UNESCO advocates increased access to education for girl-child
Media Trust Limited
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has advocated an improved access to education and health services for the wellbeing of the girl-child and vulnerable groups. Officer in Charge in the Abuja Regional Head of Office, UNESCO, Mr Phillipe Delanghe, made the call in Abuja, recently.. Delanghe noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had reversed gains made in the education of girls, increased inequalities, deepened the national learning crisis, and exposed them to exploitation and abuse. He explained that girls in Nigeria had fewer educational opportunities and faced health risks due to early and frequent childbearing, HIV, early and unintended pregnancies, GenderBased Violence (GBV), and harmful traditional practices. He said despite the policies to improve access to health and education, a high estimate of 6 to 11-year-olds were out of school. According to him, the estimate amounts to about 10.2 million children, with a larger proportion being girls. “This situation does not just call for renewed commitment but a deepened level of engagement, with a critical mass of stakeholders, to the education, health, and wellbeing of school-aged children. This is “particularly to girls and other vulnerable children, through effective reproductive health education”. He explained that UNESCO’s “Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (03 programmes)”, provided support to ensure that policies developed and implemented had an impact on the wellbeing of children. Also, Ene Okpe, a girl-child and student, stressed the need to end all stereotypes and encourage girls to adopt Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related courses. “There are lots of girls who don’t know their potential and what they can do in society. “Girls are coming here to know about their rights and potential and to know that not all STEM courses are for the boys. Girls need to understand that we should not limit our potentials,” Okpe said.