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1.1 Background to the Study.
Population Action International (PAI) (2012) established that population growth is occurring more rapidly in Africa, and also that the continent is lagging behind in female school enrolment. Itu Local Government is hit by this problem; in particular female literacy is much lower in ruler communities of Itu than in towns like Uyo, Eket and Ikot Ekpene. The gender ratio of population in Itu Local Government Area and the gender enrolment ratio indicates a disproportionate female representation in schools. These statistics coupled with the widely held notion that female child survival rates are generally higher than that of the male child (Awogbade, 1990a), gives more urgency to the cause of female child education.
The legally defined rights of the female child are fully articulated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (Hodges, 2001), and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (Hodges, 2001), which emphasize the need for urgent intervention by all stakeholders.
The role of mass communicators for creating awareness on the need to bring and keep the female child in school, so that she can get at least a functional education, cannot be overemphasized. This is believed to be invaluable in helping to achieve the education for all (EFA) goals that seek to among other things achieve gender equality in education (Hodges,
The radio is considered to be one of the most powerful information dissemination medium available to the mass communicator. It is considered to be one of the most effective for development communication purposes especially in the rural areas (Ojebode & Adegbola,
2007). This is because radio waves are easily accessible and the radio is believed to be the
cheapest technology in terms of first and maintenance costs.
Daniel Lerner cited in Seers (1997) in his book The Passing of Traditional Society which was published in 1958 wrote what is still considered today as one of the most rational arguments for modernization. Along with other scholars like McAnany and Jamison (2002), Lerner viewed mass media, especially radio as the means by which people of the Third World could be influenced. His ideas had several critics who viewed his position as ethnocentric and
a ploy by the West to force capitalism on disempowered people of the Third World countries.
This study therefore seeks to examine the role of the radio broadcast programme the woman as a tool for creating awareness on developmental issues pertaining to girl child education in Itu Local Government Area.
Itu is a Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State with administrative headquarters in Mbak. Itu Local government area is in Akwa Ibom North-East Senatorial Zone along Etinan, Ibesikpo Asutan, Ibiono Ibom, Nsit Atai, Nsit Ibom, Nsit Ubium, Uruan and Uyo Local Government areas. Itu Local government also form a federal constituency alongside Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area.
Itu Local Government Area covers an area of 606.10 Square kilometer, and is bounded in the North by odikpani Local Government Area of Cross River State, in the North-east by Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State, in the West by Ibiono Ibom and Ikono Local Government Area, and in the South-East by Uruan South by Uyo Local Government Area.
The Itu Local Government comprises of various ethnic groups with Agriculture has it principal occupation, the people of Itu Local Government Area speak Ibibio language. This is a common characteristic of the people in Akwa Ibom State, Itu Local Government Area is made up of seventy-eight villages with five clans namely:
Itam Clan, Oku Iboku Clan, Itu Clan, Mbiabo Clan and Ayadehe Clan. Itu have thirty-eight (38) primary school and eight secondary schools.
Thus, development communication scholars believe that several aspects of national development revolve around proper and adequate use of relevant radio broadcast messages (McAnany & Jamison, 2002).
An important consideration here is how the audience perceive and are influenced by the radio messages. It would be important to know what they use the messages for in light of the Uses and Gratification model (a subset of Audience Theory) (Lull, 1990) or if they had a preferred, oppositional or negotiated disposition to the broadcast messages as another Audience Theory, the Reception Model suggests (Hall, 1990).
Radio is the chosen medium because it is relatively cheap and available, there is also an adequate radio broadcasting infrastructure in Nigeria which has existed since the 1940’s (Umah 1997) Also, and most importantly, the rural audience is considered to be essentially a listening audience (Yusuf, 2003)
As a rural- oriented medium, the radio is believed to have a multiplier effect as A tells B what he heard on radio and so on. This is especially true of rural radio which increases the capacity for knowledge sharing and potentially the rate of development through community involvement. Mass Communication and Development scholars like Akinfeleye (2008) and Quebral (2003) are of the opinion that, the mass media (in this case radio) constitute both “cause” and “effect” of development where “cause” is the mass media programmes in terms of broadcast media messages and “effects” is the response to the stimuli of messages (Dominick, 2010). In addition to these radio has some unique features which include portability, cheapness, universality and selectivity (Dominick, 2010).
This study is therefore aimed at assessing the effect of radio on listeners’ awareness.
1.2 Statement of the Problem:
The mass Media particularly the radio is the most important medium for creating awareness on so many issues such as education (Moemeka, 2001). Radio therefore is an indispensable medium for rural development. Some of the obvious advantages of radio over other mediums of information exchange are that it is portable, cheap, and accessible and the signals can be transmitted over a long distance. In this instance therefore, development experts in the field of education are beginning to realize this advantages and are beginning to utilize them. Radio is a useful medium especially in creating awareness about health. Health communication is no longer kept at the back door but creating awareness on health related matters is gradually gaining momentum. The populace no longer relies on information from health officials for their wellbeing, but they seek information from the media on issues relating to their health. People seek information on so many other issues such as education especially as it pertains to the female gender. Also, the millennium development goal outlines the development of girl child education as a very important issue and it is on the front burner of all government policies and objectives. Education is a catalyst for growth, but unfortunately, the girl-child education in Itu has been politicized and given lackadaisical attitude by the government.
