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EFFECT OF FORMAL EDUCATION ON NIGERIAN WOMEN’S ATTITUDE TOWARDS FAMILY PLANNING
The study attempted to investigate the effect formal education on Nigerian women's attitude towards family planning. The study also reviewed relevant and extensive literature under sub-headings. The descriptive research survey design was employed in this study in order to assess the opinions of the respondents with the application of questionnaire and the sampling technique. A total of 160 (one hundred and sixty) respondents were selected as samples representing the entire population of the study. Four null hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study using the Pearson Product Moment Correlation and the independent t-test statistical tools at 0.05 level of significance. At the end of the analyses, the following results were obtained: 1.Hypothesis one revealed that adult educational programmes will significantly influence family planning among couples. 2.Hypothesis two found that the socio-economic status of couples will have significant effect on their level of family planning. 3.Hypothesis three result shows that religious belief of couples will significantly have relationship with their level of family planning. 4.Hypothesis four show that there is a significant difference between the attitude of the educated couples towards family planning and those who are illiterates. All the null hypothesis were rejected. This shows that adult educational programmes has significance influence on the level of family planning among couples in Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State.
1.1Background to the Study
Education can be described as a dynamic activity which involves an orderly, deliberate and sustained effort to develop knowledge and skills (Olusakin, 1998). As Awoniyi (1999) puts it, formal education is a process by which the human mind develops through learning at school in stages from pre-primary through primary, secondary to tertiary (university) institution. The present socio-economic situation in Nigeria has made it obvious that the women must be given sound, formal education as their male counterparts are given.
According to Lai (1995), in the olden days, a woman had little or no status as a person in her own right. In the Nigerian society, women were viewed as their husbands’ properties, and as such, had no say in the affairs of their own home. The women’s roles were basically those of taking care of their husbands and their children, their in-laws, the family compound, child-bearing and child rearing. Also, her place was believed to be naturally, in the kitchen. However, only few people would deny the functional roles of women in the larger society. Even through the average Nigerian woman still performs her basic traditional roles as a daughter to her parents, sister to her siblings, wife to her husband, mother to her children, daughter or sister inlaw to her husband’s family, she is economically viable, she contributes financially to the up keep of the family.
According to Adiele (2000), the education of the girl-child was not a common phenomenon in the traditional Nigerian society before independence. In fact, her birth would not attract so much celebration as that of the male-child, and depending on the number of female children the mother had given birth to before her, the birth of an additional girl-child could cause her mother her marriage. This is still a major problem in some homes even among educated men.
Education should be considered as a great line of defence for women faced with life threatening situations that traditional life-styles perpetuate. It opens the door to a lot of choices that are not found by tradition (Nwagwu, 1996). Grange (1997) posits that education encourages shaping one’s destiny. The situation of the educated Nigerian woman steps up beyond the confines of motherhood and enhances the quality of life in her family.
Therefore, incessant child-bearing places a woman in a very weak position physically, economically and psychologically, yet barrenness is viewed as a curse in the Nigerian society due to high infantile mortality, the capacity to breed was much valued but advances in the field of medicine have greatly increased the survival rate among both infants and adults. According to Onyeanwu (2001), the incessant child-bearing is therefore, no longer necessary, instead, it poses great danger to the health of the mother and also increased family size that cannot be supported with the family resources, especially now that the Nigerian economy has nose-dived and the resultant effect of unemployment among men in the society.
Therefore, to improve the living condition of Nigerian families, the life of the women who are the cornerstone of every household should be improved and the regulation of the size of the regulation of the size of the size of the regulation of the size of the nuclear family, through family planning, cannot be overemphasied (Lai, 1990).
There has been a lot of discrimination against the female gender. In fact people just see them as breeding machines, in spite of the availability of family planning. The dissemination of appropriate and relevant information would lead to the acquisition of knowledge skills and women empowerment. This can help in breaking the intractable poverty cycle which many Nigerian families have come to be associated with due to ignorance of family planning devices and the attitude of many women towards the application of such devices.
According to Halsall (1997), if women’s health and status remain poor, if their access to land and other facilities continue to be limited and if they continue to be held down by ill-timed or unwanted pregnancies, then the societal development would be retarded.
Family planning refers to the services offered to educate men and women about family life and the encouragement given to them to achieve their wishes with regards to the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, securing desired pregnancies, spacing of pregnancies and limiting the number of children in the interest of overall family and the family socio-economic status (Enudi, 1986).
According to Amaechi (2003), the Federal Government released a National Policy on Population for development, unity, progress and self-reliance in 1988 included as part of the policy statement was the promotion of awareness among citizens of this country of population problems and the effect of rapid population growth on development and also the provision to every one of the necessary information and education on the value of reasonable family size, the individual family and the future of the nation on achieving self-reliance.
