1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Marriage is one of the most important transitions in the course of an individual’s life, yet many marriages end in divorce (Huston, Caughlin, Houts, & Smith, 2010), and divorce has become epidemic in U.S. culture. According to Santrock (2014), research has indicated that children of divorce experience greater difficulty in adjustment compared to children who have not experienced a divorced family. Adjustment problems are greater when children experience multiple divorces. Such problems include, but are not limited to, academic difficulty, delinquency, anxiety, depression, decreased social responsibility, troubled relationships, and failure to finish high school, drug abuse, and earlier-than-normal sexual activity. Children of divorce also tend to display lower self-esteem (Santrock, 2014). The long-term sequel of stress related to living in a non-intact household seems less clear. The current literature lacks research regarding the impact on young adults of growing up in a non-intact household during childhood or adolescence. Pedro-Carroll (2011) suggested that living in a non-intact home may affect the transition into young adulthood. Divorce is legal dissolution of marriage bond. Once the couple decides to divorce, they are free to remarry again. In Nigeria, there has been the increase in the rate of divorce. There are two factors influencing the rising divorce rates in the Nigeria. The first factor is that both men and women are depending less on one another for economic survival. Women gain status in their work place or on their businesses, they often want to stand on their own and prefer to control their lives’ affair which enables them to be less dependent on their husbands who are the heads of household. Women who are gainfully employed and self sufficient may be more willing to dissolve a marriage because they are not perceived as a financially dependent spouse. Financial stability allows the female head of household to have more flexibility to exit a broken marriage. Secondly, when both male and female parents gain political status in the society, one seems to be superior over the other due to political stability. They seem not have chance to look after the family, especially the female ones which more likely be the victims of divorce. According to Hargreaves (2010), student's resilience in a one-parent household is believed to be a significant indication of success in other areas of their lives, including academics. Similar to a domino effect, students under emotional heartache and stress at home often have emotions that interfere with concentration during the school day. Poor school performance often agitates the parent and the dominos continue to fall as the student loses self-confidence and experiences decreased academic performance in school. Students may have a difficult time concentrating on school work from divorce-related stress occurring at home. Students may face unique challenges of completing homework assignments when organizing their homework, backpack, and paperwork between multiple homes.
1.2 STATEMENT OF 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 the adolescents to exhibit strange and unguided behaviours. For obvious reasons children see divorce as very traumatic experience. It affects them in all ramifications. Divorce impacts the adult learners’ behaviour in the school environment, peer group and even in the society at large. The family structure is altered and thus affected. Many divorces are emotional and can even draw the children into the conflict between the parents. Adolescents facing problems of family dissolution have more difficult time with academic and social expectations at schools, among peers and the society than children from conflict free families. The emotional aspect of divorce which affects adolescents includes the feelings of anxiety, depression, inferiority complex, guilt and sometimes aggression. Parental interaction has a better effect on adolescents than the divorce. In other words, the negative outcome of divorce may increase pre- existing differences in the family unit prior to the divorce itself. With a number of children in divorced homes, how has been the impact of divorce on academic performance of adult learners from divorced homes in the era of continuous lamentation of poor performance of adult learners in examinations? The researcher is, therefore, motivated to ask the question. How do social dynamics like divorce affect the academic performance of adult learners? It is against this backdrop that this research sought to determine the effects of divorce on the academic performance of adult learners.
1.2 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine effect of divorce and separation on adult learners’ academic performance. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the social challenges faced by adult learners from broken homes.
2. To examine the level of academic performance of adult learners before and after their parents divorced.
3. To examine effect of divorce and separation on academic performance of adult learners.
4. To examine the educational challenges faced by students from broken homes.
5. To examine the relationship between divorce/separation and adult learners performance.
6. To examine the coping strategies used to increase adult learners’ participation in learning programmes.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the social challenges faced by adult learners from broken homes?
2. How is the level of academic performance of adult learners before and after their parents divorced?
3. What are the effects of divorce and separation on academic performance of adult learners?
4. What are the educational challenges faced by students from broken homes?
5. What is the relationship between divorce/separation and adult learners’ performance?
6. What are the coping strategies used to increase adult learners’ participation in learning programmes?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H01: There is no effect of divorce and separation on academic performance of adult learners.
H02: There is no significant relationship between divorce/separation and adult learners’ performance.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is the view of the researchers, that the study would give possible suggestions that would help the government, and other educational stakeholders in resolving many family/marital problems in the following ways: It is the believe of the researchers that, if divorce is discouraged among Nigerians through formulation of suitable marriage policies by churches, civil society, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the various traditional authorities, it would help improve the academic performance of students. Both Nigeria Education Sector and the various religious bodies could adopt the findings to promote effective guidance and counselling and marriage counselling services in their educational institutions and churches. The study would serve as a source of information for teachers, guidance and counselling coordinators, parents, social workers and non-governmental organizations.
1.7SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the effect of divorce and separation on adult learner’s academic performance in Ovia North East L.G.A, Edo state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Adult Learner: An adult person is defined differently in different countries. For example, he / she can be defined according to age, economic status, cultural and social roles he/she plays in his her community. Therefore, an adult learner is defined as any mature individual who participate in a learning situation that will bring about changes.
Divorce: Permanent termination of a marriage (Anderson et al., 2009).
Separation: Defined as a married couple living in separate households and contemplating ending the marriage through divorce (Anderson et al., 2009).
Single Parenthood: May result from death of a spouse, divorce, separation, abandonment, or choice (Anderson et al., 2009).