Applauding the two bills just drafted and approved by Katsina Ssate key stakeholders led by the Speaker of the state house of assembly, Abubakar Yahaya Kusada, UNICEF said at the weekend that the development is going to pave way for more women and girls in the state to be part of the educational system.

This is even as the development partner said despite the state’s struggle with issues of Out of School Children (OOSC) and low participation of women in leadership positions, the 35% affirmative action for women is the beginning of a new era for Katsina’s education sector.

The Education Specialist, UNICEF Nigeria, Azuka Menkiti, on the sideline of the meeting of the stakeholders at Gender and Right to Education Awareness workshop held in Kano, said the bills are not about political appointments but the quality and type of education children will receive in the state.

According to her, “if you have more women within the education sector, a lot of change will happen within the sector. So, people should not be afraid, it is not about women coming to take up political positions, it is about women being given enough space to be part of education system in Katsina.”

On the rationale of getting more women within the education sector, she said everybody at the workshop agreed that women are likely to be better teachers that influence more students in the classrooms than men.

Recall that key stakeholders in Katsina State rose from a workshop on Gender and Right to Education Awareness/ Drafting of Bills with approval for a bill for a law for a minimum of 35% women participation in education management.

Also, the Katsina helmsmen and women led by the speaker of the state House of Assembly, Abubakar Yahaya Kusada, endorsed a second bill for legislation on children’s right to basic education in the state at the workshop organized by cream of Katsina women under the auspices of High Level of Women Advocates (HiLWA) with the support of UNICEF.

In her speech, the chairperson of HiLWA, Mariam Abdullahi, said as at August 2017, in a survey carried out, the state ministry of education in collaboration with the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and other stakeholders, females represented a quarter of the teachers in public primary and secondary schools in the state.

She said the Annual School Census (ASC) also showed a decrease in the enrolment of students, especially girls in public and private junior secondary schools in the state.

She stressed the need for legislation that would not only encourage all children of school age to access equitable quality education but also other key aspects of retention, transition, completion and promotion of 35% space for increased participation of women in leadership positions in Katsina’s education sector.

In his address, the Speaker of Katsina assembly, Abubakar Yahaya Kusada, expressed optimism that with the political will of the present administration to change the present narratives of women and girls for the better, the government would comply with the provisions of the legislation.

Describing the affirmative action as long overdue, he said the legislature would give women and other stakeholders all the support to achieve the set objectives, adding that the females had proved their worth in the limited opportunities given to them in the education sector.

He paid glowing tributes to members of HiLWA for remaining at the forefront in the fight for the rights of women in Katsina, saying “without them, women will continue to be subjected to denial of some of their rights.”