How To Unlock Potentials Of Girl-child
THERE is a consensus among stakeholders including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that girls’ education does not only bring the immediate benefit of empowering girls, but is seen as the best investment in a country’s development.
There should therefore, be no discrimination as to who goes to school and who does not, hence education recognizes and helps to unlock the potentials in every child.
The book, Choices by Onyeka Iwuchukwu, set in the eastern part of Nigeria, is a play that promotes girl child education while discouraging early marriage. The book portrays a traditional Nigerian society up to the late 90s when education of the girl child was seen as a waste of time and resources, as they were believed to end up in the kitchen.
The character of Ugochi in the play is a widow, mother of eight girls and a boy, who refuses to let circumstances and pressures derail her. She stood on her beliefs, and fought against all obstacles.
The book speaks to the Nigerian child about obedience and the consequences of disobedience.
The 132-page book looks at conflicts in family, pertaining to the girl child; it is presented in a very unique style of monologue, and occasionally interjected with flashbacks.
Nkechi, the youngest daughter is rebellious, and pays the price for being disobedient. This teaches the younger people to always listen to their parent’s advice.
Choices also looks at the traditional society that is trying to come to terms with conflicting modern society.
Ugochi’s determination to send all her girls to school is commendable, though she lives with in-laws who would rather have the girls married than go to school, Ugochi represents a shield against adversities, standing and believing in her course. It is no wonder her friend, Nneka says, “She has cleared the path and led the way for the education of our daughters. We have seen the benefit of training all our children, boys ooo, girls ooo, a child is a child, education of a woman is a useful venture, and there is no loss, only profit.”
Choices underscores the importance of girl child education. Nkechi realizes that neglecting school and marrying early is more costly, especially when married to an illiterate husband.
It also teaches that education is never too late, as in the case of Nkechi, who graduated and rose to the position of a Vice Chancellor after being married.
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