The Development Research Project Centre, DRPC, a non-governmental organisation based in Kano, is facilitating a policy dialogue between government and NGOS working together for improved secondary education and protection for the girl child.
The programme is aimed at bringing government and NGOS to discuss what works in terms of collaboration and partnership for the education sector.
The event is holding at the Parliamentary hall, Bolton White Hotel, Area 11, Abuja.
Participants expected at Monday’s event are the Commissioner of Education Jigawa State, Rabi Ishaq; and Nafisat Ado from the UK’s Department For International Development.
Other speakers confirmed for the event are a director of women affairs in the Borno State government, Yabawa Kolo; a director or of education in Borno State, Aishatu Shiek; a founding member of the network of civil society organisations in Borno State, Yusuf Ibn Tom; and a chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Bulama Abiso.
Some of the topics to be discussed are government’s experiences working with NGOs – what works; NGO experiences working with government- what works; NGOs – government engagement for girls education and protection in the North-east; Faith-based agencies engaging with government on girls’ education and protection issues.
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The Jigawa commissioner for Education, Rabi Ishaq, is speaking. She said transitioning from primary to secondary schools for students is challenging.
She said basic education has collapsed completely.
“Most of the children learn nothing in schools these days.”
She said the quality of teachers from teachers institutes is shocking.
We need to dialogue and come up with solutions, she said.
It is important we raise up girls who are out of school and we partner with traditional institutions, says Christey Musa from Malala foundation
Mohammed Abubakar, representative of the Kano Emirates Council: ” We have pledges from Emir Mohammed Sanusi II to make crucial impacts on the education of the girl child across northern Nigeria.”
Christey Musa, from Malala Fund: “We prefer to work with the best strategy that those on the ground already have rather than impose our own recommendations.”
Introduction of guests has been concluded. The dialogue will start at 11:30 a.m. after a short break.
First Panel discussion titled ‘Government experience working with NGOS – what works’ resumes 11:30 a.m.
Danlami Garba of Kano State Ministry of Education says government has had a wonderful experience partnering with NGOs on education. But much more could still be done to improve the prevalent situation.
While speaking, the permanent secretary ministry of education Jigawa, Abdullahi Hudu, said the major challenges government face while working with NGOS is sustainability and timing.
Abdullahi Hudu said a lot of importance is not attached to child education in Northern Nigeria.
He added that school enrollment is improving across the north, but much more still needs to be done.
Musa Umar from Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies says government cannot handle education alone, therefore NGOs are necessary to complement the efforts of government.
He says partnership is key at this point. But there’s a silent mistrust between the parties.
NGOs are suspicious of government and vice versa. He said the role of NGO must be factored in development plans.
He said several partnerships had been entered into by government and NGO and NIPPS is working to bolster those efforts.
A participant, Nafisa Ado, noted that consulting each other will foster resource management in the education sector
Mustapha Zankolo from Maiduguri says NGOs are usually data-driven and their efforts will put the government on its toes because they’re most pragmatic in their approach.
Nafisat Ado, a participant, says several schools have been abandoned in Jigawa State because the residents said they were not consulted before the structures were put in place.
She emphasised the need for NGOs and government to always carry the locals along in their policies before taking such measures to the communities.
We need to ensure that resources don’t go to waste like that anymore, she adds.
A male participant, Abdulshakur Nuhu, said supply of teachers has increased in Northern Nigeria through intervention programs
Judith Walker, executive director of DPRC, pleaded to the funding agencies to be flexible so that NGOS can assist where necessary.
Nasir Usman urged NGOS to improve their level of confidence because most of the challenge is inadequate funding.
“Once the funding from funding agencies like world Bank, McArthur foundation cease , projects tends to stop in our country ”
Nasir Usman said one way forward is to engage NGOS in monitoring and evaluation programmes. “NGOs must partner with government in monitoring and evaluation as this process has collapsed in our country.”
“Students from 14 years in Brazil are inducted in technical education, what kind of students do we want to produce at the end of the day. The interesting thing about these students in Brazil is that they are engaged in different sectors, from automobile to food processing ”
Also speaking, director of special programs UBEC, Mansir Idris, said Nigeria is moving from monitoring and evaluation to quality assurance.
