By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
As part of the advocacy to ensure that girls and women have increased access to education, the Gender Policy Unit of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and a women-led group, Women Connect Initiative (WCI) with support from Rise Up has stated that the Nigeria’s National Education Policy as currently constituted is unfavourable to rural girls and women especially in the area of technical and vocational education.
The group made this known during a two-day capacity-building workshop in Zaria organized to increase the knowledge of supporting civil society organizations, staff members of the university community as well as non-government organizations to carry out its Advocacy for Compulsory Technical and Vocational Education for Rural Girls and Women (ACTIVE 4 Girls) in Kaduna State.
The Coordinator, Gender Policy Unit ABU Zaria Prof. Binta Abdulkarim stated that rural girls and women are excluded and disadvantaged group as most of the course subjects provided in Section 7 of the National Education Policy are more male-friendly and saliently discourages women.
“There is a need to revisit Section 7 and the subsequent sub-sections in our National Education Policy because the course subjects to be taught as stated in the document are not inclusive enough. Of the 21 subjects stated in the policy only three of them are women-friendly and they are not even taught across government-owned technical and vocational schools” she said
In a similar vein, the Advocacy Coordinator of ACTIVE 4 Girls, Victor Osae Ihidero lamented that the policy has not lived up to all of its promises in the sub-sections of Section 7 and that there is a need to follow up on state governments to commit to the provisions in the National Education Policy saying that budgetary allocations for technical and vocational education are hardly used for TVE in rural areas
“Kaduna State Government is one of the states in Nigeria that has declared a free education policy for girls. While this policy statement is a welcome idea and a right step in the right direction, our concern is that of having the local governments to develop a bye-law to sanction the compulsory use of TVE budgetary allocations sent to LGAs for TVE centres in rural areas
“This is consistent with the vision of the Kaduna State Government to make the state the major hub for commerce. TVE is one of the channels that help drive the vision of the state government. Our focus is on Kudan Local Government Area of Kaduna as there are vast TVE opportunities available for women there”, he said
While berating the National Education Policy, Timothy Elisha the Advocacy Manager for ACTIVE 4 Women noted that the policy only recognized trades male students are mostly to excel saying that the Federal Ministry of Education and its appropriate agencies should fuffill its promises under Section 7 Article 47 and 51 of the Policy which is to re-structure vocational courses and to put more effort to encourage women technical education.
“The Articles recognized that vocational education is an integral part of technological development and as a result the federal and state governments devote certain budgetary allocations to TVE; nevertheless the monies are used for other issues other than what they are created for.
“We want local government councils in Kaduna state to develop local bye-laws to make TVE compulsory for rural girls and women” he said.