By Adam Alqali
Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA), Nigeria’s biggest coalition of education-focused NGOs, has decried the low level of commitment towards implementation and enforcement of existing laws enacted to protect and encourage girls’ education including the Child Right Act, which it says will hold government and parents accountable on the issues of girls’ education.
This was contained in a communiqué issued to journalists by CSACEFA at the end of the coalition’s one-day stakeholders’ meeting on girls’ education in Nigeria held recently in Kano, northwestern Nigeria.
The meeting was part of a national and state level consciousness and awareness raising initiative by CSACEFA on the need for girls’ progress as a means for achieving sustainable development in the country.
The communiqué observed that budgetary allocation and releases for girls education programmes were low with high level of dependence on the contribution of donor agencies, adding that despite the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by Nigeria, “very little work has been put in place towards the implementation of SDGs including goal number 4 which directly relates to education.”
Among others, it recommended that government and relevant stakeholders intensified efforts for the domestication of Nigeria’s Child Right Act and implementation of other policies that will promote girls’ education as well as “ensure timely release of approved budget for education which will in turn improve girls’ education programmes across the country and reduce over dependence on donor agencies for sustainable development.”
Furthermore, the communiqué which also observed that parents and guardians were discouraging girls from studying Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) oriented courses in tertiary institutions because they were stereotyped as ‘courses for boys’ urged them encourage girls to study STEM-oriented courses which will improve social inclusion and reduce discrimination.
The meeting concluded with the adoption of “Kano Declaration 2016” a commitment by stakeholders to give their time and resources towards promotion of girls’ education in Nigeria.
As at 2012, over 33 million children in sub-Saharan Africa did not have access to education, over half of which were girls, says the UN’s 2014 Millennium Development Goals Report. Over 5 million out of the 33 million girls were in Nigeria, which makes it the country with the highest number of out-of-school girls in the whole of Africa.
Goal 4 of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is seeking to ensure all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education by 2030, the realization of which requires drastic and sustained action.