The relationship between household socio-economic characterstics and young female education, participation and success in Zomba (Malawi)
Dunga, Hannah Mayamiko
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The study aimed at establishing the relationship between household socio-economic characteristics and young female education participation and success in Zomba (Malawi). The main objective of the study emanated from huge concern regarding obstacles being faced by young females in education in most developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, which continues to contribute to young female school drop outs. The study had set empirical and theoretical objectives as guidance. The theoretical objectives were: to review the literature on the trends of young female education in sub-Saharan Africa and in Malawi; to review theoretically the relationship between household socio-economic characteristics and young female education participation and success in Malawi; to review the literature on cultural practices and gender biases that hinder young female education participation and success in sub-Saharan Africa and Malawi; to document the economic benefits of young female education; and to review gender disparities in education in Malawi. The empirical objectives were set as follows: establish if there is a gender bias in the households perceptions in terms of education support; establish if there is a statistically significant difference in the perceptions of young female education across different categories of heads of households; establish if there exists a statistically significant relationship between household Socio-economic characteristics and young female education participation in Malawi; and establish if there exists a statistically significant relationship between household socio-economic characteristics and girl success for those in school. The literature of the study was based on the theoretical objectives relating to what other studies have done on female education. A comparison across the world was conducted on factors hindering girls’ education and some of the trends on girls’ education in Malawi were reviewed from the past decade or so. It was observed that there is a gender bias in education, boys being given more precedence over girls, that from the factors that hinder children’s ability to attend, school girls seemingly had more share of the problems. The empirical portion of the study was based on data that were collected from random households in Zomba district. A total of 327 households with school aged children were interviewed. The study adopted a quantitative analysis where different quantitative methods were used such as descriptive analysis (cross tabulation, frequencies and means) and a logistic regression analysis was used to analyse the relationship between household characteristics and girls’ education. Overall, the descriptive and cross tabulations analysis showed that there is a gender bias in education with boys receiving more benefits compared to girls, and more girls than boys either repeat classes more or even drop out of school. Most girls dropped out of school because of pregnancy-related issues. It was also discovered that parental perceptions that were based on cultural norms hindered girls’ education participation, where most parents, especially from the rural areas, do not regard female education as important, and where given a choice, they would rather have their girl child drop out of school and get married. The regression analysis was based more on the relationship between household characteristics and girls’ education. Two regressions were used, one having success and the other school participation as the dependent variables and household characteristics like income, distance to water point, distance to school, age of child, age of parents and location as the independent variables. Overall, it was observed that children that came from rural areas had a higher probability of dropping out of school, and if the household was located in areas far from the water point and school, their girl child had a higher probability of dropping or repeating a class. In addition, the age of child and parents played a role in girls’ education. The study recommends that the government, in collaboration with the non-governmental organisation that deal with girls’ education in Malawi, should continue to explore other ways of dealing with the problems faced by girls in schools. There is need to educate parents, especially those in the rural areas, about the importance of girls’ education and this could be done through village-by-village campaigns through the chiefs. Government should also look into some of the cultures practised in different communities and maybe set by-laws stopping girls from attending for The relationship between household socio-economic characteristics and young female education participation and success in Zomba (Malawi) Page vi example initiation ceremonies during school days. Lastly, it should be every woman’s duty who has benefited from education to give back to the community by helping young girls who are having difficulties in accessing quality education.