Background to the study
Divorce is a legal termination of valid marriage. Divorce is a recurrent event in Nigeria which has impacted more than one-third negative effects on most adolescents (Owusu-Bempah, 2014). For many adolescents, the effects of divorce can have instantaneous and long-lasting results on their educational achievement. The term ‘divorce’ came from the Latin word “Divortere” meaning to turn different ways or separate. This implies that divorce is the final termination of marital union which cancels the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolve the bonds of matrimony between the parties. This could happen after a husband and wife decide not to live together anymore and that they are no longer interested in their marriage.
Divorce is one of the many problems facing family units today. People have different views on the effect of divorce on adolescent but not a few marital scholars opine that when a couple opt for divorce, the resultant effects on them and their children are most times negative
Marriage and divorce are both common experiences among married persons. Married couples expect a healthy life and healthy marriage is good for couple’s mental and physical health. It is also good for adolescents; adolescents grow up to be mentally, physically, educationally and socially balanced. However, divorce often shatters the peace and harmony in the family. About 30 to 40 percent of married couples in Nigeria divorce (Modesty, 2014). Divorce is typically a painful process for all concerned. It takes time for parties involved to regain psychological equilibrium. While the adults may regain themselves psychologically,adolescents may continue to suffer one form of maladjustment or the other. In addition to directly harming the kids, it is a sure indicator that the emotional split is incomplete. Like every major life change, divorce is stressfully affecting finances, living arrangements, household jobs, schedules and more.
In Nigeria, divorce rate has been rising since the beginning of the 20th century, and especially since 1980s. Some experts contend that the availability of divorce laws has helped weaken the strength of marriage making it difficult for couples to work out the inevitable difficulties that arise in marriage ( Edinyang, 2012).
Thus secondary education of an adolescent which is a process of facilitating learning, knowledge, skills, values and beliefs throughout the period of learning is being affected(Dewey & John , 2013) as both parents get divorced. Problems associated with divorce, such as lack of adequate parental care and concern for the adolescent is one of the great effects of divorce on an adolescent since the adolescent at early age needs parental care to be able to adjust to the educational environment and to be able to cope with academics. In the absence of this care, the adolescent’s secondary education may be affected and he or she stands the chance of performing poorly in academics due to lack of parental care. Adequate guidance from the parents who often time may be in the position of helping the adolescent in their studies at home is very necessary for the adolescent’s learning but divorce hampers this care. It is on this note that this study tends to investigate the impact of divorce on academic performance of students in secondary school in Awka Educational zone.
Statement of the Problem
Divorce is a common phenomenon which has attracted global attention. Government and non- governmental organizations have played vital roles in the elimination of this menace because of the psychological and social problems which make an adolescent to exhibit strange and unguided behaviours.
The emotional aspect of divorce which affects secondary school students mostly include the feelings of anxiety, depression, decline in academic achievement, poor school attendance, loss of confidence, and disorganization. Knowing human developmental stages, emotional needs during separation and divorce, and strategies to support children who are dealing with feelings pertaining to divorce are factors of concern in a family life. Another problem of divorce as documented by Hargreaves (2013) is behavioural issues and emotional problems exhibited by adolescents proceeding their parents’ separation or divorce. According to Hargreaves adolescents may frequently feel angry, bitterness, apprehensive, frustrated, and even guilty on the advent of divorce event. Adolescents may respond to these major changes by becoming more moody or temperamental. On the other hand, other adolescents may react by becoming rebellious or by acting violently towards peers, siblings, or adults. Due to this backdrop caused by parental divorce, this study therefore investigate the impact of divorce on academic performance of students in secondary school in Awka Educational zone.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to ascertain the impact of parental divorce on academic performance of students in secondary school in Awka Educational zone. Specifically, the study ascertained the following.
- implication of parental divorce on secondary school student general behaviour in Awka Education zone.
- impact of parental divorce on the education of secondary school student
- impact of parental divorce on social interaction behaviour of secondary school student
Significant of the Study
The findings of this study will be of benefit to the following people, parents, and adolescents of divorced family, school counsellors and teachers. The study will benefit parents as it will enable them see the need of avoiding possible problems that can lead to divorce knowing that such will affect the academic performance of their children in secondary schools and possible psychological problem which might develop in the adolescents due to the effect of parental divorce.
Secondary school students who are victims of parental divorce will also benefit from the study as it will provide ways of coping with divorce event and help them avoid possible incident in their own life time. School teachers and counsellors will benefit from the findings of the study as it will enable them to plan effectively in helping secondary school students who are from divorce homes.
The findings of this study will be of great benefit to marriage counsellors as it will help them in them cause of counselling couples who are considering divorce as an option, helping them to see the that divorce is not the best option to in marriage since such can have serious detrimental impact on their children’s wellbeing. School counsellors will further benefit from the study as the study will enable them know how to assist victimized adolescents cope with the pain of divorce and as well as enable them design programmes that will make the adolescent cope with his or her academic performance. The research findings will also serve as a source of material and references to other researchers.
Scope of the Study
The scope of this study focused on the impact of divorce on the academic performance of secondary school students in Awka educational zone.
The following research questions guided the study;
- What are the implications of parental divorce on students’ general behaviour in Awka Education zone?
- What impact does parental divorce have on the education of secondary school students?
- What impact does parental divorce have on the social interaction behaviour of secondary school students?
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