The United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) and Nigeria’s Kano state government have announced a target of sending 1 million girls to school by 2020.
The initiative is to help in improving social and economic opportunity for girls in Northern Nigeria.
A UNICEF official in Kano state, Richard Sheyin Akanet told journalists at a media dialogue the target is expected to be actualized under the UNICEF Girls Education Project Phase 3 (GEP3).
UNICEF and the Nigerian Kanu state are targeting achieving this by 2020.
The project is funded by the UK Department For International Development ( DFID) and hopes to get as many girls to enroll in school.
Akanet who is coordinating the project in the Kano state said the Programme was designed to achieve good governance in schools and retain girls and boys enrollment in schools.
The project has so far been implemented in six northern states namely, Bauchi, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara, and Kano states.
According to Akanet “Approximately, 1 million girls have been targeted into school (primary and integrated Quranic School, IQS), 42,000 primary and IQS teachers trained and mentored in child centered pedagogy while 15,300 head teacher trained in school effectiveness and efficiency “.
Barrier for girls
Akanet however identified opportunity cost as a barrier for girls not attending school and direct cost as major reason for girls’ school dropout.
He said “Reasons given for non-enrollment of girls includes; 44 per cent said school is too far, 36 per cent Opportunity Cost and 25 per cent are attributed to direct cost. On the other hand, main reasons given for girls dropout are 29 percent are attributed to Direct cost, 23 per cent opportunity cost and 25 have no interest in education”.
Amina Umar, Director of Social Mobilization, Kano state Universal Basic Education Boards(SUBEB), explained that in preparation to achieve the targeted goals by 2020, her state has already trained over 67,000 trainers as well as approved 3,000 teachers to ensure quality teaching in the state.
Many girls in Northern Nigeria struggle to get to school. Many of them are discouraged by their parents with their male counterparts getting such opportunities.
But in recent times Boko Haram militants have also launched attacks in some Northern states abducting girls who are in school.
Such attacks have made going to school a challenge for many girls.