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The study examined the service delivery approach of the Islamic religious institutions, nature of service of the Islamic religious institutions, the level of coverage of the services of the Islamic religious institutions, whether the services of the Islamic religious institutions meet the appropriate needs of the girl-child, and finally, the areas the Islamic religious institutions need to improve upon in the delivery of their services to the girl-child. The study employed the secondary source of data in which the efforts of several studies on the history, causes and effects of discrimination, perceptions, traditions and negative cultural practices deepened the gender educational gap. It employed the primary source of data in which questionnaires were used to make the findings scientific. Also included in this social survey which has a sample size of 270 respondents was participant observation to gather data directly from the local people in the state. The study revealed that the activities of the Islamic religious institutions within the state have an impact in minimizing the gender educational gap between the boy and the girl-child. The study also revealed some of the challenges such as personnel, financial and logistical constraints that the Islamic religious institutions face in the delivery of their services in the state.



 1.1 Introduction

Basic education is a human right and has been recognized as such since the 1984 adoption of the universal declaration of human right.  Since then, numerous human right treaties have reaffirmed this right and have supported entitlement to free, compulsory primary education for ‘all’ children.  In 1990, the education for all (EFA) commitment was launched to ensure that by 2015, all children particularly girls who are in difficult circumstances and particularly those in ethnic minorities, have access to and complete, free and compulsory primary education of good quality.  It is important to state that the link between education and public health is strong especially that of the girl child.

According to Gyimah and Duodu (2006), girls or women with some formal education are more likely to seek medical care, ensure their children are immunized, be better informed about their children nutritional requirement, and adopt improved sanitation practices. As a result, their infants and children have the higher survival rate and tend to be healthier and better nourished.  According to the International Centre for Research on Women (an independent women’s education and research institute based in the United States), June 2008, the education that a girl receives is the stronger predictor of the age she will marry and is a critical factor in reducing the prevalence of child marriage. The World Bank (2008) estimates that an additional year of schooling for 1000 women helps prevent two maternal deaths.

Also, each additional year of formal education that a mother completes translates to her children staying in school an additional one-third to one-half of a year. It is however unfortunate to state that though education is very important to the girl child just as their male counterparts, there is a limited access to education of the girl-child. According to Brukum (2005), while notable progress has been made in the category of enrolment, much progress is still needed, especially in addressing the gender parity and equality in education that addresses the socioeconomic problems of all in society. Even though the millennium development goal three (MDG 3) aims to reduce the gender gap in education, the problem still persists due to the following reasons; high level of both urban and rural poverty, socio-cultural issues, level of illiteracy and ignorance in society, early marriage which keep the girl-child out of school, premature pregnancy, difficult child birth, obnoxious widowhood rite, male preference and other harmful traditional practices. In order to safeguard the interest of these children and to bridge the gender gap, many Non-Governmental Organizations work in this area in order to complement the government effort in various countries.  For instance, the British Department for International Development (DFID) is actively engaged in the support and promotion of the girlchild education in Nigeria.  They are engaged in the distribution of school uniforms, bicycles, school bags, sandals, exercise books, pens and pencils to the girl-child in the various schools in Nigeria. UNICEF is also involved in a similar exercise of promoting girl-child education in order to reduce the gender gap in education.  Also the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) is also a non-governmental organization whose main activity is to work to improve the disparity that exists between the boy and the girl-child in formal education.  There are other local and international Islamic religious institutions working in this area yet the gap still exists if not widening.


The extent of the gender gap in the level of skills in society, the occupation of political offices, the holding of management positions at the various workplaces, the level of wage differentials at the workplaces as well as the control of both productive and the financial resources by men exactly explains the extent of gender gap in educational attainment the world over. Working women in Nigeria are concentrated in only a few sectors of the economy. Women employed in the formal sector generally receive lower salaries and have fewer chances of promotion than their male counterparts as a result of lower level of education (Mannuh, 1984; Mbugua, 1989).

Less developed countries have a higher population of urban males because young men come to the cities and leave the women behind to care for the farms. (Palen J. John 1987).   The issue of gender gap in educational attainment is not only local, regional, national or continental in nature but also a global problem. Parents’ low level of education, low priority for girls education, girls education incompatible with traditional and/or religious principle, early marriages and pregnancies, special attitude towards the benefits and outcomes from educating girls affect women negatively in terms of their living standards (UNESCO,1996).

The research examined the kind of services the Islamic religious institutions are rendering and their relevance in promoting the girl-child education. The service delivery approach of these Islamic religious organisations was also assessed to establish its impact on girl-child education. Some recommendations are made regarding how the Islamic religious organisations can improve their activities and the approach adopted to implement their programs.


The broad aim of the study is to determine the role of the Islamic religious organisations in bridging the gender gap in the Nigeriaian educational sector.  The specific objectives are:

  1. To examine the nature of the services of the Islamic religious organisations and their effectiveness in bridging the gender gap in education in the Kano state
  2. To examine the service delivery method of these Islamic religious organisations and its impact in dealing with the problem of girl-child education in the state.
  • To assess the sustainability of the services of the Islamic religious organisations and how long they can keep the

girl-child in school.


It is an undeniable fact that the education of a woman does not only help in raising the image of the woman but the society as a whole.  Education is often regarded as a veritable weapon against ignorance, poverty, diseases as well as an investment in human capital required for economic and material well –being and also for cultural and political emancipation (Fatima,2008).

There is no doubt that the education of a girl-child or a woman improves the quality of life of all in the society. As a result, there are numerous Islamic religious organisations working in various areas of education with a singular aim of promoting educational development in Nigeria.  The focus of this research will not be that general but on the role these Islamic religious organisations in bridging the educational gap between the boy and the girl-child.  There will be an assessment of the various activities the Islamic religious organisations are carrying out to determine whether they will help in narrowing the gender gap in education.

Geographically, this research was conducted in the northern region of Nigeria primarily, in the Kano state where there is high gender gap in education.  The key institutions or units of the study will include a sample of individuals from the state, some sampled schools in the state.



Although the number of educated children has grown in the past 20 years in some countries, boys have proportionately fared much better than girls. In 1990, 130 million children had no access to primary school; of these 81 million were girls. Two-thirds (65 percent) of the worlds’176 million illiterate people are women (UN, 2000). This can be attributed to such customary practices as child labour, early marriage, lack of funds and lack of adequate schooling facilities, teenage pregnancies and gender inequalities in society at large (Berryman, 1989). The extent of the gender gap in socio-economic and the demographic attributes form an important element in the analysis of the status of women.  The empowerment of women is a multidimensional concept and as such, requires a careful examination of a wide range of sociocultural issues at the family and the societal levels (Gartner, 1992).

It is in this light that this study is necessary to throw more light on the perception, discrimination and the socio-cultural issues that affect the education of the girl-child.

Female education encompasses both social and economic dimensions that can contribute to female empowerment. Though productivity and earnings are determined by other factors, persistent gap in female-male education attainment may partly explain the wage differentials. Socially, more educated women tend to be better carers of children than the less educated. This means that with some level of education, a woman is able to manage her child or children in such a way that some of the diseases leading to infant mortality are prevented.


It is because of the enormous importance of education to the well being of women in particular and the society in general that this study is being conducted to help clarify the socio-cultural barriers

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