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This study analyzed the factors responsible for gender disparity in access to basic education among out of school young people in Anambra State. The major objectives were to determine the factors influencing gender disparity in drop out and non-enrolment in Universal Basic Education (UBE). It further sought to determine the gender most affected by the inhibiting factors in accessing UBE. Descriptive survey was adopted for the study. The population of the study was young people who are either employees or apprentice in the SME subsector. A sample of 278 artisans participated in the study. The major instrument of the study was questionnaire which was validated and the reliability confirmed (r=0.826). Hypotheses were tested using two sample t-tests. Factors that influenced more males to drop out of UBE were Economic and financial problems as more males (56.3%) than females (43.7%) dropped to support the family financially and more males (51.1%) than females (48.9%) dropped because of parents’ poverty. Cost of schooling also influenced more males (52.5%) than females (47.5%) to drop out of UBE. Other factors relate to life style and choice problem as more males (59.2%) than female (40.8%) dropped as a result of personal decision, males(52.7%) and (47,3%) as result of peer influence and males (55.7%) and females (44.7%) because trade of interest did not require much education. Factors influencing disparity in enrolment were financial problems and parental influence as more males (54.2%) than female (45.8%) indicated that they were not enrolled because the parents could not give them the opportunity. Results of the hypotheses show that inhibiting factors indeed influenced more males than females (2.31 > 1.96; P-value 0.033<0.05) for drop out of UBE; and more males than females (2.63 > 1.96; P-value 0.0015<0.05) in non-enrolment. It was therefore concluded that the factors responsible for gender disparity in access to education due to drop out and non-enrolment influenced more males than females in Anambra State.
1.1 Background of Study
Education equips individuals with requisite knowledge and skills needed to help them realize their full potentials and to protect them from harms of ignorance, diseases and poverty. It is a fundamental human right. It is also one of the most powerful ways to lift people out of poverty and ensure gender equality. To harness the benefits of education, it is important that the society ensures that all children (male and female) have equal access to a rights-based, quality education (World Bank, 2008).
According to Etuk, Ering and Ajake, (2012) The place of education in national development cannot be overstressed. Its importance is stressed in the opening statement of the National policy of education (2004) where it is maintained that “education in Nigeria is an instrument ‘par excellence’ for effecting national development” In other words, education is not just a medium of knowledge and skill acquisition, it is also a tool for nation building.
Section 18 of the 1999 Federal Republic of Nigeria constitution dealing with the fundamental principles of state policy, reflects the nation’s commitments to equality of all, irrespective of race, sex or gender; while the National policy of Education (2004) stipulates that every Nigerian child should have the right to equal educational opportunities.
After independence in 1960, the federal government initiated several policies and programs to increase access to education. The first major initiative was the launching of a nationwide Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme in September 1976 to provide tuition-free and universal education to primary school students. The outcome was increase in the enrolment of children in primary school from 4.4 million in 1974 to 13.8 million in 1981 (National Population Commission, & RTI international,2011).This growth in enrollment at the primary level had also been accompanied by expansion of enrolment at the secondary and tertiary levels as well as increases in the number of institutions at all levels of education (Csapo, 1983).
The increase in enrolment at all levels of educational institutions came along with some imbalances. One prominent imbalance experienced was that of geographic imbalance as quest for education and eventual enrolments in the southern states exceeded those of the northern states by a significant margin. For instance, in 1947, the South had 538,391 students in 4,984 primary schools whereas the North had 70,962 students in 1,100 primary schools. Another critical aspect of imbalance observed in the sector was imbalance in gender enrolment with general impression that male children had greater access to education than female children.
Figure 1.1: Enrolment of male and female students in both primary and secondary schools between 1970 and 2010 in Nigeria.
Figure 1.1: Primary and Secondary Gross Enrolment Ratio in Nigeria, 1970-2010
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics
Figure 2: Primary and Secondary Gross Enrolment (%) in Nigeria, 2007- 2013
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics
In November 1999, Universal Basic Education (UBE) was launched to help boost access to education. The UBE program was primarily projected to serve as the catalyst for the scheme that was intended to revamp the UPE and improve the country’s social structure. One major feature that distinguished UBE from the UPE was the extension of the scheme to 3 years post-primary, while making primary and junior secondary education free, universal, and compulsory widely seen as requirement for nation building and socioeconomic development through education of its citizens.
Despite all the efforts of national and international governments to achieve gender parity in education by 2005 and gender equality in education by 2015, the spate of gender discrepancy and school drop-out remain a social malady observed in different nations of the world including Nigeria. The facts and figure from Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) disclosed that enrollment into primary education in developing countries has reached 91% but 57million children remain out of school, and more than half live in sub-Saharan Africa. Recent report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) shows that Nigeria has the highest number of out of school children.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The effort of the Federal Government of Nigeria towards promoting quality and equitable educational development across the nation is not in doubt. Accordingly, friendly policies and interventions were developed and implemented across the states of the nation but it is not clear whether the outputs resulting from education investments are evenly distributed. Whereas the report of gender parity index across the nation shows female gender as disadvantaged, other reports show that male gender is disadvantaged in some state and geo-political zones. For instance NDHS (2013) report on school enrolment for Anambra state shows a male-female parity index of greater than one (>1) suggesting an incidence of more girls enrollment in the zone. It is not known whether that parity index still stands.
Non-enrolment and drop out are aspects of out of school prevalence in the educational system. Since these aspects contribute significantly to defining the quality of education delivery in the state, there is a need to determine which and to what extent each of the aspects are influenced by the responsible factors. The response to this question is necessary if the issue of out of school pandemic must be controlled.
Extant literature on education development dwell more on generalizing gender parity factor (Oweh, 2012), or treating the issue of out of school without specifically uncovering the nature or factors contributing to the aspects of non enrolment and drop out in Anambra State. Empirical study involving the participation out of school persons themselves disclosing their reasons for being out of school is likely to add value to this study.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of this study was to analyze the factors responsible for gender disparity in access to Universal Basic Education in Anambra State.
The specific objectives were:
1 To determine the factors influencing gender disparity in drop-out (non-completion) of Universal Basic Education among young people in skill acquisition centers in Anambra State.
2 To determine the factors influencing gender disparity in non-enrollment into Universal Basic Education among young people in skill acquisition centers in Anambra State.
3 To determine the most affected gender by the inhibiting factors against accessing Universal Basic Education in Anambra State.
1.4 Research Questions
1 What are the factors influencing gender disparity in drop-out (non-completion) of Universal Basic Education among young people in skill acquisition centers in Anambra State.
2 What are the factors influencing gender disparity in non-enrollment into Universal Basic Education among young people in skill acquisition centers in Anambra State.
3 Which gender is most affected by the factors responsible for gender disparity due to drop out( non – completion) and non enrollment?
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