"GENDER DIMENSION/ISSUE IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION:
PLANNING AND PRACTICE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION
Benin City, Edo State
**Educational Administration and Policy Studies'
Dell Stale University, Abraka
***Mt,rketing and Procurement
Ajaokuta Steel Coy Ltd., Kogi State
The world isfast changing into a global village due to advances in information and computer technology (ICT)
which is a powerfultool for the development.of quality teaching and learning. It .isa catalyst for radical
change in existing school practices and veritable vehicle for preparing the student for the future. leT it
important in bridging the gender gap in Engineering Education in Nigeria. Researches in Nigeria and from
other countries have shown thatifwomen and men are given equal opportunities in science and technology, the
women are given equal opportunities in science and technology; the women would be more productive and
prosper. Gender equality calls attention to the fact that, although men and women are different they are but
equals. This paper therefore researches and presents some empirical data which shows a great disparity
among genders; and some issues creating the disparity such as ethical, religious and cultural beliefs were
. identified These have become issues and dimensions as they hinder access, participation and achievement of
women, and increase poverty and consequently retard economic growth and sustainable development of the
country. It also examines how these all very important but often neglected set of issues affects the scientific and
technology educational development of Nigeria. It is suggested that appropriate planning and practice of
information and communication technology and other science subjects in the primary, secondary and tertiary
level should be enhanced Apart form government making this (ICT), available and affordable for women
Nigerian Society of Engineers International Conference - Abuja 2007
All over the world, Science and technology
education has become a viable means for
development in virtually all spheres of life. In
Nigeria, the 'level of technology education is still
relatively how especially when compared with that
of developed countries. For this n who lissome
development to be redressed, various development
be redressed, various issues have to be considered.
One of such, which is very vital but often neglected
is that of due consideration of gender disparity in
scientific and technology education in Nigeria. It
has been widely established by researchers that
disparity exists between male and female sexes in
the Nigeria Educational sector especially before the
last two decades (Akilaiya and Ogbcne 2000; and
Josiah and Archy, 2001).
The word "GENDER" is much more than just a
description of ones sex rather, it is used to refer to
the various roles that have been assigned to men
and women in any society (Momodu, 2005) gender
issues include the concept of gender equality,
gender access, participation and achievement in
science and technology education and in the
planning. Various reasons advanced for the
imbalance/inequality include culture religion,
parental, society, Geographical and economic other
reasons include shyness on the part of women
themselves. Several authors have given reasons
why women shy-away from science and
Technology field (Hajuie; 2003, Marcelle 2000).
It is the intent of this paper to look at this area, and
examine how this all - too important, but
neglected set of issues (gender) affects the
Scientific and Technology Educational development
of Nigeria and suggest ways of addressing the
A working group called Gender Working Group
(GWG) did some findings on the impact of S & T
The Gender Working Group (GWG) therefore
issued a call for government to sign a
of intent on Gender. Science and Technology ,..
Sustainable 8umaa Development.
'Declaration of Intent'
All government agree to work actively toward the
1. To ensure basic education for all,· with
particular emphasis on scientific and
technological literacy, so that all women and
men can effectively use science and
technology to meet basic need.
2. To ensure that men and women have equal
opportunity to acquire and advanced training
in science and technology and to pursue
careers as technologists, scientists and
151 Nigerian Society of Engineers
Conference - Abuja
.I. O. AgbIlmU,J. E. Anho
To achieve gender equity within science and
technology institutions, including policy and
decision - making bodies.
To ensure that the needs and aspiration of
women and men are equally taken into
account in the setting of research priorities
and in design, transfer and application new
5. To ensure all men and women have equal
access to the infonuation and knowledge,
particularly scientific and technology
knowledge, that they need to improve their
standard of living and quality of life.
6. To recognize local knowledge systems,
where they exist, and their gendered nature
as a source of knowledge complementary to
modern science and technology and also
valuable for sustainable human
1.1 GENDER GAP IN EDUCATION IN
. Nigerian has hidden growth reserves in its people,
but especially the potential of women, who now
provide labour force in the economy. However,
women lack equal access to education and factors of
production (World Bank, 2000). Table
Nigeria belongs to the region with widest gap in
education, both at enrolment level as well as the
level of attainment. The initial gap is on inheritance
from the colonial period while overall levels of
education were low and gender gap, were
considerably (Klasen, 2002). Table 1 shows that
Primary gross enrolment for female and male in
Secondary School gross enrolment is
for female and male respectively, while the
average year attainment are 2.82 and 3.98 for
female and male respectively. The same
statistics arc higher in East Asia and Pacific. For
example Secondary gross enrolment for East Asia
and Pacific are 60% and 65% for female and male
respectively. The table established gender bias in
school enrolment and attainment in Nigeria.
