Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
A Bauchi-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Fahimta Women and Youths Development Initiative (FAWOYDI), has urged the Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, to urgently intervene in the girl-child education in the state and bar male teachers from teaching in all boarding female schools across the state.
Speaking at the activity for State Level Sensitisation Meeting for the establishment of Girls for Girls (G4G), in collaboration with UNICEF and the Federal Government with funding from the UK Department of International Development (DfID) yesterday at General Hassan Usman Katsina Unity College, Bauchi, the FAWOYDI President, Hajiya Maryam Garba, said the lives of female students in such schools are not entirely safe in the hands of male teachers.
According to her, “How can male teachers be entering female hostels by 6:00am all in the name of waking them up for lesson? The lives of girls are not safe with a male teacher because anything can happen.”
She appealed to the state government to deploy female teachers in all the female boarding schools to with a view to saving education of girl-child in the state.
She also urged parents to allow their children to go to school and finish at least secondary school before giving them out in marriage, adding that the Girls for Girls initiative is aimed at contributing to output one of the third phase of the girls education project, which is being implemented in five northern states of Nigeria, namely Bauchi, Katsina, Zamfara, Niger and Kebbi.
â€œSo parents should do away with bad intention towards their female children in school. They should not say female education is a waste. The Girls for Girls (G4G) intervention is aimed at improved girlsâ€™ retention in schools to appreciate who they are,” she stated.
Hajiya Garba informed that the vision of her NGO was to provide a healthy society free of poverty, work with the less privilege in the society and provide them with quality education by enrolling them in primary, secondary school, and even higher institutions.
She further said the overall aim of the G4G initiative is to address barriers to girls’ education through increase demand for understanding and values of basic education by parents that will promote positive impact on girls enrollment.
According to her, â€œto achieve this, FAWOYDI is going to select 100 primary and secondary schools in Bauchi metropolis and other rural communities for good groups so that girlsâ€™ child education will be valued and they will also be free from sexual harassment from the teachers and from their male counterparts.â€
She said a maximum of five groups consisting of 15 to 20 girls will be formed per school, adding that a minimum of three mentors will be recruited per school, informing that the leadership structure of the girls group include, the President, vice-president, general secretary, treasurer, financial secretary, chief whip and PRO, in all the schools that will be selected, both day and boarding schools.
In his welcome address, the Executive Chairman, Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board, Professor Ibrahim Yaro, said Nigeria needs to improve the girl-child education in the country.
Yaro called on parents to allow and support their female children to go to school, saying that not only allowing them to finish primary and secondary schools but also allow them to further their education to higher institutions, declaring that, “marriage should follow after school.”
Yaro, who lamented the dearth of female professionals in some critical areas of human endeavours, said that, “if you go to the hospitals you hardly see female doctors, especially in the North.”
He, therefore, urged parents, particularly in the state and across the North to change for better so that “we can have much professional women.”
In her goodwill message, the educational field officer UNICEF Bauchi, Mr. Emeka Olora, harped on the importance of education, particularly for the girl-child, declaring that, “if you educate a girl child is like you educate the whole world. An educated mother will educate her children and the nation at large.”
Olora further said a woman without education is like a waste product to her family and appealed that, â€œlet us allow our female children to have access to education before getting married.”
One of the participants who spoke at the meeting, Hon. Abdullahi Adam from Zaki Local Government Area of the state, lamented the high unemployment rate in the country, saying that this is responsible for the preference of some parents for their female children to get married instead of going to school.
According to him, “if our children finished school, they don’t get job in time. You will find out that they are just wasting their time schooling so that is why many parents preferred their children to get married instead of wasting their time for nothing.”
Adamu, however, called on government to provide employment opportunities in the state as there are many jobless people, especially youths, in the state, adding that, “there are many graduates without job to do. The jobless are now the ones discouraging those in school that they are just wasting their time.â€