1.1 Background of the Study
Education is imparting and acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitude through teaching and learning at home from peer groups, formal organization such as schools and religious bodies for the settlement of individual concern so as to make him or her useful t himself or herself and the society. It can also be seen traditionally, as the initiation of the young and old into the value system of the society or a process of learning to learn. It is the deliberate, systematic, and sustained human effort to learn the values, attitudes, skills, and behaviours that are consistent with the values system of a given society (Thomson, 2000). Education is a tool that encourages the transformation of persons, groups and structure in a given society. It is what makes a difference between the learned and the unlearned person in the society. Regardless of the medium of its acquisition; education has the capacity to fundamentally transform individuals and the society for better performance and relevance.
According to Ningi (2012), Education developed from the human effort for survival and enlightenment. It may be formal or informal. Formal education refers to the general course of action by which human beings acquire the knowledge and skills needed to function in their culture. Formal education refers to the process by which teachers instruct students in courses of study within institutions. According to her, “the single most important key to development and poverty alleviation is education.” (pg.1). It is the disparity between a life of grinding poverty and the potential for a full and secure life.
Consequently, it is believed that all nations have to educate their citizens, male or female to achieve a significant sustainable development. As a result, there is no gainsaying that the fact that education opens doors to economic and social prosperity to a given nation, spurred by a vibrant workforce and well-informed citizens able to struggle and co-operate in the global market. Nigeria as a nation and Kaduna north local government in their need of sustainable development equally believes that meaningful development and progress can only take place in the country and the local government when its citizens are well educated and fully equipped to use their education as a means of solving the sundry and multifaceted problem facing the country and the local government. (Ningi, 2012)
If education is the single most important key to development and poverty alleviation, and a transformative tool for both individual and the society in general then every individual and society regardless of sex (gender) or status need to be educated. Nevertheless, this single most important key to development, poverty alleviation and transformative tool for the development of individuals and the society had been lopsided for ages, because the girl-child education most especially in the northern part of Nigeria has been receiving a second class attention compared to the attention given to male – child education. One single important fact about education that had been ignored and neglected in the educational sector of Kaduna North Local government is the issue of equal educational opportunities between the girl-child and her male counterpart (male-child).
The researcher is of the view that, the idea behind this inequality between the girl-child and male-child in terms of equal educational opportunity is not on the importance of education to the individual and the society but emphatically on the worth of the recipient. The issue here is not whether the girl-child is not equal with the male-child in term of status as a human being but in term of role in the society, it is not whether the society try to revere the girl-child or not. The issue is: If the girl-child is worth any educational investment by her parents and the society?
Another issue that needs understanding is how the education of the girl-child is going to contribute meaningfully to her immediate family and the society in general in a culture that is extremely male dominated in nature and practice? If education fundamentally is to increase the individual’s awareness and understanding of his environment, the question that we need to address is, why the pin down on girl-child education? If the above, is a statement of fact, what happens to the girl-child who had been denied access to the transformative tool of the individual and the society, how would she become aware and understand her environment, and if she has no understanding of her environment how can she contribute meaningfully to her immediate family and the society in general? Another question that this research needs to address is how would equal educational opportunity be achieved in an environment and culture that is predominantly male in nature and culture that believes that the girl-child is almost a disposable property or item? Doesn’t the society seem to portray the girl-child only as human at creation and less human at equal educational opportunities? As a teacher and female too one vital heart of education that is exigent for societal development is the education of the girl-child who is the future mother and mentor of the society. This unequal educational opportunity between the girl-child and the male-child is a denial of the adage that says, “Educate a man, you educate an individual, but educate a woman, you educate a nation.” The challenge of unequal educational opportunity between the girl-child and the male-child in Kaduna north local government constitutes the main thrust of this research.
As important as education is for the growth and development of the individual and society, the education of the girl-child in most of the Northern part of Nigeria and in Kaduna North Local government to be specific has been facing a lot of diverse challenges. While some fathers in Kaduna North local government argue that both male and female children are worth equal educational opportunities, other fathers sees family’s financial investment in the male-child as an investment for the future of the family, and educational investment in the girl-child as an investment into another man’s family. Those fathers who argue against equal educational opportunity between girl-child and her male counterpart questioned whether a palace guard is worth equal right with a crown prince.
The growing in-equality of educational opportunity between the girl-child and her male counterpart in Kaduna North local government is key to our economic and developmental backwardness as a local government, hence the need for high-quality consideration. The quest for equal educational opportunity between the two to a large extent is fundamental to economic liberation and individual freedom. Better understanding of the need for equal educational opportunity between them will point toward equal opportunity in politics, economy and social status among others.
