The House of Representatives Committees on Women in Parliament and Universal Basic Education (UBE) says it will ensure free education for the girl-child up to senior secondary school level.
Legislative processes are ongoing to amend the UBE Act (2004) to actualise the free education, the Chairmen of the committees said in a meeting with the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) and the Malala Foundation, in Abuja on Monday.
The meeting was to mark the 2021 International Women’s Day titled “Choose to Challenge.”
The Chairman, Committees on Women in Parliament, Mrs Taiwo Oluga said they would make sure the number of out of school girls was brought down to the barest minimum.
She said with about 100 million women, Nigeria females cannot be ignored or deprived of the chance of contributing to nation-building.
Chairman, Committee on Basic Education, Mr Julius Ihonvbere said lack of political will by the National Assembly was a major constraint in getting the girl-child back to the classroom.
The lawmaker said the key to solving the issues around the condition of women generally and the girl child boils down to a constitutional approach.
He said there was the need to declare a state of emergency in the education sector as Nigeria has the highest number of out of school children.
Regression in learning
The Country Representative – Nigeria, Malala Foundation, Mrs Crystal Ikanih-Musa, said the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic increased gender-based violence and a regression in learning by the girl-child.
Ikanih-Musa said that children in rural areas were most affected because of a lack of access to basic equipment that could facilitate e-learning.
She said an amendment of the Universal Basic Education Act would help the girl-child enroll in school.