Influence Of Socio-Cultural Issues In Limiting Girls Child Education
The main objective of this study is to find out the influence of socio-cultural issues in limiting girl child education in Kaduna State, Nigeria. A total of 134 young girls were selected from the population figure out of which the sample size was determined. The primary source of data collected was mainly the use of a structured questionnaire which was designed to elicit information on Influence of Socio-Cultural Issues in Limiting Girls Child Education. The data collected will be analyzed using frequency table, percentage and mean score analysis while the nonparametric statistical test (Chi-square) was used to test the formulated hypothesis using SPSS (statistical package for social sciences). The results indicate that, household discriminatory practices such as access to education, domestic work assignment and the enforcement of restrictive food taboos, limits the capacities and empowerment of the girl-child. There is a need for concerted effort by individuals, communities, non-governmental organizations and the government to put in place measures and policies that will help in addressing the deep-rooted sociocultural factors and practices that engender gender discriminatory behaviour towards the girl child among the Annang people.
1.1 Background to the Study
The greatest enemy and greatest evil which keep people in darkness, bound to their traditions and superstitions is illiteracy; It also makes people resistant to change and new ideas and isolated from progress, thus unaware and incapable of meeting the demands of their changing environment and ever progressing world (Nasution in Omolewa1985). Today, girl-child education is a matter of concern for nations in the world. Girl-children are discriminated against thereby making it difficult for them to exercise their rights; they are victims of various traditional and cultural practices, they suffer degradation, they are objects of poverty, their faces are only to be seen but their voices not to be heard, they are seen as being sub-servient to their male counterparts; they are the inferior set, their place is in the kitchen.
A number of negative thoughts and actions are expressed on the girl-child. To set the girl-child free from all these negative hold, there is need for her sound education. Giving her education will give her sound mind to reason, to liberate her from poverty, and develop her as well as the nation in which she lives. With education, the girl child can become a self-sufficient adult who has more decision and control over her life. Jatau in Esomonu (1999) believes that the burden of nation building rests much on women. She goes on “we need women to create a blissful home, have well-educated and well-behaved children it is after these that the task of nation building can be a success”. This will start from the education of the girl-child. The importance of educating the girl-child is further brought to the fore by Abacha (1997) while stating his view to support the fact that development has to be participatory and sustainable. He believed that
“Progress is only feasible if we create a Nigeria made up of a united people with a united purpose… our nation needs men and women who are bold, and imaginative, dedicated and committed, people who put honor, service and patriotism above everything else. These men and women are not only needed in politics, they are also needed in business, in our traditional institutions, youth organizations, in academics and other professions”.
The above statement indicated that, society should stop looking down on women and they should be seen as first-class citizen and not rated as second-class citizens. Through education the girl-child (who transforms later into a woman) will be empowered to be strong and resourceful in such a way that she is able to contribute maximally to the sustenance and development of the society in which she lives. According to Alkali (2000) cited in Adedokun & Olufunke M. (2010) if all limiting barriers against women are removed, “women can lead, lead to the battle, and if necessary fight for her society and win for her people”.
Educating a girl child therefore will bring about self-awareness, increased self-assertiveness in the society, raising the consciousness of women to encourage their participation in national development (Awe 1992, cited in Adedokun & Olufunke M. 2010). Paying particular and close attention is therefore important, to the education of the girl-child. Finding the right solution to the issue of girl-child education will not only move the girl-child forward but pushes the nation to a greater height. Considering the virtues embedded in the issue of girl child education, the issue should be rated very high.
Odaga and Henerald (1995) maintained that the socio-economic and socio-cultural factors influencing female education at the household and community levels are closely interwoven. These factors have led to low investment in female education and hence, low societal demand for female education. Oladunni (1996) cited the girl as being a victim of customs and traditions which ensure that she remains permanently disadvantaged. Factors responsible according to her include early marriage which keep her out of school and endangers her life through premature pregnancies and difficult child birth, obnoxious widowhood rites, male preference and other harmful traditional practices which all contribute to making a girl-child a second class citizen and more vulnerable. Other factors are lack of knowledge. Low purchasing power, low income earning capacity and other discriminations leading to poor health status.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The girl-child, and indeed women the world over, especially in Africa and Nigeria has had their destiny sealed from birth by tradition and culture on account of their biological sex. They have been called the weaker sex in order to justify societal discrimination and oppression against them. They must remain silent hewers of wood and drawers of water, bearers of children, and toilers of arduous labor from sun-rise to sun-down. They can be seen but not to be heard in both the private and the public spaces of decision making.
The girl-child by the natural status ascribed to her by male defined norms of societal conduct and behavior remains a property to be owned and commoditized. Consequently, her rights are circumscribed by tradition, custom, and the chauvinism of male patriarchy. No community will remain undeveloped if it has the required human capital and the best instrument for developing any society is to invest in human capital (Richardson, 2009). This is because the acquired knowledge and skills will guarantee the economic and social liberation of the individual and by implication enhances their contributions to community and national development (Efe, 2001).
Illiteracy has been the greatest cankerworm which has eaten deeply in us and devastated the implementation of various wonderful policies of developing countries. Illiteracy has a positive relationship with poverty. Unfortunately, illiteracy is highly rated among the women than men which means illiterate mothers will raise illiterate daughters who are most likely to marry early and have no access to education if their husbands do not comply.
