By Mahmoud Dogara (Bauchi Correspondent)
A group known as the Legal Defence and Assistant Project (LEDAP), has trained 50 key educators/ officials in Bauchi state in a workshop, on the implementation of the Universal Basic Education Act and Right to Education, as part of efforts to increase enrollment of girls in schools.
Participants were drawn from the State Ministry of Education and the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board for the workshop entitled, "Training of Key Education Officials on the Universal Basic Education Act in Bauchi State.
While declaring the training open which was organised by LEDAP in partnership with Malala fund, held at the BIC plaza in Bauchi, the Senior Program Manager of LEDAP, Mrs Pamela Okoroigwe, hampered on the importance of girl child education, saying that many girls in the North-east part of the country were out of school, hence the need for parents and stakeholders to ensure that they have access to free and compulsory qualitative universal primary and junior secondary school education in the state.
Bauchi LEDAP State Coordinator of LEDAP, Mr. Mbami Iliya Sabka, said the objective of the training was to strengthen the capacity of education officials in the state to engage government at the various levels and community members to ensure full implementation of the Universal Basic Education Act in Bauchi State.
She said that the aim of the project is to offer solutions to the low education enrollment for the girl-child in the project states and ensure that state governments at all levels take action to promote free and qualitative education for all, especially girls.
Mrs. Pamela said due to the high number of out-of- school girls in the northern part of the country, the Organization is carrying out similar projects in Kano, Kaduna and Adamawa states as part of efforts to implement the provisions of the Universal Basic Education Act, 2004. She added that all children, especially the girl-child has a right to free, compulsory and universal primary education and junior secondary education in the projects states.
In her presentation, Dr. Brikila Okafor Emefesi said that the right to education is one of the most important fundamental Right of a child, adding that Bauchi state has a challenge with girl child education as many of them are withdrawn from school before their completion of Junior and senior secondary school.
On advancing the right to education, Dr Emefesi said that teachers and other education officials are one of the most influential forces for quality, access and retention in education, as they play a major role in shifting mindsets in their community and empowering boys and girls to learn, dream and succeed.
"Education can break the circle of poverty that stops people from going to school as it has a boomerang effect that limits an individual. So as long as one is limited, that person cannot grow fast. Relevant Government and education officials should tackle the numerous violations, abuses and situations that keeps children out of school" she said
Mr Godwin Udoh, a legal practitioner, lamented that most people in communities are ignorant of the existence of laws enforcing free and compulsory girl-child education in Nigeria, coupled with peoples mindset about laws. He added that many people think that the task of educating their female children rest on their shoulders not only on the government. NNL.