A STUDY OF RURAL WOMEN PARTICIPATION IN EDUCATION FOR DEVELOPMENT IN KADUNA STATE OF NIGERIA
The purpose of the study was to investigate the causes, effects and possible solutions to the low participation of rural women in education using Kaduna State as its focus. This was prompted by the increase in the illiteracy level of the rural women and its implication for national development. The specific objectives of the study include: An investigation into the extent of rural women participation in planning their education, cultural/community restrictions and other factors that have contributed to the low participation of rural women in education. Also investigated are the influence of low participation of the rural women on national development and the strategies for improving their participation in education. The study generally aimed at improving rural women participation in education through participatory planning that can emerge with a relevant curriculum for women education. Two thousand and sixty nine (2069) respondents made up of 1,600 rural women and 469 literacy facilitators from the 19 rural local governments of Kaduna State were randomly selected for the study. The questionnaire was used in gathering data for the study. The analysis of data was on the causes and effects of low participation in education on national development and the strategies for improving participation in education. These were statistically tested using the means, standard deviations and the t-test for significance in the differences in the mean ratings of respondents as presented in the five hypotheses. The results largely showed non-significant differences. Consequently, the null hypotheses were accepted. The specific findings include: rural women were not involved in planning literacy programs meant for them. Cultural restrictions and other factors such as poverty, the non- chalant attitude of women towards education, inadequate funding, the frequent change in government and frequent revision of policies on education have also contributed to the low participation of women in education. It was discovered that the low participation of women in education has limited their contribution to national development. This is made manifest in their inadequate development of skills needed for development, limited participation in the process of governance, and inability to take up some job opportunities. Recognizing the implication of this for educational planning, a careful strategy that aims at meeting the needs of the rural women was identified. The study therefore proposed a participatory planned education for rural women using the principle of Participatory Rural Appraisal.
1.1 Background of the Study
Rural women play important role in improving general aspects of rural life. However, in most developing countries, women (and even more so, rural women) are still an under-privileged group with an inferior social status (Okojie, 1983; National Population Commission, 1999). Within the rural sector, Okojie (1983), sees the largest group of the poor as comprising the millions of women (including girls) who by their work in the fields produce a large part of the food consumed in the country, yet are disadvantaged in many areas. A closer examination of the situation of rural women through this study will seek to reveal the low participation of rural women in education and the disadvantages of females in most rural sectors. Nevertheless, rural women’s participation in the socio-economic development of their country in recent years has become a topic of major concern hence, the need for it to be treated as a goal in its own right (International Labour Organization,1990; Olorude, 1995).
Although women’s participation in the socio-economic development of the country is receiving attention throughout the world, majority of them still live in rural areas, un-educated, living in abject poverty and deprivation (National Population Commission, 1999). This demands that their continued illiteracy has to be looked into and ways of bringing them out have to be devised. If these women produce a large part of our food, they indeed need to be educated to enable them know more about modern equipment that can help them carry out their farming and other important activities within the rural areas.
This becomes important as it has been found that education can enhance productivity and the ability of rural women so as to contribute to the national economy (Nwabueze, 1995). This researcher is of the view that rural women would be in a better position to use technologically developed equipment that may enhance their productivity if educated. This is because education’s concern is being modernized towards integration with the national economy (Rahman,1981).
Akangbou (1983) maintains that education is no longer an isolated industry from the national economy. Every system of education is supposed to be geared towards the development of its national economy and every segment of the society, including rural women should be equipped with education and training to enable it contribute to the national economy. Kaduna State of Nigeria is desirous to develop the ability of every member of the society (including rural women) to enhance their productivity and contribution to the development of the nation.
