Minister of state for education, Goodluck Nah Opiah has stressed the need for governments in Africa to embrace the use of data in guiding their decision-making processes.
Opiah stated this in Abuja yesterday during a national dialogue on educational issues, organised by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) Africa 19 Hub.
Speaking on the theme, “Meeting the Data Challenge in Education; Achieving Gender Equality in and through Education and Leaving No One Behind,” the minister said timely and reliable data generation is required for qualitative planning and decision making.
“As a continent, we need to embrace the use of data in guiding our decisions. It is often said that data is to plan what oxygen is to living.
“If we can successfully abridge the data gaps in Nigeria, we would have provided the basic fundamentals for resolving some many issues.
“Credible, timely and reliable data generation is required for qualitative planning and decision making. Strategies to deal with this issue are on and the Ministry is collaborating with relevant stakeholders in dealing with data challenges in Nigeria,” he said.
The minister also emphasised the importance of gender equality in the contemporary dynamic world where every male and female must receive quality education for a better and progressive society.
“The government of Nigeria is unrelenting in providing the needed opportunity for education for all and to ensure inclusiveness. President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration remains dogged in overcoming the challenges that keep a lot of our girls out of school and Nigeria has made significant strides in getting children and in particular girls into school.
“Nigeria has, thus, witnessed primary school attendance increasing from 61 percent in 2016 to 68 percent in 2021 and the gender parity index in primary school has increased from 0.95 in 2016 to 0.99 in 2021, (NDS, 2016 and 2021).
“Government, at all levels and with the collaboration of stakeholders, will continue to pursue investments to help in achieving positive outcomes for the issues that this dialogue was convened for,” Opiah added.
He said Nigeria remains focused on the implementation of a comprehensive and holistic programme of action including creating an enabling policy environment for data generation, gender equality and inclusive education. Opiah said Nigeria is presently implementing the minimum standards on safe schools in 11 of its highest risk states and plan to expand this work through multi-sectoral action and financing.
In a paper on achieving gender equality in and through education and leaving no one behind, the director, International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa, Dr Quentin Wodon, said prevent child marriage and ensuring education of girl child have huge benefits.
He urged countries to improve learning at primary levels, noting that it will have a great impact given that education at the bottom is extremely important.