Girls Education, Beyond Getting Girls Into Schools, Says UNICEF

By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Tuesday said, Girls education goes beyond getting girls into schools, just as it says, it entails ensuring that girls learn and feel safe while in school; complete all levels of education with the skills to effectively compete in the labor market.

Dr. Zakari Adam, Chief, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office stated this while welcoming members of the High Level Women Advocates (HILWA), in Northern Nigeria, during their annual meeting in Kaduna.

“Girls’ education goes beyond getting girls into school. It is also about ensuring that girls learn and feel safe while in school; complete all levels of education with the skills to effectively compete in the labor market.

“To learn the socio-emotional and life skills necessary to navigate and adapt to a changing world; make decisions about their own lives; and contribute to their communities and the world.” He said.

HiLWA, is UNICEF Nigeria intervention project, currently in fourteen states, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Is a group of high level influential women advocates in their various state.

Dr Adam, charged the women to reflect on the challenges and efforts that have been made and evaluate the achievements as HiLWA and redefine the approach and strategies that will enhance girls access to, in and through basic education by maintaining the momentum for girls’ education and increasing women participation in education, decision making positions at different levels of education authority, governance and management in your different states.

“My expectations are that you will review progress and achievements and draw up action plans that will demonstrate your collective desire to provide quality leadership and drive that will improve, access, quality and opportunities for girls and young people to quality education.

“I am particularly excited about this meeting because of the caliber of women present here who from all intent and purposes are committed to promoting girl’s education especially in Northern Nigeria. I have no doubt in my mind that your capacities and capabilities which you have demonstrated over the years will be reinvigorated in these few days to come. He added.

On her part, Mrs. Azuka Menkiti, UNICEF Abuja Education Specialist, among the four key objectives of the group is to promote girls education; to ensure that every girl in their state is able to access her right in education.

“The second one is to ensure their security and safety within the school. What they are also working on is to ensure there are more female teachers in the schools, more females employed as headteachers, more females employed as education secretaries, more females directors in education agencies.

“We are interested in women coming to this level of leadership in the education agencies because we have come to recognized that female teachers are the best teachers children can have.

“We have also conduct research to confirm the impact of female teachers on learning outcomes for children, for both boys and girls and even the enrollment and retention of girls in schools, and it has proven there is high correlation of female teachers and high enrollment of children, especially girls.” She said.

The meeting is met to review the activities of HILWA members across the states, share experiences on what went well and what went wrong doings in their previous activities. To also build the capacity of the HiLWA members for better performance and equally develop action plan for 2019.

Participant from Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara are currently attending the two-day meeting in Kaduna.

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