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The impact of polygamy on children education

The impact of
polygamy on children education in the southern education zone of Cross River
State (Educational Adminstration)



1.1 Background of the

Over the years, many educational
authorities have developed interest to understand the reasons for the downward
trend in educational achievement of children. Obemeata (1971), and Daramola
(1994) attributed it to the children’s background which depends on the type of
family where they are raised. They stressed that the environmental condition
and the nature of social interaction that goes on in the family may have some
positive or negative influence on the education of  children. Daramola (1994) further stated that
the factors affecting  children’s
education  include family  type , psychological conditions in the
family, availability of equal opportunities, social climate and level of proper
care that exist in families they come from.

family as a primary agent of socialization, has 
 powerful influence on children which
could in no doubt enhance or hinder educational achievement of children depending
on the social climate in such family. Variance in psycho-social emotional
fortification in the polygamy family background could be an indicator to high
or low educational performance of children.

Polygamy has been cited as a possible
contributor to Africa’s low savings rates, widespread incidence of HIV, high
levels of child mortality, and poor educational performance of children (Uwaifo,
2008).  Polygamous marriage is a system
of marriage in which a man marries more than one wife at a time. The number of
wives which ranges from two to many or may not depend on the religious and
economic   capability  of the man. This form of marriage has given rise
to what sociologists often refer to as the extended family. This is a common
practice in Nigeria the varying structure of any family from society to society
has brought this practice (Asikhia, 2010).

In Africa generally, Polygamy remains
common in most regions stretching from Senegal to Tanzania, it is common for
more than one third of married women to be polygamous (Akanle, 2007). Polygamous
marriage is common in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands,
but is also known to occur in Europe, North America, and other Western societies
(Zsolnai, 2002). To our knowledge, accurate and current statistics on the prevalence
of polygamy around the world are not available. In Nigeria, Cross River state
in particular estimates range from 20% to 50% of all marriages, with higher
rates reported among less educated husbands and wives, among Muslims, and among
rural residents; however, in recent years, there has been an observed increase
in the rates of polygamy among highly educated men who can afford a second wife

moral decadence of the society today, may be as a result of the inability of
polygamous parents to give the children adequate financial support for their
education ,some polygamous family may not give their children the educational
materials they need due to lack of funds. This may result in poor feeding and
general maintenance of the family members. Parents serve a useful purpose in
the up bringing of their children in the home, but in polygamous home there is
not much in interaction between fathers and their children because of the large

The parents may not be able to go
through their school work at home consequently, they may not be able to
identify, the need of their children who may be left to grow on their own.  In fact, polygamy may affect the up bringing
of children educationally, socially and morally. Furthermore, this tendency
affects most polygamous home negatively, as equal opportunity is not given to
the children in their educational pursuit. Adika (1987) agreed that there is
gender inequality in favor of the children. Most girls from polygamous home are
withdrawn from school at the tender age and they are given to husband some
girls who would have loved to go to school are frustrated by the problems of
non-availability of fund in the polygamous home. This leads to the eventual
dropout of the girls from school.  

However,  children who have escaped polygamous families
have been profoundly impacted in every aspect of their education. Because of
the secrecy that conceals polygamous relationships, this information is not open
to public knowledge, nor easily obtained, especially outside the inter-mountain
west. This area is where polygamy has its historical roots in the United States.
Therefore  this research will focus on
the impact of polygamy on children education in the southern education zone of
Cross River State as to provide a general statement regarding the basic
principles and attitudes of modern day polygamy and to describe the negative
psychological impact the polygamous practice has on children education.

Theoretical framework

This study will
consider the following as bases of its theoretical frame;

Cause and Effect Theory

and effect describes how something happens, analyses why something happens;
examines cause, describes effect or do both because it links situations and
events together in time, with cause preceding effect (Wilkins, 1976).
Furthermore, causality refers to cause-and-effect analysis, it explains why
something happened, or is happening and it predicts what probably will happen.
Sometimes, many different causes may be responsible for one effect, and
similarly, many different effects could be produced by a single cause. In
logic, causes are often distinguished in to two types: necessary and
sufficient. If x is a necessary cause of y, then the presence of y necessarily
implies the presence of x. The presence of x, however, does not imply that y
will occur. If x is a sufficient cause of y, then the presence of x necessarily
implies the presence of y. However, another cause z may alternatively cause y,
thus the presence of y does not imply the presence of x (Wilkins, 1976).

and effect is established through intervention trial in which two or more
groups undergo the same experience except for a single facet. The single facet
in this study is polygammy. Any difference in outcome is then attributed to
that single facet (Omosewo, 2000). Causality (causation) denotes a logical
relationship between one event (called cause) and another event (called effect)
which is the direct consequence of the first. The cause in this study is polygammy
while education of children  is the
effect. In this study, the researcher focused on assessing family type  on children’s education, the home environment
that is tensed due to  unhealthy
atmosphere of quarrelling; fighting due to large family size and polygamy
cannot favour learning, as the mind of the pupils will not be settled in order
to give room for creativity.

