitimate: That can be defended

Marriage: A formal, usually legally recognized, agreement between a man and a woman making them husband and wife, the state of being married.

Masculine: having the qualities or appearance considered to be typical of or appropriate for men.

Norms: A standard or pattern, especially of social behaviour, that is typical of a group.

Perspective: A particular attitude towards a point of view.

Populace: The general public, ordinary people

Society: A system in which people live together in organized communities. A community of people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws, organization.An organization of people form for a purpose.

Tentative: Done or said without certainly that it is right, definite or final, not confident.

UNESCO: This is an acronym for United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.

UNICEF: This is an acronym for, United nations children fund.

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