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This study is focused on female education in Nigeria. It traces the genesis of western education in Nigeria and bias that existed from the traditional Nigerian society against women education. It identified and discussed barriers to women education in Nigeria. Recent trend in enrolment at various levels of education shows improvement in favor of women. In view of this realization, this paper argues that if the current momentum is sustained, women will not only achieve equal status to men in educational attainment but also have the tendency to surpass men within the next ten to fifteen years. The implications could be outreaching as the paper proffers some recommendations.





1.1 Background Of The Study

Education is a tool for the sustainable development of any economy (Oyitso & Olomukoro, 2012). In the last two decades, there have been agitations that women should be involved in ensuring the sustainable development of a country. Even as a research conducted shows that about two-third of women are illiterates and just about the same figure goes for females who are out of school. However, for women (females) to contribute towards achieving sustainable development, they must be given quality education.

Fortunately, females make up a greater percentage of Nigeria’s population, therefore in other for them to be involved in the development of the country, they need to be literate (UNESCO, 2002). This brings us to the reality that half of the population of a country (females) is discriminated or illiterates, sustainable development will be hampered. Educating females of a country is one of the ways of investing into the future of that country, tied to a saying that ‘if you train a woman, you have trained the nation’. Females will actively participate both nationally and internationally in the social, political, and economic development of the country if certain barriers are taken care of (Okojie, 2011). Based on the traditional beliefs of Nigerians, before now females were known to always be in the kitchen, thus discriminating them from participating in other spheres of the economy. Not minding this limitation, women still struggled participating in the economic sphere of the country, engaging more in agricultural activities than the men (Ponte, 2006). This discrimination meted on the female folk has made them poor thereby depriving them of education, training and health services. A very obvious discrimination against women is the area of education and it is because they do not have access to education. It has been proven that women can achieve socio-economic development of the nation through sound education and empowerment (Adeniran, 2009). It is against this background that in recent times efforts have been made to improve female education in Nigeria. Buttress to say are campaigns carried out by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) south and north parts of Nigeria to promote female education; and to encourage state governments in the north to fund female education. One of the positive effects of this campaign is the establishment of girls’ schools across the country.

Despite all these meaningful measures, female education still lacks behind compared to males’ education. A lot of women have not been well empowered to contribute to national development, they are still traumatized and that is why out of 1.2 billion around the globe living in abject poverty, about 70% are women (Onwubiko, 2012). Poverty for these women does not only mean their basic needs are not met but that their voices are not heard, opportunities denied, and their rights are trampled upon.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) took a step further in one of its goals to reiterate how essential women education is through empowering women. The National Policy on women was adopted in 2000 in Nigeria in other to enhance the involvement of females in the social and political arena of the country, to achieve national development (Olomukoro, 2012).

However, not minding that the Nigerian culture plays a part in discouraging female education, the presence of civilization (formal education) is helping to close the vacuum created, in other to join the workforce of the country.

This study on female education in Nigeria: the key to development is coming on the hills of stressing how important female education is to the sustainable development of Nigeria.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Over twenty decades now, the issue of female education has always been a topical issue both in the national and international scene. There are certain barriers to this effect, and they include:

Poverty and economic issues: with the high level of poverty in Nigeria, female children are usually sent to hawk in other to provide the basic needs of the family.

Cultural and religious biases: Many Nigerian parents are of the notion that it is waste of resources to enroll females in schools and so the males should be enrolled. Also, some Islamic parents misinterpret the tenet of lslam as regards female education.

Early Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy: Due to the fact that many parents belief education is not for their female children, they give them away in early marriage.

In addition, teenage pregnancy amongst females makes them drop out from school.

These are some of the problems associated with female education in Nigeria.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study                         

The major objective of this study is Female Education in Nigeria: the Key to Development.

Other specific objectives include:

  1. a) To examine the significant relationship between female education and Nigeria’s GDP.
  2. b) To identify the challenges of female education in Nigeria.
  3. c) To suggest ways of improving female education in Nigeria.
  4. d) To examine how well the media has contributed in promoting female education in Nigeria.
  5. e) To examine the percentage of females in Nigeria who are educated.

1.4 Research Questions                            

The following research questions are generated to guide this study:

  1. a) What is the significant relationship between female education and Nigeria’s GDP?
  2. b) What are the challenges of female education in Nigeria?
  3. c) What are the ways of improving female education in Nigeria?
  4. d) Has the media contributed in promoting female education in Nigeria?
  5. e) What is the percentage of females in Nigeria who are educated?

1.5 Research Hypothesis                 

H0: There is no significant relationship between female education and Nigeria’s GDP.

H1: There is a significant relationship between female education and Nigeria’s GDP.

1.6 Significance Of The Study

This study is meant to inform, educate, sensitize and enlighten the general public, government and policy makers on the importance of female education towards achieving national development.

It is meant to educate parents on the importance of sending their female children to school.

The study aims at reminding the government that they have a part to play in ensuring female education in Nigeria. In fact, it should be enacted as a law that females should be given compulsory education in Nigeria.

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this topic and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other work or study.

1.7 Scope Of The Study/Limitations Of The Study

This study is restricted to female education in Nigeria; the key to development.

Limitations of study

  1. Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
  2. Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


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