Abstract: This research work examined Perceived Factors and Parents Attitudes towards Girl Child Education in Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. A survey research was conducted using a self-developed and validated instrument. Copies of the questionnaires were administered to teaching and non-teaching staff of five (5) secondary schools and the hypotheses formulated were analyzed using chi-square of two (2) tailed test at 5% level of significance. The findings showed that illiteracy, fear of insurgency, trafficking, abduction etc, religious inclination/belief and culture ranked more among the perceived factors that influence parents attitudes towards girl child education. Based on the findings, mass literacy campaign should be encouraged to persuade parents to embrace girl child education as a responsibility.
Government should do more to provide adequate security to check incessant cases of abduction, trafficking and rape of girl child within and around schools and perpetrators punished according. Poverty alleviation programme should be extended to the rural areas and more jobs created for parents to raise their standard of living. Bad cultural practices abolished and child right arts enforced. Free education for girl child and provisions of incentives advocated. Parents should avoid gender discrimination and preference to give their girl children equal educational opportunities and give them full sense of belonging.
Perceived Factors and Parents Attitudes towards Girl Child Education
1.1 Background of the study
A nation that neglects the education of the girl child is heading for peril or doom (According to an old saying). A girl child is a biological female offspring from birth to 18 years of age. This is the age before one becomes a young adult. This period covers the crèche, nursery or early childhood (0-5 years), Primary (6-12 years). And Secondary School (12-18 years). According to Ocho, (2013). Education involves a process through which individuals are make functional members of their society. It is a process through which the young person acquires knowledge and realizes him/herself potentials and uses them for self actualization. It is a means of processing, transmitting and improving the culture of the society.
UNESCO report of education for all (2012) emphasis that early learning begins at birth. It further explains that early learning has strong and positives input on further learning in primary education and beyond. The report advocates that the period from birth to the start of primary education is a critical formative stage for the growth and development of the child.
Furthermore, the learning outcomes of primary education such as values, knowledge and skills are strong when learning occurs in the years proceeding regular schooling. The international project was organized under the early child-hood care and education (ECCE) and has to its advantages recorded low rate in school-drop-out and grade repetition at primary level (Meyer and Young 2010). It was recorded that in the year 2020, 48 developing nations including those from sub-Saharan Africa participated in the programmed. Incidentally Nigeria was not a member. In countries like Brazil, baby care centers have been integrated under the ministry of education and linked to schools to actualize this effort.
The then United Nations secretary General, Kofi Annan, stated that in Africa when families have to make choice due to limited resources of either a girl or a boy child, it is always the boy that is chosen to attain school. Many girls in Africa are prevented from getting the education entitled to them because families often send their daughters out to work at the young age so that they can get additional income to help them for their up-keep.
Girl child education is an issue with growing silence in Nigeria. It has been the subject of debate in force in the country from the drafting of policy papers to the setting up of women right groups. The average rural Nigerian parents will rather invest in the education of the make child than the female.
In the Northern part of the country for instance, young girls are denied the benefit of education with grave consequences for both the individual and the society at large. In every civilized society, education plays a key role in human capital development and as means to successful living for the people. The society attitude towards girl child education in Nigeria varies from region to region.
In the South, the girl child is privileged and given the opportunity to qualitative as a major obstacle which prevents them from gaining offer. In some cases illiteracy, serves as a challenge for those living in the rural areas.
In the North in particular, attitude of parents towards girl child education is indifferent. More children (girls) resort to street begging. Girl child enrolment in schools is considerably low, that is why we hear of AMAJERIS. Kudos to the former and immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan who saw the need to build and commission thirteen amajeri-schools and five girls-school in the North in 2014.
Finally, Ekaettes, Akons, Affiongs, Imaobongs were synonymous with house-mates or house-girls in every part of this country and beyond. Those were the names a particular girl child from Akwa Ibom State was known and called. Majority of them were Nannies or baby-sitters, waitresses, restaurant-attendants etc; not until the advent of last administration with Chief Dr. Godswill Akpabio as Governor.
Girl child education in Akwa Ibom State was very poor which consequences produced the above named human capital. With the past administration in place dignity, importance and hope was returned to the girl child vis a vis boy child through basic and compulsory free primary and secondary education. For over ten years now greater percentages of the girl child are beneficiaries of this noble and life changing project, though much needs to be done as some still fail to avail themselves of this opportunity.
Perceived Factors and Parents Attitudes towards Girl Child Education
1.2 Statement of the Problem
All parents want the best for their children but the level of their desires and efforts vary accordingly in terms of the sex of their children. Training of girl children in the past was regarded as a waste to the family in the sense that the money they spent on their girl child education can never be regained, they are unlike boys who will in return care for the family and also continue or perpetuate the family name.
Most African countries, including Nigeria, believe that women are always at home for domestic chores therefore, girls are seen to be future home-care-takers. When they get married, they tend to forget their parents and focus on their new homes. In communities, males are valued and respected by their family members as compared to their female counterparts. A home without a male child is considered as unfruitful and incomplete and often brings unhappiness to such homes. Females are not expected to be bread-winners but are regarded as wives and mothers to be. Some are given education but not as much as the male children, they are also not expected to challenge the males or to be as independent as they (males).
In most parts of Nigeria, girl children are forced into an arranged marriage at very young age without their consent, whereby they are expected to please and satisfy their husbands by bearing many children especially males and will be disowned if they refuse or oppose the ideas. But in case whereby the woman is unable to bear a child she will be cast aside and replaced with another one who can, leaving her utterly heartbroken and feeling worthless. Therefore, this research was aimed at finding out the perceived factors and parents attitudes towards girl child education in Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.