Girls’ Education in Nigeria

Ohis Samson Amu
Posted June 23, 2016 from Nigeria

Girl-child education is a matter of great concern to stakeholders in Nigeria. A typical Nigerian society (traditional), there exists the degenerate believe that women are second class citizens(Enjerer,1991). A woman is considered as a man’s property or pleasure object. She is also considered as a ‘baby factory’ or ‘machine’ meant for producing children. This situation has resulted in unfair treatment of women especially with regards to education.

The average rural Nigerian parent would rather invest in the education of the son rather than the daughter (Ada, 1992). Enejere (1991) further averts that gender inequality in Nigeria is promoted by religious and communal customs.

Today, the girl child education is becoming a major part of discourses in academic and political spheres every stakeholder are always bringing up issues relating to girl-child education to the public’s attention. People everywhere-mostly women are watching the debate unfurl with keen interest. Will there ever be a day in Nigeria where the girl child will be as privileged as the boy child in respect to the freedom to pursue their academic aspirations? I can’t tell!

Truthfully, the answers to these questions are best kept inside because while we keep advocating for free and compulsory education for the Nigeria girl child irrespective of tribe or religion, some people kick against the idea and their reason seem sane. In this article, were are going to discuss the important of the girl-child education.

The Nigerian constitution clearly stipulates that every child, boy or girl, has the right to education. it also stipulate a free and compulsory education for children between the ages 6 through 15 years. Nevertheless, we are aware in 2008, approximately 10.1 million children were out-of-school in the basic education system. This excludes the number of those that were out of secondary school in the same year.

Despite being one of the leading economies in Africa Nigeria has more girls out of school than any other country. Girls complete an average 6.7 years of schooling compared with an overall average of 7.85 years. The poorest girls only complete an average of 11 years (CSACEFA). In 2015, 32% of 15-23 year-old girls lacked basic literacy skills compared with 23% of boys the same age.

Girls’ education is one most effective ways for ending poverty in developing countries like Nigeria. The benefits of their education are seen by individuals, families, and the society. These gains includes reducing the number of babies women have; Lowering infant and child mortality rates; Lower maternal mortality rates; Protecting against HIV/AIDS infection; Increased number of women with jobs and higher earnings; Benefits the last many generations.

Cases of early marriages and teenage pregnancy can be averted because of girl-child education. instead of a girl getting married before age 20 and often suffering abuse by her husband, girls who are educated are more likely to have a say in who they marry. Girls who attend school also are able to use more effective methods of family planning and therefore have fewer and healthier babies. An educated girl and woman will have learned about HIV/AIDS and many different ways to protect herself from getting the disease. Every year of schooling helps a girl make better decisions for her and her family.

Educated women often have healthier families. These women are more likely to seek medical attention from clinics or doctors because the can read, literate women can understand a doctor’s detailed instructions and follow up for help if needed. These women also can read nutritional labels and provide their family healthy meals that promotes growth and lower cholesterol. Education also teaches young girls the importance of keeping herself and her house clean and safe.

As their families are healthier, so is the mother. She is less likely to be a young mother since she stayed in school and will have better spaced pregnancies that are healthy for her body. Education is important; the World Bank determined that each year of school prevents two (2) maternal deaths out of 1000 women each year!

According to the Nigerian Universal Basic Education Act, every child should receive nine years of free education. but Act does not cover the final three years of secondary education (High School) students need to thrive- and build a better future for their families, communities, and country.

Furthermore, indirect cost and unofficial fees keep many girls from completing the first nine years of school, making a costly secondary education even more unattainable. The Nigerian government has endorsed Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on Education to ensure all girls and boys complete free equitable and quality primary and secondary education by 2030. if the promise of the SDG’s is to be realized drastic and sustained action is needed to tackle the largest national out-of-school population in the world.

Empowering Women for Excellence Initiative (EWEI) in collaboration with the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA) and Center for Girls’ Education (CGE) are advocating for the following policy changes and funding increases in Nigeria in order for the country to meet SDG 4. EWEI recently conducted a survey on the enrollment, retention, and completion of the girl-child education with over 12 secondary to also meet the sustainable development goal 4 on education to advocate for the following:

Expand the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) mandate to include 12 years of free, safe and quality education with special attention to target most marginalized girls Remove hidden cost in education in line with the Universal Basic Education Act. Allocate at least 20% of the national budget and 6% of GDP to education Adopt and enforce the ChildRightsAct to end early and forced marriage on at all levels, local, state and national. Create safe teaching and learningenvironmentforgirls, especially in the North East zone.

In conclusion, if Nigeria were to give all girls a full 12 years of school, the outcomes would include; economic growth, improved health, knowledge of HIV/STDs, and fewer child marriage. Therefore it is a call for action to all stakeholders in Nigeria to advocate for 12 years free and compulsory education for the girl-child.

This story was submitted in response to Share On Any Topic.

