IN the past, it was not fashionable in Igbo land to send girls to school. The kitchen was rather seen as the best place for them. Hence, they were given out early in marriage.
Families preferred to send only the boys for apprenticeship or to school for the few that had interest in education. Today, the situation has glaringly changed.
Igbo girl-child now competes favourably, if not better, with the boys, in the academic field. Question is, what influenced the change; which is more profitable, investing in the education of the girl-child or the boy child?
Many parents in Igbo land were reluctant in the past to send their female children to school for the simple belief that there was no need to spend so much money educating them since they would be getting married and therefore would no longer be very useful to their maiden families. Stories were told of parents pressuring their female children to get married once they were in their teens so that their bride price would be used to pay the school fees of their male children.
It was common in the 1960s and 1970s to see more male children in school because most parents did not take female education serious. But all that has changed as females are competing with their male counterparts in school enrolment.
Although records in the Ministry of Education in Anambra State show that there are still more males than females in schools, the gap has, however, narrowed such that in few areas, the ratio of male to female will be 50:50. It was in the effort to increase female school enrolment that informed the deliberate policy of the Anambra State Government to encourage many communities to establish secondary schools for girls only in their areas. That decision paid off as many girls’ schools have excelled in competitions and external examinations where boys schools also competed.
The Regina Pacis Secondary School, Onitsha owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha