Maryam Abeeb, Abuja
A Non-Governmental Organisation, Save the Children International (SCI) has called on the Kaduna State Government to establish “Female Education Agency” to specifically address the problems of girl-child education in the state.
The organisation’s Nutrition Advocacy Advisor, Malam Isah Ibrahim made the call at the ongoing Ministry of Education Management Strategy retreat in Kaduna.
The retreat had the theme: “Towards Achieving All Inclusive Education in Kaduna State”.
Ibrahim explained that the agency, if established, would specifically focus its strength, expertise and resources on getting the girl-child in school.
According to him, the measure will significantly help in reducing the upsurge of low enrolment of the girl-child in school with accompanied long-term economic consequence on the girl-child.
He also implored the state to consider rolling out a gender-sensitive teacher Code of Conduct and enforce its implementation across schools.
He explained that the move would enhance pupils and students’ safety, trust and convenience while in the school environment.
“It is important to note that, over 60 per cent of out of school children are girls.
“A recent research conducted by the World Bank affirms that the longer a girl stays in school, the more likely she will grow up healthy, secure a livelihood and ensure her children are healthy and educated,” he said.
Ibrahim disclosed that to support girl-child educations, SCI has introduced a programme tagged, “Nigeria’s Girls Education”.
He said the programme, which would be implemented in collaboration government agencies and other critical stakeholders, would ensure that every child attains his or her rights to learning, survival, development and protection.
The official, however, raised concern that issues relating to health and nutrition, which he described as “key drivers” in realising the objectives of early childcare development, were not addressed in the state’s education policy.
According to him, promotion of school feeding programme in all early childcare and primary schools cannot be achieved without the integration of health and nutrition.
He commended the state government for the declaration of free education to all children in the state, saying “it is a prodigious step toward ending Almajiri problem in Kaduna State.
“The priority given to education sector in the 2020 approved budget, is equally commendable, indicating a clear commitment of the current administration to improve access to quality education in public schools.
“I am, therefore, calling on other states, particularly the northern states of the country to emulate Kaduna state by investing higher percentage of their respective annual budget and expenditure to the education sector.”
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Education,Dr Shehu Makarfi said the retreat was for relevant stakeholders to plan and develop strategies for the implementation of the state’s inclusive education policy.
According to him, the retreat was equally organized to look at the priority of the government in the sector and strategies how to achieve them.