By; JULIANA KATUNG, Kaduna
As Nigeria joins the world to celebrate the International Day For The Girl Child, the Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN), Kaduna chapter, has urged the Kaduna State Government to improve the education standards of the girl child.
The call was made by the Amirah of the FOMWAN, Hajiya Badiyya Sa’eed during an advocacy visit to the Commissioner of Education, Alhaji Shehu Muhammad on Friday.
Badiyya said FOMWAN has acknowledged the fact that out of the 13.2 million children that are out of school in Nigeria, 7.93 million are girls.
Saying that ” This disturbing figure represents 6.67% of Nigeria’s population,
“One of the cardinal objectives of FOMWAN is provision of quality education to all, especially girls and women.
FOMWAN further advocated for the education of the girl child which is fundamental in fighting poverty, ignorance, insecurity and diseases in the states and the nation at large.
The Amirah of the foundation said they will carry out awareness lectures along with government, religious and community leaders, NAWOJ, youth and parents, so that collaboratively and
persuasively a lot can be achieved.
FOMWAN is also participating in One Million Girls’ March for “Free and Compulsory Quality Education and increase livelihood for all girls’ in collaboration with Girl Child Concern (GCC).
Adding, that, the activities will enhance enrolment, retention and completion of education of children especially the Girl-Child.
FOMWAN therefore commended the Kaduna State Government for the education reforms that have encouraged enrollment of pupils, including the female child.
“We want to advocate through your esteemed office as the Honorable Commissioner of Education for the action to ensure that more female children receive an education past the primary level.
“To create awareness about the importance of female empowerment programmes that encourage employability of the marginalized girl child to compliment vocational training and Government-sponsored support group for the physically and sexually abused woman”
The continued support and collaborative effort with your office to compliment awareness on the difficulties that our precious daughters and future mothers are facing will be highly appreciated.
Responding, the Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Shehu Muhammad said Part of what he had tried doing since he assumed office is to ensure that children are being taught on the first day of resumption
“You as NGOs can introduce some incentives by recognising the first child who enters the school premises on the first day of resumption through giving her some text books or free uniform to motivate her, you can even take her to have a hand shake with the governor,
Adding that, these kind of incentives will encourage parents to send their children to school on the first day of resumption.
“If every school should introduce this kind of incentives, they will always remember you as a union. We cannot be everywhere, because we have 541 secondary schools, so your part of contribution will be to help us visit other schools and report to us.”
Alhaji Shehu said they also want NGOs to help them find out the girls who were unable to finish school due to marriage,
“By doing this, we will be sensitizing the parents by informing them that school does not stop marriage and marriage does not stop school. We will engage them by sensitizing them on the importance of school.”
“We are also calling on the female lawyers to look at our policies and advise us on what to do with parents who take out their children from school because they want to get them married, this is our joint responsibility.
“Most of our staff do not report what we send them to investigate but with your involvement, we will together help in exposing the wrong happenings in our schools.”
On the issue of employability of the marginalised girl child to compliment vocational training in all schools, the commissioner said the NGO as an independent body can meet necessary ministries to ensure that at least each child learns a vocation before he finishes secondary school which will keep him or her busy before he enrols in the higher institution.
Shehu Muhammad said for the lecturers and teachers who have been abusing women sexually and physically, the state government has started taking actions as they have recently suspended some lecturers who were engaged in sex for grades and money for marks scandal.
“This abusive behaviour of our lecturers have become barbaric because I see it as an animalistic behaviour which must be brought to an end,” he stressed.