THE IMPORTANCE Of FEMALE EDUCATION FOR NIGERIA
DELIVERED ON THIS DAY NOVEMBER 30, 2016
PRINCE ABDULSALAMAI O.B.A LADIGBOLU
CHANCELLOR, GREEN ROSES FOUNDATION
THE NATIONAL CONVENTION, POLICE OFFICERS WIVES ASSOCIATION (POWA) 2016
VENUE: POWA SECRETARIAT
This Brief: offers an overview of education’s benefits to women and it importance to our families, economy and Nigeria as a whole. It also highlights the ongoing concerns about education in Nigeria, and the education’s links with fertility and employment, which are the two important elements in Women’s development.
Education’s importance for female has been emphasized by a number of international conventions, including the:
In addition, the United Nations has articulated the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include goals for improved education, gender equality, and women’s development. (SDGs 5).
The SDGs emphasize the essential role of education for female gender in building democratic societies and creating a foundation for sustained economic growth.
BENEFITS INCLUDES AMONG OTHERS
Education is a key part of strategies to improve individuals’ well-being, societies’ economic and social development. In Nigeria access to education has improved over the past few decades, and there have been a number of encouraging trends in girls’ and women’s education. Primary school enrolment is high but more effort is needed to increase the enrolment and gender gaps in secondary schools. Because girls — are still excluded from education, and many who are enrolled in school learn too little to prepare them for 21st-century job markets.
In some part of the country, access to the secondary and higher education that helps create a skilled and knowledgeable labour force are limited; even where access is not a problem, the quality of the education provided is often low. “The most worrying aspect of the crisis in education is education’s inability to provide the requirements for the development for society.
In this increasing open global economy, Economies’ export orientation and the growing importance of small and medium-sized enterprises create opportunities for women, but women need the appropriate education and training to take full advantage of these opportunities. Policy should also be created to address trends such as Religion, Tradition, Culture etc. That pose special challenges for women to be illiterate or to have limited education.
Education helps women take advantage of opportunities that could benefit them and their families, preparing women for the labour force and helping them understand their legal and reproductive rights.
Educated women generally want smaller families and make better use of reproductive health and family planning information and services in achieving their desired family size; Moroccan women with at least secondary education had, on average, half as many children as women with no education.
Women with more education also tend to have healthier families. In Egypt, for example, children born to mothers with no formal education were more than twice as likely to die as those born to mothers who had completed secondary school According to the 2000 DHS, Egyptian women with less education were less likely to receive antenatal care: Only 34 percent of Egyptian mothers with no education received antenatal care, compared with 75 percent of those with a high school or college degree.
Most women know something about modern contraception, but more-educated women will be more informed to know about a wider range of available methods and where to get them. In some part of Nigeria, 69 percent of married women ages 15 to 49 who had completed secondary school reported seeing family planning messages in newspapers or magazines, compared with 32 percent of those who had completed only primary school. Women with more education are also more likely to discuss family planning issues with their husbands.
Women’s ability to choose the number and timing of their births is key to empowering women as individuals, mothers, and citizens, but women’s rights go beyond those dealing with their reproductive roles. Women should be able to fulfil their aspirations outside the home, to the benefit of themselves, their families, and their countries. Opening economic opportunities to women has far-reaching effects, but those benefits can be reaped only if women receive at least a basic education.
In France, for example, women make up 45 percent of the labour force; in Indonesia, which is home to the world’s largest Muslim population, women make up 38 percent of the labour force. Women who live in countries with a large agricultural sector, such as Egypt, Iran, Syria, and Yemen, tend to work mainly in that sector, although some countries have been more successful in getting women into non-agricultural occupations. Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey, for example, have been able to engage women in the countries’ export-manufacturing sectors.
The current high unemployment rates among young men in Nigeria make it harder for women to compete in male-dominated job markets, and women’s unemployment rates are higher than those of men. Improving the quality of education, providing more vocational training, developing job-creating programs, and removing obstacles to women’s entrepreneurship can help alleviate the high rates of female unemployment and economic recession.
Nigeria have made significant strides in making education available over the past few decades, but some pocket challenges still remains. Access to education has improved, and the illiteracy rate among the young adults (people ages 15 to 24) is half that of the adult population. Young Women are twice as likely to be illiterate as men, making up two-thirds of the illiterate adults because wide gender gaps in some parts of the Nigeria and the quality of the education is a major concern throughout the region.
The gender gap in education vary greatly across Nigeria, but generally wide in the northern region where overall literacy and school enrolment are low. But regions that make political and financial commitments to female education and gender gap, generally see significant improvements in their economy. Studies also estimated that the northern region of Nigeria average annual growth in per capita gross national product would have been nearly a full percentage point higher between 1960 and 1992 if gender gap in education had shrunk as quickly as East Asia’s did.
Closing gender gaps in education would benefit countries’ economies at large.
Gender sensitivity is a key aspect of the quality of education. Educational systems should be sensitive to the specific needs of girls and women. Yet the curricula and teaching materials — and the media, which has a powerful role in shaping people’s knowledge and opinions — in some part of Nigeria, traditional roles may deny women opportunities for full and equal participation in society. As radio, television, and the Internet reach more people in the region, it becomes even more important that students learn to analyse and judge the media’s messages for themselves.
It is not enough to make education more widely available; the quality of the education also needs to be improved. Arguing that the poor quality of education has led to a significant mismatch between the labour market’s needs and graduates’ skills, because at large, education often fails to teach students to analyse information or think innovatively. Education systems may also split into two tiers, with high-quality private education available only to the wealthy minority and low-quality public education the sole option for most citizens. Such a trend would turn education into a “means of perpetuating social stratification and poverty” rather than a means of increasing social equality.
Efforts to improve female education in the country need to go beyond rhetoric and should involve policies and programs with measurable results. Governments can start by making the SDGs part of national development plans and monitoring progress toward those goals. Governments also need to make an extra effort to ensure that education is more accessible to low-income families and rural populations, with special attention to the quality of the education provided and the need for girls to complete school.
Richer citizens are encouraged to help resource-poor families and relevant programmes to improve their educational status and collect data on their progress. Improving access to and the quality of education is the most rewarding investment a country can make. Investing in female education will accelerate the country economic and social development by enhancing human capital, slowing population growth, and alleviating poverty.
Since POWA is a women oriented organization, a formidable and well structure permanent institution, I urge you to become an activist towards this important demography by each “ONE TELLING ONE“ about the betterment for our society when women are been educated.
Thank you and God bless.
Prince Abdulsalami O.B.A Ladigbolu