Ernest Nzor, Abuja |
Malala Fund Education Champions, a coalition of civil society organisations that advocate for Girls’ Education in the North, has called for proper measures to be implemented in promoting Girls’ Education in Nigeria.
The recommendation was made yesterday, during the launching of the report on Girls’ Education and COVID-19 in Nigeria by Malala Fund Education Champions.
The report revealed new data that girls in Nigeria faced distinct gendered impacts during the pandemic, with over 50 per cent of girls receiving no help to continue education during school closures.
The report analyses survey data collected from 2,253 respondents in Kaduna State and also documents a widening gap for girls’ learning access during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Girls surveyed in Kaduna State experienced less access to learning resources, increased domestic burdens and a lack of academic support from their families.
According to the report, not all the students were able to participate in the government’s distance learning programme. About 10 per cent of girls and 24 per cent of boys accessed distance learning offered via television, and only 18 per cent of children used radio for study and two per cent used mobiles. The data provides a sample data set emblematic of educational disparities across Nigeria during the lockdown.
The data also shows that while mothers supported boys and girls almost equally, about 36 per cent of fathers were more likely to assist their sons’ learning than their daughters’. In general, boys were more than twice as likely to have access to a private tutor during the pandemic. The report also reveals how the economic impact of COVID-19 is affecting families and therefore girls’ education, with over 80 per cent of adults facing financial difficulties.
According to Malala Fund Education Champion and Programmes Manager at Restoration of Hope Initiative, Benjamin John, financial constraints is a major factor in girls’ education. “I have spoken to many families in different communities during the lockdown. My interactions reveal that financial constraints will be a major factor in the decision to re-enrol girls in school due to dwindling income.”
Also, according to the report, insufficient government guidance on how to ensure that girls in lower socio-economic and conflict-affected states will re-enrol in school when the pandemic is over, may be another major constraint.
With schools reopened across Nigeria, the report calls on state and federal government officials to ensure safe, gender-responsive reopening plans across the country.
The report calls on the Nigerian government to: provide gender-equitable and inclusive distance learning to support all students through current and future school closures; ensure safe and gender-responsive school reopenings as soon as possible; mitigate economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis to help families prioritise education; protect progress for girls’ education and rebuild the education system with gender at the centre to promote inclusive growth and ensure every girl can learn.
The In-country representative at Malala Fund, Crystal Ikanih-Musa, has said that as a result of the pandemic, more children are now categorised as out of school.
“Before the pandemic, an estimated 13.2 million children were out of school. School closures have forced an additional 36 million enrolled students out of school. COVID-19 pandemic is exasperating the girls’ education crisis in Nigeria. If leaders don’t act now, we risk losing another generation of girls.”
Malala Fund is working for a world where all girls can learn and lead. Malala Fund Advocates for resources and policy changes needed to give all girls a secondary education, invests in local education advocates and amplifies the voices of girls fighting for change.
Malala Fund Education Champions Nigeria advocates for girls’ education access across six Northern states. As a national chapter of Malala Fund’s Education Champion Network,Nigerian Champions advocate for progressive amendments to education legislation, specifically for 12 years of free, safe and quality education under the Universal Basic Education Act.
Malala Fund’s Education Champions Network in Nigeria is made up of the following organisations: ACE Charity; African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (CentreLSD); Borno Women Development Initiative (BOWDI); Centre for Girls Education; Connected Development (CODE); Education as a Vaccine; Hallmark Leadership Initiative (HALI); Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP); Restoration of Hope Initiative (ROHI) and Youth Hub Africa.