Sanders  (1974) maintained that physical and
psychological conditions of the home environment affect the children education.
Nyarko (2010) stated that harmonious home create emotional stability in the
child at home and subsequently throughout his school life. Hence the researcher
was also concerned with the parenting  style
(democratic, authoritarian, etc) is also influential both in the childrens’
educational process as well as in family-school relations; research such as
that by Ajila and Iyiola (2007) demonstrated that a positive family climate
favours the development of well-adapted, mature, stable and integrated
students, and an unfavourable family climate promotes non-adaptation,
immaturity, lack of balance and insecurity.

influence of family educational climate is defined by the amount and the style
of  help that children receive from the
family; that is determined by elements of the family context, like the dynamic
of communication and affective relationships, attitudes toward values,
expectations (Aremu and Sokan,
2003). Along these same lines, Aremu (2000) reported that parental
expectations have a notable influence on academic results, even when
controlling for initial knowledge and socio-economic context. Stephen and Ceci
(2001) found indirect relationships with performance from the student’s
perception of how much importance his or her parents assign to study at home.

1.2.2 Behavioral Theory

Behavioral theories of marriage are also rooted in
interdependence theory (Sanders  (1974) yet, as Stephen
and Ceci (2001) note,
behavioral theory differs from the intrapersonal focus of social exchange
theory which emphasizes individual perceptions of attractions and alternatives.
In contrast, behavioral theory adopts an interpersonal stance which asserts
that marital satisfaction is related to the exchange of overt behaviors between
partners. The underlying premise is that the exchange of positive, rewarding
behaviors enhances marital satisfaction whereas negative, punishing behavioral
exchanges decrease  marital satisfaction (Wilkins,
This perspective has focused on behaviors occurring in the context of problem
solving, in which distressed couples appear more likely to engage in negative
behaviors than non-distressed partners.

Although the link between behavior and satisfaction has
received considerable support, there is recognition that variables other than
behavior are likely to be associated with marital satisfaction. Edwards (2000)
have elaborated on the link between behaviors and satisfaction by considering
the attributions partners make regarding overt behaviors. Although these
cognitive processes are not thought of as directly associated with marital
satisfaction, they are believed to influence interaction behaviors that in turn
impact marital quality.

In the theoretical framework proposed by Stephen
and Ceci (2001),
if the behavior of one’s spouse appears to be low in negativity,
unexpectedness, and self-relevance, the individual will produce subsequent
behavior in the absence of additional processing. However, perceptions of high
negativity, unexpectedness and self-relevance will lead to attributions
regarding the specific behavior, examples of which include the intentionality
of the behavior and the positive versus negative intent of the individual.
These attributions in turn influence subsequent behavior. Both situations are
believed to influence and be influenced by short and long-term satisfaction of

Statement of problem

The practice of polygamy in southern
educational  zone of Cross River State has
constituted a great hindrance to the formal education of children. Equal
opportunity is not given to the children by their parents in their education
pursue which results to some children being withdrawn from school. The few ones
that are allowed to school are subjected by going from house to house, street
to street after school for hawking and other child labour activities. And it
exposes the child to accident, rape and street violence, at a later stage. Lack
of proper care of students by polygamous parents may lead to poor educational
performance. If school materials are not provided for such student their
performance may be poor.

Considering the powerful influence of
the family on the child and its importance as a primary agent of socialization,
there is no doubt that the academic achievement of the child can be enhanced or
hindered depending on the social climate in the family. It appears that many
people have not yet recognized that their family type has a great impact on
their children’s academic achievement. It must first be understood that the
basic structure of polygamy is authoritarian and secretive. The men who
practice it believe they have the authority to govern and control their wives
and children in the family relationship.

1.4 Purpose of the

The purpose of the study will be to
examine the impact of polygamy on children’s education in Southern educational
zone of Cross River State. Specifically, the study will consider the following;

To examine the effect
of family  type  on children’s education in Southern
educational zone of Cross River State.

