INTRO: Girl child education in Nigeria has been very poor from time immemorial. There is an ongoing argument about the origin of the ugly situation of girl child education in Nigeria. While a camp traces the root of the problem to the patriarchal traditional African society, another camp claims that it is one of the evils of colonialism. It is not in the interest of this piece to throw weight behind either of the camp. If anything, both the traditional African society and colonialism are culpable; but the time for blame game is over. Hence, it is instructive to bring to the attention of the relevant stakeholders, the importance of girl child education in Nigeria such as below.
#1 Girl Child Education is Important to Enable Women Contribute their Quota in the Development of Nigeria: The inexhaustible list of women leaders (past and present) who made immense contributions to the development of the country included Chief Abigail Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Margaret Ekpo, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Prof. Dora Nkem Akunyili, Oby Ezekwesili, Madam Farida Waziri, Madam Buch Emecheta, Madam Ndi Okereke-Onyuike, etc. These women of substance were able to achieve their various feats through education. Improved girl child education in Nigeria will add to the list of these women-leaders in Nigeria.
#2 Girl Child Education is Important to Enable Women Resist Being Victims of Trafficking Especially for Prostitution: According to the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, women are most vulnerable to trafficking when they are undereducated and poor. Proper education will equip girl children with the requisite skills and enlightenment needed for decent living rather than falling prey to the sugar-coated promises of traffickers.
#3 Girl Child Education is Important to Enable Women Achieve Financial Independence: Part of the causes of the oppression of women in the society is their overdependence on men for financial support. This condition forces them to submit to the whims and caprices of their financiers. Education empowers a woman’s wallet through boosting her earning capabilities. A report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said that a single year of primary education has shown to increase a girl’s wages later in life by 20 percent. The simple truth is that apart from the skills that are obtainable from education, the certificates obtained are more or less meal tickets.
#4 Girl Child Education is Important to Teach Women about Safe Sex: Educational curriculum mostly features sex education. There has been controversies about the appropriate age for giving sex education to children. This notwithstanding, a report insisted that girl who completes primary school is three times less likely to contract HIV. This explains why the World Bank calls education a “window of hope” in preventing the spread of AIDS among today’s children.
#5 Girl Child Education is Important in Order to Ensure Future Educated Generations: An African proverb says, “If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a nation.” Educated women are more likely to ensure the education of her children than the male counterpart. Even the less educated ones in our society who regret their condition are seen toiling day and night to see their children through in school. The African proverb is true to the syllables.