In a new study on girls’ education in the country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Malala Fund, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), says that girls in
Nigeria faced a distinct gender effect from the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 50 percent of them not getting any assistance during school closures to continue their education.
Ms Crystal Ikanih-Musa, Country Representative, Malala Fund, told a news conference in Abuja on Friday that the Fund had launched a study on girls’ education and COVID-19 in Nigeria, stating that an
estimated 13.2 million children were out of school before the pandemic and that the federal government should ensure healthy and gender-responsive re-opening of schools as a priority to ensure the return of schools.
“She said that school closures forced millions of students to leave school, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic also exacerbated the
girls’ education crisis in Nigeria, so that if leaders do not act now, we risk losing another generation of girls.
“The report, which analyzed survey data collected from 2,253 respondents in Kaduna state, documents a widening gap for girls’ learning access during the COVID-19 lockdown.
“Girls surveyed in Kaduna state experienced less access to learning resources, suffered increased domestic burdens and lacked academic support from their families. The report states that the government’s distance learning programme did not reach all students.
“Just 10 per cent of girls and 24 per cent of boys accessed distance learning offered via television and 18 per cent of children used radio for study, while two per cent used mobile phones. The data provides a sample data set glaringly showing educational disparities across Nigeria during the lockdown.’’
The data also showed, according to the report, that while mothers supported their children almost
equally, fathers were 36 percent more likely than their daughters to help their sons learn.
The report also showed that in general, during the pandemic, boys were
twice as likely as girls to have access to a private tutor.
On the economic effect of COVID-19 on the education of families and girls, the study showed that over 80 per cent of adults faced financial difficulties
in the face of inadequate government guidance on how to ensure that girls can re-enroll in school after the pandemic in the lower socio-economic and conflict-affected states.
Mr Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive Officer of Connected Development (CODE), a partner of the Malala Fund, said it
was important for governments at all levels to ensure safe, gender-responsive reopening plans with the reopening of schools
In addition to the need to alleviate the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis to enable families to prioritize education, Lawal said that
the report also advised the government to provide gender-equitable and inclusive distance learning to help all students through current and potential school closures.
He also cited the study as encouraging governments at all levels to safeguard the advancement of girls’ education and
to restore the center’s gender education system in order to encourage equitable growth and ensure that all girls can learn.
The Nigerian News Agency reports that the Malala Fund is committed to working towards a world where all girls can learn and lead, pushing
for the funding and policy reforms needed to provide education for all girls. In Nigeria, the Fund advocates for girls’ education in six northern states