The Importance Of Girl-Child Education For National Growth And Development Of A Nation

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INTRODUCTION

 

Education can be defined as a process of teaching, training and learning, to improve knowledge and develop skills according to the advanced learner’s dictionary. Education is the most important instrument of change in any society. Any fundamental change in the intellectual and social outlook of any society has to be preceded by an educational revolutions. Education as an instrument of change has a democratizing force, cutting across the barriers of caste and class, smoothing out inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances.

May I inform you that the present 21st century is a century of knowledge and skill acquisition development where your output is determined by your input, that is, what you know. The popular saying  that TRAIN A WOMAN, BUILD A NATION”. The knowledge a girl-child acquired gives her an edge over others who may be less knowledgeable. It stands her out and presents her a problem solver. This is because when it comes to finding solution to the challenges of developing the society, she will be the first to be called upon in otherwords, the quantity and quality of what you know are fundamental determinants of how relevant and useful you will be to yourself, first and foremost and to the society as a whole.

 

WHO IS A GIRL-CHILD? AND OF WHAT IMPOTANCE IS HER EDUCATION TO THE NATION

The girl-child can be described as a potential mother, woman, mentor, character moulder, nation builder of tomorrow. Girl-child education is very important in the development of the society as well as the nation at large. It is the door to the National development.

In recent times, a lot has been done to, enhance the girl-child enrolment participation and completion in education by various stakeholders in education. One of the early interventions geared towards the enrolment of the girl-child education was the declaration in the Western Region of Nigeria in 1964. This declaration motivated parents who ordinarily would not have sent their girl-child to school (since it was free). Data revealed that about 3,000 girls enrolled in basic school in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, that year. The Universal Primary Education launched by the Shehu Shagari’s government (1979-1983) also enhanced the enrolment of the girl-child in education. The administration also introduced in every state an all-girl unity school to increase the girl-child enrolment in education. In 2000. The Olusegun Obasanjo’s government of UBE act ensure orderly development of basic education in Nigeria as well as ensure that all children of school age” are enrolled, attend school and complete basic education as appropriate: thus entrenching broad access equal opportunities, and quality education for the Nigeria girl-child.

The vision, goals and objectives underlying fundamentals human rights as written in chapter 4 of the constitution Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and National Policy on Gender in Basic Education centers on equality, equal, justice, fairness, maximizing of full potential of all and guaranteeing equal access to political, educational, social, economic and wealth creation opportunities. The above should be devoid of everything relating to discriminating irrespective of gender, physical condition status of parents, religious and cultural/tribal inclinations.

The Millennium Development Goals of 20:2015 and 20:2020 acknowledged the indisputable role of women which is in line with the maxim as pointed below. When you educate a man, you educate a person, but educate a woman and you educate a complete family. This is because the education of every child starts from the family and the mother is the first teacher.

WHY SHOULD THE GIRL-CHILD BE EDUCATED?

There are so many reasons why a girl-child should be educated:-

  • To acquire knowledge and skills needed to advance her status and to be good wife and mother in future.
  • To actualize the full potentialities endowed on her. Examples of those women that have actualized their potential are Professor. Dora Akunyili, Dr. Ngozi, Okonjo-Iweala, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, Diezani Alison Madueke, Stella Oduah, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai etc.
  • It will also make her to think rationally, question and judge rightly and independently.
  • To be economically independent
  • Plan and execute certain programmes
  • Educational mothers would promote education without discriminating and that they will respect the right of every child by not sending her children to school only and leaving other children to be hawking during school hours.

It is on this basis of the above premise that the issue of girl-child education becomes crucial.

FACTORS THAT HINDER THE IMPLEMENTATION OF GIRL-CHILD EDUCATION IN THE SOCIETY:-

The vision and goals of a girl-child education could not be fully achieved because of some violence against girl-child in all fields of human endeavors. These violence affect the girl child negatively, educationally, socially, and otherwise. They face different types of violence within and outside the confines of schools, homes, society and nation at large. These are some of the forms of violence they faced.

  • Bullying, gangsterism, beating, extortion, corporal punishment, verbal abuse, intimidation, etc. these ones are mostly applicable in the schools.

In the homes/families and at the large society, other serious forms of violence abound ( to exist in very large numbers ) and emphasis should be given to some such as:-\

  • Early marriage/teenage pregnancy
  • Rape/sexual harassment
  • Child labour
  • Prostitution
  • Cultural beliefs etc.
  •  
  1. EARLY MARRIAGE/TEENAGE PREGNANCY are forms of violence prevalent in our society of today partly because of ignorance on the part of parents who give their teenagers out in marriage early and the quest for materialism on the part of the teenagers who are either lured into having premarital sex because of greed.

