Primary school education is the initial part of the compulsory, free basic education every Nigerian child must have, according to the law. The data presented here shows the primary school enrolment rate in Nigeria on a state by state basis and by gender.
Based data EduCeleb.com obtained from the Federal Ministry of Education, lesser girls constituting 48.1% of all enrolment are in primary schools compared to the remaining 51.9% for boys.
This data, which was published in the Nigeria Digest of Education Statistics shows that there had be no significant difference in the percentage of girls enrolled in primary schools within the space of three years between 2014 and 2016.
It is important to be aware of this data considering the role of education in the advancement of women as stated in the Beijing Platform for Action and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
The Platform for Action, which was instituted in 1995 called for the elimination of gender-based discrimination in education at all levels, eradication of illiteracy among women and improving access to vocational training, science and technology education, and continuing education.
EduCeleb.com also notes that education is contained in Goal 4 of the SDGs while gender equality applies to goal 5. The SDGs were instituted in 2015 to consolidate on the gains of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Some other Global Goals, as the SDGs are also known would be achieved with adequate level of literacy across both gender.
The map below shows states where girl-child enrolment is lesser than the national average in red and those above it are in green.
Female versus Male Primary School enrolment rate in Nigeria
States in which more girls enrol in school translate in lesser percentage of boys enrolled, vice versa.
From the graph below, we see that girl enrolment is lowest in Zamfara state with 35.5% and highest in Oyo State at 51.7%.
Following Oyo is Akwa Ibom at 51.1%. The others in the top ten are Anambra, Lagos, Ebonyi, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with 51%, 50.5%, 50.2%, and 50.1% respectively.
Others are Osun (49.8%), Ekiti (49.7%) while Rivers, Kano and Delta tie at 49.6%.
Whereas, leading in the least ten states in primary school enrolment for girls in Nigeria is Bauchi State 46%. But 45.2% of primary school pupils enrolled in both Gombe and Taraba States are girls.
Katsina State recorded 44.4%, both Niger State and Jigawa State girls constituted 44% of the enrolment in their respective states. Girls in Yobe, Kebbi and Sokoto recorded 41.7%, 38.9%, 38.7% of all the primary school enrolments in their respective states.
Primary School Completion Rate and the out of school children
According to the Nigeria Education Indicator (2016), the primary school completion rate for girls in Nigeria is 64.8% while that of boys is 70.8%.
In other words, more boys who started primary schools are likely to complete it than girls.
This data also shows that the out of school children in Nigeria are within the One Million, Six Hundred and Forty-Eight Thousand, Five Hundred and Forty-six (10,648,546). A majority of them are girls.
The United Nations International Children Fund (UNICEF) has attributed the susceptibility of girls to be out of school to various things. Among these are poverty, low perceptions of the value of education for girls and early marriages.
Just like the data earlier shared here on young adult literacy in Nigeria, most of the less literate Nigerians are found in Northern Nigeria. The high level of insecurity in the region has further deepened fears about an increase in the number out of school children altogether.
It is hoped that programmes such as the Safe School Initiative (SSI) in Nigeria, the Social Investment Programme that includes the School Feeding Programme, among other efforts would help reduce the number of primary school aged children out of school in the nearest future.