Global Resources

Cultural Traditions and Practices of the Parents as Barriers to Girl-child Education in Zamfara State Nigeria

Author: Ahmad Kainuwa, N. B. M. Yusuf
Publisher: International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications
Publication Date: Nov 2013

There are many reasons as to why girl-child education faces many barriers in Nigeria, a number of which have their roots in deep-seated and long-held cultural factors. Through a literature review, this paper explores the cultural traditions and activities of parents in Zamfara State, showing how they either prevent them from sending their girl children to school, or else negatively impacts their educational progress. In addition, research relating to factors militating against girl-child education was also analysed and discussed throughout the paper, based on Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory which looks at the child’s environment in terms of its quality and context. This theory is appropriate for the study because it allows the reader to understand how girl-child education is seriously hampered by the cultural traditions of their parents.

The study reveals that cultural practices serve as hindrance to girl-child education, and that inaccessibility of the girl-child to education makes them more vulnerable to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, early marriage, denial of rights, and child labor. The region’s culture is very much rooted in the idea that “women should seen not heard”;  women are placed early on in a domestic servant status where they are expected to perform such duties such as farm work, fetch firewood, cook for the family, and do petty trading to sustain their families. This is in contrast with boys and men, to whom the world of rights and freedom is seen to belong. Additionally, communities elevate girls to womanhood early, with an expectation of responsibilities and early marriage that can place them in conflict with their school contexts, especially at secondary level.

Conclusions from the literature are drawn, with the paper concluding that parents’ cultural practice and traditions serve as significant barriers to girl-child education in Zamfara State that must be overcome if girls, communities, and the nation are to benefit from the transformative change that arises through girl-child education. Finally, suggestions for parents on how to modernise cultural traditions and practice to help in the educational progress of their children are presented:


  • Gender balanced curricula and education policies should be established that consider the interest of the girl-child so that she is motivated to learn.

  • Girl-child hawking should be stopped through public enlightenment and legislation.

  • Parents should be educated on the values of modern education to the girl-child.

  • Awareness should be made to sensitise people on the fact that poverty cycles can only be broken through educating the girl-child.

  • Parents should take advantage of the Universal Basic Education programme to educate their girl-children.

  • Government at all levels, NGOs, and the media should be all involved in awareness programmes on the education of the girl-child.

  • Women should be given the opportunity to formulate and help execute policies, especially those relating to girls and women.

  • Girls themselves should be sensitised as to the importance of their being educated so that they can fight for their rights.

  • The government at all levels should legislate and codify the rights of the girl-child.