Malala Fund, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), in a new report on girls education in the country amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, says girls in Nigeria faced distinct gender impact from the COVID-19 pandemic with over 50 per cent of them not receiving any help to continue their education during school closures.
Ms Crystal Ikanih-Musa, Country Representative, Malala Fund, told a news conference in Abuja on Friday that the Fund had launched the report on girls’ education and COVID-19 in Nigeria, saying that before the pandemic, an estimated 13.2 million children were out of school and the federal government should, as a priority, ensure safe and gender-responsive school re-opening to ensure the return of out of school girls.
She said that school closures forced millions of students out of school, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic also heightened the crisis facing girls’ education in Nigeria.
According to a report, data shows that fathers are likely to assist their sons’ learning than their daughters. The report also showed that in general, boys were twice more likely to have access to a private tutor during the pandemic, than girls.
On the economic impact of COVID-19 on families and girls’ education, the report showed that over 80 per cent of adults faced financial difficulties amid insufficient government guidance on how to ensure that girls in the lower socio-economic and conflict –affected states would re-enroll in school after the pandemic.
Mr Hamzat Lawal , Chief Executive Officer of Connected Development (CODE), a partner to the Malala Fund, said that with the reopening of schools there was need for governments at all levels to ensure safe, gender responsive re-opening plans.
Lawal said that the report also counseled government to provide gender-equitable and inclusive distance learning, to support all students through current and future school closures, in addition to the need to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis to enable families prioritize education.
He also cited the report as urging governments at all levels to protect the progress of girls’ education and rebuild the education system with gender at the centre so as to promote inclusive growth and ensure that every girl could learn.