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A Panel of Discussion on Implementing Interventions that have Worked to Improve Gender Equality in Education. At A GLOBAL SYPOSIUM Organized by World Bank in Washington DC 2-3 October 2007 Nigeria’s Experience Presented by Felicia Onibon National Moderator

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A Panel of Discussion on Implementing Interventions that have Worked to Improve Gender Equality in Education



Organized by World Bank in Washington DC

2-3 October 2007

Nigeria’s Experience

Presented by

Felicia Onibon

National Moderator

Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All


  • Education is a human right that should be accorded to all human beings.
  • Nigeria signatory to EFA and MDGs
  • Policies in place to back implementation
    • UBEC Act of 2004 signed into Law in 2005
    • Gender policy in Education now in place
    • Gender Policy sponsored by Federal Ministry of Women Affairs now in place
    • Child Right Act now passed into law at National level
  • EFA Unit set up in the Federal Ministry of Education
  • Debt Relief Gains set aside for the attainment of MDGs
  • With a population of 135,031,164 (Jan. 2007 est.); 50.5%male (68,257,579), 49.5% female (66,773,585)
  • Most populated country in Africa.
  • Of the population aged 15 and over, 57.1 percent can read and write
  • A multi ethnic country operating under a federal system of governance.
  • Made up of 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory grouped into six geo-political zones.
  • There are 774 Local Government Areas.
  • characterized by
  • both urban and rural poverty
  • inadequate infrastructure
  • ill managed environment
  • 90% dependence on revenue from crude oil for national development
  • high dependence on subsistence farming for livelihood. These have huge gender implications.
gender implications
Gender Implications
  • There is low women participation in high income economic activities and more women are prone to health hazards due to
    • their reproductive role
    • poor condition of service in the health sector.
  • Though women are recorded to constitute the larger number of voters, they are not adequately represented at decision making levels.
  • There is a dearth of female role models for young girls to emulate particularly in rural Nigeria.
  • More Boys are in schools than girls
gender disparity
  • there are serious gender inequalities in educational attainment
  • diverse factors are responsible for the discrimination against women’s access to education.
  • Similarly, in the South Eastern part of Nigeria, due to economic reasons, lots of young boys have abandoned school to trade.
current status
Current Status
  • Literacy rate for adult men is 57%, while for adult women it is 43%.
  • - Of children between the ages of 6 and 15 who should be in school, only 63.4% of boys
  • - Between 1991 and 2001, primary school enrolment rate for boys was 61% while that of girls was 57%.
  • - 37% of boys and 43% of girls who enrolled into primary school do not complete their schooling.
  • - Female enrolment in JSS in Nigeria declined from 47% in 1995 to 44% in 2002. The North East and North West Zones recorded 20% enrolment rate for girls, lower than sub-Saharan Africa average of 26%.
  • - Secondary school completion rate of girls is 44%, while that of boys is 75%. The gaps are wider in rural areas where the dropout rate for boys is 39.3% and that of girls 61.7%.
  • - The gender gaps are wider in science and technology education.
barriers to girls education in nigeria
barriers to girls education in Nigeria
  • Poverty
  • early marriage
  • low value placed on girls education
  • distance from school
  • Culture of Seclusion among the muslims [Purdah]
  • lack of toilet facilities in school
  • lack of drinking water
  • a general unfriendly school environment
  • a dearth of female teachers as a role models in most school communities across the country, particularly in the North
  • The increase in orphans due to HIV/AIDS scourge is also contributory to the deterrents of girls from school
  • Many girls who are orphans stop school to care for their younger ones and sometimes including their aged grand parents.
  • Many girls take the responsibility of adults from a very young age either due to culture, religion, abject poverty or sickness/ill-health of adults or their younger siblings.
barriers to leadership roles
Barriers to leadership Roles
  • poverty
  • effects of cultural and traditional practices and institutions
  • rough and masculine model of politics [Late night meetings & Violent actions]
  • self limiting model by women
  • high cost of financing political campaigns
  • poor representation of women in the party structure
  • intrigues
  • male conspiracy
  • blackmail and manipulation
  • low self esteem
  • lack of party support
  • prevalence of double standard.
any improvement since 2000
Any improvement since 2000
  • Yes
  • Increase in enrolment
