Creating Access for Uneducated Children in Nigeria

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ABUJA — Although Nigeria’s population only ranks seventh-largest in the world, its number of uneducated children leads the way at number one.

According to Newsweek, Nigeria’s education secretary Adamu Hussaini told the BBC that nearly 10.5 million children in Nigeria are not currently enrolled in school.

Hussaini believes that a large factor contributing to a number of uneducated children in Nigeria is the practice of various traditions and religions by nomadic groups. Many of these practices prevent girls from attending school, which could explain why the majority of uneducated children in Nigeria are girls.

Aside from traditions and religions practiced within the family, it is believed that the largest contributing factor to the number of uneducated children in Nigeria is the limited funding for public school systems.

All Africa reported that only 9 percent of Nigeria’s $34 billion federal budget was spent on education, and the majority of that already minimal funding went to education ministries, teacher recruitment efforts and salaries.

The lack of resources for schools throughout Nigeria makes it incredibly difficult to provide an education to a significant number of children. Girls especially are bearing the brunt of Nigeria’s poor school conditions.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Nigerian schools lack Water, Sanitation and Hygeine (WASH) facilities. The absence of these facilities makes it increasingly difficult for girls to attend school.

The lack of sanitation facilities and resources for school-aged girls has led to the collaboration of Wheels of Hope Rising Foundation, Always Nigeria’s #APadAGirl2025 Initiative and Proctor and Gamble Nigeria.

These organizations are working together to provide sanitary pads, health education and information about menstrual hygiene to girls throughout Nigerian school systems. Thus far, sanitary pads have been distributed to 532 students at Odewale Community High School.

Despite the work of these organizations, Nigerian girls are still struggling to receive an education at all. Education activist Malala Yousafzai recently met with Nigerian president Yemi Osinbajo to call an “education state of emergency.”

Yousafzai argued that, although Nigeria is the richest country in Africa, it has more girls out of school than any other country in the world.

“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 prioritize education,” Yousafzai said.

The majority of Nigeria’s uneducated children reside in the northern areas of the country. This area of Nigeria has been ravaged by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram since 2009.

Since Boko Haram’s uprising, more than 2,285 teachers have been killed, 19,000 have been displaced and more than 1,400 schools have been destroyed.

Nigeria’s fight to provide education for its millions of children is an ongoing battle that will not cease without the unrelenting support of organizations like Wheels of Hope Rising Foundation and activists like Malala Yousafzai.

Kassidy Tarala

Photo: Flickr

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Kassidy Tarala

Kassidy lives in Minneapolis, MN. Her academic interests include journalism, gender, women and sexuality studies.

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