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UNICEF reports 5m girls enrolled in schools in northern Nigeria

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that the enrollment of girls in schools in northern Nigeria has reached a milestone of five million.

This significant increase is a result of the ten-year implementation of the Girls Education Project Phase 3 (GEP3) in six states of the region.

During the dissemination of findings from the Evaluation of Girls Education Project Phase 3 (GEP3) and the Sustainable Development Goals 4 (SDG4) meeting in Kaduna, Azuka Menkiti, Education Specialist for UNICEF in Nigeria, shared this encouraging news.

She also called upon the governors of the northern states to allocate more funds to education to address other critical issues in the field.

GEP3, which ran from 2012 to 2022, aimed to improve access, enrollment, retention, and learning outcomes for girls in basic education in Bauchi, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara, and Kano states of northern Nigeria.

This project was a collaborative effort between the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), UK, and the Federal Ministry of Education.

Azuka Menkiti emphasised the importance of not giving up on helping girls receive a quality education in the northern region.

She urged stakeholders in the education sector to continue supporting girls’ education.

Binta AbdulKadir, Director of the Senior Secondary Education Department at the Federal Ministry of Education, expressed optimism that the meeting would lead to systemic changes in various states concerning girls’ education.

She acknowledged the success of GEP3, stating that it had transformed the landscape of school enrollment and completion at the basic education level.

She also recognized the contributions of other initiatives such as the Cash Transfer program, community engagement through School Based Management Committees (SBMC), Centre Based Management Committees (CBMC), and Mothers’ Associations in improving access, retention, and completion of schooling.

Idris Baba from UNICEF’s Kaduna field office highlighted the remarkable progress made in reducing inequalities and improving girls’ enrollment, retention, and learning outcomes in schools through the implementation of the Girls’ Education Programme 2012-2022 in northern Nigeria.

He attributed the program’s success to a comprehensive societal strategy that considered various social, emotional, cultural, and economic factors affecting girls’ education.

Baba expressed gratitude for the ongoing partnership and collaboration that allows UNICEF to reach the most marginalised children in Nigeria. He emphasised the need to focus on bringing out-of-school children into education and ensuring that the quality of education they receive adequately prepares them for the future.

The participants in the meeting represented various stakeholders in basic education from the northern states.

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