FG, UK, UNICEF investment of $109m puts 1.5m girls in school in Katsina, Kano, others
Following a $109 million investment, Nigeria has enrolled additional 1.5 million girls into school in Katsina, Kano, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara and Bauchi States, far exceeding target, according to the Federal Ministry of Education, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom (UK), and the United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) implemented Girls’ Education Programme Phase 3 (GEP3).
At the closing ceremony of GEP3, held in Abuja, yesterday, the partners affirmed that the programme’s investment of $109 million yielded positive results between 2012 and 2022.
In a joint statement, they noted that attendance rate of girls in primary schools in the six states improved from 43 per cent to 70 per cent, while gender parity improved from 0.73 to 0.97.
GEP3 sought to improve quality of education for all children and helped girls gain better access to education and economic opportunities, breaking the cycle of poverty and disadvantage.
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, said: “In our commitment to drastically reduce the number of out-of-school children, Nigeria appreciates the scaling of evidence-based solution in tackling this menace, as provided through the GEP3. As we continue on this path, we would leverage on the success of GEP3 to plan better, budget better and make better decisions in putting more girls in school.”
On his part, UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate, said: “GEP3 has not only been successful in getting more girls into formal and non-formal schools, but it has also improved learning outcomes.
“GEP3 has raised the profile of educated girls, created new positive social norms in many communities and enabled a transformational shift in mindsets about the importance of girls’ education. It is critical that we advocate scaling of the approach in all states.”
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, noted: “The GEP 3 has been one of the UK’s largest bilateral girls’ education programmes globally.
We have seen good progress in improving access for girls and moving towards gender parity.
“But with an increasing population, Nigeria’s out-of-school children figures remain high for girls and boys. We now need to ensure that we build on the successful interventions of GEP 3, supporting them to be scaled-up and sustained to ensure they are catalysts for change in the wider sector.”
GEP3 has also built the capacity of head teachers and teachers in the management of schools as well as delivery of effective learning for girls.
Its unconditional cash transfer programme supported over 23,500 girls and reduced the level of poverty in households, enabling families to send girls to school and enhancing the ability of women to generate additional domestic income.