The Nigerian government having realised the benefit of education to its citizens emphasized the “equalization of opportunities” as one of the goals of the national policy on education (National Policy on Education, 2004). This means that there should be availability of an appropriate education for all citizens. It has however been discovered that a large segment of the Nigerian society (3,992,744 which represents about 44%) are still illiterates (National Population Commission,1999). This may be due to ignorance on the benefits of education, non-availability of an appropriate education, or through lack of opportunity to be educated (Okojie,1983; Olaide,1990 Nwabueze,1995). The case of the rural women is even more glaring as statistics shows that out of the 22,949,499 rural women in Nigeria, about 14,67,722 do not participate in any form of education. This means that it is only about 38.7% of rural women that are educated (National Population Comission,1999).
The goal of “education for all” has been pursued vigorously by the government through the introduction of different programmes such as the Universal Primary Education in 1976 and the Universal Basic Education in 1999. The introduction of the National Mass Literacy campaign in 1982 and the different adult education programmes are examples of Federal government’s efforts to achieve “education for all” as a deliberate national policy (Nwabueze,1995). Other programmes such as the Better Life for Rural Women by Mariam Babangida in 1986 and the Family Support Programme by Mariam Abacha in 1994, were introduced at various times to enable development hitherto concentrated in the urban areas to filter down to the rural women. However, the level of participation of rural women in such programmes in Kaduna State was not encouraging. The Kaduna State Agency for Mass Literacy (2003) statistics shows that out of the about 1,360,224 rural women in the 19 designated rural local governments used for this study, about 60% do not participate in any form of literacy programme. The few women who enroll do not complete the programme for one reason or the other. There is a need to properly investigate the factors responsible for this.
Similarly, Nwabueze (1995) states that various women groups such as the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) and Women In Nigeria (WIN) have tried to affect positively, the lives of women over the years. These groups have used different methods to educate the women. Though their ideologies and attitudes may differ, one thing that binds them together is their determination to create better awareness among women in order to improve their status and effectiveness in nation development. These measures according to Ijere (1996) and Nagee (1997) greatly enhanced the awareness of women generally but did not filter down to the rural women (Okojie, 1983).
This study starts with the basic assumptions that, “Education for all” philosophy promised in our system of education has not properly benefited the rural women and it is doubtful whether the current Nigerian system of education meets the needs of the rural women (Ijere, 1992; Okojie, 1983; Agu, 1983; Olurode, 1995). The changes that education is meant to bring, such as economic efficiency, social and political achievements are not seen on the women. A lot of them still suffer one form of oppression or the other. They suffer from poverty and are in most cases un-rewarded for their labour.
The study would establish whether the rural women would be motivated to take to education if the planners had, through interaction with the women, discovered their views, opinions, why they do certain things and why they do not do certain things, time most appropriate for their education, and under what situation, etcetera (Bown & Okedara, 1981).
It is doubtful whether the educational planners took the psychology of the rural women into consideration before planning literacy programmes for them. This is because, the only way to get access to the psychology of the rural dwellers, according to Carey (1997) is to involve them in planning programmes meant for them. However, records of rural women’s participation in educational planning are hard to come by (Enyi,1995). Consequently, rural women in Kaduna State are still not responding to modern education as anticipated (Kaduna State Agency for Mass Literacy,2003). They see education programmes as something being forced down on them. This is evidenced in the record of their low participation in literacy programmes. For instance, out of the 160,960 females who enrolled for basic literacy programmes between 1990 to 2005, only 45,228 completed the programme for certification (Appendix B1). This calls for a study in Kaduna State to investigate the position of Caldwell and Caldwell (1987) who have argued that, though institutional and legal barriers to women’s access to education have been substantially reduced the world over, deep-rooted cultural beliefs and social habits that sustain gender inequality have a prolonged effect.
