Minister decries level of illiteracy among women


Ruqayyatu Rufa’I said this on Monday.

The Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, on Monday decried the high level of illiteracy among women and stressed the need for more strategies to improve girl-child education.

Mrs. Rufa’i said this at the opening ceremony of a three-day workshop titled: “Genders and Transformative Leadership,” organised by UNESCO, Abuja office.

She said women as an integral part of nation building, must be empowered to play fundamental roles in national development.

“Women constitute a larger percentage of the illiterate population. It is in this regard that we must upscale our strategies to improve girl’s participation in schools.

“We can do this, by mobilising communities, targeting financial support for girls, ensuring the gender-sensitive teaching methods, and providing safe and healthy school environment.

“I, therefore, call on all stakeholders, women organisations, NGOs, corporate organisations, the media as well as well-meaning Nigerians to support government efforts at women empowerment,’’ she said.

The minister said that limitations to female empowerment include family responsibilities, child bearing, economic, cultural and social barriers as well as lack of adequate education.

Mrs. Rufa’i said government had institutionalised a special Female Teacher Training Scholarship Scheme, (FTTSS) and other strategies to address the menace.

The Director, UNESCO Regional Office, Darka, Ann Ndong-Jatta, said the workshop was a programme of UNESCO in partnership with UNFPA, ECOWAS, Rutgers University, USA and African universities.

Ms. Ndong-Jatta said the workshop was organised to promote synergy between universities and civil society organisations involved in the promotion of women and gender equality. She said the workshop was organised to develop a curriculum to train leaders from the participating universities on gender development

The participating institutions include Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy, University of Ghana, and Centre for Gender and Social Policy Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

Other are, Tubmann University, Liberia, and University of the Gambia.

“By December 2013, we hope to finalise the curriculum framework and in the trimester of 2014 we will implement the training of leaders using the elaborated curriculum,’’ she said.

The National Programme Officer of UN Women, Adekemi Ndieli, in a goodwill message, called for equal opportunities for women.

Mrs. Ndieli said there must be a shift from the usual belief that women must participate only in decisions that affect them. She pledged the continuous support of the UN Women to programmes that would promote women empowerment in the country.


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