Ajuzie (2000) theorizes that the value of family planning on the stability and the well being of the family need to be taught and the message should reach every woman since we practice the patriarchal family system because some want to oppose the idea of family planning and since men are considered as the head of the family, the decisions regarding the family size and child spacing cannot be taken by the woman alone. The government should not only design but take conscious effort to see to the implementation of enlightenment and educative programme regarding family planning, some of which are:
1. Vaginal douche
2. Diaphragm with cream
3. Cream or jelly alone
4. Use of condom
5. Calendar safe period calculation
6. Intra-urine device (I.U.D.)
7. Use of pills
9. Bilateral tubal ligation (BTL)
Each of these methods according to Anyanwu (2004) has its own advantages and disadvantages which should be clearly understood before a choice is made.
1.3Statement of the Problem
There has been a lot of discrimination against the female gender. In fact, people just see them as breeding machines inspite of the availability of family planning.
The dissemination of appropriate and relevant information on family planning would lead to the acquisition of knowledge, skills and women empowerment. This can help to break the intractable poverty cycles that many Nigerian families have come to be associated with due to the ignorance of family planning devices and the attitude of many women towards the application of such devices.
According to Halsall (1977) if women’s health and status remain poor, if their access to land and other facilities continues to be limited and if they continue to be held down by lack of information concerning family, unwanted pregnancies and sexual diseases, the societal development would be retarded. Also, the problem that is involved in the negligence of family planning cannot be overemphasized. For example, without family planning there will be population explosion which could bring about shortage of food and other necessary amenities in the country. According to Uzomah (2004), women who do not expose themselves to formal education do not have necessary information, especially on family planning and majority of them have died in their bid to give birth to children.
This study therefore, sets out to examine the effect of formal education on the Nigerian women’s attitude towards family planning.
1.4Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of formal education on the attitude of Nigerian women towards family planning.
Other specific objectives of the study include:
1. To ascertain the difference in the attitude of women towards formal education in Nigerian society.
2. To examine whether there is difference in the attitude of women towards family planning.
3. To examine whether difference exists between the attitude of women who have formal education and those who are not.
4. To assess whether there is difference in the level of awareness of family planning of women with formal education and those without formal education.
5. To investigate whether there will be difference in the number of children of women with formal education and the number of children of those without formal education.
The following research questions were posed in this study:
1. Will the attitude of women towards formal education affect their family planning method?
2. How can we ascertain whether there is difference in the attitude of women towards formal education?
3. To what extent can we examine whether there is difference in the attitude of women towards family planning in Nigeria?
4. Is there any difference between the attitude of women who are exposed to formal education and those who are not?
5. Is there difference in the level of awareness of family planning of women with formal education and those without formal education?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses were raised in this study:
1. There will be no significant difference in the attitude of women with formal education to family planning compared to those without formal education.
2. There will be no significant difference in the level of awareness of family planning of women with formal education and those with no formal education.
3. There will be no significant difference in the number of children of women with formal education and the number of children of those without formal education.
1.7 Significance of the Study
This study will be beneficial in various ways thus: For instance, The government has continued to devote a substantial part of her health-care funds to finance family planning activities with the hope that the adoption of the modern method and give women a better place in the socio-economic sphere. This study therefore, examines the effect of formal education on Nigerian women’s attitude to family planning inspire of various family planning programems and service. The finding and recommendations in this study will be of immense benefit to manpower planning , administrators and other programme executors not only in Lagos Mainland Local Government, but also in Lagos State as a whole. The findings and recommendation of this study will equally be of benefit to the couples and other individuals if they will attempt to implement all or most of the suggestions or recommendations of this study in the interest of women, children and the entire families in Nigeria.
The school administrators will no doubt, benefit from the findings and recommendations of this study. Also the benefit from the exposition this study will put them into because they will be able to make allowance for a larger enrolment in the short run. The state government will equally benefit from this study because it will help her to carry out a better projection or expected needs of the state population with a view to raising the per capita income.
Finally, this study will be of great benefit to the population commission officials, because it will help them to regulate the child birth rate in the country if the recommendations put across in this study are observed and acted upon.
The society, will also benefit from this study because it will be a good reference material to the public, especially adult members of the society. Also students at various levels will find this study a good reference material.
1.8Scope of the Study
This study attempted to examine the effect of formal education on the Nigerian women’s attitude to family planning in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Operational terms were defined in this study thus:
1. Fertility Rate: This is the summation of all the fertility obtained from the age specific rate for each year of child bearing span hence it gives the number of children per thousand of women without any mortality.
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