Economic and Socio-Cultural Constraints that Engender Legal Education in Northern Nigeria and the Use of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) to Effectively Address this Trend
Nigeria is dynamic and pluralistic in terms of its traditions and cultural values. This has significantly impacted the trend of educational development with respect to gender in the legal profession especially in the northern part of Nigeria. This paper intends to examine the traditions and cultural values in Northern Nigeria and its contribution to engendering and sustaining gender disparities in the pursuit of a legal career. This paper will be divided into three sections. The first will examine the economic challenges encountered within the family unit, the community and the region and how its effect has served to create and sustain disparity in the legal profession. The second section focuses on strong traditions, religious influence and cultural factors their spoken and unspoken norms, which sometimes emasculate the female desire to pursue legal career. These strongly entrenched views often times co-operate with the conservative colonial heritage and nature of the legal profession to sustain gender disparities that are today evident in the highly disproportionate male-female ratio in the legal profession in the north. The third section discusses the traditional mode of learning and obtaining a law degree and juxtaposes it with the ODL system highlighting the use of ODL as an effective tool to combat the constraints highlighted above. Finally the advantages of ODL in creating accessibility, convenience and economic efficiency in delivering legal education equitably will be explored. Also the use of ODL will be advocated as a desirable and inevitable change agent to address misconceptions, gender imbalance and promote necessary equality in representations at the Bar, on the Bench and in all facets of the legal profession and to ensure equity in the dispensation of justice for all men irrespective of their gender in a system where the female is still regarded as subservient, her education secondary and her role as merely complementary. // Paper ID: 456
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