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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 134-138

Horizons of open and distance learning: Strategies for educational planning for teen girls in Lagos rural communities

Centre for Lifelong Learning, National Open University of Nigeria, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication17-Mar-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Odeyemi Olajumoke Janet
National Open University of Nigeria, 14/16, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.178870

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The provision of formal education for girls who dropped out or never had the chance to enroll in schools has been an intervention in very few countries of the world. The study investigated the causes and implications of teen pregnancy, illiteracy, and other at risk behaviors among teen girls in rural communities. Survey research design was adopted while using multi stage sampling techniques to select 186 respondents. A t-test was used to analyze the data collected. The study found a positive relationship between familial factors and risk behavior among teen girls in the communities. Also, extra familial variables contribute immensely to teen girls at-risk behavior. These call to question the issue and implication for the empowerment of such teen girls which will among other things promote healthy behavioral choices for them. What educational strategies through open and distance learning for sustainable empowerment achieve among these teen girls and its implications was discussed.

Keywords: At-risk behavior, extra familial factors, girl child, open and distance learning

How to cite this article:
Janet OO. Horizons of open and distance learning: Strategies for educational planning for teen girls in Lagos rural communities. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2016;2:134-8

How to cite this URL:
Janet OO. Horizons of open and distance learning: Strategies for educational planning for teen girls in Lagos rural communities. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Aug 15];2:134-8. Available from: http://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2016/2/2/134/178870

  Introduction Top

Nations all over the world continue to yearn for the development. The yearnings are seen through the use of education for all (EFA) as an instrument for making the society literate.[1]

The Dakar (EFA) goals number two specifically stipulates that by 2015, all children, “especially the girl child in different circumstances and those belonging to minorities has access to a complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality.” Attainment of this declaration has been difficult since then. Africa as a continent is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of children of school age, but the irony is that Africa has the lowest ratio of school enrollment. UNESCO and UNICEF [2] estimate that the number will further rise by 52 percent during the period of 1995–2020. This mirrors the gruesome challenge facing the continent. There are still many cultural and social factors that inhibit the enrollment of girls in schools, especially those that help keep women in a subordinate position. This has helped in hampering their mental, social, and emotional development.

Incidentally, achieving high representation of the girl child in education has been a thing of priority for Africans and the whole world. It is, however, unfortunate that this have not been achieved. The teenage girls of the impoverished in the rural areas are left out; girls aged 11–16 years are largely excluded from both the process and outcome of education (where there is any at all).[2]

Nigerian government has taken many steps toward attainment of the millennium development goals has been bedevilled with many problems which have made it unattainable such as failure of age-long methods of trying to reach the unreached, poverty, and illiteracy. Also, the little efforts made at addressing the access to education for the unreached is faced with several challenges, which include poor syllabus content, location, arrangement, and selection of methods and approaches that have failed to match the needs of the teenage girl child. Apparently, this has resulted in two third of the teenage girl child dropping out and engaging in at-risk behaviors.[1]

The rural communities are therefore areas with needs for “unpopular subjects matter.” Incidentally, the teen girl child here is the bridge to building a learning society and as such is urgently in need of support and guidance relating to their needs which are traditional and multidimensional.

At-risk behaviors contribute to the prevention of future successes and developments in youths. It has a cumulative effect such as teen pregnancy and it is also significantly impacts on the lives of such girls.

At-risk behavior

At-risk behavior has no universal consensus definition. It is the behavior that put the youths at risk for negative consequences, for example, poor health, injury, and death. Behaviors that are at-risk contribute to preventable societal vices in adolescents which extend to adulthood. Considerable empirical evidence have shown that risk factors adopted in childhood years may elevate the chances of problems such as psychological, and physiological problems, stress, and lifetime poverty.

