AN ASSESSMENT OF PARENTS’ ATTITUDES TOWARDS FEMALE-CHILD EDUCATION IN IDANRE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA.
The study investigated the attitudes of parents’ towards female-child education in Idanre local government area of Ondo State. The population of the study consists of all the school principals and secondary school students in the area. The instrument used in collecting data was questionnaire. Four Null hypotheses were postulated and tested using percentages and standard deviation as descriptive and t-test as inferential statistics to test the opinions of the respondents. From the findings of this study, three hypotheses were rejected while one was accepted. It was however discovered that preference of male over female education is common in the society and poverty is a major factor in terminating female-child education in Ondo State. In addition, it was discovered that government participation is still inadequate to facilitate change in the area. On these bases, the researcher recommends the urgent intervention of government to implement the laws governing girl-child education so as to enhance and change the negligence of female-child education as provisioned in national policy on and provide equal access to education.
1.1 Background to the Study
Female education is a catch-all term of a complex set of issues and debates surrounding education (primary education, secondary education, tertiary education, and health education in particular) for girls and women. It includes areas of gender equality and access to education, and its connection to the alleviation of poverty. Also involved are the issues of single-sex education and religious education in that the division of education along gender lines as well as religious teachings on education have been traditionally dominant and are still highly relevant in contemporary discussions of educating females as a global consideration. In the field of education, it has been shown that girls’ and women under-representation in science, engineering and mathematics education is deep rooted.
According to the World Conference on Education For All (EFA) held in Jomtien , Thailand in 1990, cited in Baikie (2010) made a declaration on the education of women and girls to the effect that all nation ; should ensure access to basic education for girls and improve the quality of education for girls and women. The forum enjoined all nations to remove all obstacles that impede the active participation of girls and women in education. In Nigeria today, the need and relevance of girl child education cannot be overemphasized. A survey by the Natioanal Population Commission (NPC) 2015 reveals that women constitute about 59% of the population in the country. By implication, this means that women are not a negligible, few that can be discarded with a wave of the hand.
However, in spite of the Jomtien Conference Declaration of 1990 and subsequent Conference in the promotion of girl child education, there is still low-level educational attainment by women in some parts of the country most especially the Northern region, and there exists glaring inequality of educational opportunities between boys and girls in the area. Therefore, in the Southern part of Nigeria, female and woman education have receive a boost immediately after amalgation of the three protectorate in 1914.
Indeed, girls and women stand out clearly as an educationally did not serve a disadvantaged women in the area, most especially in the urban area. Uttilti (2009) maintains that girls and women constitute over 59 percent of Nigeria’s population. Ironically, however, 61% percent of the total female population is illiterates as against the 37.7 percent illiterate male population (UNICEF, 2009) in some part of the Nigeria. These statistics on the girl child education have given rise to serious concern on the state of the girl – child education in Nigeria in the rural areas. Since it is universally accepted that the social and technological advancement of a nation is to a large extent, dependent upon the educational development of its men and women folk, it is imperative for all stakeholders in education to urgently and seriously address the issue of girl child education in the 21st century. This is because, in a fast developing country like Nigeria, the present status of the girl-child education cannot be ignored in view of the strong opinion that to educate a woman means to educate a family disability and indeed a strengthen national prosperity.
The girl-child education has been a burning and continues issue in the developing countries of which Nigeria is one. The female-child education can be compared to a coin which has two sides. This is because in the Northern part of Nigeria, the girl-child is not encouraged to go to school, whereas in the Southern part of the country, reverse is the case. But culturally women are confined to their traditional roles with lots of sanctions imposed on them either by custom, norms or religion.
It has been revealed by scholars like Seweje (2000), Aishat (2003) and Adu (2008) that the female-child education has suffered a lot in the society as cited by Mohammed (2008). This has been the case since independence in 1960. However, in the sixties, the situation was really break because out of 10 school children that went to school beyond primary 4, only one as a girl. Missionary activities started in certain parts of northern Nigeria before the turn of the century. Baikie (2010) observed that Christian Missionary Society founded a settlement at Lokoja. A school was opened the same year and instruction was given in Hausa and Nupe languages right from the beginning. The female-child education in Ondo state Idanre Local government in particular has been lagging behind all this while in terms of education one can wonder why the situation should persist like this in respects of the light of the clear provisions in National Policy on Education that education is a right for every Nigerian Child. The National Policy on Education (2004) also has as its 5th objective as the building of a “bright land full opportunities for all individual” (Mohammed, 2008).