The Dakar Framework on Girl-Child education agreed to among other things to eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2015 and achieve gender equality in education by 2020. This document sets out what is also known as the Education For All (EFA) goals, with a focus on ensuring that girls get full and equal access to good quality basic education. In view of this and with available statistics which show a wide gender biased margin in primary and secondary school enrolment figures in Akwa Ibom State (NDHS, 2008), Nigeria which is a signatory to the EFA agreement did not achieve the 2015 and may almost certainly fail to achieve the 2020 goal.
The radio is the most popular medium of mass communication in Africa, and at least one set is found in every household irrespective of how remote it is (Best, 1997). The radio is therefore the medium of choice in campaigns that seek to create, promote and sustain awareness. It is not known if the radio has been a useful tool in creating awareness on girl-child education in Itu Local Government Area. This study therefore seeks to establish if the radio programme “The Woman” has been able to significantly improve awareness on girl child education or not.
1.3 The Research Questions
- To what extent does the target audience listen to the Hausa radio programme “The Woman” on AKBC (Akwa Ibom broadcasting corporation) Uyo.
- In what ways has the radio programme “The Woman” helped to improve the extent of awareness creation on girl-child education in Itu Local Government Area?
- In what ways can the programme be improved upon in order to impact girl-child education in Itu?
- What are the opinions of the respondents as to the best options for improvement of the programme on girl-child education in Itu?
- What are the opinions of respondents on the best options for improvement of enrolment and retention rates for the girl-child in Itu?
- Are there any demographic (e.g. gender and level of formal education) differences in the opinions of the respondents?
1.4 The Objectives of the Study
(1) The overall aim of the study is to find out the role of the radio programme The Woman in girl- child education and it is guided by the following objectives: Determine the frequency of listening to the programme The Woman by the specific audience.
(2) Determine if the messages from The Woman have been useful for creating awareness on girl-child education and related developmental issues in Itu Local Government Area.
(3) Determine if there are significant demographic differences in the opinions of the respondents about girl-child education in Itu Local Government Area.
(4) Proffer the best options for improving awareness of girl-child education issues in Itu.
(5) Proffer options for improving enrolment and retention rates for the girl child in Itu.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The study’s significance lies in the fact that it will provide invaluable data for administrators of education to plan for the girl-child education especially in areas such as rural community of Akwa Ibom State where there is dearth of information on media and girl-child education. Perhaps, programme planners in media houses often misconstrue the fact that their programmes have a wide reach and acceptance, but unfortunately the reverse is the case. Therefore, this study will provide a fish eye view of the problems affecting some programmes in the radio station under study. This will inarguably assist them to plan their programmes better. Besides, this kind of study has rarely been done in Itu especially as it concerns the Local government itself. Therefore, studying it will provide a fish eye view of the lacuna that exists in the study of this nature such as the media and girl-child education.
Also, this study is rights-based in the sense that it tries to assess the situation of the girl-child in Itu Local Government of Akwa Ibom State as it concerns her education especially when compared with her counterparts in the Urban parts of the State. This assessment is based on the legally defined rights of the girl-child as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (Hodges, 2001). These rights include equal access to nutrition, education and employment (Hodges, 2001). All these resolutions were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989 and 1979 respectively; these were reinforced by the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child adopted by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) (now African Union or AU for short) in 1990 (Hodges, 2001). In addition certain specialized conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) relating to child labour were also approved most importantly Nigeria ratified CEDAW in 1985 and CRC in 1991 (Hodges, 2001).
The study therefore derives its significance from the fact that it aims to find out how relevant the radio is (specifically the radio programme The Woman) in the creation of awareness on the need to educate the girl-child programme. Increased awareness on this developmental problem is potentially an avenue to help reduce the gap in gender enrolment ratios, which is one of the EFA goals set during the Dakar summit in 2000. Communication scholars like Ebo (1997); Soola (2002) agree that the mass media can make significant contributions to the process of creating public awareness whether the aim of such is to bring about an increase in information or knowledge of the public or target group about a specific issue, bring about a change in their opinions or attitude, or motivate them to action i.e. to change their behaviour and habits (Buchalew & Wulfemayer, 2005), in agreement with these also listed the role of the mass media among others to include: inform, educate, bring about social change and help establish public policies. Therefore, it is believed that policy makers and education administrators at both State and Federal levels will find this study beneficial in helping them fine tune decisions and programmes targeted at girl child development.
1.6 Scope of the Study:
The research primarily focuses on Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State which is divided into five Clans. The study is limited to assessing audience perception of the radio programme The Woman as a tool for creating awareness on girl child education in Itu and to probe for significant demographic differences in audience opinions. This is because the radio serves as primary information source for many (Dominick, 2010). In addition, the radio does not require formal literacy for use by beneficiaries.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Girl-Child: For the purpose of this work, girl-child means a female child not older than 18 years of age and resident in Itu Local Government Area.
Radio Broadcasting: The radio is a device which has the ability to send and receive messages by electromagnetic waves. Radio broadcasting is a system which relies on these electromagnetic waves to propagate messages to a large, diverse and heterogeneous audience. In this work radio broadcasting refers to broadcasting by AKBC on 90.5 Frequency Modulation (FM) wavelengths.
Education: A process of teaching, training and learning, especially in formal schools or colleges
to improve knowledge and develop skills.
Awareness: To bring attention to, and create understanding for issues surrounding a particular subject, in this case, girl-child education in Itu Local Government Area.