Girl Child Education: It’s time we break the jinx 

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Girl Child Education: It’s time we break the jinx 

Education is seen as the process of acquiring skills and knowledge which will help an individual to perform better in a society. It is a process of transmitting values, cultures and morals from one generation to the other.

Education is seen as a right that should be given to all human beings. There is however no doubt that the female folks have suffered depression and neglect in the part of which they are regarded as second class citizens in many ways including their choices of disciplines in school.

Girls and women constitute 505 of Nigeria’s population. Ironically, less than 305 of the total female population are literate as against 63% literate male population. This is because in most societies, it is considered irrelevant to send the girl child to school.

The issue is about the girl child. She is the dawn, the bedrock and the future of any nation or society aspiring for sustainable development. However, she continued to be the subject of rejection, marginalization and deprivation. The girl child suffers a lot of predicaments among which there is denial of quality education.

In Africa, the case of Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan who is a girl child education advocate has attracted attention from Africa and beyond. Malala defied all odds to speak out on the importance of girl child education even when her life was threatened.

Malala in an interview with Emma Watson, an actor and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador speaking on her believe in the power of girl child said; while basic education begins to unlock potentials in a girl child, it is secondary education that provides the wings that allow girls to fly. She added that she consider herself very lucky to be on a platform where she can be a voice of over 60million girls who are deprived of education.

Similarly, in Nigeria, the constitution clearly stipulates that every child, boy or girl has the right to education. The constitution even requires a free and compulsory   education for children between the ages of 6 through 15.

Nonetheless, we are aware that there are over 10millon children who are not in school and are not receiving any form of training to help them better their lots in life. Out of these 10million children, the girl child constitutes a sizeable chunk. This undermines the roles a woman play in the family and the society at large.

On the contrary, some people argue that the more educated a woman gets, the more broken homes a society has to address and hence the more children with a distorted world we have to encounter.

It is disheartening to know that in most communities in Nigeria today, many girls do not have adequate education past a certain age. When a girl child is 12-14years old, the elders in the community feel she is ‘ripe for marriage’ and their words stand. So what are the words of a girl child worth when the elders of the community have spoken? A girl who is given out in marriage at a very tender age is placed at a very high risk. She is not mature enough to be a mother, without any skill, information and confidence that might lead her to being a better mother and wife if she were educated.

In sarcasm, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari made a statement a BBC press conference in Germany about his wife, the First Lady of the Federation Aisha Buhari.

His statement seems to confirm the saying that a woman’s place in the house is her husband’s kitchen. In his words he says “I don’t want know which party my wife belongs to but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room”. One would ask what happens to the boardrooms, political meetings and conferences. Are women not supposed to be participating there too?

At the beginning of colonialism, rigid ideas on gender were imposed on the African mind, therefore, the woman’s role has come to be merely for sexual and commercial labors – satisfying the sexual needs of men, working in the fields, carrying of loads, tending to babies and preparing food. How can a girl who is not up to 18years old be able to execute all these duties and look after her so called family? She is not mature to give birth and in the process of giving birth, she could become exposed to certain viral infections and even lose her life.

The general belief is that “when you educate a man, you educate one, but when you educate a woman, you educate a nation”. This is so because the education of every child starts from the family and the mother is the first teacher. Therefore, educating the girl child translates to better health for the future generation, reduction in child morbidity and motility thus triggering sharp effect of achievement of all other Sustainable Development Goals in a viable manner.

The girl child needs education to acquire knowledge and skills needed to advance her status for social interactions and self improvement. The girl child education prepares her to face the reality in the society and teaches her to be a good wife and mother. When she is educated, she realizes the full potentials endowed in her; she discovers to be whoever and whatever she wants to be. With education, she would break the shell of ignorance and open that of self discovery.

In the Nigeria today, there are women lawyers, engineers, doctors, journalist, politicians, etc.  we have vibrant and outstanding women like Prof. Rukayyatu Rufai, former minister of education, Ngozi Okomjo Iweala, former minister of finance, Senator Aisha Alhassan A.K.A Mama Taraba, a politician who gave her male conterpsrt a tough run in the 2015 gubernatorial election in Traba state and finally is a renowned author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie among others who confirms the saying that “what a man can do, a woman can do better”.

 

RUKAYAT FUNMIKE ABDULWAHAB is a 400 level student in the department of mass communication Bayero University Kano, [email protected]  07032114978

 

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