Why Nigeria must pay more attention to girl-child education – Minister

Girls in School [Photo: Flickr: Develop Africa]

Nigeria must pay more attention to girl-child education as girls are associated with a high percentage of success in developmental processes in any society.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, state this on Monday at a media dialogue on Girls for Girls (G4G) initiatives in Zamfara. He said girls are a very important part of society, and so need to be empowered, especially through education.

The media dialogue was organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with funding from Ukaid, to discuss ways to create more awareness on girl child education in the Northern part of Nigeria.

G4G initiative is a component of the Girls’ Education Project Phase 3 (GEP3) launched by UNICEF in 2017. It is being implemented in Northern Nigeria through collaboration between UNICEF Nigeria and the federal government with funding from Ukaid.

The initiative seeks to empower girls with information and knowledge to help build their capacity to stand up for themselves, help put one million girls in school, support them to remain in school and improve their learning achievement.

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States benefiting from this project are Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi and Niger.

Represented by Zira Zika, the principal information officer at the ministry, Mr. Mohammed noted that girls occupy a peculiar place in the home and play an important role in the society at large.

This position, he said, buttresses the need to empower them by enrolling the girl child in school.

He said though some progress had been made to support girls to remain in school, a lot still needs to be done considering the fact that a large number of young girls are yet to be captured in this programme.

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“At this point, there is need to appreciate that some progress has been made in this bid, but a lot still needs to be done considering the fact that a large number of girl children are yet to be captured in this programme.

“For this reason, this media dialogue was organised to enlighten the media on Girl Education issues in focus states,” he said.

Speaking on the success of the initiative in Zamfara State, the G4G project coordinator in the state, Tayo Fatinikun, said the G4G initiative has greatly improved girl’s interest in school and education and also enhanced learning attitudes and life skills.

He said since the implementation of the programme in the state, about 4,099 girls have been enrolled across the 100 schools selected in six local government areas of the state

He also said over 960 girls are being trained on social, vocational, health based issues.

Mr Fatinikun said this represents a huge progress for Zamfara, one of the educationally disadvantaged states in Nigeria with low girl-child enrollment.

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