By: Victor IHIDERO, Zaria
A student group, African Society of International Studies (ASIS) in collaboration with Pan-African Youth for Societal Development (PAYSOD) has urged policy-makers, educational institutions, religious and traditional leaders to commit to promoting inclusive education in northern Nigeria,
The group said this in Zaria on Thursday during a one-day workshop to facilitate key stakeholders on the relevance of gender equity in enrollment and retention of girl children in Northern Nigeria. The High Commissioner of ASIS, Ahmadu Bello University Chapter, Amb. Muhammadu Liman Usman in his opening remarks noted that the northern Nigeria Nigeria is still lagging behind due to practices that favour one gender over the other especially in the area of education.
“Inclusive education for us is not predominantly about the girl-child having access to education. It is about children having equal access to quality education irrespective of sex, religion and ethnicity. The number of out-of-school children in northern Nigeria, both male and female, is high and this meeting is organized to bring stakeholders together to brainstorm on how to address the issues that beset children and the youths”, he said.
While emphasizing the need for inclusive education for national development, Prof. Binta Abdulkarim, Cordinator, Gender Policy Unit, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, speaking through Timothy Elisha noted that policymakers should be able to provide a fair and level playing ground for girls to thrive in Nigeria saying that “efforts have been put to create equality across the gender but has failed to create equity
“Equality is putting everyone on the same pedestal; equity is creating fairness by ensuring that those who are disadvantaged on same pedestal are giving more platform to go shoulder-to-shoulder with others. In Nigeria,women and girls are socially excluded at all levels of decision making
“One of the ways to solve this problem is the establishment of public relation units at local government levels to facilitate information sharing and feedback among households heads, religious and community leaders”, she said
On her part, one of the speakers, Mrs Khadija Sanusi Gumbi of Political Science and International Studies Department, A.B.U Zaria said that northern Nigeria is currently harvesting harvesting the consequences of not educating girl-children years ago as there are less women in key decision making offices.
“Inclusive education values diversity and the unique contribution of everyone. School being the first point of contact of children to the outside outside is a place where we can strengthen national unity, promote and celebrate our diversity and a place for altering biases and discrimination” she said.
The director of Pan-African Youth Societal Development (PAYSOD), Alkaseem Musa Adamu commends ASIS for the initiative and noted that PAYSOD is committed to supporting youth-led initiative especially in the areas of inclusive education, youth empowerment and equal opportunities for all