As the World marks 2021 International Day of the Girl Child, female children in Bauchi State have urged the state government to provide an enabling environment to promote digital learning, to enable the girls realise their full potentials.
Aishatu Abdullahi, President of the Girl-Child in the state, made the call at an event organised to mark the the day in Bauchi.
It could be recalled that on Dec. 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare Oct. 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child.
The Day is aimed at encouraging girls to know their digital realities and the solutions they need to pave way to freedom of expression, joy and boundless potential.
The event was organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), as part of activities to celebrate the Day in the state.
Abdullahi, a student of the Government Day Secondary School, Sa’adu Zungur, Bauchi, said the call was imperative towards reducing the number of Out-of-School children in the state.
She also urged the state government to initiate a policy that would facilitate establishment of post basic school attached to every primary school across the state.
This, she said, would ensure continuity of learning and reduce the dropout rate in the state.
“The girls ask the state government to help in providing an enabling environment for teaching and learning with focus on digital and technical innovations.
“The girls also ask for recruitment of more female teachers in schools to encourage the retention of girls in schools.
“We also request for specific policy that will ensure availability of a junior secondary school attached to every primary school, to enhance continuation of learning and reduce the dropout rate of girls in schools,” Abdullahi said.
In her remarks, Hajiya Halima Umar, UNICEF Focal Person in SUBEB, said that Oct. 11 had been set aside by the UN, to promote the rights of girls and address challenges facing the girl-child.
Umar said that the day would enable diverse groups with the same goal to deliberate and act towards the promotion and advancement of the rights of the girls.
“This day also highlights gender inequalities that remain between boys and girls as well as highlights the various sorts of discriminations and abuse suffered by girls around the world,” she said.
According to her, the gender gap for internet users has grown from 11 per cent in 2013 to 17 per cent in 2019, adding that in a developing country like Nigeria, the percentage hoveres around 43 per cent.
On his part, Dr Tushar Rane, UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Bauchi, said that sequel to that closure of schools occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the UN agency in collaboration with the state government developed a strategy to ensure that students continue to learn while at home.
Rane, represented by Mr Raphael Aiyedipe, Bauchi UNICEF Education Specialist, said that the organisation realised that teaching and learning could be taken out of the four corners of classroom.
“This means teaching and learning can go on even while the children are at home and that is why the theme of this year is, “Digital Generation not without Girls”.
“We know that the world is becoming a global village and while at home you can learn and that has taught us a very good lesson.
“But there is the need for us to build the capacity of all the children to be digitally inclined,” he said.
Hajiya Aisha Mohammed, the Wife of the State Governor, said that the girls were truly of the digital age, adding that they should be prepared to present themselves anywhere as girls of the digital generation and charged them to take up the challenge of the digital age.
“Let me use this opportunity to call on you to be ready to exude your readiness to learn, use technology and become women in technology in a few years to come.
“Make Bauchi state proud by becoming software, hardware and competent engineers that will help to solve development and social challenges facing our state and country at large,” Mohammed said
The governor’s wife also urged parents to take the advantage of digital entrepreneurship as a means of retaining girl-child in schools and help them to attain their potential.
She also urged government at all levels to provide necessary support to assist the girl-child to become educationally empowered.
She, however, said that the Gov. Bala Mohammed’s administration had invested extensively in the education sector and would continue to do so to help the children to attain their potential.