GENDER BIAS AGAINST THE NIGERIA
Despite the potentials that Nigerian girls and
women possess, it is appalling to note that there is
significant gender disparity against them.
Although, the Nigerian constitution recognizes the
fact that women should enjoy the same rights with
men there are cultural, religious, attitudinal,
political, and economic constraints to women's
reaching their full potential due to gender disparity .
Established Statistical figures revealed that girls and
women are educationally under-represented and
disadvantaged in almost all the States in Nigeria.
See Table 2 National Summary of Primary School
(1991 - 1995).
Nigerian Society of Engineers Intemational Conference - Abuja
This bias manifest in diverse ways such as: limited
access to ST - related education and infrastructure;
limited access to ST- related employment;
unfavorable educational curricula and gender
insensitivity of government's ST policies.
This has contributed to the tendency of females not
to be as active as males during laboratory practical
sessions. This arrangement also tends to diminish
the innate inquisitiveness of the girl child which,
combined with lack of encouragement from parents
and teachers, could ultimately translated to aversion
for and drop out from the sciences. Akande (2005)
have independently identified some constraints to
girl's education, ST ,inclusive, in Nigeria. These
were categorized as:-
• Household related constraints;
• Socio-cultural constraints;
• School related constraints; and
• Policy related constraints.
2.1 GENDER, EDUCATION AND
POVERTY IN Nigeria
In all countries, education is now recognized as a
major vehicle for promoting and improving the
status of women. It has been realized that
sustainable human development is not possible if
half of the human' race remain ignorant and
marginalized (Okojie, 2002). According to the
Nairobi forward looking strategies (1985) education
is the basic tool that should be given to men in order
to fulfill the roles as full members of the society.
Education is regarded as the cornerstone of
women's empowerment because it enables them to
respond to opportunities, to challenge their
traditional roles and to change their lives. The
Beijing Platform for Action emphasized that
investing informal and non-formal education and
training of girls and women has proved to be one of
the best means of achieving sustainable
development and economic growth. This view as
also supported by the World Bank,' (2000) which
stated that a country with more educated girls and
women is not only healthier, it is also wealthier.
Further more recent research has shown that
investment in education for girls is the single most
effective way to reduce poverty (Okojie, 2(02).
Even few years of education empower women to
have smaller families and enjoy a higher standard of
living. Educated mothers are more likely to send
their children to school creating a virtuous circle of
education and poverty reduction (DFID, 2000). The
gap between human and capital investments in men
and women is highest in the low-income regions,
which currently invest the least in the education of
women compared to men (Schuitz, 1994). Family
preference for boy's education and the need for
children's labour services within and outside the
household often limit the education of girls in rural
communities (Beneria and Bishath, 1996). This may
explain higher poverty among women in Nigeria.
Table 3 shows that poverty is lower among highly
educated women than men. For example the head
count poverty among the people that attended post-
153 Nigerilln Society of Engineers
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S. O. Agbsmu,j. E. Anho Se j.
secondary schools are 47.9 and 44.7 for male and
"'\ female respectively. What this implies is that if
men and women are given equal education, women
may be productive than men. If education has been
proved to make women more productive than men,
Nigeria must learn a lesson from United Arab
Emirate (UAE) that emphasized women education
especially for the tertiary education.
For example. Table 4 shows that 73% of students
in tertiary institution in UAE are women. The table
further shows that about 63% of the students is
science and technology oriented institutions (Higher
Colleges of Technology) are women.
3.0 CAPACITY BUILDING IN SCIENCE
The emphasis of education for women should not be
only on general education but on specific science
and technology education that will enable them
harness the natural and economic resources
available to them. This is exactly what United Arab
Emirate is doing. Available evidence shows that
Nigerian investment in science related courses as
technology, Science and Mathematics is 41
(Human Development Report, 2001. This did not
only affect the bias in school enrolment but also the
output of educational institutions. Comparison of
share of tertiary enrolment as shown in Table 5
indicates that Nigerian tertiary educational
not Science and Technology
oriented. The Table shows that share of tertiary
enrolment in Science in Nigeria is 1.8% compared
with 62% in Singapore.
