By Victoria Onehi
The Executive Director of the Development Research Projects Centre (dRPC) Dr Judith-Ann Walker, has called on the government at all levels to incorporate school safety for the girl-child into the Education Sector Plan.
Walker stated this at the 3rd dRPC / NIPSS Workshop for Directors of States implementing Education Sector Plans (ESPs). on Flexible Implementation ESPs to address emerging issues impacting Girls’ Education at Basic Education Level which was held in Abuja and sponsored by Ford Foundation.
Speaking at the opening of the Workshop, Walker said there is a need for flexibility to include emerging issues like insecurity and the challenges which came with the COVID 19 pandemic into the Education Sector Plans (ESP).
“This is about Education Planning and how it can anticipate environmental Issues and respond to them in terms of the Plan Implementation and monitoring. So, incorporating the insecurity challenge as it affects the girl-child into the Education Sector Plans and responding to that and training and working with the duty bearers is what we are doing,” she said.
She further said that the State Directors came up with recommendations suitable for their States and that dRPC, in collaboration with the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), will support the implementation.
The Director-General of NIPSS, represented by Director of Research NIPSS, Prof Pam Dung Sha, said in many communities government is not responding appropriately to issues like mining, and insecurity which is taking children out of school. “That’s why we are looking at flexibility in planning, budget making and implementation of the budget. We think that the Ministry of Finance in each state which is charged with the responsibility of budgeting and Plan implementation, should take on board the idea of being flexible in drawing up their budgets to take into consideration emerging Issues.” he said.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education who was represented by the Director, Senior Secondary School Education,
Hajiya Binta Abdulkadir said COVID-19 and insecurity have impacted girl-child Education.
” We will strategise well for good planning and we will leave no stone unturned to drive policies to help t;he girl-child. We expect states to key in and comply,” she said.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) Prof Ismail Junaidu, who was represented by the Chief Research Officer, Policy and Programmes, Dr Chima Egbujuo said insecure and unsafe schools manifest in different ways across the country. However, Nigeria in 2021 came up with the National Policy on Safety, Security and Violence-Free Schools in Nigeria with its implementation guidelines.
“The Safe School Minimum Standard was also developed to support the policy implementation process. States and stakeholders are expected to take up these policy frameworks, localise them and articulate the most efficient strategies for proper and effective implementation,” he said.
Representative of the Malala Foundation, Mr Femi Aderigbigbe said its interest is in supporting initiatives that enable the girl-child to receive education at all levels. He said the Foundation is happy that dRPC is going ahead to facilitate the implementation of recommendations from the Workshop.