Article from ROAPE Volume 17 Number 48
Selective Education: Gender/Class/Ideology in N Nigeria

Selective Education: Issues of Gender, Class and Ideology in Northern Nigeria
Vol.17 No.48 (Summer 1990), pp7-25
A series of policy initiatives have been put forward in Nigeria over the last two decades aimed at expanding its educational system. But while numbers enroled have increased, gender and class differentials persist. Females have always been represented in smaller numbers than have males and have tended to be disproportionately drawn from the more privileged elements of society. This has broadly accorded with ideologies justifying a primarily domestic role for women which, in the case of Katsina in northern Nigeria, have emanated both from the secular state and the religious authorities. Pittin examines the latest policy initiative, a directive that females at secondary level would be educated only in boarding schools. While suggesting that it is likely to perpetuate and even exacerbate the women's relatively disadvantaged position as regards education, she also argues that it offers certain benefits. Moreover, because promulgated as consistent with Islamic morality, precisely at a time when greater legitimacy is being accorded to women's education by elements of the Muslim community, and Islamic schools are themselves permitting some questioning of previously accepted notions of women's role, it may offer space for some improvement of women's situation.