Based on data from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s literacy rate remains dismally low. The literacy rate among young women and men aged 15-24 years in 2016 was 59.3 percent and 70.9 percent respectively. The percentage of girls enrolled in primary school was 48.6 percent (2014), 47.4 percent (2015) and 47.5 percent (2016). In contrast, more than half of the students who enrolled in primary schools were boys. They accounted for 51.4 percent in 2014, 52.6 percent in 2015 and 52.5 percent in 2016.
For the year 2016, the completion rate for girls in primary school was 64.8 percent while it was 70.8 percent for boys. For junior secondary schools, the completion rates for girls and boys were 38.9 and 43.3 percent respectively. In senior secondary schools, the completion rates were lower than primary schools and junior secondary schools. Both gender, had an average of 30 per cent, (28.7 for girls and 33.2 for boys).
This data shows that education decreases with an increase in age especially for females. This steady decline in girl-child education is a critical issue in Nigeria’s societal development . The impact of female education can provide vital solutions to Nigeria’s economic and environmental problems.
Investing in girl-child education improves the economy by providing immense monetary gains and thus, lowering the poverty rate. Also, Statistics shows that women should expect a 1.2% higher return than men on the resources they invest in education.
In addition, girl-child education decreases maternal and child mortality which is caused by ignorance and archaic health practices. Formal education confers sound knowledge on good health care practices during and after pregnancy. Girl-child education also reduces the level of sexually transmitted diseases by transferring knowledge of these diseases and their preventive measures.
Global studies further buttress that girl-child education reduces fertility rates by five to ten percent by reducing early marriages. Remember, Nigeria still has the highest fertility rate in the whole world. Could this steady decline in girl-child education be a clear indicator?