The United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) on Wednesday lamented that the girl-child in Nigeria continue to bear sizeable burden that confronts the education sector
Mr. Rahama R.M Farah, Chief, UNICEF Office Kano, disclosed that currently in Nigeria, there are 18.5 million out of school children which 60 per cent are girls – that is over 10 million girls with majority of them from northern Nigeria.
Farah made the disclosure during a 3 days Media Dialogue on Girls’ Education organized by the Kano State Qur’anic and Islamiyya Schools Management Board (KSQISMB) in collaboration with UNICEF being part of activities of the Girl’s Education Project 3 (GEP3) funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the UK and implemented by UNICEF.
According to him, the situation heightens the gender inequity, where only 1 in 4 girls from poor, rural families complete Junior Secondary school education.
” Education is a fundamental human right which every child should enjoy, especially girls”.
” We believe no child should be left behind”.
” Girls’ education is particularly important because as is oft stated, when you educate a girl, you educate a nation” !, he added.
However, he further noted that recent attacks on education institutions in the country which have particularly and specifically targeted girls has further created an insecure learning environment, discouraged parents and caregivers from sending their children to schools, while at the same time, the students themselves become fearful of going to school.
Rahama stated that UNICEF, with funding support from development partners, is collaborating with government to build the capacity of school-based management Committees (SBMCs) and Community-based Management Committees (CBMCs) on school safety and security, and to make communities more resilient.
” In Kano State, for example, through the Girls’ Education Project 3 (GEP3) funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the UK, 300 SBMC members have been trained, while schools supported through the Girls’ Education Project 3 have developed School Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans to mitigate the impact of potential and actual threats on schools.
” Multi-sectoral task teams on school safety have also been established across all the 34 LGAs of Katsina state to provide quick networking among actors on school security, with additional focus on the safety of the girl child. Additionally, 60 Junior Secondary Schools have developed emergency plans and tested the plans in evacuation drills.
Theses interventions are encouraging girls to attend school”.
He however, admitted that a lot more still needs to be done to ensure that every girl in Nigeria is enrolled, attends school and completes her education and to achieve that, they solicit the support of every ally and stakeholder, especially the media.
Journalists at the session were drawn from Katsina, Kano and other national media respectively, totalling 41 in number.