The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has announced the enrolment of over 500,000 girls in primary schools in Katsina State through its Girl's Education Project (GEP 3) as part of efforts to reduce the spate of out-of-school children in the state.
The UNICEF Education Specialist, Kano Field Office, Muhammad Muntaqa, who disclosed this in Katsina at a one-day meeting with traditional institutions on establishing local community accountability system, said the organisation has surpassed its initial target of enrolling 207,000 girls in focus schools in the state.
THISDAY reports that GEP 3, funded by Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the UK, is being implemented by UNICEF in six northern states of Katsina, Bauchi, Niger, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kano to support girls' enrolment, retention and transition in school.
He said: "Our target was to ensure that we have 207,000 children but as of now, we have enrolled over 500,000 girls through GEP 3 project in focus schools in Katsina State. UNICEF is giving priority to girl-child education, quality teaching and learning in the state."
He added that UNICEF, through its female teachers training scholarship, have sponsored 500 rural girls for a three-year NCE programme in colleges of education in the state "who have graduated and qualified to teach any where in Nigeria".
Muntaqa reiterated that UNICEF also trained 210 head teachers on instructional leadership to enable them support their teachers by giving them technical instructions to deliver quality learning to children in the state.
In his welcome remarks, the Executive Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Alhaji Lawal Buhari, applauded UNICEF for improving girl-child education in the state.
Buhari, represented by the Board Secretary, Isa Mohammed Musa, added that the organisation has significantly reduced the disparity in the ratio of enrolment of boys and girls in school.
He said: "UNICEF has improved the enrolment of girls in primary schools across the state. The organisation has greatly supported the state government in improving the standard of girl-child education. It constructed latrines and boreholes across primary schools in the state."
He explained that the board, in collaboration with the state government and other relevant non-governmental organisations, would ensure the sustainability of the UNICEF's school enrolment drive campaign to ensure that girls remain in school and improve their learning achievements.