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Katsina has recorded no fewer than 536,132 out-of-school children, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) statistics said.
Muntaka Mukhtar, education specialist, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Kano field office, disclosed this at a media dialogue on Girl’s Education Project (GEP-3), organised for journalists drawn from Abuja, Kano and Katsina States.
He said that Nigeria was one of the five countries with a high rate of out-of-school children, adding that Katsina State recorded 536,132 out-of-school children in the country.
He said the identified gaps in equalising school attendance between boys and girls and common gender norms continue to put girls at a disadvantage, leading to school dropout at a higher rate.
According to him, the trend makes parents prioritise boys’ education over girls and encourage child marriage.
“Every day, girls face barriers to education caused by poverty, cultural norms, poor infrastructure, violence and fragility.
“On prioritising education for girls, better educated women tend to be more informed about nutrition and health, have fewer children and marry at a later age.
“Educated girls are better equipped to become healthier, more prosperous adults, with smaller families and children who are less at risk of illness and death and more likely to succeed,” he said.
On empowerment, Mr Mukhtar said women with primary education earned between 14 and 19 per cent higher than those with no education while those with secondary education earned twice more.
“Child marriage and early childbearing virtually eliminate child marriage and hold the potential to reduce by 75 per cent the risk of early childbearing for women.
“Health, nutrition, and well-being increase women’s knowledge of HIV/AIDS and also empower them to make decisions about their own healthcare.
“It also improves their sense of psychological well being, reduces the risk of partner violence, under-five mortality and malnutrition among children,” he said.
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About the author
Akeem Alao trained as a language teacher. He graduated from Adeniran Ogunsanya college of Education where he studied English/Yoruba Languages and Ekiti State University where he obtained a degree in English Education.