FACTORS INFLUENCING GENDER INEQUALITY IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background to the Study
Education is a fundamental human right, as indicated in numerous international human rights instruments, including the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1976 International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.This right has to be enjoyed by all. However, not all have access to education as a result of inequalities existing in education.
Inequality in education is an issue of discussion as focuses most on the unequal distribution of academic resources, including but not limited to: school funding, qualified and experienced Teachers, books, and technologies to socially excluded communities (Farkas, 2006; Ferreira & Gignoux, 2014).Communities that have less opportunity in accessing academic resources do tend to be historically disadvantaged and oppressed, individuals belonging to these marginalized groups are also denied access to the schools with abundant resources. In most cases inequality leads to major differences in the educational success or efficacy of these individuals and ultimately suppresses social and economic mobility (Ferreira & Gignoux, 2014).
According to Schultz (2002) Education for girls have effects including: reduction of women fertility rate as there is direct relationship between education of women and reduction of fertility rates. Women with formal education are much more likely to use reliable family planning methods, delay marriage and child bearing, and have fewer and healthier babies than women with no formal education. It is estimated that one year of female schooling reduces fertility by 10 percent. The effect is particularly pronounced for secondary school. This study is therefore set around investigating the factors in influencing gender inequality in completion rates of secondary education in Nigeria.
Osongo (2009) defines gender inequality in education as the process that treats people (men and women) are treated unequally in access and opportunity to educational matters. In this study, the term gender inequality will be used to imply social injustices, unfairness in distribution of resources and opportunities among boys and girlsin order to acquire education.
Education instruments specify that, gender inequalities in education should be eliminated wherever they exist. Article 10 of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1979) obliges States to “take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in order to ensure to them equal rights with men in the field of education, and in particular to ensure on the basis of equality of men and women ……”(CEDAW, 1979).Over the second half of the 20th Century, and in particular during the 1960s and 1970s, Africa experienced a massive growth of enrolment at all levels of education. On average for Sub-Saharan Africa, gross enrolment rates at primary level doubled from 40% in 1960 to almost 80% in 1995 while at the secondary level they increased eightfold from 3.4% to 27% during the same period (World Bank, 1999).
The World Bank further put forward that the growth of education for females was even more impressive than for males, and led to a growth of female literacy rates which many other developing countries in South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa could not match (Sender, 1999). At primary school enrolment has increased significantly worldwide and has led to rising demand for secondary schooling. Sub-Saharan Africa’s secondary school enrolment rates have increased by 40% from 1999 to 2008, and the number of out –of-school children decreased by about 13 million between 1999 and 2009. Despite this uptake in secondary school, girls’ enrolment remains low particularly in developing countries.
Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria regardless of the efforts made to increase access to education for girls, yet the participation rate is seen to be low. In COBET also where one would say there is open chance for education, yet the participation is low. For example according to the Nigeria mainland Education for all review in 2015 the gender parity index I COBET ranged from 0.7 to 0.9, meaning that some girls remained unreached (URT, 2015). On the other hand Action Aid (2012) have indicated girls participation in secondary education to be low and that performance of girls has been declining as compared to boys. This seems that, much have not been covered in the area of inequalities, that is why participation of girls in secondary education is still low.
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