In recent times there seem to be a gradual departure from an
orientation that for so many years relegated the Girl Child in the African
Society. People are now becoming conscious of the need to give the girl child a
befitting education like her counterpart, the boy. Although the society now
needs collaboration between both genders to become better, some persons still
find it difficult to indulge the girl child. There is need for a wider
sensitization, to enlighten the young and the old on the reasons why we have to
embrace educating the girl child.
Education is very important for the boy or girl child. It is
quite unfortunate that we have failed to address this issue in our rural and
urban communities as discriminations still exist in its facets. Here are a few
reasons to educate the “Girl Child”:
1. FUTURE EDUCATED
GENERATIONS – An African proverb says, “If we educate a
boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family – and a
whole nation.” By sending a girl to school, she is far more likely to ensure
that her children also receive an education. As many claim, investing in a
girl’s education is investing in a nation.
2. DECREASE INFANT MORTALITY: Children of educated women are less likely to die before their
first birthday. Girls who receive an education are less likely to contact HIV
& AIDS, and thus, less likely to pass it onto their children. Primary
education alone helps reduce infant mortality significantly, and secondary
education helps even more.
3. DECREASE MATERNAL
MORTALITY: Educated women (with greater knowledge of health
care and fewer pregnancies) are less likely to die during pregnancy,
childbirth, or during the postpartum period. Increased education of girls also
leads to more female health care providers to assist with prenatal medical
care, labor and delivery, delivery complications and emergencies, and follow-up
4. DECREASE CHILD MARRIAGE: Child marriage – in some cases involving girls as young as 6
or 8 – almost always results in the end of a girl’s schooling. The result is
illiterate or barely literate young mothers without adequate tools to build
healthy, educated families. On average, for every year a girl stays in school
past fifth grade, her marriage is delayed a year. Educated girls typically
marry later, when they are better able to bear and care for their children.
5. DECREASE POPULATION EXPLOSION: Educated women tend to have fewer (and healthier) babies. A
2000 study in Brazil found that literate women had an average of 2.5 children
while illiterate women had an average of six children, according to UNESCO.
INVOLVEMENT IN POLITICAL PROCESS: Educated women are
more likely to participate in political discussions, meetings, and
decision-making, which in turn promote a more representative, effective
7. DECREASE DOMESTIC & SEXUAL VIOLENCE: Educated girls and women are less likely to be victims of
domestic and sexual violence or to tolerate it in their families.
8. DECREASE SUPPORT FOR MILITANCY: As women become more educated, they are less likely to support
militancy and terrorism than similarly educated men.
9. IMPROVE SOCIOECONOMIC GROWTH: Educated women have a greater chance of escaping poverty,
leading healthier and more productive lives, and raising the standard of living
for their children, families, and communities.
“These are but a few
reasons to educate the girl child”.
WHAT WOULD IT TAKE
TO IMPROVE GIRLS’ ACCESS TO EDUCATION?
According to UNICEF, experience in scores of
countries shows the importance, among other things, of:
1. Parental and community involvement — Families
and communities must be important partners with schools in developing
curriculum and managing children’s education.
2. Low-cost and flexible timetables — Basic
education should be free or cost very little. Where possible, there should be
stipends and scholarships to compensate families for the loss of girls’
household labour. Also, school hours should be flexible so children can help at
home and still attend classes.
3. Schools close to home, with women teachers —
Many parents worry about girls travelling long distances on their own. Many
parents also prefer to have daughters taught by women.
4. Preparation for school — Girls do best when they
receive early childhood care, which enhances their self-esteem and prepares
them for school.
5. Relevant curricula — Learning materials should
be relevant to the girl’s background and be in the local language. They should
also avoid reproducing gender stereotypes.
”Her dreams are as
relevant as that of anyone else”.