Over 10m girls out of school in Nigeria — UNICEF

The United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, yesterday raised the alarm over 10 million girl child were out of school in Nigeria.

Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Rahama Farah, raised the alarm at a Media Dialogue on Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project, GEP, 3, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, FCDO, and implemented by UNICEF.

Farah said the 10 million represents 60 per cent of the 18.5 million total number of out of school children in the country, claiming that the majority of the out of school children were from northern Nigeria.

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.

“This situation heightens the gender inequity, where only one in four 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.”

Farah said the GEP 3 intervention was already yielding results as no fewer than 1.4million girls now had access to education in northern Nigeria, saying “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.”

On her part, 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.

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