1.4m girls now have access to education in Northern Nigeria – UNICEF

No fewer than 1.4 million girls are now having access to education in the Northern parts of the country,  Mr Rahama Farah, the Chief, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Kano field Office, has said.

Farah disclosed this at the opening of a three-day Media Dialogue on Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project-3 (GEP3) on Wednesday in Kano.

The dialogue was organised for journalists from Abuja, Kano and Katsina by the Kano State Qur’anic and Islamiyya Schools Management Board (KSQISMB), in collaboration with UNICEF and funded by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

According to the UNICEF chief, there are a number of barriers that affect girls’ education, especially in Nigeria.

He said, “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.

“I would like to express UNICEF’s appreciation to the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the UK for funding the Girls’ Education Project-3 which started in 2012.

“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 explained that currently in Nigeria, there were 18.5 million out-of-school children, out of which 60 per cent of were girls, translating to over 10 million out-of-school girls.

“Most importantly, you will need to know that the majority of these out-of-school children are actually from northern Nigeria.

“This situation heightens gender inequity, where only one in four girls from poor, rural families complete Junior Secondary school education.

“While the education crisis in Nigeria is affecting children across the country, some children are more likely to be affected than others, especially girls.

“The situation with girls’ education in Nigeria has been further affected by attacks on schools,” he said.

Farah said that these attacks had created an insecure learning environment, discouraging parents and caregivers from sending their children to schools.

He added that it had also contributed to students becoming fearful of going to school and this in particular affected girls.

He, therefore, commended FCDO for support in mitigating the impact of the threat by ensuring that girls in northern Nigeria completed basic education. (NAN)

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