Some previous studies such as the studies of Idachaba (1980) Ijere (1996), The World Bank (1996) and Connel (1997) have been directed towards participation of rural dwellers in education programmes. However, none of these studies actually emphasized women’s participation in educational planning. For instance, the study of Idachaba (1980), was directed towards the participation of rural dwellers in agricultural education. This study dealt mainly with extension education (in agriculture) without emphasizing the participation of rural women in literacy education planning. Similarly, Ijere (1996) actually emphasized rural women’s participation in community development programmes and not education per se. Besides, the study of Connel, (1997) dealt with participation of rural dwellers in development programmes but without specific reference to women and their education. The study of IAWA (1997) simply concentrated on the participation of rural dwellers in development programmes without specific reference to women participation, which forms the central theme of this study. The present study therefore, hopes to ascertain why there is low participation of rural women in literacy education; the extent of involvement of the women in planning their literacy programmes, other factors affecting participation and the strategies that could be used to improve women participation in education in Kaduna State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The Federal Government of Nigeria recognises the role of education in nation building. To this end, the National Policy on Education (2004) maintains that, equalization of educational opportunities for all citizens is a sure way of realizing national growth and development through education.
It has been established that, a larger percentage of Nigerians (45,061,106) are rural dwellers (Appendix C1). This figure is about 60% of the total Population of Nigeria, which are 71,556,875 (National Population Commission, 1999). Government’s efforts to harness the activities of these rural dwellers in order to attain development are being intensified. The National Population Commission (1999) maintains that a larger part of the rural area (22,949,499) is dominated by rural women. This figure represents more than 50% of rural dwellers in Nigeria. The National Population Commission (1999) puts the figure of illiterate rural women at about 14,67,722million (62%).
Having realized the importance of education to citizens, government introduced the National Literacy campaign in 1982 and other adult literacy programs (Okojie 1983; Nwabueze, 1995; and Olaide,1990). Unfortunately, statistics on the Literacy Programmes reveal that out of the 1,360,224 rural women from the 19 rural local governments used for this study, about 60% do not participate in any kind of education (Kaduna State Agency for Mass Education,2003). This illiteracy rate is high compared to that of the men, which is 36%. The National Population Commission puts the total population of men in Kaduna state as at the 1991 census at 1,613,115 while their literate population was 1,046,418 (64%). This low participation of the rural women in education is raising very serious concern as the changes that education is meant to bring, such as economic efficiency and cultural changes have not been seen in the women. Thus, education has not properly benefited the rural women and it is doubtful whether this system of education meets the needs of the rural women.
It would be established through this study whether other contributive factors such as restrictions imposed both by the communities and the society as a whole at the rural level have accounted for this low participation of the rural women in education. Boyle’s study (1992) in Pakistan shows that when rural women were allowed to participate in planning programmes that concerns them, they participated more in such programmes. To what extent therefore do rural women participate in planning their education? This study would attempt to establish the causes, effects and possible solutions to the low participation of rural women in education in Kaduna state.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine why there is low participation of rural women in literacy education in Kaduna State of Nigeria. The specific objectives the study would want to achieve are as follows:
- To investigate the extent of involvement of rural women in the planning of their education.
- To identify community restrictions that contributes to the low participation of the rural women in adult literacy
- To investigate the other factors responsible for the low participation of the rural women in education
- To assess the effect of the low participation in literacy education on national development.
- To examine and suggest strategies for encouraging rural women’s participation in literacy education.
1.4 Research Questions
The study will be guided by the following research questions:
- To what extent are the rural women involved in the planning of their education?
- What community restrictions have contributed to the low participation of the rural women in literacy education?
- What other factors are responsible for the low participation of the rural women in education?
- What are the effects of the low participation in literacy education by rural women on national development?
- What strategies can be employed to encourage rural women’s participation in literacy education?
The following hypotheses will be tested in the course of the investigation:
- There is no significant difference between the rural women in Kaduna North and South in the mean ratings of their responses regarding the extent of their involvement in the planning of their
- There is no significant difference between the rural women in Kaduna North and South in the mean ratings of their responses with respect to the community restrictions that have contributed to their low level of participation in literacy education.