The National Survey of Children Health,[3] reported that in 2007 there were 13.5 million children living in rural, small or isolated areas. These children, according to the survey were 22 times more likely to have been abused and 44 times more likely to have lacked parental care and mentoring. These adverse experiences put the teen girls, in vulnerable conditions that include substance use, high school dropout and inappropriate sexual behavior. The report further indicated that families with children in rural communities are more likely to fall below the federal poverty level than those in urban areas.[3]

Chronic physical, emotional, behavioral or developmental conditions are all resultant effects of at-risk behaviors in rural areas. According to Olugbile,[4] the teenagers in rural areas are more likely to engage in at-risk behaviors as those in urban areas. The problem may be the same but rural communities have limited resources to deal with the consequences.[4]

A major problem facing teen girls with at-risk behavior in rural communities is the nonavailability or limited access to treatment or intervention programs. This has resulted in the identification of such girls at the onset and inability to address their needs at the appropriate time before they go into full blown anti-social behaviors. In addition to this, the prevention and intervention programs are often nonexistent in rural areas. Funds available are not often allocated to treatment; the failure to provide the prevention and intervention programs often lead to interruption of affected teen girls' developmental processes.[2]

What then are the causes of at-risk behaviors among teen girls? Although an extensive review of the literature on at-risk behaviors is beyond the scope of this study, it is important to note that families are embedded in a cultural framework that influences at-risk behaviors. This study will, therefore, be based on teen pregnancy as its purview.

Teen pregnancy in Ajido and Ajara communities of Lagos State

Lagos State with a population of 20 million (National Population Commission, 2008), prides herself as the most populous cosmopolitan state in Nigeria. With 20 local government areas, the state has put in place many mitigating processes on making the state a model city. Badagry is one of the local government areas of Lagos State. Ajido and Jeba communities are two neighboring rural communities in Badagry. Investigations revealed that there is a preponderance of teenage mothers in these communities. No fewer than hundred babies are currently being nursed by the teens in these localities (Oyekunle).[5] Unfortunately, the babies are said to be as a result of indiscriminate sexual behaviors borne out of pandemic poverty ravaging the communities.

Investigations further revealed that unless urgent steps are taken to stem these tide of unwanted pregnancies, more of these future leaders may have their lives truncated by even worse societal consequences.

It is in view of the need to redress this debilitating risky behavior that this study sought to assess the impact of familial and extra-familial factors on at-risk behaviors among teen girls as well as its implications. The study will also discuss the educational strategies that could promote healthy behavioral choices among the girls and at the same time provide them with a sustainable livelihood.

Research question

This study shall find the answers to the question of what are the factors contributing to at-risk behaviors among teen girls in rural areas.


  • There is no significant relationship between familial factors and the causes of at-risk behaviors among teen girls
  • There is no significant relationship between extra-familial factors and causes of at-risk behaviors among teen girls in the communities.

  Methodology Top

Research design

Descriptive survey method was used to carry out this study. The target population comprised the teen girls in Badagry, Lagos State. Ajido and Ajara communities were randomly selected. The stratified random sampling procedure was used to select an equal number of respondents from the two communities – 93 teen girls to make a total of 186 girls (both teen mothers and pregnant teens). This number constitutes the respondents for the study.

An instrument titled' factors causing the preponderance of teen pregnancy and its implications' was used to generate the data for the study. The instrument was divided into two sections; the section A was to elicit the background data of the respondents while the B section delves into the perceived factors contributing to the preponderance of teen pregnancy. This section was equally divided and subsumed into six sub headings namely: (Familial factors and extra-familial factors) Parental cognitive impairment; poverty; low sexual knowledge; environment lacking stimulation; lack of family support and monitoring; culture tolerant of risk; each of these themes has four questions; these questions were to elicit responses relating to each sub head. A T-test statistic tool was used to analyze the data for the results.

  Results Top

Research question

What are the factors contributing to the preponderance of teen pregnancy?

From the [Table 1] above, the respondents for the study shows that environmental lacking stimulation (x = 13.26); low sexual knowledge (x = 13.31); parental low cognitive impairment (x = 13.09); lack of family support and monitoring (x = 13.06); poverty (x = 12.81); culture tolerant of risk (x = 12.81). It is revealed that all of this has higher calculated mean than the normative mean of x = 12 for all the factors. This shows that the respondents believed that the above listed factors contribute greatly to the preponderance of teen pregnancy.
Table 1: Perceived factors contributing to the preponderance of teen pregnancy?

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Hypothesis 1

There will be no significant relationship between extra-familial factors and causes of at-risk behavior among teen girls.

