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1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The importance of education to human beings cannot be over emphasized. Education is a human right that should be accorded to all human beings solely by reason of being human. The relationship between education and development is well established such that education is a key index of development. It has been documented that schooling improves productivity, health and reduces negative features of life such as child labour as well as bringing about empowerment (UNESCO, 2002). This is why there has been a lot of emphasis particularly in recent times for all citizens of the world to have access to basic education. The importance and linkage of education to the development of any society is well known. It is in recognition of this importance that the international community and governments all over the world have made commitments for citizens to have access to education. Meanwhile, it has been documented that across the globe, there are inequalities in educational access and achievements as well as high levels of absolute educational deprivation especially in children (Subrahmanian, 2002). Girls constitute the largest population of illiterate children in the world till date (Otive, 2006). The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated that every person has a right to education. In realization of the importance of the girl child, concerted efforts are being mounted by the governments at various levels to improve female participation in education and redress the gender inequalities in education enrolment and retention. UNICEF’s long-term goal is for all the children to have access to complete and quality education (UNESCO, 2005). Women are over half of the world’s population, yet they do two-thirds of the world’s work, earn one-tenth of the world‘s income, and own less than one-tenth of the world’s property (UN, 2007 in Akinpelu, 2007). The following statistic shows the plights of women worldwide. The 1.3 billion people in poverty, 70 percent are women; women earn three-fourths of the income that men earn in the non-agricultural sector; women occupy only 10 percent of the parliamentary seats and only 6 percent of cabinet positions in 55 countries throughout the world; of the total burden of work, women carry an average of 53 percent in the developing countries and 51 percent in industrialized countries; of the world’s 900 million non-illiterate persons, 65 percent are women due to the lack of educational opportunities; worldwide, 76 million more boys are enrolled in primary and secondary schools than girls UNICEF (2002). In 1990, 20 percent of the world’s primary school aged children were out of school, two-third of them girls. About 25 percent of the world’s girls are not in school as at 1999 (International Food Policy Research Institute, 1999). Estimates in 2002 indicated that the number of children out of school had been brought down to about 115 million worldwide; 62 million were girls (UNICEF, 2005). While there were more children than ever in the world’s primary schools, far too many remain absent, the majority girls (UNICEF, 2005). Girls’ primary school completion rates lag, 76 percent compared with 85 percent for boys (UNICEF, 2002). The national literacy rate in Nigeria for females is only 56 percent, compared to 72 percent for males and in certain states the female literacy enrolment and achievement rates are much lower (UNICEF, 2002). Statistics indicate glaring imbalances against girls in enrolment, attendance and completion rates in all levels of education in Nigeria, particularly in the northern parts of the country, due to a variety of socio-cultural and religious factors (Otive, 2006). Magaji (2010) observed that even though education is regarded as a human right for the realization of human dignity, many factors have been found to be responsible for the low enrolment of girls into schools when compared to the enrolment of boys. Among these factors, according to her, are poverty, socio-cultural impediments, religious misinterpretation of Holy Book; societal negative attitude to women education, early marriage and gender biases. These factors, of course, impede the progress and development of women in society. It should be emphasized that education gives a good means of livelihood and sustenance to women, gives support for their economic role and development, and support the education of children. Since one’s level of education to an extent determines ones income and capacity, it is expedient therefore, that girls get education for better contribution to their families, society and world over. It is a paradox and concerned that the states with the poorest education statistics are predominantly Muslim states, whereas Islam makes education compulsory for all. In the traditional Nigerian society, there exists the degenerate believe that women are second class citizens (Bakari, 2001). A woman is considered as a man's property or pleasure object. She is also considered as a 'machine' meant for producing children. This situation has resulted in unfair treatment of women especially with regards to education. The average rural Nigerian parent would rather invest in the education of the son rather than the daughter (Tahir, 2005). Okene, Nzew & Njoku, (2008) further avers that gender inequality in Nigeria is promoted by religious and communal customs. Young girls particularly in Northern Nigeria are denied the benefit of education. This has grave consequences for both the individual and the society at large. Early marriage is common in this region and girls are often married shortly after puberty within the ages of 12 to 13years and this is the period when most are expected to transit to secondary school (Tahir, 2005). Perception of parents does not exist in a vacuum. They are often sensitized through many factors some of these factors include need satisfaction, information, group affliction, norms, values and personality (Sani, 1996). Although perception is personal, nonetheless it is an indelible mark given to an individual by his or her group. The parent perception towards girl-child education is mainly influenced by traditional and cultural beliefs regarding the ideal roles of women and girls in the society (Bakari, 2002). UNICEF, (2002) stated that when the girl-children are denied their full rights to education, it affects the society in its entirety, as no society is sure of its future when the girl-children are denied their rights to education. Funtuai Local Government Area cannot expect to prosper and hold its place in the 21st century world, since so many of these children will continue to progress to adulthood poorly educated, frustrated and bound to face uncertainties in the future. There is no gainsaying that education is the key to the advancement of girls and women. Emphasis on the need for girl-child education prompted this study. It is against this backdrop that the study was embarked upon to examine the perception of parents on the socio-cultural factors affecting girl child education in Funtua Local Government Area of Kastina State.