EVA in Kaduna organized a symposium to commemorate International Literacy Day on the 8th of September under the MALALA funded project “Advocating for Girls Education.”
In attendance were Guest speakers from the Ministry of Education, Education Authority, SUBEB, Chikun Secretariat, CSO partners, security agencies, PTA, principals, community influencers, and girl advocates.
The objective of the symposium was to remind participants and decision-makers of the importance of literacy and the need for intensified effort towards a more literate society and brainstorm on possible ways to adopt for learning to be sustained at the community and state level.
Mary Sabastian program officer “Hope for Communities and Children” who represented the Keynote speaker Mrs. Hadiza Umar did a paper presentation, on the need to adapt distance and E-learning, she said,
“with the school closure due to insecurity which will in the future give birth to more school dropouts, all hands must be on deck with parents at the frontline to support children through technology to access teaching and learning from the home front.”
She added that as decision-makers, CSO, community influencers, principals, SMBC need to subscribe to the joint mission launched by UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank tagged ‘Mission Recovering Education 2021’ which priorities:
1. Bringing all children back to school
2. Recovering learning losses
3. Preparing and supporting teachers.
Aspilos foundation presented on the Topic: “The Effect on Girl Child Education in Nigeria and the possible Solution” highlighting reasons why girls drop out of school; poverty, water/sanitation, child labor, child marriage, pregnancy, conflict, and emergencies, She proffered possible solutions like Literacy awareness and sex education, Digital Training/adaptation, and Engaging in online learning.
The third paper presentation by “Girl Advocates” was focused on advocacy ask to the decision, makers. The young advocates asked the government to put them at the heart of implementation especially their educational rights which is stated in article 28 of the UN convention. The paper gave insights on the stories they have been collecting on the experiences of girls now that schools are closed. They said that they worry that all the efforts of the past will be rolled back. And more girls might drop out of school if care is not taken as out of school girls are easy targets of abuse, exploitation, and early marriage. And this is likely the effect of the insecurity and school closure.
Aliyu Ahmed Tijjani Executive Director, “Education Life Line” appreciated EVA for the initiative, he said the event was a wake-up call to all. He added that literacy is for all girls and we collectively have a role to ensure the safety of all school children.
Hajia Aisha Mohammed, “Deputy Female Director Ministry of Education” said education for all is one of the priorities of the Kaduna state government and by all, people with special needs are not left out. She said being literate is a pathway to being successful and it is one special attribute that distinguishes man from other creatures and for females to be literate can contribute immensely to a nation’s development.
Kaduna government is putting effort to provide all its schools with the necessary learning tools that will enable effective learning. She said individuals should also be vigilant of the environment and report any suspicious activity or circumstance to the nearest security agency. Parents should support their children through home lessons to ensure learning is sustained. She added that older siblings can create time to teach their younger ones, she said her older siblings were her teachers at home when she was growing up.
The advocates did a short play promoting home lessons for school children in times of insecurity, highlighting the negative impacts of school closure on children and how it can affect them in the nearest future if nothing is done.