AN EXAMINATION OF PARENTAL BEHAVIOURSTOWARDS THE EDUCATION OF THE GIRL CHILD
- BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education for girls has become a big concern in the majority of developing nations, particularly in Nigeria, where Lagos State is located. Women are considered second-class citizens in Nigerian society. Women have always been considered the weaker sex and hence require the support and protection of males (Edewor, 2001). Many parents believe that educating girls is a waste of time and money since they will eventually marry and the knowledge they get will benefit solely their husbands and families. Additionally, parents feel that males will become the family’s breadwinners and hence must be educationally prepared for the labor ahead. Girls were deemed unfit for education due to their vulnerability to physical and sexual harassment.
Preference for male offspring is one of the primary reasons for high fertility in the majority of Africa’s countries (Isiugo-Abanihe, 1994). Parents’ preference for one sex stems from the perceived worth or benefits of that sex. Male offspring are highly regarded in many regions of Nigeria for their role in preserving or propagating the family name, residing continuously in or around the family compound or dwelling, providing security for the elderly, and acting as a source of defense and social pride for their parents. When young male children assist their parents on the farm, in their enterprises, with errands, and, to a lesser extent, with home duties. Female children, on the other hand, assist their moms with a variety of home activities, including cooking, washing dishes and clothing, sweeping and cleaning the house, and babysitting (Edewor, 2001).
Parents’ perceptions of these advantages of male and female offspring have an effect on their reproductive attitudes and desires, as well as on actual fertility. The predilection for boys leads parents to have a large number of children in order to have at least one son to carry on the family name and inherit family possessions (Edewor, 2001).
Apart from this, in many underdeveloped nations, girls are excluded from school throughout puberty out of fear of unintended pregnancy and are married off early to spouses they may not choose (Muller, 2000). Gender inequality in education is not exclusive to Africa’s least developed countries. In certain regions of Asia, such as China, many peasants still place a premium on sons.
According to Ekejiuba (2011), poverty has exacerbated the condition of females’ lack of access to school, since some parents prefer to educate boys rather than girls when finances are few. These conventional views and family poverty have been proven to generate unfavorable attitudes about girls’ education, limiting parents’ support. Other impediments to girl child education in Nigeria, according to Olomukoro and Omiunu (2011), include cultural inhibitions, erroneous interpretations of religious injunctions, traditional practices, early marriage of girls, gender insensitivity in educational settings, societal preference for the male child, and overburdening the girl child with household chores and labor.
Education is a fundamental right that all people, especially girls and women, are entitled to. According to UNESCO (2007), women may contribute to the development of living conditions not just in their immediate families, but also in society as a whole via education. Not only does education empower girls, but it is also the finest investment for national growth. The UNICEF publication stressed the importance of education in empowering girls, enabling them to participate successfully in society, and safeguarding them against HIV/AIDS and other forms of sexual exploitation. Additionally, it states that female education contributes to the reduction of infant and maternal mortality, as well as illness control and health status improvement. Recognizing the importance of education for all parts of the world’s population has heightened worldwide attention to universal education.
As a result, governments and other interest groups are making significant efforts to improve female child education. In Nigeria, the National Policy on Education (2004) declared unequivocally that equal educational opportunities should be provided to all Nigerian children regardless of their gender or region.
According to Ekejiuba (2011), the Pan African conference on the education of girls was a watershed moment in addressing the issues of achieving universal education in the twenty-first century. The National task force for female child education was established on 28th October 1993 under the auspices of the National Women Commission (NWC), which is now the federal ministry of women affairs and youth development. Similarly, the UBE was established in 1999 with the goal of ensuring that all Nigerian children get obligatory education. Currently, the Girls’ Education Project (GEP), which was established in December 2004 in collaboration with UNICEF, has made significant achievements in the education of female children as well. The unanswered issue is whether parents have responded positively to these calls to educate girls. The answer is not laudable, as literature indicates that despite these commendable and encouraging efforts by international communities, governments, civil societies, and gender movements, there does not appear to be a dramatic shift in parental attitudes toward girls’ education in Nigeria, as female children remain educationally marginalized.