The [Table 2] above reveal that all the respondents (teen mothers and pregnant teens) agreed that all extra familial factors has a relationship with at risk behaviors – Socioeconomic status (t = 0.529) P > 0.598; poor neighborhood (t = 0.081) P > 0.936; negative school climate t = − 542) P > 0.589; environment lacking stimulation (t = 0.185) P > 0.854; peer pressure (t = 1.508) P > 0.133; culture tolerant of risk (t = 0.658) P > 0.513. The indication of these figures is that the teen girls believe that extra familial factors have a great influence on the causes of at-risk behaviors. Therefore the hypothesis of no significant relationship is rejected.
Table 2: Extra familial factors and causes of at risk behavior

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Hypothesis 2

There is no significant relationship between familial factors and causes of at-risk behavior among teen girls.

[Table 3] above shows the t-values for low parental monitoring (t = − 0.102) P > 0.919; low sexual knowledge (t = − 0.404) P >.688; parent's cognitive impairment (t = − 0.499) P >.620; poor communication (t = − 0.537) P > 0.594; early exposure to sex (t = − 0.708) P > 0.482. These clearly show here that familial factors and at-risk behaviors contribute to preponderance of teen pregnancy. However, the value for lack of family support shows a t-value of 1.01, with significance of P < 0.043. The indication here is that some of the respondents differs in their view of lack of family support been a contributing factor to at risk behavior. The result approves the rejection of null hypothesis 1.
Table 3: Familial factors and causes of at risk behavior

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  Discussion and Conclusion Top

The purview of this study is to determine factors responsible for at-risk behaviors among teen girls in rural areas. Factors such as (familial) – Parental low cognitive impairment, early exposure to sex, poor communication, lack of family support, low monitoring, and lack of sexual knowledge; (extra-familial) environment lacking stimulation, socioeconomic status, culture tolerant of risks and peer pressure were implicated. These findings support that of Tolan, Gorman–Smith and Henry,[6] who posited that early experience of low parental involvement as well as negative behavior management contributes to the development of early and persistent conduct problems. As teens experience risk factors, in-out-of-home settings such as neighborhood, problems may be magnified and move towards poor outcomes such as early sexual orientation with its resultant effect of teen pregnancy.

Lack of family support was identified as a factor contributing to at risk behavior in teen girls. This is identified by Dodge and Pettit,[7] when they opined that teen's disposition and quality of immediate family environment relates in a reciprocal and dynamic manner across childhood to promote risk of future behavior problems.

The socioeconomically disadvantaged environment/neighborhood has a great potential of exacerbating at-risk behavior among teens. Brooks–Gunn et al.,[8] posited that low family level socioeconomic status during childhood is one of the largest and most consistent predictors of later conduct of problems in this case teen pregnancy.

Monitoring and support was another factor that causes at-risk behavior among teen. This was supported by findings of Ingoldsby et al.,[9] where they posited that parent involvement and monitoring practices such as direct surveillance and effective management of teen girls' activities as well as collective socialization practices among neighbors are also predicted conduct problem trajectories. Low or no supervision emerges as an especially strong predictor among low-income teens. Also, the quality of teen's relationship with the environment was demonstrated to uniquely confer risk and protection from at-risk behavior in various studies.[9] Based on the findings, this study, therefore, exposed the implication of teen girls' involvement in at-risk behavior.

Involvement in at-risk behavior is seen as the harbinger of more serious problems. Socially a teen girl without any form of education will engage in at-risk behavior which can lead to not only unwanted pregnancy but other transmitted diseases. It is a way of further perpetuating poverty in the lives of such teens. The preponderance of unwanted pregnancy as a form of at-risk behavior also has its cost implication on the individual and the society as a whole. It has been observed that it leads to avoidable loss of public costs which in turn leads to the higher rate of incarceration and less well-educated women folk in the work force. This is against the millennium development goals of providing EFA and mitigating the effect of poverty for all. We, therefore, suggest open and distance learning (ODL) as a strategy for educational planning for the affected teens.