The girl child often faces discrimination from the earliest stages of life, through childhood into adulthood. Her low status is reflected in the denial of fundamental needs and rights and in such harmful attitudes and practices as a preference for sons, early marriage, female genital mutilation, domestic abuse, incest, and sexual exploitation, discrimination, less food and less access to education. Forty per cent of Nigerian children aged 6-11 do not attend any primary school with the Northern region recording the lowest school attendance rate in the country, particularly for girls. Despite a significant increase in net enrollment rates in recent years in Nigeria, it is estimated that about 4.7 million children of primary school age are still not in school (UNICEF Report, 2005).
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of this study is to find out the influence of socio cultural issues in limiting girl child education in Kaduna state, specifically the study intends to:
- Find out and examine the prevailing socio-cultural practices that affect girl-child empowerment.
- Examine the different socio cultural factors that affects girl child education
- Investigate the perception of the girl-child towards discriminations at the household and community level
- Analyze the effects of cultural values that affect girl child education
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the prevailing socio-cultural practices that affect girl-child empowerment?
- What are the different socio cultural factors that affects girl child education?
- What is the perception of the girl-child towards discriminations at the household and community level?
- Is there any significant effects of cultural values that affect girl child education?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
- Ho: there is no significant effects of cultural values that affect girl child education
- Hi: there is significant effects of cultural values that affect girl child education
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will enable the stakeholders in the area of education in Kaduna State to address the issues of girl-child. It is also hoped that the Kaduna State Ministry of Education will find this work beneficial in planning their educational budget so that the rural population of Kaduna is placed on the pedestal of equal and adequate educational opportunities for all citizens.
Through the findings and recommendations of this research, guardians may be more enlightened on their responsibilities towards the girl child education in Kaduna State. It is likewise trusted that this will in turn enhance girl child education which will lead to their contributions on the developments of Kaduna State.
It is important to note that by highlighting some of the socio-cultural factors influencing girl child education, this study will give social workers, policy makers, community members, governmental and non-governmental organizations insights on how to tackle this issue at the grass roots level. This study will also highlight benefits in educating the girl child for a better society not only for the present age, but rather for who and what is to come.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This research work focus mainly on young girls within Kaduna State. Furthermore, due to the complex nature of the research project, respondents from Kaduna North will be the main focus of the research. This is so because the researcher will not be able to conduct a census study on the entire Kaduna State due to the geographical complexity.
1.8 limitation of the study
The demanding schedule of respondents at work made it very difficult getting the respondents to participate in the survey. As a result, retrieving copies of questionnaire in timely fashion was very challenging. Also, the researcher is a student and therefore has limited time as well as resources in covering extensive literature available in conducting this research. Information provided by the researcher may not hold true for all businesses or organizations but is restricted to the selected organization used as a study in this research especially in the locality where this study is being conducted. Finally, the researcher is restricted only to the evidence provided by the participants in the research and therefore cannot determine the reliability and accuracy of the information provided.
Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Is a purposeful activity directed at achieving certain aims, such as transmitting knowledge or fostering skills and character traits. These aims may include the development of understanding, rationality, kindness, and honesty.
Is a catch-all term of a complex set of issues and debates surrounding education for girls and women. It is frequently called girls’ education or women’s education. It includes areas of gender equality and access to education.
Summary Conclusion and Recommendation
The study has so far provided new insights on the socio-cultural factors and practices affecting the girl-child among the Annang people. The results indicate that, household discriminatory practices such as access to education, domestic work assignment and the enforcement of restrictive food taboos, limits the capacities and empowerment of the girl-child. This study has affirmed the fact that household discriminatory behaviour towards the girl-child is embedded within specific social relations and cultural contexts which means that household discriminatory behaviour are shaped by social and power relations at the household level, conception of gender roles, gender socialization, cultural construction of girlhood, traditional practices, gender stereotypes, son preference, household decision-making and individual characteristics such as place of residence, education and religious affiliations.
Thus, there is the need for concerted effort by individuals, communities, non-governmental organizations and the government to put in place measures and policies that will help in addressing the deep-rooted socio-cultural factors and practices that engender household discriminatory practices towards the girl-child among the Annang people.
Based on the major findings of the study, the following recommendations are made:
- Mass-Media campaigns, community mobilization and sensitization should be embarked upon by the State,
LGAs, and NGOs with the support of traditional and religious leaders to address the socio-cultural barriers and harmful traditional practices that tended to limit the empowerment of the girl-child.
- The need for national and state data bank on various aspects of the girl-child‟s developmental needs should be created, with a view to strategically addressing and mainstreaming them into the national development plans.
- A holistic approach should be adopted at all levels of government to address the problems of accessing education by providing girl-friendly schools and ensuring that pregnant adolescent girl-child and adolescent mothers continue and complete their education.
- Specific media programmes and advocacy programmes should promote inter-generational dialogue, particularly between mothers and girl-children, on the one hand, and fathers and boy-children on the other, with the view of breaking the vicious cycle of household discriminatory practices by developing positive images of girl-children and encouraging gender equality at the household levels.
- The State should ensure the enforcement of the Child Rights Act of 2003 in order to ensure the protection of the girl-child from all forms of discriminatory practices. Enforcement of the Act once passed should be seen as a priority in the state, such as enforcing the female age at marriage of 18 years.
- Government should see to the opening up of the hinterland and cultural enclaves as a priority by providing roads, schools, microcredit etc all of which are agents of modernization. The sighting of firms and medium scale industries in such places by government and private investors would serve to create formal employment and modern lifestyles that would constitute an assault to traditional practices, and ultimately lead to the demise of discrimination against the girl-child.
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