The Pakistani activist, student and United Nations UN Messenger of Peace and the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala Yousafzai, has revealed that Nigeria has broken world record with more girls out of school than anywhere else in the world, reports NaijaAgroNet.
Malala made this disclosure during a working visit to Abuja and Maiduguri on Monday, lamenting that despite Nigeria riches, its record of girls child out of school remain alarming.
“Nigeria is the richest country in Africa, but has more girls out of school than any country in the world,” said Yousafzai. “Studies are clear — educating girls grows economies, reduces conflict and improves public health. For these girls and for their country’s future, Nigeria’s leaders must immediately prioritise education.”
According to UNICEF sources, over 2,295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 displaced and almost 1,400 schools destroyed since the start of the Boko Haram insurgency in 2009. Three million children in the northeast are in need of support to keep learning.
While in Maiduguri, the epicenter of the crisis in northeast Nigeria, Malala visited schoolchildren in a camp for displaced families and secondary school girls at Yerwa Government Girls School.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that while the 90 camps and camp-like settings in Maiduguri house thousands of families, more than three-quarters of the 600,000-plus displaced people are living with family, relatives or friends in host communities, placing an additional burden on local schools.
Beyond the crisis in the northeast, she noted that Nigeria already had the largest number of children out of school in the world – over 10.5 million. Among primary school-aged children not in school, only five per cent are dropouts: three-quarters of them will never step foot in a classroom, and the majority are girls.
Across West Africa, 46 per cent of primary school-aged children not in school are Nigerian. Globally, one in five children not enrolled are Nigerian.
“We will do everything in our power to make sure all children can keep learning. We believe that education – especially for girls, is the single most important way to bring hope, peace and prosperity not just for this generation, but for also for future generations,” said Mohamed Malick Fall, UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria.