Education is widely acknowledged as a critical tool of development all over the world. It is more important in the so called developing or third world nations. Its usefulness cannot be emphasized in bridging the gender gap between man and woman in a society such as ours where women appear disadvantaged in many opportunities.
It is therefore quite worrisome when social issues arise to further impede any effort to provide the girl child the necessary tool she needs to grow her and improve her quality of life to be able to hold her ground in a competitive world. This is the reason the recently reported high rate of drop out of school girls occasioned by unwanted pregnancy should be a thing of serious concern to all.
A recent report has put the literacy rate among the girl child at 15% while that of the boy child is put at 31%. Another recent revelation has emerged that 15% of girls drop out of school as a result of pregnancy especially in rural areas.
In the report, the Acting Director, Women Development, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Funke Oladipo, on the sidelines of the inauguration of ‘Women in Nuclear’, said, “Out-of- school girls constitute between 10 and 15 per cent because of unwanted pregnancies, particularly in rural areas. If you look at the National Demographic Health Survey, the rate of drop-out for girls is one of the issues that were discussed, but we are improving”
The above revelation provides a serious indictment on the society especially parental roles in the training of the girl child. The girl child is the future mother of tomorrow and the role of mothers in building the society is critical to the development of any environment. There is a moral burden on every member of the society who shirks his or her responsibility in guiding and guarding the child grows towards the expected path.
A greater percentage of the girls caught in the family way are likely to have their future destroyed because of the social stigma attached to unwanted pregnancy. Majority of them may not recover from the embarrassment to pick up their pieces to bounce back and snap up opportunities available for their advancement. Some will be haunted by the guilt of their action and give up on further effort.
The girl child victim of unwanted pregnancy may be weighed down by the burden of growing her baby if there is no available support from elsewhere and so would certainly get distracted from focusing on other areas of advancing herself. When their mates go beyond them to excel, they are likely to be locked in inferiority complex.
Getting young girls in the family way no doubt is a reflection of the ills and weaknesses of our society. How sad it is to destroy the future that we so much look up to. It is said that when you train a woman you train a nation. It is sad that in spite of the efforts of the religious groups in our country in trying to firm up the moral fiber of the society, our morals have continued to degenerate to an all time high.
Many parents in the struggle for survival have abandoned their responsibility of care giving to the girl child thus she is exposed to the vagaries of the environment. We still subscribe to the old time scriptural admonition that enjoins “bring up a child in the way he should go and when he grows up he will never depart from it.” That should be the reality of our time.
The young girls most time fall victim to rape cases or are lured by randy adults most of whom are even relations. This is the reason a strong law against rape should be instituted. The girl child should be exposed to sex education early enough to appreciate the dangers of indulging in it early enough willfully.
News Echo is concerned about the unhealthy development and call on the stakeholders to rise to the challenge in order to preserve the future. Strident campaigns should be instituted by the women affairs ministry, non-governmental organizations, religious groups, traditional institutions, various female groups etc and possibly get the law to criminalize the action of putting a girl in the family way.
Nothing should be spared to secure our future and the responsibility to bequeath a secured future to upcoming generations is the responsibility of all.