1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In the African societies, education of women over time has generated lots of arguments. Some people argued that the place of women is in the kitchen so it is a waste spending time and resources to educate them. Others suggested that since she will ultimately be married out, it is unreasonable to invest in her education. She is to be given only such training in domestic activities that would enhance her being a good wife and mother (Fafunwa, 1994; Oroka 2009). In the face of scarce resources, many parents believed that educating a male child is preferable and more beneficial to educating a female. This is because most African family systems are patrilineal; having their generations recorded and headed through males (Suara, 2013). These opinions have negatively impaired the education of women. In recent times, women education has attracted not only local or national attention but also international attention because of the large population of the female folk and their role in nation-building. Accelerated development in the third world countries hitherto, was geared towards capital accumulation. In recent years however, development whether urban or rural, is hinged on human capacity building. Consequently, improvement in the quality of people as productive agents is the major concern of development policies. As observed by Onyeozu (2007a) emphasis is now placed on policies needed to eradicate poverty, illiteracy, ignorance and disease and to provide more diversified employment opportunities, thus reducing income inequalities. Palm in Onyeozu (2007) defined development “as a continuous process of positive change in the quality and span of life of a person or group of persons”. One of the potent tools for the development of the human capital is education, whether formal or non-formal. Considering the recent studies on significance of human capital in the process of development, the education of every unit of the human resource of a nation cannot be down played in the path to development. However, Oyebamiji and Adekola (2006) and Ugwu and Oyensehi (2009) posited that women even now, face numerous restrictions which hamper their acquiring formal education. Eheazu (2009) reports that it is common knowledge that the female sex in many parts of our world is the victim of educational inequalities, leading to their absence in the upper echelons of the economy and the political arena. The United Nations Funds for Population Activities [UNFPA (2006)] observed that more than half of the illiterates in the world are women especially so in Africa. United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) in Okoli (2011) recorded that almost two thirds of the population of the world are females and this accounts for the two thirds of the over one billion people who now live in abject poverty. It further revealed that in the Pacific, Southern Asia and Sub- Saharan Africa 83% girls do not go to school. The New Partnership for African Development [NEPAD (2013)] reported as tragic the situation where over 50% of the population of women in Africa is illiterate in the turn of the 21st century when knowledge is of utmost importance. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO, 2011) equally recorded that; girls are 60% of the 300 million children of school age who are not in school. Women are recognized the world over as very important element in the development process. Oyebamiji and Adekola (2006) claimed that it is not just because of the number of the womenfolk but the social and economic assignments which they carry out in their societies. In spite of the importance of education to women’s contribution to development, available statistics revealed that women lag behind men in all areas of education, science and technology thereby hampering their participation and contribution not just in community but national development. This is corroborated by Eweama (2009) who reports an employment rate of 68.72% for men as against 31.28% for women in Nigeria. Adebosoye–Makinwa (1991) stressed that the education of women has the ability to revive and strengthen traditional skills and build confidence in women in their pursuit for uplift. She blames traditional barriers and burden of family as constraints to women attaining education and participating and contributing optimally to national development. Women education therefore, according to Suara (2013) has “salutary spin-off” on the pace of economic growth and development. Much work has been done by women development scholars on women education and national development (Idakwo, 2009; Okoli, 2009; Oji, 2015; Okemini and Chukwuemeka, 2011) but not much focus on the rural communities of Obio/Akpor. However, according to Adekola and Kumbe (2012) evidences abound that the education of women in Obio/Akpor until recently had not been given priority because of the social prejudice against the girl-child and women in general. They were mainly encouraged to be involved in domestic and farm work; also many of them were given out as house helps to nearby and distant places. This attitude of under-valuing women and the girl-child and giving them an inferior status invariably affected their being educated.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Scholars all over the world agree that education is an instrument per excellence to bring about change and development in man and his environment. Therefore education is a tool relevant to the life of everybody. The structure of the population of Nigeria has shown that women constitute about half. However data on literacy has also revealed that most of the women are illiterates and this is associated with some gender- based hindrances that retard access of the womenfolk to education. There is no doubt that education and development are linked but the hindrances to education among women especially in the rural areas like Obio/Akpor where many of the women lack education leave much to be desired. If education positively correlates with development and women form a major proportion of population in Obio/Akpor, then underdevelopment is practically obvious. If the bulk of women’s population that is illiterates in Obio/Akpor is exposed to functional literacy and vocational education, it would empower them to effectively participate in the community. It is the need to investigate the extent of participation of women in community development arising from their level of education and the effects that acquisition of education (Literacy and Vocational) would have on their participation in community development that constitutes the problem of this study.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the impact of women education on community development. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the level of participation of literate and illiterate women in community development in Obio/Akpor community.
2. To examine the influence of early marriage on women education
3. To examine the impacts of education on participation of Obio/Akpor women in community development.
4. To examine the factors militating against women education in Nigeria.
5. To examine the relationship between women education and community development.
6. To recommend ways of encouraging women education and literacy programmes in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the level of participation of literate and illiterate women in community development in Obio/Akpor community?
2. How does early marriage influence women education?
3. What are the impacts of education on participation of Obio/Akpor women in community development?
4. What are the factors militating against women education in Nigeria?
5. What is the relationship between women education and participation in community development?
6. What are the ways of encouraging women education and literacy programmes in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: There is no impact of education on participation of Obio/Akpor women in community development
H1: There is a significant impact of education on participation of Obio/Akpor women in community development.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will enable the stakeholders in the area of education in Abia state to address the impacts of women education on community development. It is also hoped that the Obio/Akpor Local Education Authority (LEA) and Rivers State Ministry of Education will find this work most useful in planning their educational budget so that the women of Obio/Akpor, LGA is put on the pedestal of equal and adequate educational opportunities for all citizens.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the impact of women education on community development in Obio/Akpor L.G.A, Rivers State.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
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).
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.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Impact: Is the measure of the tangible and intangible effects (consequences) of one thing's or entity's action or influence upon another.
Women: The term woman is usually reserved for an adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent. The term woman is also sometimes used to identify a female human, regardless of age, as in phrases such as "women's rights".
Education: The wealth of knowledge acquired by an individual after studying particular subject matters or experiencing life lessons that provide an understanding of something. Education requires instruction of some sort from an individual or composed literature.
Community Development: According to Arthur Wilden (1970), it is the process by which people in an area choose to think as a community, go about analysing a situation, determining its needs and unfulfilled opportunities, deciding what can be done to improve the situation and then move in the direction of achievement of the agreed goals and objectives. As used in this work, it is the process by which the efforts of the people themselves are united with those of governmental authorities to improve the economic, social and cultural conditions of the communities.
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