The second panel is in session. It is titled ‘NGOS experiences working with government – what works’
Umar Iliyasu-Mohammed, a panelist from Girl Child Concern in Kaduna, says it is critical for NGOs and government to expand their activities to accommodate both girls who are victims of Boko Haram and girls who are in other states of the north where education of the girl child has been a challenge for many years.
She says the budget her organisation receives has been largely inadequate, making it difficult for them to provide feeding and accommodation at the same time.
Habiba Mohammed, a panelist from Centre for Girls Education in Zaria, says her organisation partners with government for better collaboration, especially in the area of persuading the children to appreciate education.
She says enrolling the girl child in school will significantly reduce the menace of child marriage in the north.
Amina Hanga, a panelist from Kano-based Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative, says child marriage has negative effects on the society.
She says her group’s collaboration with government has been very successful. She says the organisation has some Initiatives that have proven highly successful, but some donors are pulling out their financing, which is not good for the successes recorded.
She says hundreds of women have been trained on maternal health, most of whom had in turn returned to their communities to raise awareness.
She says her agency has resolved to add boys to its focus. This is to avoid a situation where the boys will be left behind while the girls are educated.
She says it’s time for NGOs to start working together in collaborating with the government rather than working separately. She says NGOs will make better impact if they operate in synergy rather than in isolation.
Speaking on NGOs access to government, Chioma Osuji from Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All said there has been a collaboration between the society and the government though there are restrictions. “Government will always tell you they are working with NGOs but we always find out that the NGOs are owned and founded by government officials.”
“10.5 million Nigerians students not having access to basic education is alarming.”
Also speaking is the Managing Director of The Education Partnership, TEP, Modupe Adefeso-Olateju. She said organisations should make their resource scheme part of the design of their programmes.
[She said NGOS, organisations need to carry out research in communities before designing a programme to resolve issues affecting such societies.
“Wheels turns very slowly on the part of government in policy implementation but the positive thing is we are actually dialoguing to make this better,” she concluded.
Hauwa Biu from WRAPA said NGos should always employ people from the community in which they are working.
“Most times, projects tend to stop because NGOS usually bring their workers to carry out project.”
Mustapha Kolo, a participant, asked the panelists on the capacity of government to deliver requests in the education sector, the strategies used in getting request from the government and their experiences in working with government security agencies in Borno State.
Modupe Adefeso, a panelist, responded by saying individual approach should not be encouraged but an institutional approach. While Hanga said collaboration with government solves a lot of problems. Umma Iliyasu Mohammed, from Girl Child Concern, Kaduna, noted that most teachers lack capacity training so ‘we had to conduct training to improve these.’
She said there is no way you can work in Borno State without consulting the security agencies like the SSS and consultants on security because of the need to understand the security challenges of each community in Borno.
“We had to keep the chibok girls schools confidential and Malala foundation supported us in this.”
Schools should have monitoring system, a participant said.
“If we can get monitoring system working in Nigeria, the issues of manipulation will be reduced,” says chioma Osuji.
She said it is important to note that both the government and the NGOs are working to achieve a common goal which includes advancing girl education in Nigeria
Dabesaki Mac-ikemenjima, a representative of Ford Foundation, said NGOs should always forecast future of projects.
“What sort of principles should be adopted, we need to be documenting our earlier project, we need to study the model and scale of our projects.”
He said it is essential for NGOs to publish their works.
He said Ford Foundation is transitioning from basic education and skills training to employment
“Lots of Nigerian youth finished schools but are unemployed, we are looking at model to actually help from education to employment.”
End of second session. Third session will start by 3:30 p.m.
The third panel discussion has started.
Bawa Kolo, a panelist whose organisation focuses on women issues, says challenges exist in the areas of operations. Government seems to have a mandate that is operating under different circumstances and principles from the NGOs.
She says there must be protection for students in the school, especially construction of perimeter fence and gender balanced sanitation facilities.
Gender sensitive policies must also be put in place, Ms. Kolo adds.
Hauwa Biu, another female panelist, says kidnapping of Chibok girls marked a turning point in the attention giving to girls of school age in Borno State.
