The United Nation International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) continues to project the global need to ensure that every child enjoys quality education. In Nigeria where numerous children, especially females have become out-of-school victims, mostly as a result of the prevailing insecurity that has hugely affected the country, the right to basic education is being taken away from so many girls. As a basic right, it has again been emphasized, as incorporated in the Nigeria Child Act 2003, Act 15, as well as the United Nations Convention for the rights of children 1989, Article 28. These acts make children right bearers to basic education and as such, UNICEF is ensuring the sustainability of female education in Nigeria.
Statistics indicate that female children account for 60 percent of the 10 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, with 30 percent of girls aged 9-12, having never attended school. Kano is one of the states hugely affected by the recurring cases of insecurity and as such, have restricted numerous children from accessing basic education. Kano State Government have since commenced investing in female education project and as a part of the effort towards the sustainability of this project, UNICEF has collaborated with Kano State Government to launch champions in ensuring the educational transition and its sustainability in the state.
Champions inaugurated to ensure transition of girls to secondary education.
Inaugurated champions consist of 8 important stakeholders, including a representative from the state’s ministry of education, state universal basic education, SUBEB and civil society organization among others. UNICEF’s Lead Resource Person, Dr. Hasfat Yakasai, during the inauguration event, stated that barriers such as security, sexual harassment and attitudinal perceptions have hugely affected the transitioning of females in Kano State, urging the champions members to work effectively towards salvaging this menace and enhance the education process.
She stated that quite a range of issues like the access to school were highlighted as the obstacles that have plagued education of females in the state and feasible solutions, proffered. Dr. Yakasai further stated that the integration of the champions was however posed towards reigniting them to the challenges that the girl or child faces and ensuring the transitioning of the girls to secondary education. She went on to note that most girls in the state did not transit to higher education levels and as such, these champions were saddled with the responsibility of promoting community commitment to enhancing the transition of them to secondary education.
Collaboration with Girls4Girls to improve success chances of the Champions.
The champions have also been tasked with educating the communities and stakeholders through advocacies and campaigns about the importance of education in the emancipation of girls and the need to uphold it. Dr. Yakasai stated that the meetings they had provided them with a Term of Reference that would serve as a guide to help them understand what to and what not to do, where they were also admonished to keep working with HILWA to serve as role models to help motivate the girls to receive education.
Another responsibility that the champions would perform is working with the Girls4Girls (G4G), a platform already enacted in the schools by girls, as they are aware of factors that restrict many girls from receiving a formal education. Thus, collaborating with them will further improve the success chances of the champions. The meeting, as disclosed was a part of the sustainability measures to help stakeholders at community level to involve themselves in the functions that UNICEF/ Foreign Commonwealth Development Office is facilitating.
General public urged to change their perceptions about girls’ education.
Danlami Hayyo, the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB however urged the general public to have a perception change about the education of females, further imploring them to ensure the enrollment of their wards for education. He also noted that with immense efforts, the sustainability of the Girls Education Program had commenced. He said that while some GEP programs had been inculcated in the government’s activities, the government was also working to address the out-of-school situations with its free and compulsory education policy.