Minister of State for Education Mr. Nyesom Wike, has tasked mothers in the North-west geo-political zone to shape the future of their female children by ensuring that they are enrolled in basic education schools across the region for "access to free and quality education".
Wike spoke yesterday in Sokoto, while declaring open a capacity-building workshop to scale up mothers' association at senatorial level organised by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), office for the seven states of the North-west geo-political zone.
Represented by the Deputy Director, Special Education in the Ministry, Mrs. Elizabeth Bosede Omotowa, the minister noted with concern that out of 10 million children, who were out of school in the country, about 7.5 million were females.
Wike said such statistics was not good for the future of the girl-child.
He disclosed that the capacity building workshop was aimed at empowering mothers to shore up the enrollment capacity of children in their communities.dren are closer to their mothers, and that the mothers can make impact in the lives of these children, especially the girls in their community to encourage them to attend school," he said.
The workshop, which had over 320 participants drawn from Kaduna, Jigawa, Kano, Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Kebbi States was viewed by organisers as a tremendous boost to the campaign for girl-child education.
Wike expressed optimism that the capacity building will meet the objective set by the Ministry to achieve improved enrolment among girls.
In a keynote address, the North-west Zonal Coordinator of Universal Basic Education (UBE), Mr. Aliyu Kardi, recalled that the issue of women education in the North was raised since 30 years ago and expressed happiness that it is receiving more attention now with the success recorded at the workshop.
Kardi noted the economic benefits that will accrue to female children if they are properly educated, adding that all former barriers like dressing which kept parents from allowing girls to go to school no longer exists as they are allowed to dress to suit their traditions.
In her remarks, Assistant Director Gender Education in the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Adeola Fola Ola, urged parents not to bury the potentials of female children by denying them normal education they will give to their male counterparts, enjoining women to realise they have a say in their children's education and the society at large.
An education consultant in the Ministry and facilitator at the workshop, Mr. Muhammed-Sani Usman, had expressed regret that girls in the North were enrolled in fewer numbers, while also completing their education in fewer numbers.
According to Usman, part of the problem with girl-child education in "the" part of the country is tied to tradition as some girls were withdrawn from school when in their fourth year and given in marriage.
He submitted that to remedy the situation there is need to build more schools for girls with boarding and catering facilities like in the 60s and 70s and employed more female teachers to operate them as female children were more open to share their concerns with female teachers.
"The idea of turning around the education system so that girls can generally have better participation is that they need special schools, schools that are really well equipped, schools that will remove them away from their homes for some time, so that they will be able to concentrate and learn better," he said.