To investigate  the effect of  family psychological conditions on children
education in Southern educational zone of Cross River State.

To access the effect of
 gender/equal opportunities on children
academic performance in Southern educational zone of Cross River State.

To determine the
influence of  family social climate on
children  academic performance in
Southern educational zone of Cross River State.

To evaluate the influence
of parental care on children academic performance in Southern educational zone
of Cross River State

1.5 Research Question

In order for the researcher to achieve
the objectives of the study the following research questions will guide the

To what  extent does 
family  type  affect children’s education in Southern
educational zone of Cross River State?

How does  family psychological conditions affect
children education in Southern educational zone of Cross River State?

To what extent
does  gender/ equal opportunities in a
family affect children academic performance in Southern educational zone of
Cross River State?

To what extent  does family social climate impact  children 
academic performance in Southern educational zone of Cross River State?

To what extent  does lack of proper care in a family
influence children academic performance in Southern educational zone of Cross
River State?

1.6    Statement 
of  hypothesis

The researcher will formulate the following research

There is no significant
relationship between  family  type  and
children’s education in Southern educational zone of Cross River State.

There is no significant
relationship between family psychological conditions and  children education in Southern educational
zone of Cross River State.

There is no significant
relationship between gender/equal opportunities in the family  and  children academic performance in Southern
educational zone of Cross River State.

There is no significant
relationship between family social climate and children  academic performance in Southern educational
zone of Cross River State.

There is no significant
relationship between lack of proper care and  children  academic performance in Southern educational
zone of Cross River State.

1.7 Significance of the

The findings of this study will be
of benefit to educational planners, psychologists, teachers, students, parents
and the society at large. To educational planners, the findings will enable
them readjust their impression about putting the blame of children’s education
on teachers having known that polygamy (family type) could impact education of
children. This would enable them overhaul their curriculum to address the issue
of control measure for the menace in the school system.

This study will assist teachers to
be aware of the nature of factors that could affect  the education of children, how it relates to
school performance and evolve possible ways of checking and curbing the impact
this may have on children education. Psychologists and counsellors will benefit a
great deal from the findings of this study as it will not only enable them
identify children experiencing lack of care, poor  social climate and psychological conditions
in their families. Psychologists will also be able to identify causes of  children’s poor performance in school and
render suitable remedial measure.

The findings will be of help to curriculum planners
because it will enable them overhaul their curriculum to accommodate the needs
of individuals with unstable psychological conditions. Through this study,
stakeholders will discover another possible way of checking and curbing the
incessant rate at which pupils/students fail in the Southern Educational Zone
of Cross River State. Besides, the parents and Nigerian society at large
through these findings will avail themselves of  the various negative  impacts polygamy  has on children education ways of coping with
the problem  and the right measures taken
to curb this anomaly. Administrators will through the findings and
recommendations of this study plan meaningful sensitization programme to cushion
effect of polygamy on children education. The government will effectively
design policies and programmes which will enhance the welfare of children with
poor psychological conditions, lack of proper parental care as well as gender/unequal
family opportunities so that parents will be able to nurture their wards

1.8     Assumptions of the Study

          The researcher assumed that:

conditions in the family could in family impact children’s education

opportunities in a family affect children’s academic performance.

Family social climate influences
children’s  education

Lack of proper care
influence children’s education.

1.9     Scope of the study

The study was carried
out in the southern Educational Zone of Cross River State of  Nigeria, therefore any generalization of the
findings should be in context of that state or any other geographical area
having the same characteristics.  

1.10   Limitations of the study

          The researcher’s conception of the
variables may not be comprehensive enough to integrate all other possible views
of the definition of these variables. Other facts that exist elsewhere in which
the researcher could not have access to are seen as limitation to the work,
inadequate material for literature review also limited the study. Another
factor worthy of mention was the reluctance or indifference on the part of
respondents towards participation in the study.

1.11 Definition of

Polygamy: This
refers to the custom of having more than one wife at the same time. The
circumstance, facts or event that influence, cause or explain something. A
persons social class, family status, level of education e.t.c.

Family: Is a  group consisting of one or two parents and
their children. A group of people that are related by blood.

Academics:  It is
connected with education, especially studying in schools and universities.

Income: Money
received over certain period especially as payment for work as interest on
investment. Money received from work, business.

Performance: It is an action
or achievement, considered in relation to how successful it is. The ability to
operate, capable of high effectiveness.

Is a form of learning
in which the knowledge,
and habits of a group of
people are transferred from one generation to the next through storytelling,
discussion, teaching, training, or research.