Education in Nigeria is a topic that is always on people’s minds. In recent years, the situation with education has significantly improved, but there are still several issues with the girl child education. In this article, we will try to tackle the girl child education in Nigeria problems and prospects. We will have an in-depth look at the state of education for girls today and how it can be improved in the nearest future.
The problems of girls’ education in Nigeria
Although at first glance, it might seem that all is well with female education in Nigeria, it is certainly not so. Despite there being schools made specifically to educate girls, Nigeria still has very low literacy rates among its female population.
Why is that?
Well, there are all sorts of reasons why Nigeria girls are less educated than boys. Let’s consider the most prominent reasons in more detail.
Various studies have shown that there is a strong link between girls’ literacy rates and religious and traditional misconceptions. As Nigeria is a very religious country, many of its citizens tend to live according to the holy writings, be it the Bible or Quran. That is why many households think that girls should not receive education in the same way boys do, if they receive it at all.
The same can be said for traditions. Many people still live with a very traditionally biased view on life. According to this view, a girl should grow up to be a mother and a housewife. Why would she need education for that?
Out of these reasons stems another one: gender discrimination. Girls are discriminated based on their gender both in their communities and in schools. Their achievements are not considered as significant as the boys’ achievements are. Women’s history is not taught at schools. Less attention is paid to educating girls on the topics of their bodies and their health.
But wait, there is more:
Another reason that comes from traditional and religious views is that girls are often forced into marrying very early. When a girl becomes a wife at as early as 11-12 years old, she will most likely not have an opportunity to receive proper education.
There is also the problem of teenage pregnancy. This one is more of endless circle, as girls that do not receive education, including the information about how pregnancies occur, tend to get pregnant at a very early age. Subsequently, when they give birth, they are often unable to receive education. It is a vicious cycle that never ends.
To add to this list, many Nigerian girls suffer from abuse. It might be abuse at home, including harmful bodily practices. It might also be sexual abuse or even worse. Girls and their parents do not feel like schools or even the trip to school every day can be safe, so they avoid them altogether.
And last, but not least:
Many Nigerian families, especially ones in the northern parts of the country, suffer from poverty. This means that parents tend to prioritise boys’ education in big families and neglect girls’ education completely or give it less attention than it deserves.
As you can see, there are many issues that prevent girls from receiving education in Nigeria. Now it is time to consider the measures that might improve the situation.
The prospects of Nigerian education for the girl child
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Current situation with girl child education in Nigeria is far from satisfactory. However, not all is lost yet, and it can be improved by implementing the following measures:
- Introducing the laws that protect the girl child. This includes laws that punish those who abuse girls, as well as laws that punish parents for not sending their daughters to school. Nigerian policymakers should seriously consider the issue of the girl child education in Nigeria in order to ensure a better future for the whole country.
- Encouraging parents to send their daughters to school. In addition to punitive measures, such as laws we have talked about before, parents need to be encouraged to provide education for their girl children. It means providing more affordable or even free education for those who struggle financially.
- Providing better healthcare for girls. Girls need to have better access to information about their health, especially their reproductive health. Additionally, they need better healthcare that focuses more on the specifics of the female human body. All of this will help to reduce the teenage pregnancy rates, improve the girls’ general health and, subsequently, encourage girls to seek education.
- Offering various opportunities for female school dropouts. Even if girls have to leave school prematurely, they should be offered alternative opportunities to finish their education. This might take form of evening schools, online courses or extramural education.
- Moving away from the traditional view on women’s role towards gender equality. Even though it is more of a long-term goal and it might even seem impossible to achieve, it is still very important. More women need to speak up on the importance of girl child education. Girls should not feel lesser because of their gender. Their achievements have to be celebrated as much as boys’ are.
- Employing more female teachers. You might be surprised, but even such a small measure as this can improve the situation with girl child education in Nigeria. When girls have someone to look up to, they will be encouraged to work harder and achieve more. They will see a positive example of what education can give them.
When it comes to girl child education in Nigeria, a lot of things can be said. However, there is no guarantee that any of these words would ever reach the ears of those who can make a change. We hope that the situation with girls’ education will improve in the nearest future, so that girls can feel like intelligent members of society.
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