Education ministry seeks end to gender discrimination in schools

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The Federal Government has urged the 36 states of the federation to contribute to the review of 14-year-old gender policy in education to eliminate gender parities in the education system.

Hajia Binta Abdulkadri, the Director of Basic and Secondary Education, Federal Ministry of Education, made the call in Enugu on Monday at a two-day review of the gender policy in Enugu.

The Federal Ministry of Education is partnering with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to revise the National Policy on Gender in Basic Education (NPGBE) to cover all levels of education.

NPGBE was created in 2006 to eliminate gender disparities in primary and junior secondary school education by ensuring full and equal access to quality education for all Nigerians.

However, the policy document is currently undergoing revision to reflect emerging issues and changes in the society.

In her remarks, Abdulkadri said the objective of the policy was to promote access, transition and performance in basic education for all, especially the girl child through the creation of favourable learning environment with the support of key stakeholders.

Abdulkadri, represented by the Deputy Director, Gender, Mrs Keme Nnorom noted that the national policy on gender in Basic Education and its implementation guidelines were developed in 2006/2007 through the support of UNICEF.

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According to her, a similar review is ongoing across the six geo-political zones of the country to enable the participant to make an input and contribution before the new gender policy in education would be adopted.

“There is a lot of work to be done and your inputs are crucial in ensuring that every state and sector are captured. The task ahead is enormous but surmountable.

“I encourage you, participants, to accord this assignment the attention it deserves in order to realize the ministry’s desire to achieve equity, equality and eliminate all forms of biases hindering the implementation of gender in basic education in the country.

“I also urge you all to study the document carefully and determine how it will work in your various states,” Abdulkadri said.

Contributing, a consultant to UNICEF, Mr. Onche Odeh, described gender policy in education draft as very ‘practical, achievable and real’.

“The content of this document is what we want in our educational system and it is imperative to know that we had made a remarkable departure in the right direction.

“What we had believed on Basic Education cannot be compared to this; this new policy is all-encompassing especially the aspect that is on monitoring and evaluation to see how they are implemented.

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“Beyond the idealistic approach, this document is not just paperwork but paper down to the lowest level from community to the policymakers. It is a living document,” Odeh said.

Odeh added that the document would address gender issues in the educational system where both women and men would be treated equally.

Speaking also, the Commissioner for Education, Enugu State, Prof. Uchenna Eze noted that the new policy would end gender inequality in the educational sector as no gender would be preferred but put them at par.

Eze, who was represented by the head, planning, Research and Statistics, Mrs Amaka Obetta regretted that in the past, women were left in the kitchen, reared children and carried out other domestic activities.

“After discussions in this event, everything will return to normal both in education, social life even in the offices.

“If you are given an equal right, our society will be alright because we do not know the gender that will restore the situation in the country,” he said.

Participants at the meeting including officials of Ministries and State Universal Basic Education Boards and Non-Governmental Organisations from Southeast, South-south and some part of the North Central geo-political zones. (NAN)

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