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1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education is primarily conceived as the process of imparting or assimilation of general knowledge, developing the power of logical reasoning and judgment and generally of preparing oneself intellectually for amature life. It is usually characterized by a display of good culture and learning based on some information or experience. (Hussein, 1991; Adesina 1991). Education equips a person with necessary tools for survival in our society. The national policy on education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1998) identifies the importance of education in national integration and development. It states that education is an instrument for national integration and development and that it enhances the worth and development of the individual, for each individual's sake and for the general development of the society. The issue of equal access to education for all citizens of the nation irrespective of tribe,religion or class was also emphasized in the policy statement. The policy states, "there is need for equality of education opportunities to all Nigerian children irrespective of any real or imagined disabilities each according to his or her ability" (Federal Republic of Nigeria 1998:7). Although the 1999 constitution and the National policy on education guaranteed human rights and provided for equity for all citizens in acquiring education, there seem to exist a stereotype, which has placed women far below men in education accomplishments, social status and vocational aspiration (World Bank, 1998 a&b). These attitudes were initiated in the pre-colonial days and reinforced by a colonial extension system dominated by men. In much of Africa especially in the west African sub region, the marginalization and relegation of women have continued to exclude competent female folks from the national development programmes (Awa, 1989; Rihini, 1988). According to Awa (1989) stereotypes have isolated knowledge that might have been used to formulate development policies sensitive to the needs of rural women in the society. The problems however may not be that men are unaware of the value of women's knowledge and intuition in solving problems in the society or in all fields of education, rather there is attitudinal resistance to the empowerment of women in the society. Unfortunately, there seem to exist a speculation that women respond positively to such unfair attitudinal expressions of the society, which portray denial and neglect of women. Stereotype on the part of women tends to present women as weak, incapable and unsuitable for higher education especially in the field of business education. Women in Nigeria and Africa in general are therefore seen as kitchen mistresses and babysitting machines rather than participants in higher education. The national development plan (FRN, 1998) was also not silent on equality pronouncements for both males and females but the equality has been more formal than actual. The publications of the African academy of science on gender stereotypes in education attainment and vocational aspiration reveal that girls are oriented toward marriage, motherhood and are involved in domestic activities and child bearing while their male counterparts are more exposed to much more experiences outside the home (African Academy of Science 1997). Prejudice against women includes their alleged inferiority, unstable character and unfitness to participate in higher education and a number of vocations. As a result of this development UNICEF (1992) and world Bank (1995) regrettably asserted that African women have been depersonalized and regarded as chattlels-objects of rights rather than subjects of rights.
For instance the first students enrollment into University College Ibadan- pioneer University, showed that out of 154 students admitted into the college in 1948,only six were females. In University of Nigeria, out of the 115 12 students admitted as at 1975 only 2992 were females which was roughly 20% of the total number admitted (ACU, 1996). Also a closer look at the gross enrollment in institutions of higher learning by state and gender between 1993 and 1994 showed gender inequality in general enrolment especially in sciences in favour of male. While this appalling trend continues to progress, it must be highlighted also that at no point was any deliberate or articulated effort made by the Nigerian government toward balancing gender disparity in our institutions of higher learning. In addition, government at all levels in Nigeria seems to have been silent in developing a gender conscious framework capable of diffusing gender bias and stereotyping in the society. In the same vain, researchers while exploring various aspects of gender stereotyping and deprivation have not actually considered it very necessary to explore the major causes of gender disparity in enrollment in Nigeria Universities. Much of what is known today about gender disparity in educational attainment is not based on research findings but rather on mere theoretical speculations.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
The poor trend of female enrolment into Nigerian institutions of higher learning has become an issue of serious concern to the entire society. This appalling situation suffixed with the current very poor participation of women in active labour force tend to generate the fear as to whether women are as still a part of the national development and integration. In fact it raises the doubt as to whether women do posses the required knowledge and intuition to participate in higher education or whether there are some esoteric knowledge in higher education which has limited it to the female folks. Nigeria in her national development plan (1985) and the national policy on education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1998) provided equal educational opportunities for all citizens irrespective of sex. Although the national policy on education emphasis equity irrespective of sex. In the education of her youth, the enrolment of females in Nigerian institutions of higher learning remain very unappreciable. Issues of national and demographic concern at this point are the causes of gender disparity in enrolment in Nigerian institutions of higher learning and the likely strategies for addressing gender bias in enrolment. While the government seems to be very much worried about these issues, research efforts have not been focused on the exact cause of gender disparity in enrollment in Nigerian institutions of higher learning. Considering also the fact that issues patterning to gender disparity can not be fully addressed without first identifying the major cause of disparity, researchers are challenged with the task of exploring the causes of gender disparity in Nigerian institutions of higher learning. This study, therefore, is a response to this challenge and is faced with problems of identifying the major causes of gender disparity in enrollment in Nigerian institutions of higher learning.
1.3. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine the level of gender enrollment into business education courses in colleges of education. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1. To examine the relationship between students perception and gender enrolment into business education courses in nigerian colleges of education.
2. To highlight the major causes of gender enrollment disparity in Nigerian institutions of higher learning.
3. To recommend ways of improving gender enrolment into Nigerian higher institutions.
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is level of gender enrollment into business education courses in colleges of education?
2. What is the relationship between students’ perception and gender enrolment into business education courses in Nigerian colleges of education?
3. What are the major causes of gender enrollment disparity in Nigerian institutions of higher learning?
4. What are the ways of improving gender enrolment into Nigerian higher institutions?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
Ho: There is no significant relationship between students perception and gender enrolment into business education.
Hi: There is a significant relationship between students perception and gender enrolment into business education.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study would be of immense importance to government at all levels and relevant stakeholders are it would reveal the the level of gender enrolment into business education cours4s in colleges of education. The study would also be of importance to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in the subject matter and in developing further studies.
1.7. SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to gender enrolment into business education courses in colleges of education using a case study of NCE in Lagos state.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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