The saying goes thus ” when you educate a boy, you educate one person. When you educate a girl you educate a family and a whole nation.What then is the conception of education?. Education is the gradual Process of providing vital information to an inexperienced individual to help mature and develope physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, financially etc. It can also be defined as a process whereby an individual acquires knowledge and his realizes his potentials so as to be useful to himself and to the environment.
The importance of education cannot be overemphasized. It gives one a sense of direction and independence, it breaks the chains of ignorance and illiteracy. According to the Chinese proverb- “education is the best legacy to give a child” because giving a child a skill is far more better than handling him one thousand pieces of Gold.
However as the case may be, many girls today do not have adequate access to education. When a female is past 12- 14 years, the elders or parents feels that she’s old enough to be married off, hence cutting off her chance to education. What then is the fate of such child?. She is opened to a very high risk. Early child marriages affects the physical, emotional, psychological state of a child. She’s not in any position to be a mother or mother a child without any skills or information.
The barbaric philosophy of the natives believes that a woman’s place is in her husband’s kitchen and her primary roles centres on her home. This barbaric belief have kept many young and promising girls from education. Fortunately, the established law fights against early child marriages and betrothals. The child’s right act of 2003 prohibits child marriages. In section 21 of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, any marriage contracted by anyone less than 18 years is rendered invalid.
Actually, there are plentous reasons why the Girl- child should be educated, but only three reasons will be addressed in this article. Firstly, education in general strengths and improve the economic stability of a country. The economy depends on its development and stability which are all linked to how educated the citizens are. A largely uneducated country is a country that is going nowhere. That being established, women make up at least half of the entire of Nigeria. If the state of Nigeria with more than half of its female population are uneducated, it renders the majority of some 96 million Nigerians unable to contribute substantially to the development of the nation’s economy. So if there’s increase in the Girl child education, we are more certain of a balanced and well developed economy.
Secondly, educating the female child improves the overall health of a family, a Society and a nation. It contains the further spread of various health problems such as early pregnancy, Female Genital Mutilation, AIDS and other STDS. Early marriage and child pregnancy are evils particularly exclusive to The female child especially in the northern part of the Nigeria. This is owing to the cultural and religious perceptions of women and their roles in the society. The girls are purported as properties that only pays off in the form of dowries. This translates into reality that a disturbing 32% of teenagers in the rural areas of Nigeria have begun child bearing.
There’s also the fact that most of these girl children with their newly born children end up begging on the streets, under the bridges, in ever corner they can find. They end up releasing more people that they cannot cater for into the world increasing the rate of poverty by jaw dropping numbers.
Lastly, Girl child education decreases the rate of sexual violence. Educated women consider themselves to be of value to their families, spouses, societies and most importantly, to themselves. It is therefore less likely for an educated woman with prospects to subject herself to physical or sexual abuse or to remain a victim of such. The exposure education gives a girl child makes her more likely to develop a concrete self-esteem, thereby immensely upping her protection of herself. Most illiterate women find it harder to walk out of abusive relationships and marriages because they have no means to look after themselves. This is however not the case for most educated women who can provide for themselves. Policy makers must also create an enabling environment for increasing gender participation in the political, business, financial market, technology and even Agric sectors, providing a valuable pipeline for the “Educated Girl-Child” to be transformed into women that will be agents of national transformation.