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Societal Perception and Girl-Child Participation in Physical and Health Education

Societal Perception and Girl-Child Participation in Physical and Health Education

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1.1     Background to the Study

Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which knowledge, skills and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching training and research (Mbilingi 1991). Education for girls is one of the criteria path ways to promote social and economic development (World Bank 2009). According to Education for All (EFA) global monitoring report 2003/04 increasing the educational level of girls has a favourable impact on economic growth. Since 2002, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the global community have been striving to attain the Dakar Education for all (EFA) goals. Considering the fact that education for girls and women is an urgent priority, the Dakar Frame work for Action contained a time-bound goal (Goal 5) devoted specifically to gender parity and equality in education.

Moreover, special attention had been paid to women and girls in other goals; for example, there is one goal which stipulates that by 2018 all children, particularly girls, in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities should have access to a complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality. At the Pan African Conference held at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in March/April of 1993, it was observed that Africa was still behind other regions of the world in female participation in Physical and Health Education.

Some of the misconceptions about girl-child participation in sport include;

  • Sport is meant for the have not, so children of parents of upper socio-economic background are not encourage to participate in sports.
  • Sports make the society more corrupt, some religious fanatics considered the scanty costumes worn by athletes which constitutes indecent exposure and moral debasement.
  • Sport is not good for women as it make them loose their ferminity by appearing masculine.
  • Women who take part in sports stand the risk of infertility.
  • Sports women are not easily married out.

It is this segregation and confrontational approach to female sports, then discourages the female athletes. Gender disparity was attributed to the age long belief in male superiority and female subordination (Okojie, 2013). Discrimination of girls in Physical and Health Education furthermore persists in many African societies due to customary attitude; gender biased and prioritized child education systems (Kabira, 2012).

Societal Perception and Girl-Child Participation in Physical and Health Education

Lack of education affects other aspects of life of a woman and that of children in Africa. To enable girls participate in education parents are expected to provide adequate teaching and learning facilities, protection against early pregnancy and marriages, personal effects like pads, less housework to enable them have humble time for school homework, prompt school fees payment, clothing and nutrition, positive motivation to change attitudes, good accommodation at home and above all be a role model in all actions and talks that parents portray (GCN, 2009). Socio-cultural factor, socio-economic and attitudes of parents on girls’ education have not kept pace with modernity (United Nations, 2010).

Education is an investment whose returns are highly valued throughout the world. Worthen and Sanders (2010) observed that in most nations’ education is increasingly reviewed as a primary means of solving social problems. Through education, people acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for sustainable economic growth and general development. Education is a key factor in determining development trends, particularly in contemporary world. National governments have embraced the idea of equal education for all as a matter of priority. Over the last decade the politics of gender in developing countries like Kenya have been carried out with the context that women deserved better in terms of numerical representation.

Though women constitute slightly over half of Kenyans population majority are poor. Education Report of Kenya (2011) mostly known as Ominde Commission and other education reports made recommendation to the need for accelerating the education of the girl child. World Bank (2006), noted that the only way to reduce the disparities in women’s involvement in economic activities is to involve girls• in education by developing girl friendly measures and packages which should include locating many schools to the communities, waiving school fees, having locally based female leaders as role models and flexible school calendar that could carter for girls domestic duties and responsibilities.

The general participation of girls in secondary school education has lacked behind compared to that of the boys in Migori District in terms of their participation in secondary education as enrollment percentage rates at the District Education office reveals. It is to this effect that it became a great concern to encourage girls in the secondary institutions to work hard to prepare them for adulthood responsibilities (Republic of Kenya, 2003) and enable them to fit well and compete favourably in the job market.

The participation of girls in physical and health education is of great importance to the nation’s socio-economic development, social-cultural growth and for women empowerment. It shapes the whole destiny of a person hence a lot of values are added to life style. This calls for the participatory involvement of parents, teachers, government and other stake holders in enhancing girl-child participation in secondary education through provision of basic requirements which to a greater extent should come from the parents.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

The perceptions and attitudes of the society towards girl child participation in physical and health education in schools is very discouraging; these attitudes often make girls to drop out of school. people in some rural part of Africa believe that boys will go to university to take courses like Medicine, Engineering, Architecture, physical and health and so on, while girls will only study to become secretaries, teachers, designers and so on (Angeline, 2011). This perception or attitude of individuals in the society equally discourages the participation of girls in sporting activities. However, most of these girls can be very talented and physically fit for this course, but the perceived attitude of the society will cringe their potentials.

It is on record that one out of every three women in the world is illiterate, meaning that boys are more in the school than girls. There are also established facts that the society are more attentive to boys and offer them more opportunities for hands-on practical work while the girls are almost ignored or not given as much attention as the boys (UNESCO, 2003). Balancing family life and personal relationships while achieving a successful career in science is becoming a major challenge for women; this has made some women forgo advancements in their careers in order to devote time to raising a family. The challenges of child care and the demands of running a research laboratory are often seen as incompatible.

Women who plan to have children in the future drop out of the academic research race at twice the rate of men. Women are hit hard with family responsibilities just when they need to meet research goals (Stephanie, 2013). The issue of neglecting girl-child participation in physical and health education has posed serious concerned in the society. It was on this background that this study was carried out to examine societal perception on girl-child participation in physical and health education in secondary school in Abak Local Government Area.

1.3     Purpose of the Study

The purpose of carrying out this research is to investigate the factors affecting participation of girl-child in physical and health education in Abak Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.  Specifically, the study intends to;

  • Establish the extent to which socio-economic factors affect girl-child participation in physical and health education.
  • Determine the extent to which socio-cultural factors affect the participation of girl-child in physical and health education.
  • Determine the extent to which parental attitudes affect girl-child participation in physical and health education.

1.4     Research Questions

          The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

  • How does socio-economic factor affect participation of girl-child in Physical and Health Education?
  • To what extent do socio-cultural factors affect girl-child participation in Physical and Health Education?
  • How do parental attitudes affect participation of girl-child in Physical and Health Education?

1.5     Significance of the Study

The researcher took up this study with a belief that the findings would greatly influence poor perceptions of parents and society on girl-child participation in Physical and Health Education in Secondary Schools in Abak Local Government Area in particular and Akwa Ibom State in general. Findings of this study will provide knowledge on the values of girl-child participation in Physical and Health Education in our Secondary Schools.

When teachers are equipped with adequate knowledge about girl-child participation in Physical and Health Education, they will impart them into our Secondary Schools Students. The researcher also hoped that the documented result from this study will help students to educate their parents and society on the essence of girl-child participation in Physical and Health Education. The result will as well provide a base line information for Government to plan their curriculum effectively.

1.6     Limitations of the Study

This research is meant to cover all secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, but it was not possible due to certain hindrances. Such hindrance includes; time constraints, which affected me from reaching all the local government areas, hence, it’s limited to Abak Local Government Area.

1.7     Delimitation of the Study

For the purpose of affective research work and viable results, the research was delimited to concentrate in four (4) secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area.

1.8     Operational Definition of Terms

Girl-Child: refers to the female between eleven (11) years and twenty (20) years. Typically these are the ages of girls who are supposed to be in secondary school.

Participation: refers to taking part, as in the action or attempt like girl-child participation in secondary school education.

Socio-Cultural: refers to large scale forces within cultures and societies that affect the thoughts, feelings and attitudes.

Socio-Economic: refers to combination of social and economic factors.

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