Increased budgetary allocation to education

Called for more involvement to up-scale girl child enrollment

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

As Nigerians yearn for quality education services, Actionaid Nigeria, AAN, Wednesday, demanded for inclusive education for children with disability.

The Country Director, AAN, Ene Obi, made the demand during the ‘Learning and Close-out meeting of the Tax Justice and Gender Response Public Services’ project (Breaking Barriers) including Launch and Unveiling of Stories of Impact’.

The project was funded for four years by the Norwegian Government.

Obi said the project, which was carried out in Lagos and Sokoto States, ensured that all children, especially girls and marginalised children have access to free,quality ,publicly-funded ,inclusive public education, and address other barriers including infrastructural gaps.

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Stressing on giving equal and quality education to children across board, she said it is imperative for government at all levels to support and boost the educational space with veritable mechanisms which management committees should be set up for greater success stories.

She also explained that the safe spaces were established with the aim of building the capacity of girls to know their rights, voice out their challenges and seek protection where necessary, and these lead to positive impact and success stories amongst the girls.

According to her, Government through the legislature should consider Institutionalizing these mechanisms in place, which curb all kinds of sexual and gender based violence in schools.

The AAN boss also disclosed that the project was implemented in collaboration with Human Development Initiatives in Lagos State as well as Rural Women and Youth Development Organization (RUWOYD) in Sokoto State respectively.

“In driving the programme agenda ,two locations were selected for the execution in Nigeria: Lagos,three local governments, Alimosho, Epe and Badagry were selected .

She said: “In Sokoto, three local governments; Tambuwal, Sokoto south and Binji were selected.

“The project was implemented in 30 schools in Sokoto and Lagos: three primary schools ,12 secondary schools in Lagos and three primary schools, and 12 Secondary schools in Sokoto State.”

She added that the project has contributed to the fiscal policy changes in Sokoto and Lagos States.

Meanwhile, a consultant with AAN, Dede Kadiri, in a paper presentation titled ‘Breaking Barriers and Tax Justice and Gender responsive public service project’ end-line study indicates that 53 per cent girls enrolled in Lagos and Sokoto States.

Kadri also said dropouts recorded during the period as indicated at the baseline was 464 children, while 15,774 children enrolled in 15 schools, and less than 19,070 at baseline.

Speaking on the impact made by the project, she pointed out reasons for the decline as it affected enrollment, which was traceable to the outbreak of novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Also there was no available data from some schools under the project, especially during the 2021/2022 academic session.

According to her, girls’ overall enrollment in Sokoto was  53 per cent compared to boys at 47 per cent in supported schools.

Also, 180 teachers were trained in positive discipline compared to the baseline 10 trained teachers.

As part of the consultant’s recommendations; ActionAid Nigeria Team and NORAD should consider next phase of the project in order to consolidate on the success made so far; a more girl focused programme helps improve and retain enrollment; need for more skilled teachers; more effort to improve teachers’ qualification and recruitment to specific subjects; campaign to increase education funding campaign should be sustained; and others.

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