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UNICEF: 10m girls out-of-school in Nigeria



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From Agaju Madugba, Kano

The United Nations Agency for Children (UNICEF) has said estimated 10 million school-age girls are out-of-school with most of them from northern Nigeria .

However, population of girls that now have access to education in the region has risen to 1.4 million.

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According to UNICEF Head, Kano field office, Rahamah Muhammed Farah, in Nigeria, girls bear what he describes as a sizeable burden of the challenges that confront the education sector.

Farah spoke in Kano at the opening ceremony of a media dialogue programme on Girls’ Education sponsored by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development (FCDO) and implemented by UNICEF.

“Currently in Nigeria, there are 18.5 million out-of-school children, 60 per cent of these out-of-school children are girls – that is over 10 million girls are out of school

“Most importantly, you will need to know that the majority of these out of school children are actually from northern Nigeria.

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“This situation heightens the gender inequity where only one in four girls from poor, rural families complete Junior Secondary School education.

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“While the education crisis in Nigeria affects children across the country, some children are more likely to be affected than others, especially  girls.

“The situation with girls’ education in Nigeria has been further affected by attacks on schools as these attacks have created an insecure learning environment, discouraged parents and caregivers from sending their children to schools, while at the same time, the students themselves become fearful of going to school.”

He noted that UNICEF has taken a number of measures, including its School Emergency Preparedness and Response Plans to mitigate the impact of potential and actual threats on education of girls.

“In Kano State, for example, through the Girls’ Education Project  funded by FCDO, 300 SBMC members have been trained.