UNICEF: 50 percent of pupils in north drop out of school for marriage, child labour

The United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) says 50 percent of pupils in the north do not further their education.

Azuka Menkiti, UNICEF education specialist, said this at a recent media dialogue organised by the organisation in collaboration with the ministry of information.

The programme took place in Gusau, Zamfara state.

Menkiti said findings from a new study conducted by the organisation also showed most of the girls in this category were either married off or forced into child labour.

“We did community mapping to find out why children are not going to school and we realised that even when girls in the north are enrolled in schools, when they get to primary four, there is a drop in attendance,” she said.

“We discovered that more than half of the girls who finished primary education are nowhere to be found. They are not even in secondary schools. So where are they?”

To correct the anomaly, Menkiti said UNICEF recently introduced the Girls for Girls (G4G) initiative in northern states.

She explained that the initiative focuses on training and mentoring girls to remain in school.

“Now we have 15,303 girls who have been enrolled in 813 G4G groups in 300 schools across 18 LGAs in three states Zamfara, Bauchi and Katsina states,” she said.

“For us, it is about helping these girls to remain in school and complete at least primary education.”

“The UNICEF official added that the G4G initiative is part of the girls education project 3 which targets bringing “additional one million girls to school.

“We also hope to create an environment where girls will be supported to live above the poverty line for themselves and for their communities.

“The major concern for us is to ensure the girls that are in school remain there. Within the past six months that this initiative started, a lot of changes have happened in schools.”