Background of the study
Traditionally, the undergraduate years are thought of as a time of self discovery, exploration and independence but what happens to those values when the college female students are married. People typically do not define marriage in individual terms but rather consider it a partnership in which each member sacrifices some of his or her autonomy McQuillan, (2005).
Adebayo (2006) observed that female students who are married are generally faced with number of stresses. These include continuous evaluation, pressure to earn good grades, time pressures, unclear assignments, heavy workload, uncomfortable classrooms, and relationship with family and friends. In a more recent study, four married female students reported the greatest stress were school-family conflict. Low incomes, course work, and children were all factors in role strain in married female students.
Home & Hinds, (2000).Role strain from increased roles and their demands and from time conflicts was associated with high stress, depression, and anxiety in women students. Women from time immemorial have been saddled with many family responsibilities and are traditionally assigned many roles including custody of children, maintenance of the home, feeding and preservation of the family health.
The female married undergraduate students are also expected to perform duties as wife and mother, in addition to fulfilling their academic responsibilities. Within marriages, the strain faced can include, but are not limited to quarrels between spouses, feelings of exhaustion and resentment over inequitable divisions of household labour.
McRoy and Fisher, (2001). Researchers studying the academic side of the conflict between school and marriage demands from married female students have examined how outside influences such as family and work impact academic achievement and retention rates among adult students Benshoff, (2003) Women occupying seemingly incompatible role positions, particularly women juggling the demands of family, studies and career experience the problem of family/school conflict.
Family conflict refers to the demands faced by married female students in higher education who are married and who may or may not have children Hammer, Grigsby, & Woods, (2008). One study conducted in the 1970’s found that lack of networking ability pose a particular problem for married female students. These married female students were less able to engage in the after class socializing and networking that allowed their male counterpart to make the connections that would serve to further their career Feldman, (2003). Another constrain faced by the married female students is that, married female students expressed guilt over their role as a student, over not being available for their children, over the quality and the expense of childcare, and over compromising their responsibility in the family as well as in the academics.
Bolarin (2005) argues that measures should be put in place to combat barriers to married female’s access to higher education in Nigeria. She believes that this will help to increase their enrolment rate and participation, and improve their academic achievement in higher education.
Asare (2007) stressed that home pressure is a huge problem. A married female student who has children often gets up very early in the morning trying to get everything done at home before going to lectures becomes tired and not very alert at classes. Quartey (2003) also asserts that as a result of the strains on their time and energy, married female student experience fatigue, lack of time for revision and rest and feelings of guilt over not fulfilling their traditional role expectations at home.
Lee and Myers (2005) state that family problems create imbalance for married female student s who are day-students or non-residential student whose husbands move out of the family’s home and come back late in the night. The husbands always threaten to divorce his wife as a result of poor marital performance and overweening behaviour on the part of the student woman, they also noticed that some female on campus are single and others are married; some have one child to look after and others large, blended families. Whatever their situation and issues are, each married female has a unique story to tell. Married female student are facing a lot of challenges when pursing tertiary institution.
Chigona and Chetty (2007) in their study identified lack of time to study and do assignments as one of the major challenges of the married female student. According to them most of the married female student do not have time to study because when they return from school, their relatives who voluntarily serve as baby-sitters want to be free of child-care chores. In addition to that the babies also want their mother’s attention. This suggests that mothers who do not have full day child-care services face the challenges in trying to balance childcare with academic work.
The married female students who are schooling at various levels, especially at the tertiary level, are constrained or handicapped in various ways, making successful academic performance far from the reach of many. Many experience a life that is a complex web of many roles and many tasks, which require the average married female students to perform “different roles” at different times in a bid to fulfill her family’s needs. These roles have been theoretically characterized as reproductive, productive and community roles
Statement of the problems
Female student who are married while in school could have problems which 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 female made little or no effort to enroll in higher institution; this was made even more difficult for them as admission policies and programmes did not favour them and some tertiary institutions of learning did not admit married female. For example, the Ewha Women’s University in South Korea banned married female undergraduates from attending for 57 years until the ban was lifted recently Breder, (2003). In Makerere University, Uganda, married female were only allowed to enter in 1945 (Morley, 2004). Equal educational opportunity at all levels is one aspect of the Millennium Development Goals that one cannot lose sight of if married female students are to be truly empowered. The Nigerian government has tried to move towards the attainment of this goal, but cultural practices and religion, among other things, have jeopardized their efforts immensely. At this juncture, it becomes not only necessary to take a look at the participation of married female students in higher education, but also to look at the following;
- The dominant cultural practices that impact the education of married female students
- The key trends in the academic performance of married female students in College of Education Ikere Ekiti
- The differences/similarities in the academic performance of married female students and single female students in College of Education Ikere Ekiti.
- The attitude of parents towards female students in tertiary institutions.