By Gabriel Dike
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) on Wednesday disclosed that less than 30 percent of Nigerian girls in primary schools transit to junior secondary schools.
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The commission described the figure as worrisome and appealed for collaboration among its partners to address the situation.
UBEC acting Director of Social Mobilization, Dr. Ossom Ossom, disclosed this in Lagos at the two-day Regional Consultative Meeting on Girls’ Transition from Primary to Junior Secondary Education in Nigeria.
The event attracted representatives of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Federal Ministry of Education, pupils from seven states in the South West, several partners, Executive Chairman, Mr. Wahab Alawiye-King, and officials of state SUBEB from Osun, Lagos, Ogun, Kwara, Ekiti, Oyo, and Ondo.
Dr. Ossom said: “The data we have is disturbing. Only 30 percent of girl-child in the country transit to junior secondary school not to talk of completing secondary education.
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“This regional meeting which we are collaborating with UNICEF and other partners is targeted at ensuring that child-child transit from primary school to JSS and also SSS.”
In his speech, the Executive Secretary of UBEC, Prof. Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, said the consultative meeting is part of the commission and UNICEF’s efforts at exploring further opportunities for improved girl child education in the country.
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Bobboyi, who was represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary (service), Dr. Isiaka Kolawole, said analysis of the gender gap in education, revealed that girls in primary education face complex challenges in completing basic education as well as accessing health and economic opportunities within their domains.
Said he: “Importantly, available data indicate that primary school enrollment rate for the girl-child starts high and drops significantly with less than 30 percent of the enrollees transiting to the junior secondary level.”
According to him, the government at federal and state level, the private sector, public and private institutions as well as organizations have implemented various interventions geared towards addressing the girl-child challenge.
He assured that UBEC and UNICEF would not rest on their oars in providing the necessary leadership and commitment to enhancing the opportunities available to the girl child for improved access and transition to further levels of learning.
UNICEF Education Specialist, Azuka Menkiti, said the gathering is meant to look at challenges faced by girl –child in transiting from primary school to junior secondary and even beyond.
Menkiti explained that the consultative regional meeting in South West is also holding in Enugu State for South East while others are scheduled for another date to improve the transition rate from primary to secondary school.