By G9ija

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has targeted the enrolment of one million girls into primary and integrated Qur’anic schools in six northern states through its Girls Education Project Phase 3 (GEP3) in 2020.

The organization is also targeting 1.9 million boys under its GEP3’s investment through improvement of teachers’ quality and school governance in the benefitting states of Katsina, Zamfara, Kano, Sokoto, Bauchi and Niger.

The UNICEF Education Officer, Katsina Field Office, Saka Adebayo Ibraheem, disclosed this on Thursday in Katsina during a meeting with members of the School-Based Management Committee (SBMC).

The one-day orientation meeting, aimed at strengthening the roles of the SBMC and communities in ensuring safe reopening of schools and learning facilities in the state, drew participants across the 34 local government areas.

Ibraheem said the project, which has eight years span, started in 2012 and is being driven by SBMC, a combination of stakeholders from communities to ensure mobilisation of girl child to schools.

The UNICEF education officer added that 42,000 primary school and integrated Qur’anic teachers across the six benefiting states would also be trained and mentored in child-centred pedagogy.

Additionally, he said 15,300 head teachers will also be trained by the non-profitable organisation on school effectiveness, efficiency and curriculum management in the affected states.

He enumerated the reasons for non-enrolment in schools to include distant location of schools, which represents 44 per cent, opportunity costs (36 per cent) and direct cost (26 per cent) for non-enrolment.

Ibraheem said: “The main reasons given for girls dropout from school are: direct cost which represents 29 per cent, those who are with no interest in education represent 25 per cent, while opportunity cost stands at 23 per cent.”

Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Katsina State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mr. Lawal Buhari, said the state government was putting precautionary measures in place for the safe reopening of schools across the state.

He said aside the training of members of the school-based management committee, arrangements are in the pipeline to also train heads of primary and secondary schools on safety measures in line with the guidelines released by the federal government for the reopening of schools.