By JENNIFER TANKO
Does girl-child education have any impact in the Nigerian society or any other society for that matter? Of course, girl- child education has been identified as the backbone of the advanced societies of the world. It is a critical issue that should not be treated with laxity. Its impact in the society is numerous and includes; improving the individual, causing her to be productive and not a burden to the society; it improves the economy of the society through various means such as environmental sustainability; lowers illiteracy rate which also leads to lower poverty rate.
Girl- child education also decreases maternal mortality. This is because women with formal education tend to have better knowledge about health care practices. Cross-country studies show that an extra year of schooling for girls reduces fertility rates by five to 10 percent i.e. later marriage.
Among children not attending schools, there are twice as many girls as boys and among illiterate adults, there are twice as many women as men so if the girl-children are given education, it means the rate of illiteracy will be halved which can give room for more women to be able to contribute financially to their families thereby making their families more capable of also securing education for their children.
This will also empower and improve productivity in the society. It would also increase women’s involvement in the political process as educated women can participate in politics and contribute to effective governance of the society. With education, women are able to understand issues relating to women and can intelligently provide solutions to such issues.
Similarly, educated women can raise their voices to be heard especially to demand for equality and fairness on issues that concern them and their families. Having a voice that could be heard leads to reduction in the rate of domestic and sexual violence. Girl child education produces women that easily embrace safe sex thereby reducing the level of sexually transmitted diseases and they also have knowledge of the preventive measures to take to avoid other diseases.
A girl who completes primary school is three times less likely to contract HIV. With this statistics in mind, the World Bank calls education the window of hope in preventing the spread of AIDS among today’s children.
Girl -child education is very necessary and an issue that cannot be overemphasised. Every child should be given the opportunity to be educated irrespective of the gender of the child as both sexes can bring equal growth and contributions to the society.
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.” An empowered woman is full of great potentials, strength, courage and knowledge which she passes down to her child and the society. The solution to high rate of girl child drop outs from school is to encourage enlightenment campaigns on the importance of girl- child education. A lot can be done by simply spreading the message by talking to someone and continuing to do so till we see that every girl is given the opportunity to go to school. And as more girls go to school, it becomes easy to make Nigeria Great.
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