John Shiklam in Kaduna
Governor Nasir el-Rufai has restated the commitment of the Kaduna State Government to girls’ education and guaranteeing nine years of free education in the State. The Governor stated this when he attended the Influencers Screening of the documentary ‘He named me Malala’.
The screening was jointly organised by Youthhubafrica, the Centre for Girls Education and the Kaduna State Government and hosted at the Council Chambers of the Kaduna State Government House recently.
Governor el-Rufai also noted that school enrolment figures in public primary and secondary schools have jumped from 1.1million to 1.8m since the commencement of the school feeding programme in the state. The el-Rufai government expects the figures to rise to 2.2 million by September when the new school session begins.
Speaking during the panel session at the Screening, the wife of the Kaduna State Governor, Mrs. Hadiza el-Rufai expressed her commitment to continue to support every effort that guarantees access to education for young girls, as it is the surest way to lift them and their families out of poverty and ensure they live fulfilled lives.
“During the course of my work with young girls, I have come to realise that they are very rich in ideas. Unfortunately, being ‘idea rich’ does not cut it anymore, it is integral to complement these ideas with opportunities’ and we who are influencers in society, owe it as a duty to create these opportunities”, she said.
Executive Director, Youthhubafrica, Mr. Rotimi Olawale, who spoke at the event, highlighted some of the challenges faced by young girls especially in Northern Nigeria in completing their secondary education. He also cited the high dropout rates among girls, saying it is high time to encourage girls to aspire to higher education levels.
Responding to questions on why the state government hasn’t extended its free education programme to cover 12 years of education until the end of secondary school, Governor el-Rufai reiterated the belief of the Kaduna State Government that education should be free at all levels, however due to the paucity of funds, the State Government has initially guaranteed the first 9 years. He promised to extend the free education to 12 years as soon as the state’s financial position improves.
The screening was also attended by the commissioners for education, health, women affairs and youth as well as traditional leaders, community leaders, women leaders and representatives of non-profits working in the state.
The screening of ‘He named me Malala’ is part of a Youthhubafrica initiative, in collaboration with the Malala Fund and with support from Participant Media and to screen the documentary to school girls, community and traditional leaders; and policy makers in the country.
The documentary chronicles the remarkable story of Malala Yusufzai who defied all odds, including a terrorist attack in pursuit of her dream for education. The project has so far screened the documentary to up to 10,000 persons in 30 cities across Nigeria as part of efforts to encourage girls’ education and build stakeholder support for girls’ education in Nigeria.