Female education is considered to be one of the most important forces of economic, social, religious and political development of human society, for the basis that a well-informed mother raises smaller, healthier and superior educated family and herself more industrious at home and at work. An essential challenge that entangled the educational sector of Kaduna North Local Government is the understanding of culture, society and religion on the importance of the education of the girl-child. We come in contact with different scholars who ventured into the field of education to cast their mite on the factors militating against girl-child education. The main focus of this chapter is to convey how scholars dealt with the issue of the factors militating against girl-child education.
The rationale behind this research is to examine the factors militating against girl-child education in Kaduna North Local Government. Consequently, to bring to light the fundamental arguments against the factors militating against equal educational opportunities between girl-child and her male equal with the aim of educating the society, culture and religion on the advantage of giving the girl-child equal educational opportunity alongside her male equal. The researcher ventured to cast her mite into the treasury of educational field to give an all-encompassing perception of girl-child and equal educational opportunity.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Education is an emblem for the prediction of the future of man and his relationship with the society. Owing to the above statement, the society, culture and religion are under obligation to ensure equal educational opportunities between the girl-child and her male counterpart. This is for the purpose of giving both the girl-child and her male equal a better understanding of their worth as human beings and the worth of education as a transformative tool for the individual and the society. Unfortunately, it is not all members of the society that get equal opportunity for this emblem that predicts the future of man and his relationship with his society, (Enoh,2000)
The quest for equal educational opportunity between the girl-child and her male counterpart is a quest for gender-responsive planning, programming and budgeting that will contributes to the advancement of gender equality, equity and the fulfillment of women’s rights in education sub-sector. It entails identifying and reflecting needed interventions for addressing gender gaps in education. It is an attempt to create enabling educational policy and framework that will give the girl-child the opportunity to compete with her male counterpart in the pursuit of education.
Ultimately, imbalanced access to educational opportunity between the girl-child and her male-equal has been the key factor to preventing the girl-child socio-economic development and empowerment in the northern part of Nigeria and beyond. Hypothetically however, the stereotyped roles assigned by the colonial, cultural and religious ‘morality’ which emphasizes domestic education for the girl-child have made gender lop-sidedness, to be sustained in Nigeria thereby affecting the political and economic empowerment of the girl-child and by extension the women’s folk (Isaac, 2007).
There is no doubt that community admiration to the value of education in Kaduna north local government has been displaced, creating way to the awful condition of the girl-child education. This obstacle contributed to the poor school enrolment of the girl-child who is considered not necessarily relevant to pursue formal education in a traditional community. This research has investigated the basic factors militating against equal educational opportunities between the girl-child and her male counterpart, bearing in mind how the socio-cultural factors such as gender typecast, negative traditional beliefs, colonial policies, socio-economic, historical and religious factors affect girl-child education in Kaduna North Local Government area.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
This research work is an attempt to investigate the factors militating against girl-child education: A case study of Kaduna North Local Government Area.
1. How parents support for boy-child education affects girl-child educational opportunities.
2. Major factors responsible for un-equal opportunity in girl-child education.
3. How socio-cultural factor is used as a bases for un-equal opportunity in girl-child education.
4. How religious factor is used as a bases for un-equal opportunity in girl-child education.
5. How economic factors militate against girl-child education
6. How historical factor militate against girl-child education
7. The link between education and the girl-child in her home and the society
8. How Nigerian educational policy affects the girl-child education
9. The strategies that can be adopted to improve girl-child education.
1.4 Research Questions
Based on the background of the study and the statement of the problem, the following research questions were raised and answered in the study.
i. Do you see any significant difference between parent’s supports for boy-child education as compared to their support of the girl-child education?
ii. What would you say are the major factors responsible for this significant difference in item 1 above?
iii. What are the socio-cultural factors affecting girl-child education?
iv. What are the religious factors militating against girl-child education?
v. What are the economic factors militating against girl-child education?
vi. What are the historical factors affecting girl-child education?
vii. What would you say is the link between education and the girl-child in her home and the society?
viii. In your own assessment, what would you say about the Nigerian Educational policy vis-à-vis the problem of girl-child education?
ix. In your own opinion, what specific intervention do you think can be adopted to check the significant difference between girl- and boy child education in Kaduna North Local Government Area?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The deep-seated intention of thisresearchis to be of colossal worth to parents, society, government and the women’s folkin general to determine the impact of education on the girl-child’s socio-economic empowerment in Kaduna north local government. However, the specific objectives include:
i. To advocate to parents, government and the society to update the cultural prototype of the society and make it self-motivated so as to evict such traditions that makes it difficult for the girl-child to access education in the local government.
