…Says education in Nigeria grossly underfunded
At least $109,196,039.80, which is about N45 billion with the current exchange rate has been donated by the United Kingdom Goverment to support girls education in 6 Northern States in Nigeria.
Education Manager, United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, Field Office, Miriam Moreso, made this disclosure at a three-day media dialogue for journalists in Sokoto State.
In her presentation titled; ‘Funding Girls’ Education in Northern Nigeria: Intervention and Key results of GEP3, Moreso explained that the programme which was implemented under the Girls Education Project (GEP3), commenced in 2012 in the six northern states.
She listed the six states to include Bauchi, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kano (2018) adding that the Project will end in September 2022.
She said, “Over 1.3 million enrolled in primary and Integrated Quranic Schools (IQS, exceeded the target of 1 million in the six states since 2012.
“This was achieved through the community enrolment drives by School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs), and Mothers Associations (MAs), with support from states and local government areas.”
This result she added showed an increase of 709,352 since 2012.
On her part, UNICEF Sokoto Chief of Field Office, Maryam Darwesh lamented that education in Nigeria is seriously under- funded calling on leaders to prioritise education especially for girls.
She said, in 2018, only seven per cent of the national budget was allocated to education which according to her is far below the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recommended 15 to 26 per cent.
Giving a detailed explanation on the gains of the GEP3 project, Darwesh said; “From progressive annual school census data, in Sokoto state 418,614 girls (44%) were enrolled since 2012 in GEP3 supported schools.
“In Zamfara the girls enrolled were 545,711 (62%). In Sokoto 5,943 teachers had their capacity built through the project, and of these 486 are female teachers.
“In Zamfara the number of teachers whose capacity and skills were enhanced through GEP3 were 5,650 of which 295 are females.
In Sokoto 880 (53 females) Integrated Quranic Schools (IQS) facilitators were trained, while in Zamfara the number is 400 (39 females).
“To support efficient and effective governance in Primary Schools and Integrated Qur’anic schools, 13,094 management committee members (of which 5,353 are women) underwent relevant capacity development trainings in Sokoto and Zamfara.
“These are only a few examples of how GEP3 has contributed to maximize the benefit that young girls and boys can reap from the education system in their path towards mastering foundational literacy and numeracy skills.”
She however called on the states, to ensure full implementation of the sustainability plan to ensure continuity to the endeavors undergone so far.
“I urge you to take the opportunity of the soon to start 2023 budgeting process to capture the required state funding contributions for UNICEF supported interventions and to provide strategic state resources for the sustainability to all gains obtained so far in the education sector from GEP3 and by and large from the partnership with UNICEF.”
Earlier, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Field Office, Mr Samuel Kaalu emphasised the need on why girl child education should not only be prioritized but also sustained even after donor agencies winds up their programme.
He said that the media dialogue was apt hence the media play great role in sensitising the masses to embrace girls education.
“The media is a powerful institution that can be used to Sensitise, advocate, and elicit support of the masses.
“It will also help to appraise the goal of GEP3,” Kaalu added.