Increasing Children’s access to education will improve the future society, yet in many developing countries like Nigeria, children’s access to education can be limited by numerous factors.
Mrs Azuka Menkiti, an education specialist for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) while speaking at the media dialogue for bloggers and online influencers organized by UNICEF and Federal Government at Tahir Hotel Kano said
”Children in poor communities in Nigeria face many barriers to accessing an education. Factors such as not having a school within their community or neighboring communities and not having money to pay for school fees are one of the biggest challenges to children accessing education in rural communities.
Though these challenges have an impact on both girls’ and boys’ ability to get an education across the region, they have a greater impact on girls: 63% of rural women and girls have had no education, compared to 35% of rural men and boys and the reason for this gender gap is because “our society is a collective society where daughters stay home, help their families to cook and clean and eventually get married… while sons are sent to school to get educated and earn a livelihood for the family.”
Below are 10 Reasons why the girl child should have access to quality education.
1). There’s an adage which says, “If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family and a whole nation.” By sending a girl to school, she is far more likely to ensure that her children will also receive an education and are well taken care of.
2). Child marriage always results in the end of a girl’s education and this means having young mothers without the knowledge of how to build healthy, educated families. Educated girls marry later in life, when they are at a suitable age to bear and care for their children. Child marriage not only ends girls’ education, it also puts them at a higher risk of early pregnancy and complications during childbirth.
3). When more girls are educated, it will lead to a decrease in population explosion because educated women tend to have fewer babies who turn out to be very healthy while illiterate women have more kids, in most cases, more than six children.
4). Education leads to a decrease in infant mortality rate. The Girls Global Education Fund in one of their reports stated that when a child is born to a mother in Africa who hasn’t received an education, the child will have a high tendency of dying before the age of 5.
5). Educated women are less likely to die while pregnant or during and in the months after childbirth because they are more informed and are more likely to go for ante-natal care where they are also taught how to take care of themselves post pregnancy.
Also, when more girls are educated, it leads to having more female health care providers to assist with prenatal medical care, labor, delivery and complications/emergencies that may also arise. Half of the girls I met at Tofa Modal Primary school Kano told me they want to become Nurses when they grow up.
6). When women are educated, it brings more economic growth to a community. Educated women are more likely to get a job or provide services and this means more income for a family and this greatly improves their living condition. Most women reserve their income for their families. These economic savings will result in the betterment of not only their immediate family but the entire community.
7). Educated girls have more chances of volunteering for a good cause and educated women are more likely to participate in politics and decision-making, which in turn promotes a more inclusive government and this means the women in politics are more likely to push for laws that benefit their families and communities. Example, the gender law by Late Oby Nwankwo from Imo State which states that first-born female children can inherit their late father’s property.
8). As women become more educated, they are less likely to support terrorism which includes Boko Haram and Militants.
9). Education makes one to be self-confident and empowered. Imagine what victims of domestic violence can do if they have the right education. It’s a known fact that women stay in abusive marriages cos of what society will say but more and more women are becoming enlightened and have realized there’s life after divorce. – Non educated girls won’t know how to report to the appropriate authorities or the necessary steps to take to leave an abusive marriage and seek protection.
10). Education reduces the risk of HIV and VVF. – When girls get educated, they have a knowledge of what safe sex is all about. They understand the need to get protected and also what to do when they have unprotected sex. Educated girls can stand for their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In cases of rape and sexual abuse, girls who have at least secondary school education will know that the first thing to do is go to the hospital or health center for appropriate checkup.
This is why cases of HIV/AIDS are so high in the North because lots of the girls are not educated and hence don’t have the right information.
Finally, education reduces the chances of girls having Vesicovaginal fistula which is an abnormal fistulous tract extending between the bladder and the vagina that allows the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault and this happens when girls contract STD’s or after childbirth and no proper care is taken.
VVF is very popular in the north cos of the rate of child brides and with lack of education, there’s little knowledge of what VVF is and how to properly take care of the young girls.