Why Girl Child Education is Important in Nigeria.

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Education is about passing down what society knows. It teaches reading, writing, and math, as well as values and ethics. As such, It’s incredibly important for any country to strive to educate its populace. The role of girl-child education is apparent and not phantom in view of the responsibilities they are to assume in the future days. Education is one of the most critical areas of empowering our girls, offering girl-child basic education is one sure way of giving them much greater power of enabling them to make pukka choices over the kind of lives they wish to lead.

These girls will in the future become women who will discharge responsibilities to their children, families, and society at large, They could also be in academia, in politics (government), or in the economy (business), where their unstinting prowess will be needed. Their education would guide and enable them to think critically and make appropriate decisions that will be beneficial to all. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., He said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically, intelligence plus character that is the goal of true education”.

Another spectacular saying is “When you educate a man, you educate an individual and when you educate a woman, you educate an entire family”. This saying is apparent because girls will become women, and women become wives and take care of their families. Girl-child education is however paramount to both the social and economic development of our country Nigeria.

Benefits of Girl Child Education

The benefits of girl-child education are numerous, it does not only bring immediate benefits of empowering girls but it can be seen as the best investment in a country’s development in the long run. An educated girl-child develops essential life skills, including self-confidence, analytic ability, better decision-making skills, and the ability to actively and effectively participate in societal activities. They can as well protect themselves and their families from diseases, sexual exploitation, and harassment. It also helps in Curtailing children and maternal mortality rates; she can also teach and transmit knowledge to upcoming generations.

Challenges and Impediments to Girl Child Education

Low Girl-child education is a major issue in most developing countries, especially in Sub–Saharan Africa, In Nigeria for example, girl-child education is still at a low ebb. A large number of young girls are still not attending or have not attended school, especially in the northern part of the country. According to a UNICEF report, as few as 20% of women in the North-west and North-East regions of Nigeria are literate and have attended school. Young girls in the northern part of the country are often seen hawking petty goods as a means of earning for themselves or their parents. This has caused several assaults on them, sexual harassment, exploitation, etc.

Education is a basic human right and has been recognized as such since the 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Highlighted below are some of the challenges bedeviling girl-child education in Nigeria.

1. Inadequate School Infrastructure

It is the basic responsibility of the government to provide educational infrastructures, ranging from classes, reading materials, qualified teachers, laboratory equipment, libraries, etc. This responsibility of course has not been met by most of our recent governments, These infrastructures are in dire need of attention, and the standards of these facilities have deteriorated over the years, at both primary, secondary, and even tertiary levels in the country.  A substantial number of these public schools are not adequately equipped, many schools got children seated on the floor to take lessons, and few qualified and experienced teachers were employed. This problem caused many girl-child to be left out of school. This is really a catastrophe.

2. Marriage

Marriage is also one of the detriments of girl-child education, some parents feel their daughters will not get an education because it will deter them from getting married early. Early marriage has kept many girls out of school. Some dropped out after primary school, some after secondary level failing to proceed to tertiary levels such as polytechnics, universities, or colleges of education, etc. Marriage is an integral aspect of our lives but shouldn’t be an instrument to jettison education because education is very important in marriage.

Education for girl-child will help them become responsible mothers, take care of their children’s health, and equip them with occupational training to earn a legitimate living and impact the economy.

3. Poverty and Economic Issues

 According to the National Bureau of Statistics report in 2013, 67% of the Nigerian population is living below the poverty line. Simply put, 67% of Nigerians are poor. With this, it becomes a challenge for people to enroll their girl-child in school.  As mentioned earlier, the government has not been able to discharge its responsibility of providing education effectively, it however became apparent that the only alternative is to go for privately owned schools.

Needless to say, privately owned schools are mainly for profit making, unlike public schools. Therefore the fees payable are relatively high, mostly exorbitant for many families to afford. Often many will now choose to enrol their boy child leaving the girl child at home or hawking some staple products to augment and bear the family’s expenses.

4. Cultural and Religious Misinterpretation

Another challenge hampering girl-child education is cultural and religious misinterpretation. The latter provides answers and solutions for unexplained natural phenomena, while the former represents our total way of life. Albeit, religion and culture do not discard education, but rather misinterpretation of these variables is what poses a challenge to girl-child education. Some religious followers often misinterpret education mostly Western education and often preach against it. Education does not destroy culture, rather it advances culture through knowledge and also serves as an instrument of civilization. This misinterpretation has kept many girl-child out of school, though this is more serious in some parts of the country than others.


Looking at the benefits that girl child education could accrue, as well as the challenges in Nigeria. Below are some panaceas that are pragmatic to overcome these daunting challenges.

1. Provide adequate infrastructure.

First and foremost, the government as the acme of every societal setting should invest heavily in education. The government should in a matter of urgency rescue the dilapidated condition of the sector. The yearly budget on education should be increased. More classes should be built, existing ones should be renovated, the environment should be made affable and conducive for learning, reading materials should be provided etc.

2. Free and compulsory education.

Education is of course a right but beyond the reach of many. Free and in fact compulsory education programs should be provided. If not at all levels, then basic education should be made free and compulsory. This will help in fighting the challenge of poverty. Once basic education is free and compulsory it will serve as an incentive for girl-child to attend schools especially those whose problem is that of poverty.

3. Orientation and awareness.

There is a need for a change in orientation towards girl child education, especially those in the rural populace. NGO’s, developmental associations, government agencies, and international communities should intensify their efforts in reaching the nooks and crannies of our country, to educate and enlighten about the importance of girl child education. The orientation will need the involvement of traditional rulers such as district heads, emirs, etc. Religious leaders such as Imams, and Pastors should also be involved. This will help averse the apathy towards girl child education, especially in the rural populace, as well as address the problem of religious and cultural misinterpretation. Awareness can also be made through various communication outlets such as radio, television, billboards, social media, etc.

4. Qualified and experienced teachers.

Highly qualified and experienced teachers should be employed to teach in public schools. Their emoluments and alimony should be fair, and equitable so as to conform to their performance. In those days teachers were well paid, but their pay has degraded over time. this should be reviewed in other to get the best out of the teachers.

5. Girls-only schools.

 In some parts of the country, girls’ schools will be advantageous especially those whose culture or parents do not want their girl child to mingle with boys. The schools should be made solely for girls. This will also encourage those parents to enrol their girl child.

Prospect & Conclusion

Although some states of the country are taking steps to overcome those challenges, it is still irksome to see some yet to do. The prospect of having a better girl child education is still at its lowest ebb, particularly in the north. The government at every level, as well as international communities, associations, etc., should intensify their effort for us to have a girl-child education as a right for every girl child and not a privilege.

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