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GIRL CHILD EDUCATION
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GIRL CHILD EDUCATION - NIGERIA IN FOCUS

 

Ironically, according to sociologist, when girls are denied access to qualitative education, their countries, on the long run, will be kept from achieving full human, social and economic development. Sweet mother International in Nigeria is leading a social reform campaign that seeks to engineer a drive to sensitize the government and the people to devote priority attention in girl child education especially when viewed against the fact that girl-child's education is a central strategy for growth and poverty eradication.

 

From  clinically accepted facts , it has been proved that the human's potential future brain development and wiring called synapses for intelligence, sense of self, trust and motivation for learning is developed during childhood years in which the mothers of today who were the girls of yesterday play a crucial role in modeling. It’s a fact that without an intelligent parenting (mothering) the result can be lower IQ, poor verbal and mathematical skills, health problems as adult and even behavioral problems. Then, from the forgoing it's invariably fundamental to devote priority attention in girl child education.

 

THEN THE QUESTION IS WHAT IS KEEPING GIRL-CHILD FROM SCHOOL?

 

This is the question Jessica Lange, the United Nations Children's Fund Goodwill Ambassador, wishes the African government to answer. According to her, during a visit to Africa, she was saddened to observe the widespread neglect of and mistreatment of women and girls who, because of bias and conflict, have lost nearly all aspects of their protective environment - particularly education and health care. She argued that youngsters, for example, are being raised in camps for displaced people and have lost years of schooling as a direct result. This, obviously, will impact not only the lives of these children, but also the lives of their children's children.

 

The girl-child is faced with odds right from conception. In some parts of Asia, for instance, there is the lingering problem of several millions of "missing" girls. Missing, not because they were kidnapped but because their mothers aborted their fetuses on realizing that they were females.

 

While Nigeria has not come to grips with the possibility of such deeds, the fact remains that many things are being done, deliberately or inadvertently, to keep the girl-child out of the limelight that is best provided through education acquisition.

 

Social discrimination, financial obstacles, and sometimes in remote villages, schools that are unsafe and too distant, are some of the man-made barriers that deny girls their fundamental right to education.

 

 

STATISTIC: While many countries are already devoting a good share of their budgets to education, much of the investment, according to UNICEF, is misdirected. And with the miserly less than 2 per cent of the Nigerian national budget spent on education in years past, it is doubtful if Nigeria will attain the UNICEF's goal of Education FOR ALL by 2015.

 

With the laudable goals of "Education For All" which are: expansion of early childhood, provision of free and compulsory primary education for all, promotion of learning and skills for young people, realization of gender parity, and gender equality by 2015, among many others. But the question is, will Nigeria ever get there?

 

Statistics on education are tilted in favour of the male child, any day. Consider this: Only 59 per cent of children in sub-Saharan Africa are in school, but the majority of them are boys. Where, then are the girls?

 

In a recent analysis of household surveys from 21 African countries, carried out by the World Bank, it is stressed that priorities should be placed on rural girls who are always the victims of discrimination where formal (or western) education is concerned. This is very true of the Nigerian situation.

 

A June 2003 workshop entitled 'Investment Options in Education For All' organized by UNICEF and the World Bank with Norwegian support, and held in Burkina Faso, aims to help countries achieve the Millennium Development Goal of eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education, among others.

 

Any wonder that UNICEF's The State of the World's Children 2004 reports concludes that (since) "Education is everybody's human right, it means that no girl, however poor, however desperate her country's situation, is to be excluded from school."

 

While the Nigerian government appears to be trying in its efforts to give education to all, the obvious fact is that special provision still needs to be made for the girl-child. And, it is not enough to put her in school, the completion of the education she is enrolled for must equally be ensured added to equal opportunity in the work place, business, leadership and governance.

 

 

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