|Two Nigerian girls voice their opinions on girls’ education during the launch of the Nigerian Girls’ Education Initiative in Bauchi State with the Minister of State for Education, Aishatu Jibril Dukku (right).|
By Geoffrey Njoku and Sam Kaalu
ABUJA, Nigeria, 21 April, 2008 – Last month, the First Lady of Nigeria, Turai Yar'Adua, launched the Girl’s Education Initiative in the state of Bauchi, where she made a full commitment to supporting girls’ education.
The Nigerian Girls' Education Initiative aims to end gender disparity in education across the country.
“The measure of the success of Nigeria’s national restoration efforts would be greatly dependent on the level to which we succeed in living up to the pledge of equal opportunity in education,” said Mrs. Yar'Adua.
‘Grand Patron’ of girls’ education
At the high-level gathering, Mrs. Yar'Adua accepted the position of ‘Grand Patron’ of girls’ education in Nigeria. She addressed gender disparity in education in Nigeria, especially in the northern states.
|The First Lady of Nigeria displaying her plaque as ‘Grand Patron’ of the Nigerian Girls’ Education Initiative, accompanied by the First Lady of Bauchi State, Hajiya Aisha Yuguda.|
She also said that as a mother of four daughters and two sons, she knows the value of education and will always support its cause.
The launch in Bauchi aimed to raise the profile of girls’ education and garner commitment from key actors in order to generate more resources for schooling Nigerian girls.
Major milestones in enrolment
Bauchi is one of six states in which UNICEF is intervening with the Girls’ Education Initiative. It is indicative of the situation of girls’ education throughout Nigeria, and especially in the northern region, with one of the lowest enrolment rates of girls in schools.
The initiative, funded by the UK Department for International Development, has already achieved major milestones in girls’ enrolment and is intended to be scaled up to include other states in the country.
Amongst those in attendance at the launch were the Governor of Bauchi State, Malam Isa Yuguda; UNICEF Nigeria Project Officer Dr. Robert Limlim; and Minister of State for Education, Aishatu Jibril Dukku, who noted that every Nigerian child has the right to equal education as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.