At various points, creatives in the entertainment industry spotlighted impending issues in Nigerian society, especially the need for women’s empowerment. From Simi’s woman anthem, ‘Woman’, to ‘Koroba’ by Tiwa Savage, these women are at the forefront of highlighting the need for girl child empowerment.
The Girl child in Nigeria accounts for over 23 million of the population of children given birth yearly. Yet, little or nothing is done to protect the interest of this large population of children.
There is the battle for equality, education, and poverty at the top of the list. Here are five essential facts about girl child education in Nigeria.
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1. 10 Million Girl Children Are Out Of School
In every public school in Nigeria, education is supposed to be free and compulsory. However, there are still over 18 million out-of-school children, with girls accounting for 10 million. More needs to be done, from religious leaders not taking female education seriously to key government parastatals overlooking the importance of empowering the girl child.
2. 22 Million Girls Were Married Off At Childhood
In 2018, UNICEF estimated that about 22 million girls and women in Nigeria were married off in childhood. According to these statistics, about 40% of all child brides come from West and Central Africa. By 2050 nearly seven million more child brides will be added. These women who are married off are unlikely to go back to school.
3. Less Than 30% Of Primary School Girls Transit To JSS
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) disclosed that less than 30% of the total number of primary six female pupils in Nigeria transit to junior secondary schools nationwide yearly, a statistic that Nigerians should be worried about.
4. Girl Education Drives Positive Development Outcomes
According to a report by the World Bank, girl child education, especially at the secondary level, drives positive development outcomes, which include reduction in child and maternal mortality rates, improvements in educational outcomes of offspring, reducing poverty and promotion of equitable growth.
5. 11,500 Schools Have Been Closed Due To Insecurity
Over 11,500 schools have been closed since December 2020 due to insecurity in Nigeria, with the girl childbearing the brute. According to UNICEF, this closure has affected over 1.3 million children in the 2020/21 academic year.
Despite these statistics, the government in 2021 allocated N742.5 billion to the entire education system out of the N13.08 trillion budgeted for 2021.
This is why it’s important to speak up about education in Nigeria, especially the girl child education, and Chiemeka Osuagwu is doing this with the short film ‘Samaria’, which premiered on October 11, 2021.