AS a social activist fully cognizant of the disadvantages that face the girl child, I unequivocally support the idea of concerted efforts to get the girl child educated. But so too must efforts be directed at getting the boy child educated.
The silence over boys education is worrying. In development circles nowadays, it’s barely mentioned: it’s almost as if the world has managed to successfully educate all the boys.
There’s a great danger that by emphasizing girls education only society may be doing a great disservice to boys. A more balanced approach to girls and boys education is therefore required.
The focus on educating girls is welcome and progressive with potential benefits for society as a whole. Granted girls face several challenges that can impede their education including force marriages, The same animated spirit behind calls for increased girls’ education is required to inspire and energise boys.
It is said that educated mothers tend to educate their children. And according to a World Bank study in Kenya an increase in girls’ literacy can boost the economy by $27 billion in the course of a lifetime.
But what is missing in these beautiful figures is what happens if efforts are not made to get all the boys in school. Also, there is a general assumption that men are irresponsible that they cannot educate their children.
In some countries such as the UK and the US, men are already lagging behind women particularly in university education, negating generation efforts to create more equal societies.
Boys that drop out of the educational system constitute a risk in the world. They are more likely to be involved in crime and other violent activities.
By erasing the continued need of getting more boys into educational systems, we run the risk of creating the problem that we are seeking to solve. Educated men as much as educated women are key to the education of children: both boys and girls.