By Joan Ayuba
Many girls today are not educated beyond a certain age. According to UNICEF, 129 million girls are out of school; 32 of primary school age and 97 million of secondary school age. The constitution of Nigeria states that every child, boy or girl, has the right to an education. The Child’s Rights Act (2003). The constitution even mandates free and compulsory education for children aged 6 to 15. (Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act, 2004).
However, many girls drop out of school after the junior secondary level because this stipulation does not extend to the senior secondary class and their parents are unable to pay for them to continue. These girls end up on the streets or in husbands’ houses, shortening the value they would have brought to the community.
Education is regarded as the foundation of every community because it is one of the quickest and most efficient ways of promoting economic growth. Women and girls account for half of the world’s population and thus half of its potential.
The extent and quality of a woman’s participation in society are heavily influenced by her educational level. Education enables her to carry out her family, political, and other citizenship responsibilities, as well as exercise her other rights. Since everyone benefits from the result of the woman’s education, whose duty is it to train her? Investing in a girl’s education changes her community, country, and world. Girls who attend school are less likely to marry young and are more likely to live healthy, productive lives. To their families, it enables them to earn income, and participate in decision-making. and build better futures for themselves.
To their society, education strengthens their ability to contribute to the economies, participate in decision making and reduce inequality. They also contribute to a more stable, resilient society that gives all individuals a chance to fulfill their potential.
Politically, it paves the way for political participation and empowers them with the necessary knowledge to actively and effectively oppose oppressive norms and contribute to the development of a nation.
So, once again, who is responsible for training the girl child? Because investing in girls’ secondary education is one of the most transformative development strategies, it is critical to prioritize efforts that enable all girls to complete secondary school and develop the knowledge and skills they need for life and work. As individuals and organizations, we owe it to the girl-child to help her reach her full potential by empowering and advocating for her in any way we can.
Connected Development (CODE) has continued to advocate for girl child education in Nigeria through the Malala Fund. We are advocating for free education not only for the first nine years (junior secondary schools) but also for a twelve-year period (senior secondary schools).
Education is about girls feeling safe in the classrooms and supported in the careers they choose to pursue, including those in which they are frequently underrepresented. Education is a fundamental right that we should be naturally entitled to. Therefore, to answer the earlier question, since the girl contributes invariably to her family, society, and nation when trained, everyone has to train and support her.
Education serves as an avenue of exposure to cultural alternatives and offers an opportunity of being valued members of the society, every generation has a duty to reciprocate by educating the generation that comes after it.