Major Area: Basic Education and Gender Equality
Lack of female teachers in rural primary schools could be a major cause of the gender gaps in enrolment and retention rates, especially for girls nearing puberty as they require mentoring and support from female teachers. The female teacher-training scholarship (FTTSS) award scheme is a mechanism for attracting more women into the teaching profession to serve in the rural, remote areas and reduce the gap between demand for and supply of women teachers in these communities. Introduced in 2008 through a partnership between the state and local governments, the Girls’ Education Project (GEP 2) and UNICEF, the scheme targets four northern states of Nigeria— Bauchi, Katsina, Niger and Sokoto. The primary focus is young women from marginalized areas (particularly remote rural areas) who are qualified to study for the Nigeria Certificate of Education (NCE) but would not be able to do so because of lack of funding, information and the means to make applications for admission. Selected candidates are funded through the scheme to undertake the three-year teacher-training course at the state college of education, leading to the award of the NCE. Successful candidates agree to return to their rural communities to teach in primary schools.
The scheme began in the 2008/2009 academic session with a total of 674 female candidates. As of 2011, a total of 3,246 candidates are pursuing their education under the scheme. The State and local governments have progressively increased their financial support to the scheme, from 454 students (67 per cent) in 2008/2009 to 2598 students (80 per cent) in 2010/2011. The success of the programme has been demonstrated by high and improved retention rate of young women currently enrolled in the course. Potential candidates from both rural and urban areas are clamoring for spaces. A follow-up study is planned to assess the rate of absorption into the teaching force by the government and to follow up their impact in enrollment and retention of girls in schools in the rural areas.
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