Okebukola decries poor access to learning by girl-child
“Women and girls are Africa’s greatest untapped resource, and it is they, not diamonds or oil and minerals, that will be the foundation for solid, sustainable and equitable progress. Health and development experts, economists, non-governmental organisations, United Nations’ agencies and even banks agree that expanding the freedoms, the education and opportunities for women holds the key to kick-starting inclusive economic growth. This is true the world over, and particularly true for Africa.”
The above quote by Mozambique’s former president, Joaquim Chissano, captures the stance of the former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Peter Okebukola, on the education and empowerment of the girl-child in Africa and Nigeria in particular.
Presenting a paper titled, “An Agenda Towards Sustaining All-Round Excellence in Girl Child Education for Global Impact,” at the 2016 speech and prize-giving day of Queens College (QC), Lagos, Okebukola lamented that girl-child education across board has suffered varying degrees of neglect and exclusion.
He called on government and concerned stakeholders to invest massively in girl-child education as well her overall development in view enormous implications doing otherwise would fetch, adding that concerted efforts must also be made to train, nurture and develop the capabilities and competences of the girl child.
He said, “It is disheartening that the girl child still suffers exclusion in our society. Denying the girl child access to education would make her a dysfunctional member of the society. Even with the progress in recent years in education nationally and globally, we still have such huge challenge in our hands. Over time, both women and girls the world over, have been stereotyped as being fit for only domestic roles within the family, and this has led to a huge gap in education between men and women.
“Evidence abound that girls, especially adolescents in developing world are particularly vulnerable to violence, discrimination and other human rights violation. Yet when girls grow up healthy, educated, safe and empowered, they can fulfill their potential to be leaders in their communities, countries and the world, the erudite scholar said.”
To improve the lot of the girl-child, he advised that all teacher-preparation institutions should be directed to, beginning from 2017, commence a regime of training new generation of teachers for implementing gender inclusive, all-round education, especially at the basic education level.
Pledging that girl-child education would continue to receive all the attention it deserves, principal of the college, Mrs. Lami Amodu, reiterated that QC has over the years been known for excellence in grooming the girl-child.
“The products of this college are recognised nationally and internationally, excelling and impacting the society in various fields. This is as a result of the standard of quality of education and moral training they received here over the years.”