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Re-entry policy for out-of-school girls

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By Timothy Akintola

FG and UNICEF developing guidelines to enhance re-enrollment for dropout girls.

While the Education of female children poses to be immensely important in the transformation of communities and reduction of inequalities. The rate of out-of-school girls in Nigeria have reached a climax. Recently, UNICEF complained about the number of out-of-school girls in the country, noting that over 60 percent of the 10 million out-of-school children in Nigeria are girls. UNICEF’s Chief of Field Officer, Dr. Tushar Rane, commenting on the advantages of educating girls, admitted that this situation had been worsened by the recurring attacks on schools which have discouraged parents from sending their children to these insecure learning environments.

However, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Ministry of Education have commenced the development of guidelines on policy that will enhance the reintegration of adolescent girls. Omotomi Ayotunde, the Deputy Director of Basic Education department of the education ministry, during a two-day critique meeting on a draft Re-entry guideline for adolescent girls which took place in Akure, noted that the program would be very important to the education sector and country at large.

Framework to ensure the re-enrollment of girls who drop out for pregnancy.

Ayotunde noted that the meeting was scheduled to discuss a national framework to further ensure that girls who have had to drop out of school for reasons like pregnancy, early marriage, and other numerous issues could be re-enrolled back to school. He asserted that the collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Education and UNICEF was a paramount one for the program to become a national document. He noted that this was a brainchild of UNICEF and the ministry, keying into this idea.

He further indicated the ministry’s interest in harvesting people’s inputs, as well as the stakeholders from the eight states in order to have a comprehensive guideline. He also said that other zones would be contacted immediately and the process of implementing this policy will commence. Also, the resource person at the program Chinedu Osuji noted that the policy’s draft had been produced and is being taken around the country, for stakeholders to assess. He also explained that this initiative was possible due to the collaborated efforts of UNICEF and the Ministry of Education.

Over 60% of out-of-school girls in Nigeria are adolescent girls.

Referencing UNICEF’s statistics, Osuji stated the poignant need to improve the situation of educating girls as statistics show over 60 percent of out-of-school children in Nigeria are adolescent girls. He explained that this initiative’s objective as a national document would be instrumental for working on the alarming rate of out-of-school girls in the country. Further emphasizing on the importance of the initiative, he stated that if a girl has to drop out of school due to cases like pregnancy or marriage, she should be able to re-enter and continue her education.

The permanent secretary of Ogun state’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Olaseni Ogunleye who was also a participant, appreciated the Federal Ministry of Education for the initiative. She also stated that this national document upon completion, will help the girl or child actualize their dreams without hindrances. She however, appealed to the government to ratify this document and make it a national educational policy, so that all states in the country can domesticate it. The director of social, mobilization and special education in Osun State Abidemi Adeoye, recalling the Child Rights Act which stipulated that every child must have access to education stated this scheme was a welcome idea.

Patrick appealed to FG to ensure quick implementation of this initiative.

Abidemi also stated that many girls have become victims of pregnancy due to Rape and poverty, and as such, should not have their dreams truncated. Rather, she said it was important for them to be encouraged to pursue their dreams, so that they do not become liabilities and increase the country’s dependency ratio. She further noted that the parents must also be educated as to the importance of training their children, and the government, creating an enabling environment that will immensely help them become resourceful to the society. Patrick Adebayo also welcomed this policy, appealing to the concerned authorities to ensure that the implementation process is not hindered by unnecessary bureaucracy.


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