She says poverty has significantly hindered the capacity of teachers to properly teach students in the northeast. Most of the girls of high school age are currently trading on the street without anyone to mentor or provide them with education.
Ms. Biu demands that children must be provided free education in the northeast.
She says she completed her PhD before getting married in 1993. Therefore, it’s not impossible to give the girls good education so they can become better citizens in the future.
Bulama Abiso, a panelist and chairman of Borno State chapter of National Union of Teachers, says there are some salient issues that push educators to be derelict in their duties.
He said the NGOs in Borno State are not coordinated and their activities overlap one another, making it difficult for education authorities to know who to deal with, when and how.
Another major challenge is in the issue of budgeting. He urged NGOs to be specific about their aims and what cause they want to support. When they identify what they want to achieve, it will be easier for local authorities to key into that agenda.
Education is a fundamental approach to human development, says panelist Mustapha Kolo.
He recommends that NGOs focus deeply on this area and not pay lip service to the issue, especially as rebuilding process gets underway across the northeast.
Annie Bunting, a humanitarian and development expect, says focus should have shifted to the northeast many years ago, long before Boko Haram.
If development had been put in place, the region won’t turn out to be what it is today, Ms. Bunting says.
A participant suggests incorporation of key Islamic courses into the school curriculum in order to instill the fear of God in the schoolchildren while they’re still young.
Onwuemene Henry, a participant from the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, says some existing humanitarian policies are going to be reviewed for efficiency. He says donor agencies who are not responsible in their conduct would be dealt with and security agencies have already commenced investigation into the activities of some of them.
He says some NGOs are misleading security agencies about their real intention in the region. He urged the general public, especially residents of northeast, to pass on information about suspicious NGOs to security agencies.
He said the government is interested in educating the children but will not overlook the excesses of duplicitous humanitarian workers.
Ibrahim Sifawa, a panelist, says there’s a collaboration between the Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development other NGOs and government agencies to improve girl child education in the country.
He says it is not true that northern youth are not interested in education. It is because of the methodology that is being used to tech today that is being rejected.
He said there was a northern Islamic education before the advent of Western education in Nigeria.
Mr. Sifawa says almajiri education should be encouraged across the north because a lot of modern techniques have now been incorporated into it.
Aminu Wazirin, a participant from Jigawa, says religious leaders are the most important people in the society as far as Northern Nigeria is concerned. The position of religious leaders must be adhered to in the matter of girl child education.
The influence of religious leaders played out in the controversy about polio vaccination in the north, and it later took several years and a lot of concensus before the matter was finally settled.
NGOs and their humanitarian efforts would be in vain if they fail to carry religious leaders along.
Mohammed Abubakar of Kano Emirates Council says the Europeans came to Nigeria to destroy Islamic education. Despite this, Mr. Abubakar says, northerners remain 100 per cent literate as far as Islamic education is concerned.
He says the Emirates Council has no problem with educating victims of Boko Haram and every other girl child across the north and will help to improve Islamic education.
Funmi Para-Mallam, a panelist from NIPSS, says she doesn’t understand how reverting to the old system of Islamic education would conform with the modern world.
She says the girl child would most likely be at the receiving end of any return to the old ways of educating children.
She says there’s no way they would meet up with globalisation.
But a female participant from Jigawa State countered Ms. Para-Mallam’s position, saying a child will only be mandated to attend Islamic school for six years after which such child would embrace Western education.
The fourth and final discussion held.
Sa’adatu Hashim from FOMWAN: Most of our schools are privately owned because we are faith based and we fund ourselves. Both the government and the NGOs don’t want our report.
Chichi Okoye from Girls effect said the fundamental problem is calling the education we have today as Western Education
“Some of the courses, subject emanates from Islamic countries, It should be called education and not western education.”
Moral values and proper ways of socialisation should be taught in school so these children can be on right path to greatness, says Sa’adatu Hashim, the FOMWAN representative.
In conclusion, Deji Omole FROM NERDC said all that has been discussed in fostering quality education can be included in the curriculum.
“This is more than policy dialogue, we dialogued about the nation and what works.”
The discussion comes to an end.