The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Chief of Field Office, Kano, Rahama Farah has expressed concern over the prevailing statistics of out-of-school children in Nigeria, saying the country has 18.5 million out-of-school children.
He explained that out of the 18.5 million out-of-school children in the country, over 10 million were girls which represents 60 per cent.
Farah spoke on Wednesday, during a media dialogue on girls’ education under the Girls’ Education Project 3 (GEP3) funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK and implemented by UNICEF.
He lamented that the statistics had heightened gender inequity, whereby only one in four girls from poor, rural families complete junior secondary school education in the country.
Farah noted that the attacks on schools and other educational centres in the country were negatively affecting children’s quest for education across the nation, noting that more girls were likely to be affected than boys.
He, however, said with the interventions of UNICEF, government and other development partners, 1.4 million girls now have access to education in northern Nigeria.
According to him, “Currently in Nigeria there are 18.5 million out of school children, 60 per cent of these out of school children are girls – that is over 10 million girls are out of school
“Most importantly you will need to know that the majority of these out-of-school children are actually from northern Nigeria. This situation heightens the gender inequity, where only 1 in 4 girls from poor, rural families complete Junior Secondary school education,” he added.
He admonished journalists to advocate for increased funding, timely release and allocation of adequate resources to the education sector for effective and efficient learning.
“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,” Farah added.
Francis Sardauna in Katsina