In support of this, Nwankwo (2007) asserted that many households continue to prioritize the education of boys above girls. Additionally, he highlighted that some families find little or no value in investing in women’s education since they are frequently viewed as other people’s property. As a result, it is considered that no compromises should be made to send the girl kid to school. Thus, the purpose of this study is to ascertain parents’ attitudes on female child education.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Males and females must work cooperatively to establish society. In essence, development ensures equitable opportunities for everybody, regardless of age or gender. While girls and boys are treated equally during childhood, there is a propensity for some form of imbalance or what is commonly referred to as a gender gap to develop as they get older (Ekejiuba 2011). The fact that women are active participants in any society’s growth cannot be taken for granted. It is regrettable, however, that more than two decades after the Beijing commitment to eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education, millions of children, particularly girls, continue to be perceived as being unable to attend school, despite a concerted international effort to champion the cause. In Nigeria, it is considered that the gender divide is expanding, and prejudice continues to pervade educational systems (Oleribe, 2007).
Even though it has been repeatedly demonstrated that educating girls has numerous benefits, including increasing their self-esteem, increasing their influence over their own lives and family and community decisions, lowering fertility, improving maternal and child health, and aiding in the reduction of environmental degradation, considerable resistance to educating girls continues to exist in developing countries. When a girl kid is not educated or empowered, a series of negative consequences are unavoidable.
In metropolitan areas, girls are commonly spotted engaged in minor trade activities such as hawking pure water, groundnuts, garden eggs, and bread during the school day to supplement the family’s revenue. Many parents believe that education’s opportunity cost is too great. As a result, the cash generated by such activities helps to raise the family’s level of life. Worse yet, females have been neglected as a result of cultural customs and traditional values. Some cultural practices, such as early girl marriage and girl initiation, continue to focus on preparing girls for womanhood and marriage at the expense of their formal education (Ekejiuba 2011). These findings raise questions about whether parents still adhere to their culture and social position when it comes to educating their female child, despite the fact that education through UBE is now free and obligatory for all Nigerians. As such, this research will examine contemporary parental attitudes about female child education. Thus, the purpose of this study is to ascertain parents’ attitudes regarding female education.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The primary objective of this study is to examine parental behaviours towards the education of the girl child. Specifically, this study seeks:
- To investigate whether the cultural beliefs of parents has an effect on girl child education in Nigeria.
- To investigate whether parents level of education has an effect on girl child education in Nigeria.
- To investigate whether parents socio economic level has an effect on girl child education in Nigeria.
- To examine the challenges parents face in the education of the girl child.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions will be answered in this study:
- Does the cultural beliefs of parents have an effect on girl child education in Nigeria?
- Does parents level of education have an effect on girl child education in Nigeria?
- Does parents socio economic level have an effect on girl child education in Nigeria?
- What are the challenges parents face in the education of the girl child?
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is a general belief that the girl child education is of great importance, because it is the bedrock of education and the society, just as a well laid foundation is the strength of the structure. Therefore, the recommendations and findings of this work would be beneficial to the following:
Parents of the girl child: This study will reveal the importance and benefits of them educating their girl children.
Teachers: The teacher will be able to see themselves as both parents and teachers and learn to be receptive towards the girl child education. The findings of this study will further aid the teachers to quell the doubts of parents concerning the education of the girl child.
School authority: The school will learn to be accommodating, counsel parents from time to time when the need be, so that both the school and parents will be able to communicate and work together toward the girl children development.
The government: The government will be able to put in place policy and encouragement that will avail them the special educational technique on girl children education.
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is focused on the examination of parental behaviours towards the education of the girl child. It is precisely focused on investigating whether the cultural beliefs of parents has an effect on girl child education in Nigeria and it will also investigate whether parents level of education has an effect on girl child education in Nigeria.
Furthermore, this study will be investigating whether parents socio economic level has an effect on girl child education in Nigeria and will finally investigate whether parents socio economic level has an effect on girl child education in Nigeria.
This study will be limited to Ibadan in Oyo State.
- LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
As with any human endeavor, the researcher experienced small impediments while performing the study. Due to the scarcity of literature on the subject as a result of the discourse’s nature, the researcher incurred additional financial expenses and spent additional time sourcing for relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as during the data collection process, which is why the researcher chose a small sample size. Additionally, the researcher conducted this inquiry in conjunction with other scholarly pursuits. Additionally, because only a small number of respondents were chosen to complete the research instrument, the results cannot be applied to other secondary schools outside the state. Regardless of the limits faced throughout the investigation, all aspects were reduced to ensure the best outcomes and the most productive research.
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
Examination: A detailed inspection or study
Parental behaviours: Refer to the specific, goal-directed behaviors that parents use to socialize their children
Girl child Education: Girl-child education is a catch-all term for a complex set of issues and debates surrounding (primary education, secondary, and tertiary and health education in particular) for girl and women.