It is not a far-fetched theory that education is very integral to the economic growth of a country. With the turn of tides and events alongside technological advancement, education is still the bedrock on which these technological advancement were birthed.
As far as education is concerned, there are three stages which an individual (irrespective of gender) should pass through namely; primary, secondary, and tertiary. It is disheartening that in some parts of my country Nigeria and even in many other developing countries in the world today, the education of a girl child in particular is regarded with cursory attention. Some girls drop out of the primary level of education, some at the secondary stage, and others not passing through any stage of formal education at all!
At first, there was and still is, the harebrained belief that girls belong to the kitchen; thus any form of education invested in a girl is utterly wasted. This belief was evident in the ‘statement’ made by the President of Nigeria concerning his wife, whom he said “belongs to my living room, kitchen and the other room”.
Another nefarious postulation can be traced to parents who feel that after investing in a girl child, she would end up in marriage which is regarded as an ultimate achievement and milestone in the life of a woman – hence it is pointless educating a girl. To a father who is oblivious of the relevance of education, he gives her away in betrothal at a very young age to the son of his very ‘good’ friend. Thus, her chances at eventually receiving quality education is only a flimsy probability. Of course, if such a family has known poverty, the girl child becomes a commodity which has a price and is bought by a wealthy older man who really has no better intentions but to “acquire” the girl as a piece of furniture to his already increasing harem.
Looking at the aforementioned exemplifications, it is noteworthy to reiterate that there should not be a behemothic divide as regards education of the boy and girl child. Both genders should be favored equally. A girl should not be relegated to the receiving end of archaic beliefs of old. The learning experiences and knowledge garnered equips the girl child for survival in the bigger society. It enables her to make informed and calculated decisions/choices about herself, in relation to the challenges encountered in the physical and social environment, through experiences and activities that stimulates her in spiritual, affective, cognitive, social, physical and psychological ways.
Peradventure, there is an Achilles heel in the cognitive domain whereby a girl child cannot keep up with formal education, entrepreneurial education should take place as this still gives the girl a strong sense of empowerment, with the acquisition of skills pivotal to her overall self-development and the economic growth/development of society.
BY: OTASOWIE OGIEMWONYI (GPC Blog Contributor, Nigeria)