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Education is universally recognized as playing a key role in sustainable social and economic development. Regardless of ideology underlying approaches to development, education is always cited as a priority area for attention and the investment of resources. It is widely believed that for a society to be fully developed, all its citizens must be given equal opportunity to develop the right kinds of attitudes that will lead to a sense of civic responsibility. However, it has been observed that the female child is faced with general problems of discrimination in education, work, politics and wealth (UNESCO, 1985). According to the United Nations Report of 1967, Women represent 50 percent of the World’s Adult Population and one third of the working hours and receive only one percent of the world property. The picture depicted by the United Nations Report of 1967 still holds true in Nigeria. Until recently, education in Nigeria used to be directed to the male child only especially in the northern part of the country where many parents are still unaware of the values of western education. Such parents regard western education with suspicion. They see it as suitable for socio-economic development of the community and not for spiritual and moral training which is paramount in their minds (Ozigi and Ocho, 1981). Furthermore, the education of female child is less valued by parents because more financial help is expected from the male child than female child (Dubey, Edem & Thakur, 1984). In addition, Williams (1986) and Ndahi (1987) found that parents believe a female child belongs to her husband’s family together with whatever belongs to her, and since a female child will eventually get married whether she is educated or not, there is no point wasting money on her education. A Nigerian female child deserves every encouragement to pursue education so that she can enjoy the provisions of education for mankind for her own personal development and for the development of the nation. As the saying goes “Train a man, you train a soul or just an individual but train a woman you train a nation”. Girls are mothers of the next generation therefore; they require the best education for the best foundation of the future generation to sustain our civilization. Education of girls and women is considered an important investment, despite the precarious economic contexts within which many developing countries have to provide for education. Not only does education have a significant multiplier effect, given the responsibility of women for socializing the next generation, it also enhances the potential of women for contributing to the social, economic and political aspects of national development (Educating our Future 1996). According to UNICEF (2005) Nigeria is among the West African Countries that have highest number of girls that were out of school. UNICEF added that even greater majority of those who get opportunity of education do not reach the fifth grade. Today, by UNICEF standards, Nigeria has not been assessed to have fared well enough in terms of the social indicators of education, health, and welfare as determinants of the overall indices of child development (UNICEF, 2005). Factors affecting girls education are cost of education, religious misconception, illiteracy, school environment and the cultural believes or norms of the people amongst others. Apart from the aforementioned factors, the size of the family’s income and the size of the family will have a considerable influence in the direction of decision, to allow boys attend western education instead of the girls (Asare, 2009). Traditionally, the primary roles of women were those of wives and mothers (Kenneth, 2003). Women were thus seen as nurturers and mainly providing support for men who worked to provide for the family. Bakari (2001) informed that women were perceived physically weaker, less capable and requiring the protection and guidance of men. These traditional beliefs have been found to foster negative perception, which limit the parents support toward educating the girl-child. Nmadu et al. (2010) in a study on Girl Child Education: Rising to the Challenge in Zaria found out there are nearly twice as many boys graduating from primary school as compared to girls, and the dropout rate for boys is close to half (3%) of the dropout rate for girls (5.4%). Sustained inputs are needed to boost female enrolment in junior secondary schools, create girl-friendly school environments, and to better enable communities to understand the value of girls' education. Education has been described as the most important aspect of human development, a key to a successful living, especially girl-child education (Asmal, 2003). Several researchers have worked on the issue of the girl-child especially concerning their education and various forms of discriminations and sharp practices against them (Ebigbo, 1990; Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development 1996; Giwa and Abdulmalik, 2006; Usman, 2007; Dugbazah, 2009; Edewar, 2005 and Daiyabu, 2008). These studies have focused on issues of their denied education, promotion of their education or discrimination in admission and recruitment as well as other sharp practices against them, culture attitude to women’s education and economic women’s right and constraints facing girls’ education. Studies on perception of parents on the socio-cultural factors affecting girl child education are few. Moreso, most of these studies have been concentrated on other local government area and states outside Kastina. However, the present study is interested in investigating the perception of parents on socio-cultural, factors affecting the girl-child education in Funtua Local Government Area of Kastina State. Denying the girl-child access to education implies making her a dysfunctional member of the society (Nwangwu, 1976). Yet the disparity between the male and female enrolment still remains wide in a place like Funtua Local Government Area. In Funtua it has been observed that the education of female child is backward particularly among the illiterate people. This notwithstanding, Kastina State Government has been giving serious attention to the education of the citizens, to the extent that there are a good number of states government owned educational institutions (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary). Despite efforts by the state government in providing more school the girls’ education lags behind in the state. Therefore this study sought to investigate the perception of parents on the socio-cultural factors affecting girl child education in Funtua Local Government Area of Kastina State?