4.0 EDUCATING NIGERIAN WOMEN
THROUGH INFORMATION AND
Technology (lCT): According to Yusuf (2000),
Information and Communicating Technology, (leT)
is a powerful tool for the development of quality
teaching and learning. It is a catalyst for radical
change in existing school practices and a veritable
vehicle for preparing the student for the future. leT
is important in bridging the gender gap in education
in Nigeria. Since most of these women may be
'tied' down at home, their accessibility to ICT can
improve their educational level considerably. Their
accessibility to radio, television, and internet will
improve their educational attainment. However, the
leT indicator in Nigeria shows that women in
Nigeria do not have access to these important tools.
Table 6 shows that internet accessibility of women
in Nigeria is about 20%. This is another important
area where women in Nigeria should be assisted.
GENDER AND STnCT
In a World Science Report by the United Nations'
Educational and Scientific Organisation (UNESO),
it was said that:
The gender dimension describes the way in which
culturally organized differences between men and
154 Nigerisn Society of Engineers International Conference -
S. O. Agbllmu,j. E. Anho
women interact with .... diverse scientific and
technological practices, and their meanings.
Scientific and technological cultures and practices
shape gendered social relations and in turn, are
shaped by them. Thus the S&T that each culture's
gender relations are the effect, in part, of past local
and global S&T changes.
The potential benefits of women's access to and use
of modem ST are enormous but there is also an
expanding digital divided. With the widening of
any digital divided, societies risk facing more of the
negative aspects associated with technological
development. This occurs when those who have
access to information and resources (mostly men)
wield power over those who do not have (mostly
The gender dimension should be a source of major
concern for all ST-related activities, particularly as
far as the access to technology training and
information resources in involved. This concern
should be appropriately reflected in all key
technological activities of Nigeria and all attempts
should be made to mainstream gender equality and
empowerment of women.
Sine the women still have low access to the
information and communication Technology, the
govemment should make these tools available and
affordable for women through subsidy and
incentives to motivate girls and ~omen in Science
and Technology educate by way of.sch01arship
prizes should be instituted by government and Non-
government and Non-government organizations
Review of the curriculum of Science, techaology
and mathematic education to make it more
Preferential quarter admission for girls into seience
and related courses is recommended.
Formulation and planning of government Education
of policy in line with United Nations declaration for
the emancipation of women particularly in the fine
and applied sciences.
This study demonstrates that there is wider
educational gap between men and women in
Nigeria. This study also shows that if men and
women are given equal opportunity they will be
more productive and prosper. In improving the
educational level of the women in Nigeria the
emphasis should be on Science and Technology
which can easily be made possible through
information and Communication Technology.
155 NigerillD Society
of Engineers Intemetionel Conference - Abu;' 2007
,5. O. AghIll1JU,j. E. Arlbo.re
Agbamu S. 0.(2006) 'Poverty Elimination
and the Empowerment of Women'
Strategies for achieving the international
Development Target. . Intel conf.
2. Akilaiya, 0 and Ogbene~. E.. (2001)
"Women Education, Differential Fertility
and Development in. Nigeria "in' African
Journal of Research in Education Vol. 1,
3pp 50 - 58.
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Policy: Wishful .Thinking or Reality?'
Nigeria in the twentieth century.
15' April ..
Bisnath, S. (1996): Gender and
Poverty: Analysis for Action, UNDP: New
'5. Blackden, M., Canagarajah,
. S. (2005): Gender and Growth in Sub Sahala
Africa: Evidencec;md issues. . Paper
presented at WIDER Conference: . The
Future of Development Economics' June 17
6. Hayine, W.
(2003) Gender Issues in
Technology Education: A Quasi-Interview
Ethnographic Approach. Journal of
Technology Education. Vol. 15. No. 1
Human Development Report (2001):
Making New Technologies-work for Human
Development. UNDP Oxford University
Afocabi, M. A. And Archy, N
(2001) "Enhancing Female Performance in
Scieace Education in Nigeria: A case study
of Federal College of Education, Pankglin
Annual Conference proceedings
PP 79- 81.
9. Klasen, S. (2000): Does gender inequality in
_Education. reduce growth and, development?
Evidence from cross country regressions
World Bank Econ omics Review. 1(2):
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Information and communication
technologies for"'-~Gender Equality
_ ~pevelopment. Monograph Series No. 9.
