A worthy legacy
My father would say that “education is the only worthy legacy a parent can give his children”. He would say giving a child the tool with which he or she can make a living and provide for her future is the ultimate gift from a parent to the child. I believe this should be the thought of every parent and government irrespective of gender. The importance of education in the society cannot be underestimated as it provides life skills that will enable its recipient flourish in life. It equips children with the skills to maintain a healthy and productive existence, to grow into resourceful and socially active adults. I have seen the bleak look in the eyes of friends and family who weren’t encouraged to pursue their dreams. My first grief was when a close friend in primary school had to discontinue her education due to lack of funds. Statistics state that more than 60% of Nigerians live on less than a dollar per day; poverty is a barrier to girl child education which can also encourage early marriages. My uncle believed that spending money on a girl child was a fruitless effort as she is destined to end up in a man’s house. His belief is founded on age long tradition that the only learning and thinking a girl requires is how to please her husband especially in the kitchen. He believed that a girl would not be able to do house chores as required for a girl being prepared for marriage if allowed to attend school and so he refused to sponsor the education of his daughters. The belief that a girl’s only earth mission is to reproduce is a very strong challenge especially in this part of the world. A girl is being trained that her duty lies first to her husband; this was the case of an aunt who was married off at the tender age of 14. At the age of 23, she was already a mother of five then fate took an unfortunate turn on her when her husband suddenly died leaving her with the burden of catering for five children without any skills. Many women in different communities are faced with the difficulty of catering for more than four children without means and skills, education would have bridge this gap as much as possible. These women are forced to engage their children especially the girls in child labor, by giving them out to work as house maids at very tender ages. It is imperative to know that failure to educate a girl-child will only result in a vicious cycle of poverty as it is only an educated mother that is more likely to enroll her children in school. A girl-child can also encounter difficulty in her pursuit of education. This was the case of a colleague during our tertiary education. The fact that a parent can afford to send a girl to school doesn’t put an end to the challenges she will face, it has only reduced the intensity. Toyin, as she was known, became the object of affection of a lecturer in the department which she disregarded but the lecturer resulted to forceful means to ensure her cooperation. He had threatened that unless she succumb she would never pass his course; at the first, she regarded the threat as mild but soon came to realize that he was true to his words after several failed attempts at the course. It took the demise of the lecturer to liberate her from his hateful clutch. This is one of the problems girls tackle in some learning institutions in the country; aftermath of such treatment will only reduce a girl’s self-worth. Although a woman is not equally respected as her gender counterpart, it is even worse for an uneducated woman. A male friend told me that he’d rejected the affection of a girl because she was not educated. This humiliation continues in marriage where an uneducated wife is denied equal right and respect in the family. In order to achieve measurable development in any society, it is important to educate the girl child; because the knowledge and empowerment of one woman can bring about a change in a family and the society as a whole. So the solution to a myriad of problems faced especially by Africans is the education of women. It is important that women are viewed as respectable members of any community and not as sex-objects or reproducing agents. We are the future of every community and it is important that every woman is adequately equipped with the instrument called education so that she can nurture a future of peace effectively.