Prof. Peter Okebukola: scribe harps on girl-child education

An educationist, Prof. Peter Okebukola, says the education of the girl-child has continued to suffer severe disadvantages and exclusion irrespective of the progress in recent years in the sector.
Okebukola, a former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), said this while presenting a paper at the 2016 Annual Speech Day and Prize Giving ceremony of Queen’s College Yaba on Sunday in Lagos.

The title of his paper is : Agenda for All-Round Girl-Child Education for Global Impact.
According to him, research has shown the global figure of out- of school children to be estimated at 121 million out which over 89 per cent are from sub- Saharan Africa.

According to him, some of these girls finish their schooling without leasrning basic literacy and numeracy skills.

“Denying the girl -child access to education implies making her a dysfunctional member if the society.

“It is indeed disheartening that even with the progress in recent years in education nationally and globally, we still have such huge challenge in our hands.

“Over time, both women and girls the world over have been stereotyped as being fit for only domestic roles within the family leading to a huge gap in education between men and women.

“Evidence is mounting that girls, especially adolescent girls in developing world, are particularly vulnerable to violence, discrimination and other human rights violation.

“Yet when girls grow up healthy, educated, safe and empowered, they can fulfill their potential to be leaders in their communities, countries and the world,” he said.

The former NUC scribe blamed policy inconsistencies, incoherence policies and inadequate funding on the part of government for the impediments to effective delivery of all-round education especially to the girl-child.

He called for an urgent and effective quality assurance mechanism to be instituted to monitor the implementation of all-round education.

Okebukola added that schools with exemplary practices should be rewarded to serve as a morale booster.

” I will also want to advocate that schools in states, currently brandishing low indices of girl-child education but make significant and positive gains every year, should be specially rewarded.

“I also think Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) should foster the development of policies that will prohibit parents from bullying teachers and school management that are genuinely implementing moral and character training of students.

“The compulsory nine-year basic education programme especially attendance of girls in schools should be vigorously enforced,” he said.

Okebukola noted that there was also the need to designate and differentially fund, through UBEC, 12 schools, geographically distributed, as models for girl-child all- round education in the country.

Okebukola also said that all teacher preparation institutions should be directed to begin, from 2017, a regime of training new generation of teachers for implementing gender inclusive, all-round education especially at the basic education level.

Also speaking, the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah regretted the depletion, in recent times, of the gains of the country’ s education in the context of infrastructure, performance in public examination and quality in teaching and learning among others.

Anwukah attributed the trend to years of systemic neglect, depreciating societal values, poor study habit of students, ineffective utilisation of resources and general indiscipline.

He noted that the current administration had placed a high premium on the attainment of qualitative and inclusive education for all Nigerians irrespective of age, gender religion geographical and cultural settings.

“These changes will be driven by a ministerial strategic plan (2016 to 2019) which will focus on among others issues, improving the quality of teachers revamping the learning environment and creating and supporting the strategic partnership for sustainable and improved funding.

“This will facilitate the restoration of the lost glory of the Federal Unity Colleges in order to serve as models to other Secondary schools,” he said.

Anwukah lauded the college for remaining focused in its academic programmes.

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