RATE OF FEMALE ENROLLMENT IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The global and national aspirations for gender parity in access to education in Nigeria gains momentum as the days go by. This is chiefly due to the fact that the educational system serves as a vital mechanism for the selection of individuals for their future roles in the society. It is on the platform of schools that this feat could be achieved. According to Haralambos and Holborn (2004), schools operate as meritocratic institutions where the same standards are applied to all students irrespective of ascribed characteristics like social class of origin, family background, race or gender. Schools accomplish the role allocation function by selecting, teaching and examining students to separate them for different occupational roles in their immediate community in particular and the society at large (Obasi, 2009; Akanbi & Akanbi, 2015).
From the foregoing, one should expect that any observable proportions in the males and females access to basic education should reflect the real status quo since males are females accounting for some 50 per cent of the country’s population of 140 million (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2009). Apart from this, one should expect equal gender access to basic education because the United Nations (1948) in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 endorsed every individual’s right to participate in education irrespective of ethnicity, religion and gender. The participation of individuals in education in Okobo Area Council is directly linked to it; it has over 40 primary and more than 30 public primary schools spread across the geographical range of the area.
Lack of education or acquisition of knowledge among women who in Nigeria and most other countries constitute over 80 percent of the total population, especially in sub- Sahara Africa a larger number of young girls still do not attend school. The global figure for out-of- school children is estimated at 121million, 65million being girls (UNICEF, 2007).
In Nigeria, girls’ access to basic education, has remained low. As few as 20 percent of women in the country are literate and have attended school. Source; the 2006 National School Census (NSC) revealed a net enrolment ration (NER) of 80.6% suggesting that a substantial proportion (19%).
Despite the launching of the Universal Basic Education Scheme in 1999 and the enactment of the UBE Act in 2004, progress in the enrolment into Primary Schools has been very slow. From a total enrolment of 218,597.4 in 1999, it rose to 368,464.4 in 2003 and declined to 282,680.0 in 2008. Female enrolment equally registered very small increases from a figure of 104,289.4 in 1999, it peaked at 163,977.6 in 2005 only to fall to 127,086.5 in 2008. Gender parity ratios began to improve from 2003 when it rose to 0.77 and attained 0.82 in 2008