Stakeholders urge government to prioritise girl child education 

By Rahila Lassa, Abuja

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Stakeholders in the education space have converged on Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, to chart a course for enhancing the standard of education in Nigeria.  

The workshop which focuses on the State of the girl education in Nigeria, brought together a coalition of international and local civil society organisations. 

According to the group, education is the cornerstone of any prosperous society, and it is key to unlocking the potential of individuals and communities alike.  

Speaking at the event, the Founder of Invictus Africa, Bukky Shonibare said there’s a need for President Tinubu to mobilise, facilitate and coordinate State Governments, being the implementing units of his vision and roadmap, to work in tandem with his commitments to education as captured in the education for renewed hope.  

She highlighted out-of-school children, learning poverty, security and safety of schools as well as education financing as the main factors militating against effective girl education in Nigeria. 

“We urge President Bola Tinubu and all State Governors to prioritise girls’ education in the agenda,” she said.  

Shonibare, however, commended President Bola Tinubu for his consistent public commitment to education, especially in girls’ education.

The Country Director of PLAN International, Mr. Charles Usie noted with concern the dwindling knowledge of teachers in public schools across the country.

According to him, a lot of teachers in public schools across the country have not received any training or retraining in the last five to six years.

He said some of the partners have developed advanced software that would be introduced to teachers to help them update their knowledge and pass it on to the students but cautioned that there’s a limit to what development partners can do.

“The truth is any education that’s built on the goodwill of development partners cannot go far. Because development partners only add values, serve as palliatives and support structures to what the government is supposed to do.” 

Mr. Usie advocated for the inclusion of funds in the education budget that will cater to the welfare, recruitment as well as training and retraining of teachers.

PLAN International further decried the rate at which State Governments owe teachers. 

The Executive Director, System Strategy and Policy Lab, Dr. Murtala Mohammed said the focus on girls’ education is mainly to bridge the gap parity in enrolment.  

According to him, educating and empowering girls have more positive ripple effects on society than educating and empowering boys. 

“When you educate the girls, it improves their wellbeing, maternal mortality will reduce, family Income increases, it will also increase their political participation and in turn get them involved in critical decision making.”

He therefore advocated for the use of Girls’ education assessment performance tool to measure the value of money and other resources expended to ensure that parties involved are on track and that the project is sustained. 

Halima Yusuf, a Girl child education advocate from a community in Kano State, Northwest Nigeria said there’s need to chart a path forward to ensure that every girl in Nigeria has access to free, safe and quality basic and senior education.  

Sharing her experience, Yusuf said the dreams of many girls often end too soon as they face relentless challenges in staying in school and completing senior secondary education.  

“Because the government only covers the National Examination Council (NECO) fees for those who pass these exams, those who do not pass carry the burden of paying #26,000. This fee, which is often too high for the families to afford, leads many girls to drop out of school,” she lamented.  

The stakeholders urged governments at all levels to, as a matter of urgency, make basic schooling up to Senior secondary free, to fund more schools and ensure that every school is a safe place for Learning. 

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