Comments 8

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Julie Collura
Jun 29, 2016
Jun 29, 2016

Dear Ohizzy,

Thank you for writing this piece and for being an ally in the fight for girls' education. I believe the day will come for Nigeria, and the rest of the world, when girls and boys have equal access to good education. Keep up the good fight.

Julie

Ohis Samson Amu
Jul 01, 2016
Jul 01, 2016

Dear Julie,

Thanks for the comment the girl-child education is a major concern in Nigeria mostly in the Northern part where I currently reside and also work. In the North they believe that if a girl is trained and educated when she is married it's her husband and entire family that will benefit and not her own family. Therefore, she is giving out for marriage at a tender age ranging from 12-15, early marriage and making her a baby factor machine and also contacting Vesico vaginal fistula (VVF).

There is a high percentage of young girls forced into early marriage and this is a major concern because is in the Northern part of Nigeria you get more cases of VVF.

I hope and believe one day the Girl-Child will be given equal opportunity and a voice of her own. 

You can also share and support our work via our Social media platforms or visit our website and subscribe for our online Newsletter. please like our page and follow us on twitter to be a voice for the Girl-Child

www.eweing.org.

www.facebook.com/ewei.enligthenment/

https://twitter.com/EWEI1

Cheers

bridggyella
Jun 30, 2016
Jun 30, 2016

Hello Ohizzy,

Well written post. You have touched basically all aspect that affects the Girl child Education. Education is key to both boys and girls.More and more voices are coming up for such campaigns. I believe some day if not soon girls will have access to good and quality education in the world

I share in this and i thank you for posting.

Cheers!

Ohis Samson Amu
Jul 01, 2016
Jul 01, 2016

Dear Briddggyella Thanks for the comment the girl-child education is a major concern in Nigeria mostly in the Northern part where I currently reside and also work. In the North they believe that if a girl is trained and educated when she is married it's her husband and entire family that will benefit and not her own family. Therefore, she is giving out for marriage at a tender age ranging from 12-15, early marriage and making her a baby factor machine and also contacting Vesico vaginal fistula (VVF). There is a high percentage of young girls forced into early marriage and this is a major concern because is in the Northern part of Nigeria you get more cases of VVF. I hope and believe one day the Girl-Child will be given equal opportunity and a voice of her own.

You can also share and support our work via our Social media platforms or visit our website and subscribe for our online Newsletter. please like our page and follow us on twitter to be a voice for the Girl-Child

www.eweing.org.

www.facebook.com/ewei.enligthenment/

https://twitter.com/EWEI1

Katalina
Jun 30, 2016
Jun 30, 2016

This is an excellent goal!  I commend you for working on helping Nigerian women to be educated!  Education is the key to a much better life.  May God bless you for your work in Nigeria.  I grew up in Congo and have a strong heart for Africa and it's women.  All the Best, Kathi

Ohis Samson Amu
Jul 01, 2016
Jul 01, 2016

Hello Kathi

Thanks for the comment the girl-child education is a major concern in Nigeria mostly in the Northern part where I currently reside and also work. In the North they believe that if a girl is trained and educated when she is married it's her husband and entire family that will benefit and not her own family. Therefore, she is giving out for marriage at a tender age ranging from 12-15, early marriage and making her a baby factor machine and also contacting Vesico vaginal fistula (VVF). There is a high percentage of young girls forced into early marriage and this is a major concern because is in the Northern part of Nigeria you get more cases of VVF. I hope and believe one day the Girl-Child will be given equal opportunity and a voice of her own.

I am happy that you have a strong connection and love for Africa

You can also share and support our work via our Social media platforms or visit our website and subscribe for our online Newsletter. please like our page and follow us on twitter to be a voice for the Girl-Child

www.eweing.org.

www.facebook.com/ewei.enligthenment/

https://twitter.com/EWEI1

Stelz
Jul 03, 2016
Jul 03, 2016

Dear Ohizzy,

Thank you for sharing this well researched article and how nice to hear it come from a man! if only many more men could add their voices to the case of gender imbalance then i will say success for us women is on the horizon.

You know my brother discrimation against women is not only in Nigeria it is global issue. I have just finished reading a post from an 82 year old woman in America lobbying for most of her life for the equal right amendment (ERA) to be added to the american constitution. 

I always say this in most of my writeups being a firm beliver of women education that "when you educate a man you educate and individual but when you educate a woman you educate a nation". This you have hit the nail right on the head  when you say that educated women have the tendencies to raise heathier familes etc. 

Please keep up the good work invite more men to join your course for the education of the girl child and slowly but surely eventually we will succeed 

Cheers

Ohis Samson Amu
Jul 12, 2016
Jul 12, 2016

Dear Stelz,

Trust you are ok and doing well. Thank you for commenting and i strongly believe one day men will give women the benefit to showcase their potentials and men show not see women as competitors rather as help mate........ we all are from women and without them the world is not complete