- There is no significant difference between the rural women in Kaduna North and South in the mean ratings of their responses on the other factors responsible for their low participation in literacy education
- There is no significant difference between the rural women in Kaduna North and South in the mean ratings of their responses regarding the effects of their low participation in education on national development
- There is no significant difference between programme facilitators and rural women in Kaduna Sate in the mean ratings of their responses with respect to the strategies for encouraging rural women’s participation in literacy education.
1.6 Theoretical Framework
It is important to identify a well-articulated and relevant theory that will under gird the study. The principle on participation upon which this study is based is the collaborative decision making (community based methods) of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and SARAR (self-esteem, associative strengths, resourcefulness, action planning and responsibility) by the World Bank (1996). SARAR is geared towards the training of local trainers/facilitators, builds on local knowledge and strengthens local capacity to assess, prioritize, plan, create, organise and evaluate (World Bank, 1996). The principle of SARAR is related to this study in that this study intends to use the local knowledge of the rural women to strengthen their capacity to enable them participate in planning programs that concern them.
The Concept of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA): Participatory Rural Appraisal is a label given to a growing family of participatory approaches and methods that emphasize local knowledge and enable local people to do their own appraisal, analysis, and planning (Adnan,1992). Participatory Rural Appraisal uses group animation and exercises to facilitate information sharing, analysis, and action among stakeholders (USAID, 1998). Although originally developed for use in rural areas, Participatory Rural Appraisal has been employed successfully in a variety of settings. As professionals have become more aware of errors, myths, and the misfit between the reality they construct and the reality others experienced, some have sought and developed new approaches and methods in their work known as participatory approaches (Pretty, 1994). Participatory Rural Appraisal has three foundations or pillars (IAWA, 1997). These pillars are:
- The behaviour and attitudes of outsiders who facilitate, not dominate community development programme planning.
- The methods which shift the normal belief from closed to open, from individual to group, from verbal to visual and from measuring to comparing and;
- Partnership and sharing of information experience and training between insiders and outsiders, and between
The use of Participatory Rural Appraisal to the present study is that, it will enable development practitioners, government officials (educational planners), and local people to work together on context-appropriate programmes. Its essence is to enable local people to share, enhance and analyse their knowledge of life and conditions, to plan, act, monitor and evaluate their own work. It has been found to work in many fields; and the desire is to see how applicable it could be in bringing rural women into participation in planning their education.
Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA): The Rapid Rural Appraisal forms a large part of the participatory rural appraisal approach. This emerged in the late 1970s when more discoveries were made of the fact that rural dwellers (including women were not completely ignorant). They knew about native laws, guidelines and principles that guided their communities before the advent of modern education. Rapid Rural Appraisal has three main origins. These are:
- Dissatisfaction with the biases, especially the anti-poverty biases of rural development tourism, the phenomenon of the brief rural visits by the urban-based professionals. This hides the worst poverty and deprivation because the outsiders were always diplomatic (not wishing to cause offence by asking to meet poor people (including rural women) or see their conditions.
- Disillusion with the normal process of questionnaire, survey and their results. These were inaccurate and The reports were boring, misleading and difficult to use.
- More cost-effective methods of learning was This was helped by professionals recognising that rural people were themselves knowledgeable on many subjects which touch their lives. What became known as indigenous technique (IIK) was then increasingly seen to have richness and value for practical purpose. It contributed the following to Participatory Rural Appraisal: A reversal of learning, learning rapidly and progressively, optimising trade off, triangulation, and seeking diversity.
Through this principle, the planner would discover the indigenous knowledge, richness and value that would improve participation of rural women, thereby reducing the level of illiteracy (Pretty, 1994). By the middle of 1990s, activities of Participatory Rural Appraisal were practiced in not less than 100 countries and there were over 30, mainly national PRA related networks (The World Bank,1996). Many countries have held national PRA conferences and its applications had become numerous in all fields of learning and development. Non -governmental Organisations, Government, Banks, Training Institutes and universities have used PRA successfully (IAWA, 1997).
