From Segun Babatunde in Bauchi
The Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Field Office Bauchi,Tushar Rane has disclosed that the Girls’ Education Project3 (GEP3) funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the UK has effectively increased the enrollment of girls to a total of 650,265 girls enrolled into preprimary and Integrated Qur’anic education.
Similarly, he disclosed that “despite the benefits of educating the girl child, over 10 million children in Nigeria — 60 percent of whom are girls — are out of school. The situation with girls’ education has been worsened by attacks on schools which have made learning environment insecure and discouraged parents and caregivers from sending their wards, particularly girls, to schools”.
Our Correspondent reports that media dialogue on girl child education, with focus on the UNICEF Girl Education Project Phase 3, (GEP3) supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom (UK) is in collaboration with the government, partners and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to help children survive, thrive and attain their full potentials.
The Dialogue emphasised that the media plays a very important role as a critical ally in helping UNICEF fulfil this mandate.
Rane made the disclosures at the Media Dialogue on Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project 3 (GEP 3) funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the UK on Wednesday held at Chartwell Hotel, Bauchi.
He emphasised that the education of the girl child is critical to transforming communities, reducing inequalities, and strengthening economies. Additionally, when we educate the girl child, child marriage and child mortality rates reduce.
Rane said “The GEP3 initiative was designed to enhance the enrollment drive for girls, improve learning outcomes for girls and strengthen government’s policy making for continued support to girl child education.
The UNICEF chief added that the project was implemented in six states in northern Nigeria — Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto and Zamfara, saying that “UNICEF, with funding support from development partners, is collaborating with government to build the capacity of school-based management Committees (SBMCs) and Community-based Management Committees (CBMCs) on school safety and security, and to make communities more resilient”
According to him, “In Bauchi State, for example, through the Girls’ Education Project3 (GEP3) funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the UKThe project effectively increased the enrollment of girls. A total of 650,265 girls enrolled into preprimary and Integrated Qur’anic Education”.
“The Girl4Girl and HeForShe activities of the project empowered about 9,000 girls and boys in Bauchi state to use peer support mechanism to create demand for girl child enrollment in their communities.Strengthening the capacity of teachers is crucial for the retention of girl children who enroll in schools”.
He said “The GEP3 project implemented various capacity building initiatives for teachers. About 11,000 teachers received training on topics such as leadership skills to enable effective running of schools, Early Grade Reading pedagogies to enable early grasp of literacy skills and other key topics essential for effective service delivery”.
“The project successfully strengthened school governance systems through the facilitation of eight annual school census, strengthening school record keeping, developing Local Education Sector Operational Plan to align with the state Education Sector Plan, and improving the functionality of SBMCs and CBMCs”, he stated.
“The project successfully strengthened school governance systems through the facilitation of eight annual school census, strengthening school record keeping, developing Local Education Sector Operational Plan to align with the state Education Sector Plan, and improving the functionality of SBMCs and CBMCs”.
The UNICEF chief who said that the media has a critical role to play in advancing the education of the girl child, stressed that “We all — the government at national and sub-national levels, development partners, the media, parents, communities, traditional and religious leaders, — can achieve more by enrolling more girls in schools, and ensuring they complete their full education”.
Therefore, he added that “we must step up our investment in the younger generation, especially girls”, urging the media, to continue using their platforms to advocate for increased funding and adequate public resources to the education sector, especially adequate allocation, and the release of what has been appropriated.
“There are barriers for example, child marriage, that affect girl child education. The media must lead the advocacy to remove these barriers.To ensure safe, conducive, inclusive, and enabling environment for all children to learn, we must work together to:Advocate for policies that promote access to education and in turn increase enrolment, retention, and transition for all children especially the girl child”.
“Advocate for increased budgetary allocation to education to ensure availability of modern-day ICT/technological innovations to promote digitalization of the education systemAdvocate to ensure the availability of schools to promote continuous transition of students Highlight the importance of recruiting more teachers into the teaching scheme, especially female teachers”.