Activist harps on barriers to girl education in Kaduna
By: Femi Mustapha
A member of Kaduna Basic Education Accountability Mechanisms (KADBEAM), Mr. Martin Dangwa has said security challenges, Socio-Cultural and Economic factors are Major barriers to girl child education in Kaduna state.
He asserted this during a Partnership to Engage Reform and Learn (PERL) engagement with Media practitioners on 14th June 2022, supported by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Martin disclosed that persistent security challenge in the State, especially banditry and kidnapping, remains a potential threat to children, especially girls.
He added that the engagement of non-professional security personnel as the school security increases the vulnerability of learners to all kinds of harassment and harmful abuses
“The lack of parameter fences in rural and semi-urban schools makes learners and school infrastructure vulnerable to local criminals and vandals.
“Conflict and violence in communities: The increasing level of insecurity in some LGAs has denied many children the opportunity to attend school.
“There is a need for synergy and combined efforts with the local vigilante, Joint Task Force, hunters, and other security volunteers to protect lives and school infrastructure.
“It is important for the state to put in place a comprehensive school safety policy and effective response mechanism.
Socio-cultural barriers Recommendations,” he said
Similarly, Mr. Leslie Dongh of Natsa Foni Foundation, affirmed that non-inclusive learning environments as a result of Infrastructure in most schools are not disability-friendly due to lack of ramps, wide doors, etc.
According to him, schools lack essential learning and teaching materials such as white canes, brails, interpreters, itinerant teachers, etc.
” Lack of safe spaces/functional guidance and counseling units: Lack of safe and protective school environment and viable counseling services is contributing to girls dropping out of school.
“Overpopulation due to increase in enrolment: School enrolment has increased in recent years due to govt. enrolment initiatives such as the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), a school feeding program, provision of uniforms, textbooks, etc.
“However, the increase in the number of pupils has not been matched by a proportional increase in the number of classes and furniture as well as essential”
” Poor families with a large number of children will likely not send their girls to school, leaving them in a disadvantaged position.
“In rural, semi-urban, and urban LGAs, parents send girls to hawk because of pressing economic needs/demands in households.
” Relations take girls from poor parents, promising to send them to school, but in many cases, the girls end up as domestic workers facing all kinds of abuses/harassment and no education.
“Poor skills development for girls: Lack of effective apprenticeship programs to provide soft skills to support girls’ progression into education.”
Leslie added that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down learning activities in the State, and is impacting negatively on access, retention, and completion.
“Provision of vocational & technical skills for girls can provide a means to support education progression and ensure continuous implementation of free and compulsory education”
Speaking on the objectives of the interactions, Istifanus Akau, the State Facilitator of PERL, said it is meant to support media partners to Scale-up implementation of specific activities in the media engagement strategy to increase understanding and influence behavioral change on negative barriers to girl education.
He explained that the meeting is to review the progress and partners’ efforts implementation of the strategy.
Akau stressed that the engagement was to deepen and sustain a civic conversation on barriers to girl education using various media platforms.
He said, though the Kaduna State Government has been doing a lot of reforms in the education sector, the media need to lead discussions around these reforms to bring both the demand and supply sides together to remove or lower the identified barriers.