    • The Emir of Kano leads the annual enrolment exercise conducted by UBEC for boys and girls into primary schools.
  • Increased awareness of the essence of western education due to power play in politics
  • More development programmes targeted towards girls education
  • Employment of 4000 teachers to work rural schools [with preference for female teachers] by the Federal Government.
More integrated programmes being introduced to school curriculum [Health & Education]
  • General awareness on state of education
  • Home Grown School Feeding Programme in 12 States driven by the Federal Government
  • Girls education initiatives receiving attention from donor communities
    • Girls Education Project [GEP] in six Northern States – Scale up being planned for six more States UNICEF& FME
      • Construction of child friendly schools
      • Regular training opportunities for teachers in GEP schools
      • More girls enrolled into such schools
      • Enhanced participation of parents/community leaders
      • Retention rate of girls in GEP schools is higher than in non GEP schools
      • Integrating Basic Eduction into Koranic Schools [Islamiyya]
enhancing girls basic education in northern nigeria egbinn action aid nigeria
Enhancing Girls Basic Education in Northern Nigeria [EGBINN] Action Aid Nigeria
  • Sponsored by Oxfam Novib
  • Project in Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi States [Three core Northern States where Sharia Law is practiced
  • Recorded appreciable increase in girls enrolment due to several incentives given to all girls that attend school.
    • Hijabs distributed
    • Books supplied
Increased community participation
  • Formation of women’s committees and training of women facilitators
  • Community engagement with local government authority enhanced.
  • Sultan of Sokoto and other Emirs in the three States as Girls Education Policy Champions
UNGEI/NGEI process led by Civil Society with focus on ‘Good Practice’ in partnership with Government and IDPs –UNICEF on the lead]
  • American Ambassador’s Scholarship Scheme for Girls in Basic Education
  • Increased advocacy by civil society
  • Government partnership with civil society and Faith Based Organizations
  • Increased monitoring of EFA and MDG related projects
  • Increased media engagement
Integration of basic education into Islamiya in Northern Nigeria
  • Women demanding for adult learning centres in their communities.
  • Universal Basic Education Commision-compulsory for both girls and boys of school age to be in school.
  • Led to high increase in enrolment
  • Global EFA week/ Global Week of Action
  • EFA Score card as a monitoring strategy
  • Appreciable progress towards MDG due to funds from the Debt Relief Gains
  • Nigeria still has over 7million out of school children
  • ECCD still require full government intervention
  • Child rights bill signed to law but not in all States in Nigeria [only in 11 States including only one Northern State – Kwara]
  • Federal Ministry of Education-5 Ministers with different focus in 6 years
  • Successful girl’s education initiatives are pilot projects and donor funded therefore sustainability is questionable
  • UBEC did not prepare for the explosion in transition to Junior secondary schools [many boys and girls absorbed due to lack of space- particularly in urban schools in most States in Nigeria]

[CSACEFA Education Watch Report 2006]

Adult and non formal education not funded
  • Quality Education attainment still a major challenge [with lack of adequate qualified teachers]
  • IDPS not responsive to the their promises to poor countries on funding good and costed plans [Nigeria’s Plan is ready]
  • Implementation strategies do not match the policies that are in place.
opportunities for the future
Opportunities for the future
  • Increased Community participation through School Based Management Committees [SBMCs] Civil society is currently working on a project that targets the women in SBMCs across the country for management and participation training / Gender training for all members of the committee.
  • Increased Civil Society engagement with policy makers at all levels on implementation and judicious use of funds
  • An integrated approach to monitoring and evaluation with relevant sanctions for non performance
  • Attaining the EFA and MDGs is possible if all actors work with sincerity of purpose
  • Traditional and Religious leaders are still very relevant in influencing ‘sensitive’ policies, they should be encouraged to lead the advocacy on girls education
  • Quality functional education is the most attractive means of getting more girls to school, children will continue to withdraw either through parental consent or theirs if they get nothing from schooling.
  • Capacity of all government officials working in education delivery built in gender appreciation and development as an integrated module..
  • Similar training will be required for civil society actors alike as most work with rural stakeholders.
  • Thank you