By Ibrahim Goronyo:
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Nigeria which got its independence on October 1, 1960 clocked 57 early in October. Precisely on October 1. Most Nigerians are amore concerned about national unity and cohesion. The primary activity is to achieve national development, it is at this platform that the majority believe that the masses can live their lives without those challenges that will make them grumble. The one-million-dollar question is how far has Nigeria gone in her struggle to achieve the privilege of being counted among the developed nations? To answer this question, I must not draw my face away from reality. It is a painful reality that despite the vast population the nation has, despite the abundant natural resources and , irrespective of the political sovereignty coupled with the labour sacrificed by the citizens every single day, Nigeria remains largely an underdeveloped nation
The essence of this essay is to assess how far gender education can support development process in this great country. First let me define the key words. Development connotes a particular stage at which a nation which is politically sovereign will be able to achieve maximum production, mass distribution and consumption by all classes of people of goods and services. Furthermore, such a nation is expected to be free of social vices. Nigeria as a nation is bankrupt of the features of the above definition. On the part of education, it is the process of training aimed at acquiring socially aproved skills and character at all levels. Such process can be formal or informal, primary or secondary. Informal education is more of primary importance because it is the most important stage at which an individual acquires his or her actual character while formal education is more actually professional. Nonetheless, the point of explanation is “gender” education.
It is naturally simple to explain the concept of gender. This is not unconnected with the natural demarcation drawn between the two sexes ie, male and female.
The nexus between development and education is that the latter is most essential tool of achieving the former. It is believed that mass education brings a nation closer to development. Nigeria as a nation cannot boast of mass education, this is evidenced by mass illiteracy which consequently cripple any step taken by the nation to achieve development. It is also believed that among the genders, majority of illiterates come from the female gender, therefore, the females are left out of the development process in Nigeria. This predicament is more notorious in northern part of the country where there is traditional belief that woman is best “for home keeping” and therefore it is a waste of time and resources to send females to schools. The funny thing here is those that harbour this ideology always occupy the first row of people blaming this country in its failure to develope.
The golden principal is “truth is bitter,” but this can never prevent me from voicing it out. If you are among the conservatives who despite the forces of civilization discourage education to be accessible to all genders, you must get yourself prepared to take the blame, for part-taking in making our development process slow. What I mean is you must support and encourage female education so that the female population participates in developing Nigeria.
Many people, I believe, will ask me how? I have decided to provide the question with an answer by explaining the roles of gender education in national development. These roles shall be discussed under four themes viz; Economic, Political, Social and Religious importance of all sexes in nation building. Thus, the points are going to be in seriation.
Economy is the backbone of every society be it developed or not; and economy is the most important medium of defining national development. This is the means at which a nation struggles to avoid waste of its resources by resorting to proper investment. This institution of nation building is more productive in nature because it is more concerned about how production of goods and services can be maximised. The most important factor needed for production is labour. Nigeria as a developing country has limited technology and is therefore left with human resources as the only alternative. Our growing industries always starve, looking for more working force. The male gender has only succeeded in solving little of this problem since the females are denied the equal opportunity to go to school. Has the reverse been the case, the females would have by now been equally contributing by increasing labour supply in the labour market.
Another aspect connected with economic roles of female education is the actual contribution of males in production. Todayl, it is quite true that majority of the men graduating out of our universities are not willing to work in our local factories,these to them do not pay.many have either joined the security forces or have succeeded in securing appointments in political offices.It is natural that females have the patience required to build our industries to the highest peak of production. How I wish the females are currently equally educated both in number and capacity with the male counterparts. I believe this would have provided the long-awaited panacea to our dying industries. The females would have filled the vacancies deserted”for-good” by their opposite. This fact makes females education necessary.
Production of the sole proprietorship level is very common in Nigeria. Majority of those engaged in domestic production are females . The knowledge that such domestic production support national income is not possessed by a common man.but these women, irrespective of their contributions, are not perfected, ie the Government is not exposing them to modernity in Which is available more sophisticated method of production, let me use this illustration.
Aisha, a typical Hausa girl, has for the past fourteen years learnt how to knit with pins, it usually takes her three weeks to complete a set of sweaters, so slow and so difficult. Aisha is however not educated, that is why she has not the very knowledge that a knitting machine exist, with which she can complete a similar set of sweaters with very little effort in less than two hours. She does not know about its existence let alone knowing how to operate it. Has she been educated, more sweaters will be available for sale in the market, this we call increase in production. Gender education is for sure going to foster economic development in this country. Many people will be engaged in economic activities thereby giving birth to better economic policies and mass participation.
Gender education foster political developments. The political atmosphere of a developed society must be based on democracy. This is participation by the majority through representation. This spirit does not exist in Nigeria because there is no clean representation in the government. Only one gender is actively represented in the government, the other gender or to be more precise, females do not have representatives in the government because of the restricted access to education which they suffer. Women have today, very little to contribute in the government. The reverse would have no doubt been the case if the females are enjoying similar access to education like the males, it will quite be a different story if women are given education to stimulate and motivate females right from the grassroots to ensure their participation in power structures and decision-making bodies. Education is the most potent way through which all the genders will enjoy equal participation and representation in developing the country.
A society that is bankrupt of socially approved behaviour is a corrupt society and therefore is sick in development efforts. Gender education is very important because it provides efficient socialization which gives an individual a sense of belonging, solidarity and patriotic feeling about his or her society.
It is important that women receive education like or even more than men because women play the most important role in societal development. This is due to the fact that apart from child bearing, nursing and breast feeding, a woman is a primary teacher in her family. She plays a plausible role in shaping characters of members of the society. It is natural that children of an educated woman receive the best of care and therefore, such children will grow up with skills and character to contribute in developing the society. Children of an illiterate mother will grow up idle because the mother has, from the onset, nothing to teach them. Majority of such children end up as black-marketers and area boys.
I, at this juncture, strongly believe in the popular slogan that says, “Educate a woman, educate a community”. Education is one of the characteristics of development, all gender education means education for the whole society which is development.
Religiously, education is the motivator of faith and faith prevents grievous social ills. When men and women receive education, there will be a decline in crime. Purity will persist as a harbinger of development.
Finally, education is the live wire of every society without which a society cannot count on developments. For education to be enough, it has to be accessible to both male and female population of the society. Limited education does not encourage development. But all gender education engenders development in the society. Ignorance is no excuse for underdevelopment and Nigerias’ problem is not money, but how to spend it.