POVERTY AND EDUCATIONAL LEVEL AS DETERMINANTS OF GIRL-CHILD PARTICIPATION IN POLITICS IN ONDO NORTH SENATORIAL DISTRICT OF ONDO STATE, NIGERIA
The main purpose of the study was to examine the influence of poverty and educational level on girl-child via their political participation in Ondo North Education (Senatorial) District of Ondo State, Nigeria. The methodology adopted for the study was a descriptive survey research design. The population for the study was 3995 SSS 3 female students in public Schools; while the sample size used was three hundred and sixty-three (363) SSS 3 female students. Multi-stage sampling technique was adopted for the study. The instrument for data collection titled “Poverty and Educational Level as Determinants of Girl-Child Participation in Politics’’ (PEDGPP) was adopted and developed by the researcher. The instrument was trial tested and subjected to the test of internal consistency using Cronbach Alpha procedure. A reliability coefficient of 0.82 was obtained. Data collected were analysed using Principal Component part of Factor Analysis, percentage, mean and standard deviation to answer the five research questions while the three hypotheses formulated to guide the study were tested using t-test statistical tools. The findings of the study revealed that the poverty rate (level) of ‘poor’ and ‘not poor girl-child(ren) in Ondo North Senatorial District of Ondo State were 73% and 27% respectively. This implies that girl-child poverty in the state is quite high; Akoko North East (Ikare) girl-child poverty had the highest poverty (level) rate of 82.3% while Akoko North West (Okeagbe) had the least poverty rate of 61%; the study revealed that most of the poor people are farmers who find it difficult to provide the necessary support for their children, especially the girl-children; the rural poverty level was higher than that of urban area with the poverty rates of 78% and 59% respectively; poverty was largely responsible for poor educational support of girl-child which affected her education and socio-political involvement in the society; the study showed that the extent poverty inhibited the educational support rof urban and rural female students was not significant. It means that poverty limited the educational supports of both urban and rural girl-child. Ways of civic engagement or participation of girl-child differed significantly from that of rural area; implying that their level of involvement were not the same. Girl-child civic engagement or participation was limited and influenced by poverty in a number of ways as revealed by the study and the influence of girl-child poverty on her political participation was not significantly different in the urban and rural locales of the study area which implies that the participation of both urban and rural girl-child(ren) was/were influenced by poverty. The study recommended among others that government policy should be geared towards making education affordable and accessible at all levels to help the less privileged ones have full access to education. This will help to reduce poverty level and increase political participation of all. And also, that Children Press should be open in all nooks and crannies of the state to stimulate passions and reactions from children on their views over social and political matters.