The study is related to these principles, in that it would make it easier for educational planners who are committed to emerge with a suitable education system for the rural women, to collaborate with a broad range of these women, and other stakeholders such as local leaders, husbands, communities, change- agents/facilitators, in the selection, design and implementation of an education plan for rural development.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would benefit the planners and facilitators of women education. The government, policy makers, community leaders, the rural women and the society will also benefit. The benefits to the planners include the increase in knowledge of the way of life of the women (their psychology) through interaction with the rural women, which would bring about an appropriate curriculum for rural women education. This would also improve the planner’s strategy in planning rural education.
The skills of the facilitators in this field, especially teachers and instructors should improve if the strategies discussed in the study (The PRA and SARAR) are properly adopted. The government should also benefit in that, it would be brought nearer to the community making it easier for the interpretation and implementation of policies to the rural women. The government through the discoveries of this research would be able to modify and supplement the existing mode of life by supplying programmes, which would require to be incorporated to improve the culture of the rural women for their living. When the government is brought nearer to the community it may even convince the community to release their resources to support education programmes.
Rural women would benefit by having an improved socialization process, sharing of norms among unlike groups, they would be more aware of the benefit of education and it would make it easier for them to communicate their needs to the government. The women would even perform their domestic roles better. Through this research, the need for equity would be fulfilled, while the socio -economic gaps in the society would be covered because rural women would now perform their roles better than what it is now, thereby leading to an improved national development. Above all, women would have the opportunity to be involved in the planning process, which would emerge with an appropriate curriculum for their education.
The objectives of this study therefore, extends beyond participation of the women in education planning. It encompasses improved education, which would eventually lead to improved and increased productivity, and then higher incomes for the target groups, as well as minimum acceptable levels of foods, shelter and health. The study would bring to focus the relevance of rural women’s education, the relevance of participation and its effect on national development.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
The study is restricted to rural women’s participation in literacy education in Kaduna State with specific reference to rural women in Kaduna North and South. The literacy programmes are: basic Literacy, post-Literacy, functional education, Girl-Child education and Quaranic education. The choice of Kaduna State is due to the fact that it is one of the educationally less developed states of the federation striving to improve literacy rate among the citizens. The rural women and their programme facilitators constitute the target population. The rural women in the State are in the good position to explain their level of participation in education. The literacy facilitators are also useful because they handle the literacy programmes and have good perspectives of the problems encountered by the rural women. The Questionnaire was administered on the sample of the population, consisting of rural women and programme facilitators in all the 19 rural local government areas of the State. Findings will be generalised to cover the whole of Kaduna State.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are operationally defined for the purpose of this study:-
Rural Women: This refers to the women mostly found in the villages. They work mostly in fields, gardens and farms to produce a large part of the food consumed in villages and urban areas. Rural women for the purpose of this study are women found in small homestead, villages and hamlets. The educated women that lives in rural areas but carry out their activities in urban areas do not form part of this study.
Participating in Educational Planning:. This is the process of getting rural women involved in making decisions concerning their education.
Participation in Education:. This is the act of getting rural women to enroll in education programmes.
Development:. It is an act of bringing about a change in the structure of the society in all dimensions in order to have a society with equality and equity for all. Development should emphasize the human aspect just as it does to the provision of tangible things.
Education:. This is the inculcation of knowledge to an individual or a group of people. Education here covers all forms of education such as formal, informal and non-formal education. The curriculum should have specific objectives relating to rural areas. This means different curriculum for rural women still within school age, and older women whose curriculum should be geared towards occupation, job training, community living and development.
Education for Rural Development:. This has to do with the inculcation of knowledge that would bring about the desired skill, which would bring positive change to the society. It is the education that seeks to promote knowledge and development of skills that would contribute to nation building.
Kaduna North and South:. This is a classification of women in Kaduna state according to their geographical and cultural differences. Kaduna state is found in the north central part of Nigeria. Differences in religious, social characteristics, and community backgrounds are put into consideration in discussing the rural women in this study.
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