Education, Only Key for Girls to Rise Above Cultural, Traditional Systems

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

Education has been described as the only key that can open up doors of progress for the Nigerian girls in order for them to be able to rise above cultural and traditional system that has limited them to second fiddle in the society.

Commissioner, Ministry of Education, Kaduna State, Dr. Shehu Makarfi stated this on Saturday in Kaduna, at the “Skilled Girls Conference” organized by Winbeck’s Global Initiative, an NGO promoting inclusive and equitable access to quality education and life-long learning opportunities for girls.

Dr. Shehu, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Female Education Department, Mrs. Elizabeth David, said education can enable economics independence, pave way for political participation and empower women with necessary knowledge to actively and effectively oppose oppressive norms that perpetuate different forms of violence against them.

According to him, “Education serves as an avenue of exposure to a cultural alternatives. A good education offers Nigerian girls the opportunity of being valued members of their society.

“For Nigerian girls, education is the key that opens doors to progress. It is the only chance most Nigerian girls have to rise above cultural and traditional system of stratification to continue to cast women as inferior to their male counterpart, economically, politically and socially.

“Nigerian girls stand to benefit from this
exposure, and the possibility of such enlightenment poses a major threats to
extremist groups such as book haram.
Change does not occur by magic, nor does it take place overnight, it requires
dedication of time and relentless collective effort.

“A society customs are engineered by its past generation, and in the same fashion its future citizens can
redefine the culture that rules them by cultivating a new norm through education.”

The Commissioner therefore urged the girls to always ensure that no matter the level of degrees they have acquired or want to acquire, they should always ensure that also acquire some vocational skills to prepare themselves for the future.

“Vocational education is sometimes referred to as career and technical education. A vocational school is a type of educational institution specifically designed to provide vocational education.

“Why it is important?: a career enables you to utilize skills perfectly. Vocational education provide a place for those who are unsure of which career path to choose. Vocational education is training that equips students with practical experience and technical skills in specific type of field.
“Not everybody can afford a university degree, not everybody is academically
inclined, In Nigeria, there is too much emphasis on university education which has reduce the economic opportunities for those who are more work oriented.” He explained.

Earlier in her opening remarks, Convener of the conference, Miss James Rebecca, Executive Director, Winbeck’s Global Initiative, charged the girls to wake up and be part of whatever form of change they want to see.

She explained that the skilled girl conference is a project that aims to bring government, great leaders, parents, youths, men, women, students, religious leaders, boys and girls, members of the public to discuss the importance of girl child education, the challenges and impediments that affects the enrolment of girls into schools and ways that these impediments can be confronted to improve girls access to education and skills acquisition.

“I chose this theme to again raise the issue of gender inequality in our society today and the need to equalize the rights of women and men in the society which improves work quality and thus, the economic status of the nation.

“It is worrisome that girls are deprived access to education, while some dropped out from schools due to early marriages, poverty, unsafe schooling environment and many others, but it is also very important to have our sights fixed on the life of the girl child after school, to those who had been enrolled into schools. How do we ensure an inclusive society such that women and girls have equal access to opportunities to compete for better paying jobs?
“Again, it is not enough to ensure that women and girls are educated and empowered, but that every woman and girl feel safe and live free or all forms of abuse, violence, discrimination and to encourage them to challenge gender stereotype in order to reach their full potentials. It is very sad to know that, there are cultural, traditional, parental and societal pressure and impediments that lowers down the career ambitions of women than men, and one of the ways to discuss these issues and break that is through conference like this and other programs.

“I am very impressed, that men are majorly represented in this conference, even though I expected to see more women and girls. This is key as men and women need to engage and encourage combined participation as well as create equitable environment in home, office and community.

“I urge you all, to fully be present and active, be hungry for knowledge and anxious to hear form every speaker through to the panel discussion and breakout session to be fed with their wealth of experience, knowledge and wisdom.” Rebecca said.

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