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Science and Technology (ST) in Nigeria.
Proceedings of International Conference of
.Science and Technology (FUTA, Nigeria).
Nigeriall Society of billfilJccrs Intcrmuionul Contcrcucc - Abuja ZtltJ7
S. (). AgblUJ'lu,J.E. Anho
12. ~ Nicks-Mcf.aleb.: L. (2005) The Impact of
State. funded higher. education on
Neighbourhood and. Community
Arab Emirate. International. Education
Journal 6(3): 322 - 334. ' .
. l~ Okobia, O. S. (2002) the Educational
Imbalance between the Northern'~ and'
Southern stated of Nigeria:' A Re-direction
of Educational Policies. 2
14. Okojie, C. E. E., (2002): Gender and.
Education as Determination of Household .
poverty mNrgeri~,' United Nations .
University, World Institute for Development
fCQnomics Research, Discussion paper Nno.
World Uank, (2002): Can Africa claim the
Century? Report prepared Jointly by
AFB, AERC, Global Coalition 'for Africa,
ECA and the World Bank, Washington D.
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Communication Technology and Education:
Analyzing .the Nigeria, National Policy,
International Education 'Journal 6(3):320.
17. Zimmery, D. and Kalu,
and Technology in Nigeria. Heinemann
Educational Books (Nig.) Plc.
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Techhology for Sustainable Human
(Accessed on 15 April, 2007).
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Nigerian Children: The Effect of
·Socialization on Girls' Choice of Careers in
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,Nigeri/ID Society of Engilleers
Conference - Abuja 21617
S. O. Agbamu,J. E. Anho
Table 1: Enrolment .and Attainment by Gender in Nigeria and East Asia Pacific
Country Gender Primary School Secondary . Average
Nigeria Females 73 23 2.82
Males 85 28 3.98
East Asia Pacific Females 106 50 5.85 .
Males 105 65 6.84
Source: Klasen 2002
Table 2: National Summary of Primary School statistics (1991-1995)
YEAR 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995
~Total Schools 35,610 3610 38,234 ·38629 41,531
Total Enrolment 13,776,854 .14,805;937 15,870.280 16,190.947 15,741,078
Total Male Enrolment 7,741897 8,273,824 8,930.660 9,056~367 8,729,421
Total Teachers 6034,957 6,532,1 J3. 6,939,680 7,134;530- 7,011,657
Total Male Teachers 353,600 284,212 428,097 435,210 47,619
Total Female Teachers 202,753 211,650 33(j,256 233,305 230,287
Total Class Rooms 150,847 172,562 191,831 201,.905 207,332
Teacher-Pupil Ratio 337,439 407,987 447,859 444,985 1,072,059
1:37 .1:39 1:27 1:36 1:36
Source: Federal Ministry of Education Lagos (1990)
Table 3: Poverty HeadCount and EducationalLevel on Gender Basis in Nigeria
EDUCATION MALES FEMALES
Primary 61.3 55.3
Secondary 53.3 56.0
Post-secondary 47.9 44.7
Source: Computed from Okojie 2002
Nigerian Society of Engineers International Conference - Abuj:l 2fJ07
Agbamu~J. E. Anho
Table 4: Number
United Arab Emirate Graduates from Federal and Prtvate
Higher Education Institutions by Gender 200112002
Institutions Males Female Total
Private Higher Education 262 624 886 70.43
Zayed Universities (2 Campuses) 0 379 100.00
Higher Colleges of Technology (11 campuses) 1237 2084 3321 62.75
United Arab Emirate 438 2Q98 2531 82.90
Total 1937 5180 7117 72.78
,27 73 100
Source: Computed from Nicks - McCaleb,-2005
Table 5: Share ofT~rtiary Enrolment in Science
Countries Share of Tertiary Enrolment in
Developing Countries 27.6
Human developing report 2001.
Table 6: Indicators of Information and Communication Technology
availability on Gender basis in Nigerla (2000)
ICT indicators Males Females Total
Radio r 1000 people
147 530 27.74
Television per 1000 - 272 162 434 37.33
Telephone main lines 136 32 168 19.05
per 1000 people
Mobile phone per 1000 24 5 29 17.24
Personal computer per 32.4 4.4 36.8 11.96
Internet hosts per 1000 470,1 10.2 480.3 2.12
Source: Computed from Marcelle, 2000
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