A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE FACTORS INFLUENCING GIRL-CHILD ENROLLMENT INTO SECONDARY SCHOOL IN ZAMFARA STATE
1.1 Background to the Study
Education, in the broadest definition, is a method of learning information, skills, and habits for a group of individuals via teaching, training, research, or simply by autodictatism (Mbilingi, 1991). Girls’ education is one strategy for promoting social and economic development (World Bank, 2009).
The government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria introduced the girl-child education and enrolment program in response to the rising level of illiteracy among children in emerging nations. This, however, became a cause of worry for development advocates seeking to incorporate women into the process of national development. Given that Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, has the experience of having a large proportion of illiterate women, especially in the north, where socioeconomic, religious, parental education level, and cultural traditions all work against women’s development, According to Munkernchern, successive Nigerian administrations devised a variety of policies and initiatives to guarantee that girls’ children in Nigeria obtain the education that every Nigerian should receive to operate in society (1996). This, however, is consistent with UNICEF’s (1999) emphasis on the child’s right to education, which states that “Every child (male or female) is entitled to free and compulsory primary education and an equal chance for higher education based on individual capacity.”
The history of girl-child education in Nigeria demonstrates that the female child has been marginalized in terms of school enrollment, attendance, completion, and progression to higher education, particularly in the country’s northern region.
Although Nigeria has a policy of free education at all levels, access to education for everyone remains elusive, particularly for female children and women. In certain Nigerian administrative states, such as Sokoto and Zamfara, female literacy rates are lower than male literacy rates. Magaji (2010) highlighted that, despite the fact that education is recognized as a fundamental human right necessary for the attainment of human dignity, several reasons have been identified as contributing to the lower enrollment of females in schools when compared to boys. According to her, these issues include poverty, culture, a religious misunderstanding of the Holy Book, a bad cultural attitude toward women’s education, early marriage, and gender prejudice. These elements, of course, obstruct women’s advancement and development in society. UNESCO (2005) noted Nigeria’s efforts to encourage girl child education. Among these schools are the following: Universal Primary Education (1976); the National Policy on Education (NPE) (1977); the lowering of cut-off points for admission of girls to female secondary schools; scholarships for Science, Technology, and Mathematics Education (STME); the promulgation of an edict prohibiting the withdrawal of girls from school for marriage; the production of a blueprint for women’s education by the Federal Ministry of Education (1987); and the declaration of free education for girls (1988). Nonetheless, many females do not attend school or have dropped out, particularly in northern Nigeria (Federal Ministry of Education) (1987; 1988). This is why this research seeks to ascertain the elements that contribute to girl-child enrolment in female secondary schools in the Sokoto metropolitan and to offer therapeutic strategies for removing such obstructions.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
In Nigeria, females’ access to basic education has remained limited, particularly in the northern provinces. The female dropout rate from secondary school has created issues that may be explored on both a social and individual level (Magaji, 2013). On a social level, an illiterate and uneducated female generation will result in a negative trend in the economic, religious, educational, and socio-political elements of society.
However, the study is interested in examining the sociocultural, economic, religious, and parental education levels as predictors of girl child enrolment in female secondary schools in Zamfara state. It is envisaged that the study would take a worldwide view of this issue (socioeconomic, cultural, religious, and parental education level), with a particular emphasis on Zamfara state and the northern area, where the situation is most severe.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The overall aim of this study is to critically examine the impact of school location students academic performance. Hence, the study will be channeled to the following specific objectives;
- Determine whether family socio-economic status affects girl child enrolment into secondary school in Zamfara state.
- Determine whether educational background of the parents affects girl child enrolment into secondary school in Zamfara state.
- Determine whether religious factors affects girl child enrolment into secondary school in Zamfara state.
- Determine whether family cultural background affects girl child enrolment into secondary school in Zamfara state.
1.4 Research Hypothesis
The following statements will be validated in the course of this study;
H01: There is not significant correlation between family socio-economic status and girl child enrolment into secondary school in Zamfara state.
H02: There is not significant correlation between educational background of the parents and girl child enrolment into secondary school in Zamfara state.
H03: There is not significant correlation between religious factors and girl child enrolment into secondary school in Zamfara state.
H04: There is not significant correlation between family cultural background and girl child enrolment into secondary school in Zamfara state.
1.5 Significance Of The Study
This study will be of benefit to educate and as a source of enlightenment to female students, parents, guidance on the values of educating the girl-child, thereby erasing all the earlier beliefs about educating the girls and the government, principals and school administrators on the development and improvement of female enrolment in schools and standardization in Zamfara state and Northern Nigeria educational system.
It would become a reference point for decision makers and educational planners to realize the socio-cultural, economic and religious factors affecting the enrolment of girl-child education in Sokoto metropolis.
It would sensitize governments and other agencies concerned with children education in the state to be gender sensitive and ensure gender enrolment in admission, award of scholarships and recruitment into various levels and positions.
Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as literature review. This means that, other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regards to the factors influencing girl-child enrollment into secondary school in Zamfara state.
1.6 Scope Of Study
This study is limited to the determinants of girl-child enrolment in some selected female secondary schools in Zamfara state and factors such as economic factors, religious factor and socio-cultural factor, educational level of the parent that determines girl-child enrolment in some selected secondary school in Zamfara state.The study covered only public girls’ female secondary schools.
1.7 Limitation Of The Study
Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
1.8 Definition Of Terms
Enrolment: This the rate or number of admitting student into schools in Sokoto metropolis.
Girl-child: refers to the female between fourteen (14) years and twenty (20) years. Typically these are the ages of girls who are supposed to be in secondary school.
Female secondary school: This is the place of gathering of females or girls child where they acquire knowledge and enrolled for education.