Gender-based violence limits girls’ access to education – UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has identified high prevalence of gender-based violence in schools in Northern Nigeria as a contributing factor to poor access to education by female children.

The organisation disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at a workshop to disseminate findings on researches it conducted in 2018.

The topics of the researches are: “Effect of Female Teachers on Girls’ Enrolment and Retention in Northern Nigeria’’ and “Communication for Development (C4D) Assessment in Basic Education’’.

Dr Noel Ihebuzor, a resource person at the workshop, said “Effect of Female Teachers on Girls Enrollment and Retention in Northern Nigeria’’ targeted teachers, parents and girls.

Ihebuzor said that the research was aimed at improving girls’ access to education in Northern Nigeria.

He identified School-Related Gender Based Violence (SRGBV) to include physical, psychological and sexual violence, saying that girls were at higher risk than boys.

Ihebuzor noted that responses from the people interviewed during the research revealed that a lot of female folk stayed away from school due to fear of safety.

He decried the fact that due to such violence a lot of girls had been impregnated, thereby hindering the continuity of their academic pursuit.

The resource person regretted that while impregnated girls might be unable to continue their education, the male folk that perpetrated the act would be allowed to continue their education.

“The educational consequences of SRGBV include absenteeism, lack of concentration and inability to study, low academic performance and school dropout.

“This must be addressed for parents to feel confident that their girls will be safe in school. The presence of female teachers will help but will not stop the underlining problems,’’ he said.

According to Ihebuzor, prevention of SRGBV required intervention such as teachers’ code of conduct, collective engagement of parents, community and religious leaders, teachers training and support.

Other preventive measures, according to the research are interactive and inclusive pedagogies, girls and boys clubs and raising awareness.

Ihebuzor however, identified the benefits of female teachers in schools to include access, retention and quality learning.

He stressed that engaging more female teachers would ensure progress as the nation moved towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on education.

“The surest way to achieve this is level of concrete action, policy, advocacy, social mobilisation among others,’’ Ihebuzor said. (NAN)

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