Equipping Girls With Skills Will Prepare Them for the Future – Human Services Commissioner

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

Kaduna State Commissioner Of Human Services And Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, has acknowledged that equipping girls with skills will help in preparing them for the future and therefore called a concerted efforts directed towards building a skilled population, especially for women in the society.

The Commissioner, spoke at the weekend in Kaduna, during “the Skilled Girl Conference” organized by Winbeck’s Global Initiative, supported by Tomruk iHub Multiverse and Kaduna ICT Hub, with focus on improving female literacy and skills acquisition by raising awareness about the importance of girl’s education and supporting girls in acquiring vocational, technical and digital skills that will position them for greater opportunities in the future.

According to Hajiya Hafsat, her idea of skills development was more contemporary than those skills that were being taught by various centres and programmes, when she assumed office, saying, “i was not convinced that in 2019 we should expend energy teaching people how to make soaps and knitting and hair dressing.”

This She said led her and her team to start exploring the ways in which concentration will move away from those kinds of skills. While not doing away with those areas, they began seeking answers and discovered that the future was far away from those ordinary skills that had been developed centuries ago but that the future was embedded in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) and that indeed the future was inherently digital.

“We further discovered, while searching for answers as to what happens to students of humanities, that the key skills for the future of employment were indeed human skills: Mental elasticity and complex problem solving; inter-disciplinary knowledge; critical thinking; creativity and; people skills.

“The Kaduna State Bureau of Statistics will embark on a Youth Employability Survey equipped with this knowledge of the future of jobs and will come out with a listing of the skills gap in Kaduna State youth and children population. We will ensure, after that survey, that those skills, in addition to the life skills we have mentioned earlier are imparted on our children, and especially to girls. Girls are traditionally averse to STEM and lag in a larger quantum of the life skills needed for the future. We won’t rest till we ensure that girls and boys equally acquire STEM qualifications and life skills.

“This means we must invest more in the Girl-Child Education and Life Skills Development. We have built collaborations in adolescent girl programming with UNFPA and some other partners, we have also inherited as a government, the efforts of Mobilizing For Development (M4D) in developing girls through Life Skills Clubs. It is our hope that the knowledge-based leadership that we offer can only mean that our girl child is safe and will get the necessary support preparatory to the future.

“We will also appreciate all efforts from outside Government towards achieving this. Boot camps, Girls Conferences, Skills Clubs, Safe Spaces and Co-Creation Hubs for the girl child will have the needed effect if we target them specifically at these skills for the future and if we ensure that girls get requisite information before the career phases of their lives. However, even older girls, including myself, can still unlearn some less useful skills and learn more relevant ones. Luckily for me, my core training (catering), remains forever relevant.” She added.

On Her part, Focal Person, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Kaduna State, Mrs. Aisha Mohammed, noted that no sustainable development could be possible if women would remain uneducated, discriminated against and disenfranchised.

She said education is a powerful instrument that enables women to access a variety of opportunities while rendering them less vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, abuse and exploitation and that women with formal education are much likely to use reliable family planning methods, delay marriage and childbearing, and have fewer and healthier babies than women with no formal education.

Also speaking, Mr. Iliya Kure, Executive Director, Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF), said as part of efforts at ensuring the government succeed in the implementation of the free education for girls in the state, AMDF, is already supporting the government in producing a policy document for effective implementation.

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