The presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Obiageli Ekekwesili, says getting girls in school must be a priority for every nation, especially one like Nigeria which she says, is still “struggling with development”.
She said this during the NEDG/BON presidential debate on Saturday while stating her four-point agenda on tackling the problem of girl-child education in the country.
The ACPN candidate, who is also a former Minister of Education believes that a nation that “educates the girl-child has a higher track to progress and development”.
Nigeria’s education sector and specifically, education of the girl-child has suffered a setback in recent years.
With the insurgency in the North East and abduction of schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014 and Dapchi in 2018 respectively, many parents in the region have over time become skeptical of the idea of sending their children to school.
Ezekwesili, however, promises to rekindle the drive towards educating the girl child if she’s elected into office.
One of the ways she intends to do so, according to her, is through incentivization of the parents, as well as the girls.
She said, “The number one thing that matters for girls in school is to give an incentive to their families to send them to school because barriers that keep girls away from school are social, cultural, economic and each of those have policy solutions to tackle them and we will use those tools.
“The second thing is to give incentives for the girls to want to go to school.
“Part of the way to do that is role modeling and so female teachers go a long way in making girls want to achieve more.
“We would also focus on the productivity on the parents of the girls because we have found that when women are economically empowered, they spend 70% of their income on the education of their children”.
The ACPN candidate emphasized that educating the girl-child is not just for ‘her’ benefit but for the overall good of the nation.
She said, “The fourth thing that we would like to do is to show to the Nigerian people that economic empowerment of women is simply smart economics.
“It enables the entire society to benefit. It is not the girl child that benefits from access to education, it is actually the community, the family and the nation”.