ii. To serve as a source of clarification to parents and guardians on the values of educating the girl-child thereby erasing the entire earlier attitude about educating the girls.
iii. To become a reference point for decision makers and educational planners to realize the socio-cultural, economic and religious factors affecting the advancement of girl-child education in Kaduna north local government.
iv. To sensitize governments and otheragencies concerned with children education in Kaduna north local government to be gender responsive and ensure gender mainstreaming in decision making and award of scholarships.
v. To save the girl-child from all discriminations, sharp practices as well as exposure to disease such as HIV/AIDS, VVF and unplanned pregnancy.
1.6 Theoretical Framework
The incorporation of compulsory girl-child components in the basic and general education curriculum in Nigeria has attracted increased attention among the policy makers of the educational sub-sector of the nation. According to Marxist perspective, within the family structure, the man is associated with affluent middle class people who are often characterized as conventional conservative, or materialistic in outlook, while the girl-child ’represent the industrial workers whose only assets is the labor they sell to an employer.He insists on the loss of freedom of the girl-childin the process. He claims that since the unpaid domestic work of the girl-child does not constitute ‘socially productive work’, only her entrance to the market-place and the socially productive work’ would secure liberation for gender equality.Fundamentally, this supposition seems insufficient to ensure real freedom for the girl-child and the women’s folk since most of their actual work is yet to be appreciated. At the formal workplace, gender equality still influences patterns of reward and promotion as a result of disparities in educational qualifications. (Isaac, 2007)
The radical feminist sees educational liberation of the girl-child as impossible in the social order fashioned by men and founded by patriarchy (Isaac, 2007). They explore the identification of the girl-child with the earth both as sustenance for humanity and as a victim of male anger; they see the educational oppression of the girl-child as the root of all other oppressions of the women’s folk, which includes, social, economic and political oppression. They focus meticulously; on the interpersonal relations through which men dominate women, starting from Plato’s fateful division of the world into spirit and matter, the analysis of how patriarchal Western philosophy and religion have used language and science to support their power over both women and nature.
The Weberian analysis of power (Isaac, 2007), this hypothesis explains that man’s state of affairs depends on his market situation, on the measure of power he has to influence the workings of the market in his favour and on the rewards his skills and capability can command in a competitive market. To actualize these, one has to have control over land, labour, or capital, as well as goods and services; he must have social status, political resources, and informational resources, moral and physical resources and all these are only attainable through education.
Putting the Marxist’s perspective, radical feminism and weberian power analysis side by side,unlike the Weberian power analysis that presented a more detailed explanation of how the girl-childliberation could be attained in any given society, the Marxist’s socially productive perspective has at the same time become more compelling due to uneven educational qualifications across gender categories.
On the other hand, while the Radical feminist emphasizes the universality of the girl-child operation, and the impracticability of her educational attainment, the prevailing educational situation in Nigeria and Kaduna north local government disproved this assertion, This research is, consequently, situated on the provisions of the Weberian power analysis because they presented a more to the point analysis of the factors that enable the sustainability of a discriminatory educational pattern in contemporary Nigeria. Significantly, the theory believes in the social reality of the girl-child empowerment as being facilitated by unrestricted accessibility to social resources, especially education which will give the girl-child room to economic, social and political involvement in her immediate society.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This research has dealt with the basic factors militating against girl-child education in Kaduna North Local Government Area, which includes; socio-cultural, socio-economic, historical and religious factors. The research is limited to Kaduna North Local Government of Kaduna state of Nigeria.
1.8Operation definition of terms
Frequent terms and phrases are explained, as applied in the study below,these include: education, girl-child, factors, inequality and militating.
Education: this represents individual involvement in formal guidance for the purpose of acquiring fundamental knowledge, skills and proficiency necessary for living and to have an immediate and strong effect on the individual and the society’s life. It is normally aimed at the development of human abilities for the benefit of the society
Girl-child: this is any female human from birth through childhood and adolescent to attainment of adulthood when she becomes a woman. She is a biological female from birth to eighteen(18) years of age; this is the age before one becomes young adult.
Factors: This is something that has authorityor influence on the outcome of something or someone.
Inequality: this occurs when one person is treated fairly than the other. It is privileging of one; while marginalizing the other.
Militating: This is something that has negative influence to prevent something or make it less likely to happen.