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Birth, marriage and death are the standard trio of key events in most people’s live. But out of these three events; ‘marriage’ is a matter of choice. The right to exercise that choice was identified as a principle of law starting from the Roman era and has been established in the international human right instruments. Yet, many girls enter into marriage without any choice of exercising their right to choose. Most of them forced themselves into marriage while schooling for the sake of finding help. Others are simply too young to make a matured decision about their marriage partner or about the consequences of marriages itself. They may have given what passes for ‘counsel’ in the eyes of the law, but in reality, consent to their binding union has been made due to poverty.(Bunting, 2012).

The axiom is that once a girl is married while schooling she has automatically become a woman regardless her age and it may possibly affect her academic performance and well-being. There are various forms and causes of female marriage while still schooling, but one issue is prominent, which is marriage while still in school affects the females academic performances because combining domestic jobs to lectures, assignments and exams is a task that can’t be met. The right to free and full consent to marriage is recognized in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and in other human right instruments (Shehu, 2010; Bunting, 2012).Female Students getting married has a profound physical, intellectual, psychological and emotional impacts, which has the capacity to dash away the educational opportunities and chances for personal growth. It almost leads to pregnancy and childbearing, and is likely to result into a lifetime domestic and sexual subservience.

For many young girls in developing countries, marriage is perceived as a means of securing and protecting their future. Girls are forced into marriage while still schooling by their families while they are still children in the hope that marriage will yield them returns financially and socially without considering the negative effect it will bring to the students’ academic (Shobba, 2009). On the contrary, marriage while schooling violates the rights of the female students with negative implications. It 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 female students susceptible to poor academic performance. These married female students are required to do a disproportionate amount of chores, which includes new roles and responsibilities as wives and mothers. The young bride’s status in the family is frequently dependent on her, demonstrating their fertility often within the first year of her marriage. At this time, she is not psychologically, emotionally and physiologically prepared for these roles. Additionally, this married female students are made responsible for the care and well-being of future generations while still children themselves. Young mothers with no decision-making powers, restricted mobility and no economic resources are likely to transmit this vulnerability to their kids. Therefore, marriage of female students while still schooling directly compounds to feminization of poor academic performance and intergenerational poverty.

Marriage of female student still in school leads to early pregnancy and motherhood, which adversely affects the education of girls in schools. Inspite of the recognition of women education, there are many barriers in the way of women to get higher education and contribute their maximum impact to the betterment of the society. The mindset of the society does not allow girls for higher education in that, it promotes gender inequality and ensures prioritization of economic resources for boy-child (ren). They get fewer opportunities not only in education, but also in all facets of life (Daraz, 2012). Studies conducted by Goldien (2007) revealed that many young married female students face many problems and leave their education uncompleted due to different social and cultural factors. Even if they are fortunate to complete their education, their performance is abysmally poor. This termination of education and abysmal poor performance in their studies is the outcome of the challenges encountered when combining education with their responsibilities as home-keepers in their families.


The unprepared female students getting married is a symbol of poor orientation. Throughout the world, marriage is regarded as a moment of celebration and milestone in one’s life. Sadly, the practice of female students getting married involves the deprivation of educational success. Young married females are robbed of their youthfulness and required to take on roles, they are not emotionally prepared for. Majority of the young female students have no choice about the timing of marriage or about their partner. Some are coerced into marriage, while others are too tender to make an informed decision. Premature marriage deprives them of the opportunity for personal development as well as their rights to full reproductive health, wellbeing, education and participation in civil life.

There has been consensus in literature that marriage of girls still in school disrupts, disturbs and distorts the academic performance and well-being of female students, but these does not imply that all married female students perform poorly in education. Marriage while still in school poses great threat to the academic performance and well-being of students coerced into it. Poor attendance to class, limited time to read and study, digressed focus from academics to families’ welfare, withdrawal at times and poor time management. All these challenges have been identified in existing literature as the effects of marriage on the academic performance and well-being on female students.


The main objective of this research is to examine the effect of marriage on academic performance and well-being of female students in selected Nigerian Universities.

The specific objectives of the study include:

i)                   To identify the possible reasons why female students get married while still schooling in selected Nigerian Universities.

ii)                 To examine the educational effects of marriage on the academic performance of female students in selected Nigerian universities.

iii)               To examine the non-educational effects of marriage on the academic performance of female students in selected Nigerian universities.


In accordance with the research objectives, the questions of interest raised in the study are:

i)                   What are the possible causes of female students getting married while still schooling in Nigeria?

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