The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria says that out of the more than 18.5 million out of school children currently in Nigeria, 60 percent are girls – that is over 10 million girls are out of school.
The chief of UNICEF Field Office, Kano, Rahama Farah said Nigeria has a record of 18.5 million out of school children out of which 10 million are girls,
Mr Farah, who spoke during a media dialogue on girls’ education in Kano Wednesday afternoon, said the statistics are alarming.
The dialogue is part of a three-day training for journalists from Katsina and Kano States.
“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 1 in 4 girls from poor, rural families complete Junior Secondary school education,” he said.
The UNICEF field chief said bandits’ attacks in the North-west states have also compounded the situation
Mr Farah said the attacks have led to parents not sending their children to school.
He said it has created an unfavourable learning environment which led to a decrease in the number of girls attending school.
He asked journalists to continue to advocate increased funding and allocation of resources for the development of education in the country.
Mr Farah, however, said the interventions by the Girls Education Project 3 (GEP3) funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK and implemented by UNICEF, over 1.4 million girls have returned to school.
“This support has expanded access to education for girls, resulting in no fewer than 1.4 million girls having access to education in northern Nigeria.
“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,” he said.
He said the project has also led to the establishment of a multi-sectoral task team in the 34 local government areas 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,” he said.
He said that in Kano State 300 School-Based Management Committee members have been trained, while schools have developed School Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans to mitigate the impact of potential and actual threats on schools.
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