28 November 2012

Nigeria: FG Forms Group to Boost Girl-Child Enrolment

As part of efforts to boost girl-child enrolment across the country, the Federal Ministry of Education and its development partners have commenced the constitution of mothers' associations in school communities.

The associations would comprise female teachers, women leaders, female members of School Based Management Committees, female religious leaders, women groups, head girls, female artisans, female professionals and interested volunteers.

Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, who opened the pre-meeting to scale up the associations in Mararaba, Nasarawa State, said the associations would act as an agent of mobilisation and sensitisation to improve the enrolment of the girl-child in the country.

He stressed the need to involve mothers from different backgrounds and occupations to act as advocates of girl-child education so as to encourage families in communities to embrace girl-child education to enhance for the overall development of the nation.

Wike, who was represented by the Director of Basic and Secondary Education at the ministry, Chika Uwaezuoke, said the association is one of the strategies for promoting girls' education in the country.

"Piloting this in UNICEF assisted states led to increase in the number of girls enrolled into school. There is evidence that these girls are being retained, have high tendency to transit to junior secondary. National awareness has been raised on the promotion of girls' education, but there still exist a large number of girls who may not go to school if conscious effort is not made to attract girls to school." The minister said his ministry would soon train and equip members of the association with basic skills to enable them support the girl-child.

"In mapping out training or activities for mothers' associations, efforts should be made in considering the difference in culture, religion and illiteracy level of the women in a particular community, as these will enhance the sustainability of the associations", Wike said.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Mothers' Association capacity workshop for the seven states of the North-west geo-political zone commenced on November 27 in Sokoto; those of the North-east and North-central would hold in Lafia between December 3 and 6, while the same workshop would hold for the South-west in Ibadan between December 10 and 13.

A facilitator and consultant on Mothers' Associations and Teachers Development, Mallam Mohammed-Sani Usman, said the formation and training of members of the associations in different parts of the country is a vital step towards improving girl-child enrolment.

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