The Federal Ministry of Education, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the UK, in conjunction with UNICEF, has sent about 1.5 million girls to school in Northern Nigeria as part of implementing the Girls’ Education Programme Phase 3 (GEP3).
The program is across six Northern Nigerian states of Katsina, Kano, Niger, Sokoto, Zamfara and Bauchi between 2012 and 2022.
This was disclosed at the national closing ceremony of GEP3 held in Abuja.
The partners said the programme’s investment of $109 million yielded positive results in enrolling an additional 1.5 million girls into school, far exceeding the project’s target.
“The attendance rate of girls in primary schools in the six states improved from 43% to 70%, while gender parity improved from 0.73 to 0.97”, said the organizer.
According to the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, GEP3 has worked to improve the quality of education for all children and helped girls gain better access to education and economic opportunities, breaking the cycle of poverty and disadvantage.
“In our commitment to drastically reduce the number of Out of School Children, Nigeria appreciates the scaling of evidence-based solutions in tackling this menace as provided through the GEP3. As we continue on this path, we would leverage the success of GEP3 to plan better, budget better, and make better decisions in putting more Girl- Child in school.
“GEP3 has not only been successful in getting more girls into formal and non-formal schools, but it has also improved learning outcomes. It has raised the profile of educated girls, created new positive social norms in many communities and enabled a transformational shift in mindsets about the importance of girls’ education. We must advocate scaling of the approach in all states,” added Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria.
“I express the deep appreciation of UNICEF to the UK Government for this long-term commitment and funding for girls’ access to primary school in Northern Nigeria. Together, there remains much work to be done, to ensure the girls’ transition to complete secondary education. This is important not only for the economic prosperity and well-being of the girl and her family but to stem the high population growth expected in Nigeria. We see FCDO and the government of Nigeria as steadfast partners in this complex endeavour,” Munduate further stressed.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria Catriona Laing mentioned that in In addition to surpassing its target enrollment figures, GEP3’s innovations, policies and best practices are contributing to improvements in Nigeria’s educational sector.
He said that GEP3 has also built the capacity of Headteachers and teachers in the management of schools as well as the delivery of effective learning for girls.
Furthermore, community-based structures like Mothers’ Association, School Based Management Committees, and the High-level Women Advocates have been established as enduring platforms for community mobilization, mentorship and policy advocacy on girls’ education.
GEP3’s unconditional cash transfer programme has supported over 23,500 girls and reduce the level of poverty in the household, enabling families to send girls to school and enhance the ability of women to generate additional domestic income.
“The GEP 3 has been one of the UK’s largest bilateral Girls’ Education programmes globally. We have seen good progress in improving access for girls and moving towards gender parity but with an increasing population, Nigeria’s out of school children figures remain high, for girls and boys. We now need to ensure that we build on the successful interventions of GEP 3, supporting them to be scaled-up and sustained to ensure they are catalysts for change in the wider sector,” said Catriona