By: Mayowa Adeniran & Adebayo Fajinmi
On Wednesday, March 10, two committees of the House of Representatives have pledged their unflinching supports to amending the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act 2004 so as to guarantee free, safe and quality girls’ education, at least, up to the secondary school level.
The House Committees on Women in Parliament and Basic Education made the pledge during an event to commemorate the 2021 International Women’s Day on Monday in Abuja. The event was organised by Malala Fund and its Education Champions Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) and the #AmendUBEAct Coalition.
Highlighting the need for gender-responsive education policies in Nigeria, Chair, House Committee on Women in Parliament, Hon. Taiwo Oluga, said women make up about 100million of the country’s 200 million population, hence, the need to educate and empower women towards contributing to the nation’s development.
According to her, the House of Representatives is committed to completing the on-going amendment process of the UBE Act (2004). The Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act amendment bill is at the committee stage at the House of Representatives. The bill seeks to provide a legal framework for free, safe and quality education up to twelve years to ensure an increase in basic education financing and promote gender-responsive learning, among others.
“Nigeria is being ranked to have the highest out-of-school children in the world. It is completely shameful to be talking about the status of basic education across Nigeria in 2021,” said Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, Chair, House Committee on Basic Education.
“When we talk about out-of-school children, we always put the numbers between 10 – 13million. I believe it should be up to 20 million if all unique scenarios across the States are well-considered,” he added.
“More than the pandemic, we should begin to address the dynamics of insecurity on girl child education. The Safe School Declaration includes commitments for perimeter fencing of schools with a single entrance and exit for adequate monitoring. What happened in Kangara