In commemorating World Education Day, Gem Hub Initiative, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has called for urgent action to address the alarming statistics revealing a staggering 60 per cent higher out-of-school rate for girls compared to boys.
This revelation, presented by the executive director of Gem Hub Initiative, Mrs Oyeyemi Pitan during a press briefing in Abuja, underscored a critical crisis in need of immediate attention.
Nigeria, home to an estimated 10.5 million out-of-school children, holds the unfortunate distinction of having the highest rate of out-of-school children globally. Pitan articulated that beyond being a mere statistic, this situation represents unrealised potential, shattered dreams and an uncertain future for millions of young Nigerians. The challenges contributing to this crisis include poverty, escalating insecurity, limited access to education, cultural barriers and substandard educational quality.
Outlining the repercussions of this dire situation, Pitan emphasised that out-of-school children are more likely to remain trapped in poverty cycles, contribute to vulnerability, be susceptible to recruitment into armed groups and ultimately hinder national development. Urgent and decisive action is imperative to address the deep-rooted gender disparity in education.
Gem Hub Initiative has called for specific commitments from the government to tackle this crisis effectively. These commitments include prioritising education, eliminating financial barriers, expanding school infrastructure, allocating more resources to education, especially in underserved areas and implementing targeted programmes specifically tailored for girls’ education. Additionally, the NGO stressed the importance of research, teacher motivation, addressing insecurity and fostering collaboration with stakeholders to implement comprehensive recommendations.
In her impassioned plea, Pitan urged for swift action, declaring, “Let World Education Day mark a turning point, committing to ensuring learning for lasting peace and ending insecurity in our nation.” She emphasised that collective commitment to a better tomorrow should guide today’s choices, and she urged leaders to act with compassion, foresight and integrity.
The call to action from Gem Hub Initiative resonates as a crucial appeal to address not only the gender disparities in education but also the broader challenges that contribute to the staggering number of out-of-school children in Nigeria. The plight of these children goes beyond the absence of classroom education; it extends to the very fabric of the nation’s future, impacting its socioeconomic development and stability. Immediate and sustained efforts are needed to reverse these trends and pave the way for a brighter and more equitable educational landscape in Nigeria.