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5 “Education is Education”: Contemporary Muslim Views on Muslim Women’s Education in Northern Nigeria

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Chapter Summary

This chapter reflects some of the gender differences in Northern Nigeria's approaches to female education, emanating from interviews in 2007 conducted in five states (Kano, Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Niger) of Northern Nigeria. The starting point of these interviews was a discussion of the statistics from the Ministry of Education that indicate that the northern states of Nigeria are educationally disadvantaged compared to the southern or eastern states. Two types of education exist in Northern Nigeria: Islamic Education and Western Education. In many contemporary Islamic cultures, the basic Islamic teaching that education is obligatory for all Muslims seems to be fading away, as women are relegated to the background as far as education is concerned. The assumption that educated women are to be distrusted as potentially dangerous, audacious, recalcitrant and incapable of making good wives and mothers resurfaced in the interviews conducted among male informants in Northern Nigeria.

Keywords: female education; Islamic cultures; Islamic education; Ministry of Education; Northern Nigeria; western education



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