Francis Sardauna writes that the kickoff of the 2018 disbursement of girls’ scholarship by Governor Aminu Masari, in collaboration with Nigeria Partnership for Education Project, will increase the enrolment of the girl-child in schools across Katsina State.
Despite the importance of education, many girls of school age in Nigeria today do not have adequate education, especially in the North. In the region, usually, when a girl clocks 12-14 years old, the elders of the community, including her parents, give her out for marriage. Notwithstanding that a girl who is given out in marriage at such very tender age is placed at very high risk. First, she is not mentally matured to be a mother, neither is her body physically ready to give birth.
In recent times, it has become quite clear that investing in girl-child education is vital to driving human capital development in Nigeria, particularly in the northern part of the country. It is against this background that the Katsina State Government, under the leadership of Governor Aminu Bello Masari, on September 6 kicked off the disbursement of the girls’ scholarship, Female Teacher Trainee Scholarship Scheme (FTTSS) under the support of Nigeria Partnership for Education Project (NIPEP), at Rimi Local Government Area.
The educational schemes were aimed at improving the enrolment and empowerment of the girl-child in schools across the three senatorial zones of the state, where the state government designated the sum of N1,727,010,000 to cater for the improvement in access and quality of basic education, with particular emphasis on girl-child education in the state.
During the flag off of the scheme, 61,873 girls received the sum of N20,000 each. Out of these beneficiaries 36,865 were primary one girls, while 17,045 girls were selected from primary two and 7,963 were girls from primary three respectively.
Accordingly, the School Based Management Committees from the selected schools were not left out, as the governor in his determination to revamp girl-child education in state, doled out N250,000 to each committee, while 1,845 pre-primary and Integrated Qur’anic schools received N150,000 each.
Masari while distributing the funds to the beneficiaries, said: “The objective of the girls’ scholarship is to support parents to ensure that the girl-child attends school regularly, while the School Improvement Grant (SIG) is to support school School Based Management Committee (SBMC) to implement minor activities in their respective schools that will support increased enrollment, retention and completion for all pupils especially the girl-child.
Yelda, also commended the Masari-led government for improving the health and nutrition situation of children and women, especially in the areas of polio eradication, improvement in routine immunisation, as well as policies and guidelines on Primary Healthcare Under One Roof (PHCUOR), and the tackling of nutritional status of children. Katsina State was selected as a pilot for this project in Nigeria in view of the high political commitment of the government and her positive response to issues of children and women in the state.”
She, however, stressed that Katsina State ranked high among the states in Nigeria with infant mortality rate of 68 deaths per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality rate of 135 deaths per 1,000 live births. Yelda “urged the state government to conduct MNCHW campaigns without further delay in the interest of the children,” saying, “UNICEF will continue to provide all necessary technical support for this project as well as other child survival and development programmes that will enhance the right and well-being of the children of Nigeria, particularly the most vulnerable.”