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Nigeria: Only One In Four Girls From Poor Families Complete JSS – UNICEF

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By Longtong Ibrahim –

United Nations Children Fund, (UNICEF) says there are currently over 10 million girls that are out of school in Nigeria, a situation which it says heightens gender inequity.

Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Northwest Nigeria, Mr. Rahama Farah, stated this in Kano, at a Media Dialogue on Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project 3 (GEP 3), funded by the UKaid and implemented by UNICEF.

Farah said the 10 million figure represents 60 per cent of the 18.5 million total of the number of out of school children in the country.

According to him, “Currently in Nigeria there are 18.5 million out of school children, 60 per cent of these out of school children are girls – that is over 10 million girls are out of school.

“Most importantly you will need to know that the majority of these out of school children, are actually from Northern Nigeria”.

He added, “This situation heightens the gender inequity, where only 1 in 4 girls from poor, rural families complete Junior Secondary school education.

“The situation with girls’ education in Nigeria has been further affected by attacks on schools.

“These attacks have 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. These attacks have particularly and specifically targeted Girls,” he stated.

Farah explained that GEP 3 intervention is already yielding results as not fewer than 1.4m girls now have access to education in northern Nigeria.

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“These interventions are encouraging girls to attend school. But a lot still needs to be done to ensure that every girl in Nigeria is enrolled, attends school and completes her education.

“With more of similar support, and working together with government and development partners, parents, communities, traditional and religious leaders, we can achieve more by enrolling more girls in schools, and ensuring they complete their full education.

“To achieve this objective, we need the support of every ally and stakeholder, especially the media. This Media Dialogue is therefore very timely and critical in the achievement of these objectives.

“I urge the media to advocate for increased funding and allocation of adequate public resources to the education sector, especially adequate allocation and the release of what has been appropriated. There are a number of barriers that affect girls’ education. The media must also be at the forefront of advocating for the action directed at removing these barriers that hinder girls’ education such as child marriage,” he said.

Education Manager, UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Michael Banda said the children were out of school as a result of early marriage and transition among others because there was no proper implementation of policies to support educational development.

In her paper presentation titled “Why Girls’ education is important”, the Education Specialist, UNICEF Country Office in Abuja, Azuka Menkiti said the girl child is faced with daunting challenges and barriers.

She however stressed the need to educate the girl child saying education for the girl child goes beyond enrolling them into schools as the girl education is posited as a vaccine to address poverty rate, over population and health indices such as malnutrition, maternal mortality among others.

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Earlier, the Deputy Director Planning, Kano State Qur’anic and Islamiyya Schools Management Board, KSQISMB, Kamaludeen Abdulhadi said the media dialogue was to assess or monitor activities carried out by the GEP 3 since 2018 till date in the state.

The GEP 3 project is implemented in five Nigerian states, namely, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Bauchi and Zamfara.

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