By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Deputy Director, Female Education, Kaduna State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mrs. Elizabeth David, has said that the state is facing challenges in girl-child retention, rather than enrolment in schools.
She stated this at a one-day training on Mobilization and Sustainability of the Gains of 2018 TYDF-ACCIF Girl-Child Education Project in Makarfi Local Government Area of Kaduna state organized by the TY Danjuma Foundation, (TYDF) and All Children Charity International Foundation, (ACCIF), on Thursday, August 9, 2018.
According to her, going by the annual schools census in the state, there are huge numbers of girls in schools, noting that in some LGAs there were more girls in schools than the boys, but as the years roled-by, in primary four, the number of the girl-child in schools started dropping.
She explained that from primary 4 to 6, the gap in figures gets wider as some may not even go to secondary schools, or if they manage to reach secondary school, they will not transit to senior secondary school.
“That’s why I said we have challenges in retention of the girl-child in schools rather than in enrolment, and this could be to a number of factors which government have started addressing.
“From poor infrastructure, environment and water among others, the State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai have embarked on massive renovation of quite a number of schools as we speak. Some have reached 80 per cent completion, while some are completed especially boarding schools for girls.
“When this present administration came on board, the governor provided all students with uniforms this has improved retention of the girl-child in schools,” she said.
In his remarks, Chairman of Makarfi LGA, Engineer Kabiru Mayere, commended TYDF-ACCIF for selecting the Council for its programs.
Speaking through the Council Secretary, Barrister Tukur Abba, the chairman urged the foundations not to restrict its activities to public schools only as according to him, there were private schools shouldering responsibilities of orphans in the area. He called on participants at the workshop to imbibe the ideas of the foundations.
Earlier, Team Leader, TYDF-ACCIF, Barrister Paul Daudu, said the training was one of the strategies the foundations are putting in place for retention of the girl-child in schools in the area.
According to him, enrolment itself is difficult, but retention is even harder, noting that the project is for a short term of one year where there is a limited period of time to impact.
He said the foundation is training teachers, building capacity of leaders so they could learn some of the institutional norms, skills and strategies involved in ensuring that the girl child not only go to school but stay in school.
“We talked about different strategies in the training today like engagement of parents of the girl-child which TYDF-ACCIF have done throughout the period of this project. We met with the girl-child parents. We also met with their teachers, and have tried our best to be present at PTA meetings because it needs to be build up.
“The PTA need to be aware of emerging trends on girl-child education and ensure they are protected.
“Another strategy which TYDF-ACCIF will ensure is the use of double language instruction. We will ensure that most instructors are able to speak the second language which is Hausa as well as English. By that, the girl-child will feel very comfortable and in a very good learning environment so that they could pick up,” the Team Leader said.
In his presentation titled: “Education Retention and Completion In Developing Our Communities” Abdulsalam Suleiman, highlighted some of the retention strategies to include: development of retention plan through stakeholders consultative brainstorming and organizing of workshops and sharing it with SBMCs, Headmasters and Teachers among others.
Others are: taking special measures to reach the most disadvantaged girls, and enabling young mothers to return to school.
At the end of the training, a communique was issued and participants agreed to the following; “Provision of incentives (i.e uniforms, writing materials, school bag etc) for the girl-child to motivate and increase academic performance.
“Engagement with the parents of the girl-child on the importance of girl-child education, retention and completion via PTA on best practices such as enlightening parents on the provisions of the Child Rights Act.
“Continuous capacity building for SBMCs, Project Monitoring Committee, (PMoC), and community leaders on strategies of enhancing girl child enrolment, retention and completion of their education.
“Motivation of students by rewarding them through their annual academic performance especially the girl child; tracking daily attendance to improve academic performance of students by principals, quality assurance officers and other stakeholders.
“TYDF-ACCIF to engage all stakeholders in schools including teachers to sign the “DO NO HARM” policy for the girl-child, and SBMCs should form child protection committees in their various schools and community level to encourage all stakeholders to use the child protection communication channel to report cases of abuse.”
It would be recalled that TYDF-ACCIF in its 2018 Girl-Child education project enrolled 120 vulnerable out of school girls back to the classroom in Makarfi LGA to complete their education. They were provided with learning and educational materials which includes: school bag, uniforms, exercise books, sandals, socks, text books, and school desk were also donated to the focus schools.
Participants at the training were drawn from
School Based Management Committee, (SBMC), Parents Teachers Association, (PTA) Executives, Community Mobilizers, Education Stakeholders and Experts in Marke, Nassarawan Doya and Makarfi communities where the focus schools are located in Makarfi Local Government Area.