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Girl child education and economic development in Africa

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  1. Introduction
  2. Girls' education in Africa
  3. Reasons for low level of girl child education
    1. Cultural, social and economic
  4. Impact of low level of girl child education on the African society
  5. The way forward
  6. Conclusion
  7. References

The objectives of this essay are to:
Discuss reasons why girl child education is essential for economic development in Africa.
Discuss reasons why the girl child in Africa is underprivileged in terms of education
Discuss the impact of the low level of girl child education on economic development in African.
Outline some of the progress that is being made in the direction of improving girl child education, and suggest ways of dealing with the problem in order to achieve set goals.

Over the years, education has proven to be a major factor that is of utmost importance in the development of any nation. This can be seen to be true when we look at the levels of education in the countries that have attained significant levels of education, and the contribution that education makes towards their economic development, compared to those of developing countries. Education, in every sense, is one of the fundamental factors of development. No country can achieve sustainable economic development without substantial investment in human capital. Education enriches people's understanding of themselves and world. It improves the quality of their lives and leads to broad social benefits to individuals and society (Geeta, 1997). Education raises people's productivity and creativity and promotes entrepreneurship and technological advances. In addition it plays a very crucial role in securing economic and social progress and improving income distribution. Education can be seen as an investment in human capital, which ensures that people have a better understanding of issues concerning development, and are put in a better position to man the resources of their nation to bring about development. Education enables us to deal with other countries in ways most profitable to us. The world now thrives on technological advancement, and there is therefore the need for an understanding of technological issues and creativity in order for any nation to come abreast with development and to take advantage of innovations that are moving other nations forward.

[...] The achievement so far however falls far short of what is actually desired, and this is even truer in Africa, where girls account for a majority of the approximately 33 million primary school-aged children who are not enrolled in school (USAID, 2008). There is therefore the need for a greater effort and commitment in order to achieve this expected increase in female education. There is the need for a greater more concerted education of the general public about the benefits of girl child education, which should be carried out at all levels, to create a greater awareness among people. This should include persuading people to abandon old fashioned cultural beliefs and practices that prevent them from educating their girl children. [...]

[...] The education of such girls invariably has to come to an end at that stage. The seriousness of this situation can be seen in the report that Sub Saharan Africa has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the world 143 per 1000 girls aged 15 to 19 years (moedernacht). The issue of poverty is perhaps the most important issue when it comes to the education of girls, since almost all other factors may be related in one way or the other to it. [...]

[...] Girls are often put in a position where they are either denied education or are unable to pursue their education to high levels even is they have the opportunity to obtain some level of education. This situation can be mostly attributed to certain beliefs and myths concerning female education, attitude of the society towards girl child education and educated women, and various forms of discouragement faced by girls who aspire to attain higher education. The place of women have always been known, in most African cultures, to be the home, where their main role is to keep the home and take care of children, whiles the man is supposed to work as the breadwinner of the family. [...]

[...] Contrary to the general culture of African communities, the educated woman can engage in activities that will earn higher income for the family and help reduce the burden on the men. It is known that the greater proportions of people who are suffering from poverty in the African society are women, and this can mostly be attributed to illiteracy. An improvement in the education of women has a great potential of helping solve the socioeconomic developmental problems confronting the African continents. Some of these problems that are of utmost importance are poverty, child mortality, infertility and diseases. [...]

[...] Education puts women in a better position to understand issues concerning health and nutrition, which are very essential in the pursuit of economic and social development. It has been found that the knowledge of women about health and population issues tend benefit the general society more than that that or men, since women in most cases are more directly in control of such issues in the home. Education of women will translate to reduction of maternal and childhood disease and mortality, better family planning, and better upbringing of children. [...]

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