The rate of teenage pregnancy is becoming alarming in recent times. On Friday 5th April 2013, it was published in daily sun News paper that 32 pregnant teenagers were arrested in Abia baby factory by the men of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). On a similar note, sixteen pregnant young ladies were rescued and paraded by the state security service (SSS) in Abia state. ( Sun Newspaper, june 20th, 2013). The 32 teenagers and 16 young ladies were mostly under aged. Some of them have gone to the homes to deliver and sell their babies after delivery and probably go back either to the schools or to their parents’ houses. Among them were the kidnapped victims kept to be impregnated by the males hired to impregnate the teenagers after which their babies should be sold to prospective buyers. Recent record in Abuja on Monday 8th July, 2013 from the National Population Commission (NPC) said that 50,000 teenagers die yearly due to early pregnancies.

According to world health organization, (WHO), about 16 million girls aged between 15 and 19 and two million girls under the age of 15, give birth every year (Daily Sun 9/7/2013).

  1. (RAPE: - Rape means to force someone to have sex, especially by acting violence that is becoming like a daily way of life in most places. Rape is one terrible crime against humanity that is occurring everywhere around us, in the homes, schools, offices, churches, markets, forma (Sun Newspaper 9/7/13) Recently, rape had taken a more serious dimension in form of gang-rape where the rapist have sex with the victims in turn thereby traumatizing the victims the more. This is common among the cultists (Sun Newspaper 9/7/13 page 58)

THE QUESTION TO ANSWER IS WHO ARE THE PERPETRATORS OF THIS CRIME?

It is shocking and terrifying to note that fathers rape their daughters, brothers and their sisters, pastors their lay faithful, and masters their maids. Not only men rape, women also rape boys”.

(Daily Sun 9/7/13). Teachers are also not left out as perpetrators. To buttress this point, there were many published instances to support this, one of such cases was the one of school school proprietor aged 40 that raped his 11 year old pupil in Ekiti (Daily sun June, 2013 page 13)

  1. CHILD LABOUR: - Child labor is another form of violence that is eating deep into the values and norms of the society. Child labor takes various forms. It can be in form of domestic servitude, forced labor, forced slavery, hawking, sexual harassment, prostitution etc. The victims are either deceived or recruited with the promise of giving them new leave of life only to be lured into various forms of unimaginable and unacceptable way of life.

The National Agency for the prohibition of Traffic in persons and other related matters (NAPTIP) with the Child Right Activists are not relenting in their efforts to curb child labor. Recent survey that about 75% of kid hawkers and child slaved are from south- East (Daily Sun September 14, 2012, page 17)

  1. PROSTITUTION:- Prostitution is another form of violence against girl-child. Survey had shown that most teenager who are into prostitution were lured into sex market by their aunties, uncles and guardians who had recruited them from their homes and took them to towns in search of greener pastures. Minimal percentage of the teenagers engage in prostitution out of their volition because of poverty, peer influence or parental disposition.

 

  1. CULTURAL BELIEFS: - the girl-child is not spared when it comes to violence inclined to dome of the obnoxious cultural beliefs of most communities. In some cultures, they believed that the girl-child should experience her first menstrual period in her husband’s house. Some cultures believed in genital mutilation of the female clitoris so that the girl should not be promiscuous. Hence, the reason for high rate of mortality of teenage mothers and the problem of V.V.F. (Vesico Vaginal fistula)

 

FACTORS THAT PROMOTE GIRL-CHILD EDUCATION, PREVENTIVE MEASURES AGAINST VIOLENCE

  • Say shun to pre-marital sex because through sex you can contract all sorts of STDS like HIV/AIDS or become pregnant which you may want to abort and die in the course of ABORTION
  • Shun every form of indecent dressing embrace decency as your watchword in dressing.
  • Speaking out: when abused (i.e) report the perpetrator to the appropriate source, (counselors, principals, parents) so that he will be punished.
  • Do not accept or honor invitation without the consent of your elder siblings or parents.
  • Do not be desperate for anything rather be contented with the little your parents can afford.
  • Be very cautious in interacting with your facebook friends, always remember the case of Cynthia with her 1038 face book friends. Cynthia was raped and tortured to death.
  • Do not make yourself vulnerable to the human traffickers, kidnappers, rapists cultists etc.
  • Always be focused, purposeful, goal oriented and refuse to drop out of school.
  • Always walk in twos and where possible avoid lonely places.
  • Imbibe proper etiquette. Learn the simple rules that make or mar a woman, I am sorry, thank you, please, forgive me etc

Conclusion be mindful of the friends you keep because when you surround yourself with the wrong kind of people, just one evil suggestion can corrupt can corrupt your heart and jeopardize your future.

Do not hang around with people of questionable morals or ideal. Learn to identify foolishness from afar and take it in the opposite direction. Equally, learn to come closer to God always so that, He will give you His divine wisdom, guidance and protection.

 

Author info: 
Obasi N.F (Mrs), Guidance and Counselling Unit
Category: 
Staff

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