THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 9, No. 1, 2011
Gender Budgeting in the Education Sector: Implications for the Girl Child Education in Nigeria
Olabisi I. Aina & Kehinde Olayode
Department of Sociology/Anthropology
Department of International Relations
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
More than any other time in the Nigerian history, women education is now considered a priority because it has become a major factor in the development equation, and in particular, a key to gender equity, justice and poverty reduction; improved skills and technological knowledge acquisition; improved nutrition; reproductive health; and general socio-economic development of a nation. Yet, the challenges of gender issues in education still remain mostly unabated. The cultural barriers which the girl child faces concerning her roles at home and in the society still inhibit her ability to go to school. Gender stereotypes still exist in learning materials and too often, teachers’ different expectations of boys and girls result in negative biases against girls’ education. Despite government policy interventions and programs, empirical evidences continue show gender disparity in enrolment, attrition, and retention at all levels – primary, secondary, and tertiary. Although the current National Gender Policy addresses gender imbalance in the education sector, the extent to which the country is able to achieve gender parity in the sector depends on how skillful are policy makers in the use gender mainstreaming (GM) tools and strategies, one of such is being able to adopt ‘a gender budgeting’ framework in the sector. This paper addresses the technical knowledge in gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting in the education sector, and the extent to which budgets in the sector now address identified gender gaps in the sector. This paper argues that beyond government rhetoric in policy documents, evidence of political will and government commitment to the girl child education are dependent on the extent to which the sector has become sensitive to gender issues, including adoption of a gender sensitive budgeting framework. Using ‘organizational capacity assessment tool (OCAT), the paper assesses the current technical capacity in gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting in the sector, while also using budgeting figures to establish the extent to which the sector allocates money to gender issues in the sector. Empirical findings show that the skills and capacities for gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting in the public sector (especially the education sector) are still very low, while government spending in the education sector is still skewed in favor of men. One clear way of supporting the ‘girl child’ education is to make the education sector responsive to ‘gender budgeting’ in line with democratic ethos.