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1.1   Background to the Study

More than 13 million youths, representing 7% of the population aged 15–24, are pursuing College education in Nigeria (Ayodele, 2001). For most of these youths, college represents a shift towards greater independence from home, and school settings offers an opportunity to form new friendships, as well as new subculture with divergent norms and values. While for others, school represents an opportunity to experience romantic and/or sexual relationships and experiment new ideas.

However, in today’s world, where modern technology is bringing about changes in human sexuality, there are a number of incidents that challenge permissive attitudes to thrive. This, attitude is similar to liberalism. It offers open-mindedness. Individuals who favour gradual reform, who submit to changes rather than reaction, and who demonstrate opposition to the presented ideas can be considered people with liberal thinking. Some decisions in life need the employment of liberalism, flexibility, and liberty of thoughts and be released from the bondage of restrictions to adapt to changes. However, in some areas, conservatism is required. The act of adhering to and tending to preserve the accepted societal order, specifically on sex issues, signifies conservatism. Holding on to purity before entering into holy matrimony seems unpredictable anymore nowadays.

In this modern age, sensitivity is necessary in the making of decisions. This will help the person visualise ahead of time the occurrence of events, incidences, or consequences of his or her actions. The decisions of a person come from within. However, these personal decisions sometimes need the perspective of others to consider important details before their finality. One of the important details in life that requires an extremely prudent and careful decision is whether to engage or not to engage in pre-marital sex. Since the action to be done is a big part of a person’s life in the future, Its decisiveness or certainty must be thought well and be given an intense meaning.

Teenagers are a vulnerable group when it comes to premarital sex. For their best interests, they need protection not only from the state but also from the experienced people around them. This protection may not be by means of legal action but through the clearness of their minds regarding pre-marital sex issues so that they can think well with certainty. 

Pre-marital sex is a term that is commonly overheard by teenagers. Some engage in this act in a casual way and think about its effects only after having committed such an activity. It is common knowledge that when a man and a woman engage in sexual intercourse, it is coupled with procreation. This will result in pregnancies, and for teenagers, this will be an early entrance into the world of motherhood. The only issue that is not good to think about is when one or both participants are senseless about the consequences of the acts that they have committed. Joromat, a psychology teacher from La Salle University (LSU) – Ozamiz mentioned that, by observation, some students discontinue their studies due to early pregnancies, and much worse, if this pregnancy will gain no moral and financial support from the obligated man that contributed to the early motherhood situation (personal communication, February 25, 2022).

In addition, the researchers discovered that there are a number of instances where students drop their subjects untimely, and later information was received that the reason for not coming back to school anymore is a premature pregnancy due to pre-marital sex. This fact sounds the alarm and needs sensible attention.

To better put it into perspective, it is fairly important to investigate the insights of college students as regards to premarital sex, thus this study was conducted. Throughout the world, the trend towards an increasing number of young people is reported having sex before marriage. Research indicates that as far back as 1950’s, the phenomena attracted a lot of public attention both in the United Kingdom and United States of America (Olugbenga, 2009). For example, in 1954 a study in Manchester revealed that between the years 1950-1954 more than a quarter of underage girls were reported to have had sex before the age of 19. It was also noted that the girls came from a particular background, (from broken homes or bad parental influence). Similarly, an analysis of the Demographic health Survey found that in 58.6% of the 41 countries studied, women 20 to 24 years of age were more likely than women of 40 to 44 years of age report having premarital sexual relationship. According to Ayodele (2006), the rise in premarital sexual relationship in Africa has resulted from a sexual revolution that came with western culture (Scott, 2006). Sex in traditional societies use to be regarded as sacred and limited only to adult males and females within the institution of marriage (Alo, 2008). It is unfortunate that sex before marriage in Nigeria is still frown at. A child learns through the mass media and peers unguided. Children learn the important topic of sex education in negative manners, rather than having proper sex socialization at home or in schools. According to Asuzu (2005), premarital sexual relationship is increasingly considered a modern way of testing a girl’s fertility before marriage. Similarly, Data from the 2002 survey conducted in Owerri south eastern Nigeria by centre for reproductive health indicated that by age 20, 77% of respondents had premarital sexual relationship. Even among those who abstained until at least age 22, 81% had had premarital sexual relationship by age 44. Among cohorts of women turning 15 between1964 and 2020, at least 91% had had premarital sexual relationship by age 30. Among those turning 15 between 1954 and 1963, 82% had had premarital sexual relationship by age 30, and 88% had done so by age 44.

The phenomenon has been reported as being common among Nigerian College students (Alo, 2008). Corroborating this view, Ayodele (2011), carried out a study to determine the prevalence of this phenomenon among adolescence in tertiary institution. The conclusion of the study indicates that premarital sexual relationship is highly normative behaviour among college students. A significant (85.6%) number of the respondents see nothing wrong with sex before marriage. The study also identifies cohabitation as one of the primary influence on premarital sexual relationship among students in tertiary institution. Cohabitation of opposite sex is a predisposing factor to the initiation of sexual activities. Premarital sexual relationship is not confined to teens alone, a good number of people who are not married, are also vulnerable to premarital sexual relationship. This is evidenced by the large number of unintended/unwanted pregnancies many of which get terminated in back street clinics (Alo, 2008). It is against this background that this paper seeks to ascertain the effect of premarital sexual relationship on college students in contemporary Nigerian. 