Thus, The National Philosophy of Education (2004) is based on “the integration of the individual into a sound and effective citizen and to provide equal educational opportunities for all citizens of the Nation at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, both inside and outside the formal system”. The global trends have also shown that Education of female -child is input like the:
- Universal Declaration in Tehran in 1968 on Human Rights which stresses education as a right of every individual irrespective of sex.
- The 1960 United Nations Article 10 of the Convention Against Women (CEDAW) has a major aim of promoting gender equality in education.
The above not withstanding however, shows the reality on the ground in Ondo state and Nigeria as a whole, that there is the presence of discrimination against girl-child in the access to basic education. If this trend continues in Ondo State, the developmental growth of the area would be hampered.
This is contrary to the Northern region which is so much dominated by the Hausas who have no interest in education. The female-child was not only denied formal education, but also the Christian education. The few girls that attempted school during Western education after the amalgamation in 1914 did that under duress. Therefore, most of the girls grew up believing that life begins with working on cocoa plantation, hawking and ends up in early marriage. While the boys received rigorous training both in formal and informal education such as farming, hunting and animal husbandry under the instruction of their fathers, the girl-child was undergoing training at home under the supervision of their mothers, they were taught how to take care of children, prepare food, make clothes, and wash utensils and general cleanliness of their surroundings. Apart from this task, the girls had to assist their mothers in different trades and were finally prepared for their future roles as brides. The problems of the lack of girl-child education emanates from the root of:
- The culture of the of the people
- Weak father figures and ignorant mothers who knew no better
- Early marriage
There are regional disparities in the level of girl-child access to basic education. A recent survey by the Institute for Gender Equality (2014) shows that a number of female-children had no formal education in post primary schools in Nigeria, and some parts of Ondo State because of the influence of their parents. The main observation of the parents in the area is that parents believed that female education is unnecessary as female child will carry the benefits to the husband house after the marriage. It is important to note that parents in Ondo State believe that female child can get pregnant at any-time, that will stop them from being used by the parents for farm work.
Therefore, despite the introduction of free education by the Western region government in 1955, which majority of the parents and the female child happen to be benefiaries, some parents in Ondo state still declined the opportunity given to them by the government at the regional level. The main objective of the restriction of parents towards the female child child education is that they were being afraid of the inability of the female child to be available for cocoa plantation. The enrolment of children to primary, secondary, technical and tertiary institutions as upheld by Oleribe (2002) also discriminate against female gender.
Therefore, male enrolment is more than female in all levels of education. Out of the primary schools enrolment indicated an imbalance ratio as only of 41% were girl- child and many ended up not going for secondary education. In all parts, the girls lag behind boys in access to education in past because of the altitude of the parents. It is important to note that despite the progress made towards girl-child education in the developed and some parts of the world, years of neglect have left very high illiteracy rates for female-child in many developing countries of the world. Girls who are to remain in school up to higher institutions have not yet been able to and the situation rose because parents are not encouraging girl to be educated.
The situation in the Southern Nigeria as regards the girls in Ondo State and Idanre local government in particular who were of school age and have completed primary education parade the street hawking items in other to prepare for early marriage. Even though there are educated girls in Ondo State, the number can be much higher if adequate attention is given to eradicate the problem. It is against this background that the study was conceived to investigate the effect parent altitude on girl’s education in Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
This research is basically on the assessment of parent’s attitudes towards female-child education in Ondo State with emphasis on Idanre local government. It quite understands that education is the bedrock of every society and it requires to be given to all without considering the gender aspects. The problem of girl-child education is not a regional, state, National or continent but a global issue of concerned. Education is the most viable instrument by man to conquer his environment and charted his destiny. Female-child education has been a burning and continuous issue in the developing countries of the world in which Nigeria is one. Its existing problem in Nigeria more especially in the rural areas in the southern part of the country in which Ondo state is one of the states and so it need to be clearly addressed. The problem as pointed out by Mohammed (2008) ranges from either girls of school ages hawk goods on the street as parents’ exploit them, a times, girls were engaged in early marriages, girls were used as a labour in the farm, a times as a result of poverty and financial problem where some parents cannot afford to pay school fees for their children. In other cases, the problems emancipates from the fact that some parents considers educating girl child as waste of time for the sake of gender disparity or inferiority complex.
Female child has suffered enough discrimination and is time to eradicate in equality or unequal right to education and provide equal access to education as provisioned in the National Policy on education. Parents needs to be enlighten on the importance of female -child education and to be discouraged in engaging female-child to early marriage and hawking of goods while teachers should handle girl-child with cares in school for enrolment and retention purpose in other to achieve the SDGs . It was based on the problems identified that the researcher conceived the study to investigate the parents’ attitude towards female-child education in Ondo State.
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