Kano state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje today (Saturday – 08/10/2016) launched the ‘School in Bag, Kano Summer Camp Academy’ for 10, 648 girls from public primary schools in the state.
The aim, according to the governor, “is to address the challenges of gender imbalance and transition from the Primary School to Junior Secondary School and more importantly to support the process of improving our girls’ performance by creating a platform for additional coaching during vacation”.
Under the programme, the girls will be coached and tutored on basic literacy, numeracy and social courses, in addition to being given bags containing two sets of uniform and assorted study materials, as a measure to enhance their chances of successfully passing the transition exam and preparing them to confront the academic demands of the junior basic stage.
Expressing worry that a significant number of girls in the state drop out of school, Governor Ganduje lamented that: “it is evident that the survival rate of girls from primary one to five was 73% whereas the dropout rate for girls when they reach primary six was 50% as at last year. These indicators are a signal of low transition rate into JSS consequently, the annual school census of 2015/2016 confirmed that only 46% of girls transited from primary school to Junior Secondary School I”.
Noting that most of the challenges associated with the low transition and dropout rate are linked to education demand and supply problems, apart from the cultural factor, the governor maintained that his administration would continue to do its best to remedy the situation.
In his remarks, the state Deputy Governor and Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar explained that the programme is being financed from hitherto idle funds under the DFID conditional cash transfer scheme for female students in the state.
He noted that because of several incentives put in place by the Ganduje government and its development partners, the enrolment figure for girls in public schools is almost at par with that of boys, pointing out that the major challenge now is to ensure that the girls that are admitted are retained in the schools until they complete secondary education.
Prof. Hafiz therefore, urged parents and other stakeholders to join hands with the government to promote girl child education, especially taking into consideration the need for professional female manpower in the state, in critical ares such as medicine, science and technology.
In their separate, the representative of DFID and ESSPIN, Malam Iliyasu Adamu and Fatima Aboki, respectively, who commended the state government for pioneering effort in the Summer Camp initiative, urged it to work out a sustainability framework for ESSPIN supported programmes, as the project is wrapping up its activities in Nigeria in January 2017.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hajiya ‘Yardada Maikano, represented by Hajiya Ladidi Sani Fagge, appealed to the state government to increase the number of girls science secondary schools to expand access of the girl-child to science education.
Safiya Yahya, a pupil of Tarauni Primary School and Alhaji Ibrahim Jibrin, a parent, thanked the state government and ESSPIN for introducing the programme promising that the School bags donated would be judiciously utilized.