This study investigated parents’ and children’s perception of the challenges of acquiring primary and post-primary education in Tai and Etche communities of Rivers State. Qualitative data were obtained via individual interviews and Focus Group Discussions (FGD). Parents within the age range of 16 to 45 years and children in the secondary school within the ages of 14 to 18 years participated in this study. One hundred questionnaires were administered to the adults while a focus group discussion was conducted among thirty four children. The findings revealed lack of infrastructure, lack of funds/poverty and long distance walk to school as the three major barriers to acquiring education in these communities; which could also be said to cut across several schools in Rivers State. Over 60% of the population are peasant farmers with meagre earnings and less than 8% are civil servants. About 10% of the children are fully responsible for the funding of their education while the remaining also hawk goods to support their parents’ meagre earnings paying for their education. This study recommends full implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) which makes education free and compulsory for all children. Philanthropic aids and governmental or non-governmental interventions would equally be needed to create enabling environments for learning and motivation for the children of these communities.
Key words: Universal Basic Education, illiteracy, rural community, poverty, children, parents, perception, child labour.
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