Education: A Necessity For Every Girl
By Benta Abuya, Associate Research Scientist
June 20, 2012
There is an old adage that states, educate a girl and you educate a whole community. Over the course of time, research studies have established the positive benefits of educating the girl child. For instance, education has specific benefits for the individual girl; through education girls develop a renewed sense of responsibility and are able to take charge of shaping their own lives and future. Education also enables girls and women to develop their human capacities as individuals, and in the long run advances the nations they live in economically.
In addition, education of women beyond a primary level has been associated with lower infant and maternal mortality. Several factors explain this: Education transfers health knowledge to future mothers; literacy and numeracy skills acquired by women in school enhances their ability to make informed health related decisions and thereby seek treatment; educated mothers are able to read and follow medical instructions for treatment of childhood illness and apply the treatment; and lastly increased number of years in school makes women more receptive to modern medicine.
Educated women are also able to make the decision to have fewer children. This is because education changes the way costs and benefits of having children are perceived, thereby women are able to postpone marriage. Better still educated women are able to reduce their fertility because of their positive attitudes towards contraception. In the long term, increased girls’ education eventually results in reduced fertility. All these benefits can be achieved with sustained efforts to ensure that the promise of education for girls is realized.
The promise of education for girls is colossal. However, this promise is not a reality for the adolescent girls who are not in school, or if they are, do not receive quality education, which is relevant in an environment that is safe and supportive. To realize the promise of education for girls, there is need to link programs in the education sector with those that put emphasis on girls’ health and productive transitions to adulthood. This will develop a common goal for education, reproductive health and social economic development