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In view of the afore-going problem, this research intends to address the followingquestions:
1. What are the socio-cultural factors affecting parents’ perception on girl child education in Funtua Local Government Area of Kastina State?
2. What are the perceptions of parents on the effects of the girl child lack of access to education in Funtua Local Government Area, of Kastina State?
3. What are the perception of parents on the way of improving the girl child access to education in Funtua Local Government Area, of Kastina State?
1.4 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The general aim of this study is to examine the perception of parents on the socio-cultural factors affecting girl child education in Funtua Local Government Area of Kastina State.
The aim will be achieved with the following specific objectives
1. To examine the socio-cultural factors affecting parents’ perception on girl child education in Funtua Local Government Area of Kastina State.
2. To determine the perceptions of parents on the effects of the girl child lack of access to education in Funtua Local Government Area, of Kastina State.
3. To investigate the perception of parents on the way of improving the girl child access to education in Funtua Local Government Area, of Kastina State.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY This study will shed light on the perception of parents on the socio-cultural factors affecting girl child education in Funtua Local Government Area of Kastina State. Studies in this aspect are few. The ability to identify the areas of concern of the study will help enabled the concerned stakeholders realize the importance of having an educated girl child and her right to participate fully in the educational provision. Expanded educational opportunities of the girl child if reliable, and dependable, can bring women in leadership and enhance their decision making ability. Educating a girl is equal to educating a nation. The result of this research work will be useful to the government. It will make the government to discover the level of the girl-child education and how to improve on it in Funtua Local Government Area and Nigeria at large. Consequently, it would sensitize governments and other agencies concerned with children education in the area to be gender sensitive and ensure gender streaming in admission, award of scholarships and recruitment into various levels and positions. This study would become a reference point for decision makers and educational planners to realize the socio-cultural factors affecting the advancement of girl-child education. It would serve as a source of enlightenment to parents and guardians on the values of educating the girl-child thereby erasing all the earlier perceptions and beliefs about educating the girls. It will point out the areas through which the parents influence girl-child education and the quota they need to contribute to resolving the problems associated with girl-child education. The teachers will also gain from this research work as they are the tutors of the Nigerian youths and students. It will also show their roles in the development of girl-child education in Nigeria. The results of this study would serve to save the girl-child from all discriminations, sharp practices as well as exposure to diseases, HIV/AIDS, VVF, unwanted pregnancies, and other forms of dangers. Students will benefit from this research work as it will enable them to identify the benefits of education in our contemporary society and problems associated with the girl-child education. The study will benefit researches on girl child education by students, educational authorities, government, non- governmental organization and public who are interested in improving the girl child education. It would serve as a point of advocacy for the rights of the girl-child to education and equality in other spheres.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY the research primarily focuses on the perception of parents on the socio-cultural factors affecting girl child education in Funtua Local Government Area of Kastina State. The research shall be carried out within the confines of Funtua Local Government Area of Kastina State.
1.7 DEFINITIONS OF TERM
Perception: Perception is defined as a psychological process of regarding, understanding, and interpreting an event. What is perceived guides how people behave in a particular situation. There are multiple factors that influence perception. The needs, the desires, and the personality of a person are vital in influencing perception. It depends upon the personality of a person with respect to how they interpret the situation. Additionally, it is contented that past experience and knowledge impact what is perceived.
Parents: Refers to someone who is a father or mother, a person who has a child.
Socio-Cultural Factors: Refers to a combination of social and cultural aspect. It is the combination of both social and cultural factors.
Girl Child: Offorma (2008) defines the girl-child as a biological female offspring from birth to eighteen (18) years of age. This period is made up of infancy, childhood, early and late adolescence stages of development. The girl-child is seen as a young female person, who would eventually grow into a woman and marry.
Education: Refers to individuals’ involvement in formal training for the purpose of acquiring basic knowledge, skills and expertise necessary for living a meaningful and impactful life. It generally aims at the development of human abilities (Schaeffer 2005). Education is the process of providing information to a person to help him or her develop mentally, socially, emotionally, spiritually, politically and economically (Offorma, 2008).
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