KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Over 1.5m girls are said to have been enrolled through the Girls’ Education Project Phase 3 (GEP3) 2012-2022 interventions to improve enrollment rate, retention and completion at the Basic Education level in six focal states of Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto and Zamfara.
Also, the National population surveys has shown improvements in the literacy rate among young women aged 15 – 24 years and a reduction in early-marriage, adolescent pregnancy and childbearing in the focal states.
“The rate of early marriage (under the age of 19) dropped from 54.7 per cent to 25.7 per cent and the early childbearing rate (i.e, girls who had a live birth before the age of 15) dropped from 6.9 per cent to 2.4 per cent,” the report stated.
This was contained in a Fact Sheet Report on the final evaluation of the GEP3 2012-2022 presented to education stakeholders in the six focal states at the opening of a 2-day National Dissemination Meeting held in Kaduna on Wednesday, July 5, 2023.
The report stated that 23,655 girls benefitted from the Cash Transfer Programme, (CTP); while 2.6million children continued education through alternate learning during COVID-19; back-to-school campaigns conducted in 28,567 schools, resulting to 94 per cent of children returned to school.
The report further stated that over 135,000 girls benefitted through 4,514 functioning Girls for Girls, (G4G) groups; school attendance improved from 43 per cent to 70 per cent; while over 67,000 teachers and Integrated Qur’anic School, (IQS) facilitators were trained; and teaching competency improved from 12 per cent to 52 per cent.
“Over 3,800 schools and IQS implemented the Reading and Numeracy Activity, (RANA) with improvement in foundational literacy,” the report added.
According to the report, the functionality of School-Based Management Committee and Centre-Based Management Committee (SBMC/CMBCs) increased from 30 per cent to 80 per cent, per cent of schools with whole school development plans including activities on girls’ enrolment and retention increased from 45 per cent to 67 per cent.
The GEP3 programme was funded by the UKAid through the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF), and implemented by the Federal Government of Nigeria in six focal states.
In her remarks, the Director, Senior Secondary Education Department, Federal Ministry of Education, (FME), Hajiya Binta Abdulkadir, said the GEP3 was a success in so many ways, as it changed the narrative in school enrolment and completion at the Basic Education level.
According to her, the GEP3 was conceived as a result of the successes achieved through the implementation of GEP1 and GEP2
Hajiya Abdulkadir who was represented by the Director (Unity Schools Division) FME, Mrs. Mayo Monica Ogah, said the increasing need to improve enrolment, retention and completion rate at the Basic Education level cannot be overemphasized, hence GEP 3 focused on three thematic areas: Enrolment Drive, improving teacher capacity to deliver effective learning and improved governance to strengthen education.
She explained that under the thematic areas, other activities like the Cash Transfer programme, Community engagement – SBMC; CBMC; and Mothers’ Association all helped to achieve improved access, retention and completion of school.
She added that the GEP3 also provided capacity development for teachers and school administrators. “Through strategies like the High Level Women Advocates (HILWA), G4G and other activities, girls were supported and mentored to enroll, remain, complete and transit to higher levels of education. These strategies impacted positively on girls enrolment and completion of school.”
Earlier, UNICEF Officer in-Charge Kaduna Field Office, Dr. Idris Baba, said 1 in 4 children overall (and 1 in 2 in the Northeast and 2 in 5 in the Northwest) remain out of school at the primary level.
He said 3 out of 4 Nigerian, particularly in the north, are not developing basic skills in literacy and numeracy, noting that, “without education and these foundational skills, children are less likely to develop other skills and more likely to drop out of school, setting them on a path toward unemployment and more deeply entrenched poverty for them, their children and communities.”
According to him, the GEP3 programme has achieved significant success in increasing gross enrolment of girls in schools and also improves Gender Parity Index (GPI) across the focal states. “The enrolment ratio for girls to boys closed the gender gap in the programme communities, indicating a more equitable education system.”
Outlining some of the lessons learnt in the brief programme, Dr Baba said, this success could be attributable to adoption of a comprehensive societal approach, considering a wide range of social, psychosocial, cultural, and economic factors that affect girls’ education. “The combination of multiple Intervention types, targeting various stakeholders and utilizing different change-inducing modalities, was instrumental in inducing the desired shifts in perceptions and behaviours.”
Dr. Baba further said the GEP3 2012-2022 in Northern Nigeria has made remarkable progress in reducing inequalities and improves girls’ access, enrolment, retention, and learning outcomes in basic education. “The achievements, lessons learnt, and recommendations presented in the brief demonstrate programme’s effectiveness and provide valuable insights for future interventions.”
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