By Justina Auta
The Federal Government on Friday said it has intensified advocacies to promote digital skills for girl-child education in the country in line with global practice.
Mrs Pauline Tallen, the Minister of Women Affairs, stated this at a media briefing and launch of the campaign to support Girl-Child education as part of the 2021 International Day of the Girl-Child (IDGC) celebration with a theme “Digital Generation, Our Generation: Not Without Girls”.
Tallen said “the theme speaks to the need to amplify digital revolution and the opportunities it provides for girls to pave paths to freedom of expression, learning opportunities, joy and boundless potential, including the elimination gender-based violence and discrimination”.
While stressing the importance of Information, Communication Technology (ICT), especially during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the minister said girls must have a background in technology to enable them contribute to national and international development.
“These inequality and exclusion can only be addressed by deliberately creating wider spaces for the girl-child to receive quality education and access the information superhighway.
“We must therefore embark on a paradigm shift in scientific orientation, which must be able to continually adapt to changes in knowledge, technology and addressing societal challenges.
“Education is a fundamental right of every child, boy or girl, as articulated in the National Policy on Education.
“This means that progress in girls enrolment, retention and completion will have to be twice as rapid as it is now, if we must realise the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 for inclusive and equitable quality education,” she said.
The minister therefore stressed the need for a change in scientific orientation, which must be able to continually adapt to changes in knowledge, technology and addressing societal challenges to ensure that the girl child is not left behind in the digital revolution.
The Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said access to the use of ICT will increase the number of girls that will study Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related courses inline with global needs.
“Giving girls access to digital technology is crucial if the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) four in ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all is to be achieved,” he said.
On her part, Dr Asabe Vilita-Bashir, the Director General, National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), said ICT skills will ensure personal security, better access to education and jobs, financial inclusion and access to basic healthcare information for girls.
Vilita-Bashir said the centre has trained over 500 girls on ICT in the past three years aimed at bridging the digital divide, self-reliance and contribute to the growth and development of the nation.
Mr Peter Hawkins, the Country Representative United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said they will empower 20 million Nigerians, majorly the Girl-Child to have better access to the digital world.