1.2   Statement of the Problem

Literature regarding the impact of pre-marital sexual relationship on academic performance of students is limited. This research seeks to fill the vacuum by examining the impact of courtship on academic performance of students. Premarital sex is a phenomenon pervading most, if not all, of the tertiary institutions in Nigeria today. The practice is so rampant to the point that it has become a usual way of campus life. Premarital sex is generally seen as an act of a young man and young woman who are not yet married having marital relationships. Observation from a cursory look at our various campuses today showed that a large number of unmarried students indulge in premarital sex which has resulted into poor academic performance and dreaded diseases while in school.

Students who engage in premarital sex most likely come in contact with deadly transmitted infections and the much dreaded HIV/AIDS disease. This practice of premarital sex has serious health issue to the female students that may indulge in the use of oral contraceptive unwanted pregnancy that may lead to truncated educational aspirations. But when pregnancy does occur, sometimes, the female student is more likely to seek abortion as a way out. This practice of seeking for abortion may lead to another problem of exposing the female students to quack doctors who are not licensed practitioners and this may result in a whole of health complications with serious negative spillover effects in the long run (Ofoegbu, 2002). However, some students may frown at abortion giving birth to unwanted babies that were not planned for and all the consequences that come with it including a threatened academic pursuit.

This is evident in the yearly result obtained by students of tertiary institutions in north central Nigeria. The dwindling performance has also resulted into half backed graduates who cannot with stand the test of time in the business world. Government policy on students’ hostel accommodation may have its good side but from the researcher’s observation, the inability of the institutions in expanding and building new hostels has forced several students to look outward for accommodation. This has led to the emergence of an unacceptable trend in most tertiary institutions.




1.3   Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine impact of pre-marital sexual relationship on academic performance of students in Federal College of Education, Pankshin. Other specific objectives of the study include:

  1. To examine the college students’ perceptions on premarital sexual relationship in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
  2. To identify the factors leading premarital sexual relationship among college students.
  3. To find out the effects of premarital sexual relationship on academic performance of college students.

1.4   Research Questions

            The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What are the college students’ perceptions on premarital sexual relationship among tertiary institutions students?
  2. What are the factors leading premarital sexual relationship among college students?
  3. What are the effects of premarital sexual relationship marital sexual relationship on academic performance of college students?

1.5. Research Hypotheses

  H0: The perception of college students’ on premarital sexual relationship is not gender dependent.

 H1:  The perception of college students’ on premarital sexual relationship is gender dependent.

1.6   Significance of the Study

Premarital sex, often known as sex before marriage, is an important topic to comprehend in today’s society, especially for teenagers and young adults, because of the effect of social media on everyone and everything. Teenage pregnancy and the birth of undesired children are both conceivable outcomes of premarital sex. Acknowledging this outcome is futile while there are still ways to prevent it from occurring.

The findings of this study will provide guidance to parents on how to better educate their children about the difficulties of premarital sex. They will also become aware of which members of their family have had the most effect on their children. Students may find the conclusions of this study to be quite beneficial. This will assist them in determining which topics linked to premarital sex they should avoid discussing. They will have a better and brighter future if they avoid doing things that would cause them to lose sight of their goals. Students’ perspectives on premarital sex will be acquainted to administrators, who will be able to create effective programmes and take appropriate steps in order to meet and assist the students in becoming more responsible to themselves and their studies.

Lecturers will benefit from this research since it will raise their knowledge of the best technique to use with their students in order for them to develop a better grasp of the issue of premarital sex in the future. As a result of this research, the college will be able to produce pupils that are more skilled and self-regulated.

Because of the findings of this study, the general public and educational administrators will have a better understanding of how students feel about courtship and its impact on premarital sexual relationships, which will serve as a guide for managing issues of premarital sexual relationship among students.

This research will also serve as a resource base for other scholars and researchers who are interested in doing more research in this subject. If the findings of this research are put into practise, they will go a long way toward providing fresh explanations for the issue.

1.7   Scope/Delimitations of the Study

This study covers impact of pre-marital sexual relationship on academic performance of students. It is restricted to Federal College of Education, Pankshin. Other variables to be covered in this research include the factors the cause pre-marital sexual relationships among the college students, the impact of pre-marital sexual relationship on academic performance of students and the college students’ perceptions on premarital sexual relationship. It will cover all various types of courtship approaches that exist in the Nigerian colleges of Education.

1.8. Operational Definitions of Terms

Pre-Marital Sex: This is a situation whereby a man and a woman who are not yet married engage in sexual activities.

Students: these are learners in higher institutions of learning.

Impact: is a result or change of something. This is as a result of the colition of two phenomena or items or events.

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