By Umar Yusuf
NO fewer than 441,126 school-aged girls in Adamawa State have been forced out of schools due to insurgency, poverty, high rate of under-aged pregnancy and apathy for girl-child education by their parents, a report has revealed.
According to research into girl-child education released in Yola weekend, insurgency, communal clashes and other social unrests contributed to the large percentage.
It indicated that parents of such girls resorted to using them for hawking or domestic chores.
The research report of a baseline study on a Community-led Collective Action for Girls Education, C-CAGE, also indicated a preference for Quranic education by families who view western education as being for Christians and negative peer influence, as other factors lowering rate of girl-child education in the state.
The research, commissioned by the African Centre for Leadership Strategy and Development, Centre, LSD, and supported by the Malala Fund, also indicated that endemic poverty could rubbish free education for a girl at the point of an external examination requiring a fee.
Many girls, the report stated, were out of school near the exit point, at Junior Secondary School, JSS 3, or Senior Secondary School, SSS 3, when it comes to registering for the final year external examination because there is no money for the registration.
According to the report, a girl may get pregnant and end schooling prematurely, a concern heightened by prevalent pregnancy among teenage girls and subsequent ‘fatherless’ babies in virtually every rural community, identified as discouraging girl-child education.
“ And insurgency which forced many families, including their children out of their homes and schools and related fear of abduction by insurgents, has been the major contributor to poor girl-child education profile of Adamawa State,” the report added.
The report suggested free education which includes; registration for external examinations, conscientising of communities to discourage early marriage and related indiscriminate sex that lead to unwanted pregnancies, prosecution of teacher or schoolmate who gets a girl pregnant, creation of counselling units to guide schoolgirls, among others, as ways to curtail girl-child education deficiency.
The acting Executive Director of the Centre LSD, Mr Monday Osasah, while presenting the report, explained that the C-CAGE research was conceptualised to address the root causes of barriers to girl-child enrolment, retention and completion, and to recommend ways to change the narrative in Adamawa which belongs to the unenviable club of 10 northern states with the worst out-of-school children record.