Over 50 percent of girls received no help to continue education after lockdown – Malala fund

Malala Fund, a non-governmental organization has observed that girls in Nigeria faced distinct gendered impacts during the pandemic with over 50 per cent of girls receiving no help to continue education during the lockdown of school.

The Country Representative, Malala Fund Crystal Ikanihi-Musa, at a news conference in Abuja on Friday said that the organisation identified these during a launch of report on girls’ education and COVID-19 in Nigeria .

She explained that before the pandemic, an estimated 13.2 million children were out of school adding that COVID-19 pandemic exasperated the girl’s education crisis in Nigeria.

She called on the Federal Government to ensure safe and gender-responsive school reopening as soon as possible to ensure that out of school girls return.

“The Malala Fund survey analyses survey data collected from 2,253 respondents in Kaduna state documents a widening gap for girls learning access during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Girls surveyed in Kaduna state experienced less access to learning resources, increased domestic burdens and lack of academic support from their families.

“ The report states that the government’s distance learning programme did not reach all students.

“Just 10 per cent of girls and 24 per cent of boys accessed distance learning offered via television and 18 per cent of children used radio for study while two per cent used mobile phones.

“The data provides a sample data set emblematic to educational disparities across Nigeria during the lockdown.’’

According to the report, the data also shows that while mothers supported boys and girls almost equally, fathers were 36 per cent more likely to assist their son’s learning than their daughters.

The reports showed that in general, boys were twice more likely to have access to a private tutor during the pandemic.

The report also documented insufficient government guidance on how to ensure that girls in lower socio-economic and conflict –affected states would re-enroll in school after the pandemic.

Also, the  Chief Executive of Connected Development(CODE) and a partner with Malala Fund Mr Hamzat Lawal explained that the report also called on the government to provide gender-equitable and inclusive distance learning to support all students through current and future school closures.

He called on the need to mitigate economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis to help families prioritise education.

Hamzat also urged the governments to protect the progress for girls’ education and rebuild the education system with gender at the centre to promote inclusive growth and ensure every girl could learn.

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