ODL is observed to be a new horizon for the inclusion of teen girls in sustainable education. As an empowerment factor which is a process, it is also an outcome. ODL has indeed come to stay as the bridge builder between the reached and unreached. It has become the acceptable and indispensable part of the mainstream of education both in developing and developed nation, respectively. COL and ADB, 1999 sees it as being the contributing factor to social, educational, and economic development for the past 20 years. In ODL, learners are spatially separated by time and space (place and location). Learners enroll on programs of their choice, at their own chosen place at affordable costs, which are complemented at the learner's own time and pace.[10] ODL has bridged the gap of expanding needs of large number of learners from increasingly diverse background; it is also a bridge builder for emergence of new career and occupation as well as aiding economic restructuring, changes in workplace and career patterns.

This form of education emphasizes the transformative synergies that can occur between school, family, community, and cultural experiences. For the teen girl, attaining basic education and employable skills is an important part of preventing and breaking the cycle of poverty. Through ODL, they can assess instructional materials, interventions, and best practices from anywhere and at any time. The ODL policy briefing on International Council for Open and Distance Learning,[11] stated that ODL can increase access, provide learning and training relevant to authentic learning needs, increase productivity, develop learning culture, increase portability of training and reach target groups with limited access to conventional education, and training. The teen girl's needs as dimensional, as it is, are all embedded in all the aforementioned. Therefore, the teen girl's literacy access and skills training with gender-responsive pedagogy will be a flexible, accessible strategy for giving them a new lease of life toward sustainable development that will promote healthy behavioral choices.

In conclusion, it has been observed that a combination of factors predisposes teen girls to at-risk behavior. Their life is full of challenges; therefore the opportunities must be given to them to live their lives. Issues of poverty, antisocial behaviors, learning deficits as well as the dysfunctional development associated with their age must be tackled. In as much as they are the mothers and leaders of tomorrow, they, therefore, remain the bridge to learning and prosperous society. It is, therefore, imperative to instigate tangible and sustainable development through educational strategies to help them be economically productive.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Okeke EA, Nzewi UM, Njoku Z. Tracking school age children's education status in UNICEF a-Field states. Enugu: UNICEF; 2008. p. 31.  Back to cited text no. 1
UNESCO. Population in Sub-Saharan Africa. Paris: International Science, Technology and Environmental Education; 2000. p. 3-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
NSCH: National Survey of Children Health. National Survey of Children with Health Care Needs; 2013. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/slaits/nsch.htm. [Last cited on 2014 May 20].  Back to cited text no. 3
Olugbile S. Varsity Enrolment: Females Improve in Male-dominated Courses. Punch Newspaper. Section A; 2010. p. 2.  Back to cited text no. 4
Oyekunle J. Sex Traders of Badagry. Daily Mirror. Section 2; 2012.  Back to cited text no. 5
Tolan PH, Gorman-Smith D, Henry DB. The developmental ecology of urban males' youth violence. Dev Psychol 2003;39:274-91.  Back to cited text no. 6
Dodge KA, Pettit GS. A biopsychosocial model of the development of chronic conduct problems in adolescence. Dev Psychol 2003;39:349-71.  Back to cited text no. 7
Brooks-Gunn J, Duncan G, Aber J. Neighbourhood Poverty: Context and Consequences for Children. New York: Russel Sage Foundation; 1997.  Back to cited text no. 8
Ingoldsby E, Shelleby E, Lane T, Shaw D. Extra Familial Contents and Children's | Conduct Problems. Oxford Handbook of Poverty and Child Development; 2012. Available from: http://www.pitt.edu/ppcl/publications/24_maholmes_ch23.pdf. [Last cited on 2015 May 18].  Back to cited text no. 9
Alaezi O. Open University as a Model of Excellence; 2006. Available from: http://www.people.uis.edu/rschri/onlinelearning/2006/nationalopen-universityofNigeria. [Last cited on 2014 Feb 22].  Back to cited text no. 10
ICDE. ODL Policy Briefing. International Council for Open and Distance Learning; 2013. Available from: www.http://icde.org/filestore/Regulatory_Framework/OpenandDistanceEducationPolicyBriefingMarch2013.pdf. [Last cited on 2014 Mar 30].  Back to cited text no. 11


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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