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1.1 Background to the study

According to Adeyinka (2002), Education is the art of learning.It is the art of acquisition and utilization of knowledge (Ukeje, 2009); the art of acquiring knowledge, skills and values for adjustment in society and problem-solving(Ugwuadu and Adamu, 2006).Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which knowledge, skills and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching training or research (Mbilingi, 2001).

Education for girls is one of the criteria to promote social and economic development (World Bank 2009). According to EFA (Education for All) global monitoring report 2003/04 increasing the educational level of girls has a favourable impact on economic growth. Since 2002, United Nations Educational Scientific and CulturalOrganization (UNESCO) and the global community have been striving to attain the Dakar Education for All (EFA) goals.Considering the fact that education for girls and women is an urgent priority, the Darker Frame work for Action contained a time-bound goal (Goal 5) devoted specifically to gender parity and equality in education. Moreover, special attention had been paid to women and girls in other goals; for example, goal two stipulates that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities will have access to a complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality.

At the Pan African Conference held at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in March/April of 1993, it was observed that Africa was still behind other regions of the world in female participation in education. Gender disparity was attributed to theage long belief in male superiority and female subordination (Okojie,2006).Discrimination of girls in education furthermore persists in many African societies due to customary attitude; gender biased and prioritized child education systems (Kabira, 2002). Lack of education affects other aspects of the life of a woman and that of children in Africa. It was estimated that every additional education a girl receives after primary education, child’s survival rates increases by about 5%. In Africa, about 18 million girls are without education and more than 2/3 of Africa’s 200 million illiterate adults are women. To enable girls participate in education parents are expected to provide adequate teaching and learning facilities, protection against early pregnancy and marriages, personal effects like pads, less housework to enable them have humble time for school homework, prompt school fees payment, clothing and nutrition, positive motivation to change attitude, good accommodation at home and above all be role model in all actions and talks that parents portray (GCN, 2004).

Socio-cultural factor, socio-economic and attitude of parents on girls’ education have not kept pace with modernity (United Nations, 1993). Education is an investment whose returns are highly valued throughout the world. Worthen and Sanders (2010) observed that in most nations’ education is increasingly reviewed as a primary means of solving social problems. Through education, people acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for sustainable economic growth and general development. In many developing countries especially in Nigeria, the trends of gender inequality, not only in education but also in the labour market, political leadership and social and economic spheres has been a contending issue.Education is a key factor in determining development trends, particularly in contemporary world. National governments have embraced the idea of equal education for all as a matter of priority. Within the context of the Nigerian environment, several definitions of the child exist.

The national Child Welfare Policy as cited by Ada(2007) defines the girl child as person below 14 years of age. Offorma(2009) defines the girl-child as a biological female offspring from birth to eighteen (18) years of age. This period is made up of infancy, childhood, early and late adolescence stages of development. The girl-child is seen as a young female person, who would eventually grow into a woman and marry. She is conditioned to look after the young ones, the home and the kitchen. She is taught to be obedient and to internalize the notion that she is someone’s property and responsibility. She is her parent’s property and responsibility at childhood and her husband’s in adulthood. The gender apartheid places the girl-child in a disadvantaged position. Her potentials are suppressed and self-actualization is not achieved.


Over the last decade the politics of gender in developing countries like Nigeria have been carried out with the context that women deserved better in terms of numerical representation. Though women constitute slightly over half of Nigerians population majority are poor.The picture depicted by the United Nations Report of 1967 still holds true in Nigeria. Until recently, education in Nigeria used to be directed to the male child only especially in the northern part of the country where many parents are still unaware of the values of Western Education (Ozigi and Ocho, 2001).Such parents regard western education with suspicion. They see it as suitable for socio-economic development of the community and not for spiritual and moral training which is paramount in their minds. Furthermore, the education of female child is less valued by parents because more financial help is expected from the male child than female child (Dubey, 2004). In addition, Williams (2006) andNdahi (2007) found that parents believe a female child belongs to her husband’s family together with whatever belongs to her, and since a female child will eventually get married whether she is educated or not, there is no point wasting money on her education.

A Nigerian female child who is the focus of girl-child education deserves every encouragement to pursue education so that she can enjoy the provisions of education for mankind for her own personal development and for the development of the nation. As the saying goes “Train a man, you train a soulor just an individual but train a woman you train a nation”. Girls are mothers of the next generation therefore they require the best education for the best foundation of the future generation to sustain our civilization.

In Ohaukwu, it has been observed that the education of female child is backward particularly among the illiterate parents. This notwithstanding, the Ebonyi State Government has been giving serious attention to the education of her citizens, to the extent that there are a good number of state government owned educational institutions (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary). World Bank (2006), noted that the only way to reduce the disparities in women’s involvement in economic activities is to involve girls in education by developing girl friendly measures and packages which should include locating many schools to the communities, waiving school fees, having locally based female leaders as role models and flexible school calendar that could carter for girls domestic duties and responsibilities.

It is to this effect that it became a great concern to encourage girls in the secondary institutions to work hard to prepare them for adulthood responsibilities and enable them to fit well and compete favourably in the job market. The participation of girls in secondary education is of great importance to the nation’s socio-economic development, social-cultural growth and for women empowerment. It shapes the whole destiny of a person hence a lot of values are added to life style. This calls for the participatory involvement of parents, teachers, government and other stake holders in enhancing girl-child participation in secondary education through provision of basic requirements which to a greater extent should come from the parents.

1.2 Statement of the problem

It is observed that many State and Local Governments do not take cognizance of the peculiarities of the girl-child in the provisions for education for the citizenry (Ada, 2007). Consequently, many girls do not have access to education. Girls’ access to basic education especially in Ohukwu LGA of Ebonyi state has remained low. It has been observed that child labour, poverty and lack of sponsorship, quest for wealth, bereavement, truancy, broken home and engagement of children as house helps, as factors inhibiting children especially girls’ access to education in Nigeria and in OhukwuLocal Government Area in particular. One of the most prevalent impediments to the girl-child education is child labour.

Many families often send their daughters out to work at a young age to get additional income needed to exist beyond subsistence level and finance the education of male children. Also, that their mothers were not educated is another reason that makes them feel that their daughters do not need education. Some families justify the denial of girl-child education to preventing them from bringing shame to the family through early pregnancy. Others believe that women who are at the same level of education as the men may not find marriage partners among their countrymen and may end up marrying foreigners.

It is upon these backdrops that this research sought to investigate the factors influencing girl-child education in Ohukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of carrying out this research was to determine the factors influencing girl-child education in Ohukwu local government area of Ebonyi State.Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. Examine the extent to which socio-economic factors influence girl-child education in Ohukwu local government area of EbonyiState.
  2. Examine the extent to which socio-cultural factors influence girl-child education in Ohukwu local government area of EbonyiState.
  • Determine the extent to which parents’ level of education influence girl-child education in Ohukwu local government area of EbonyiState.
  1. Investigate the extent to which physical accessibility of school influence girl-child education in Ohukwu local government area of EbonyiState.

1.4 Significance of the study


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