© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Over 58,000 female teachers needed in Northern Nigerian rural schools – UNICEF
THE United Nations Children and Education(UNICEF), says a total of 58,121 female teachers are needed to bridge the gender parity in rural classrooms in Northern Nigeria.
“To achieve gender parity in rural classrooms, the number of female teachers would have to increase four-fold, meaning that additional 58,121 female teachers would need to be hired,” UNICEF said in a research conducted in 2018 in eight northern states titled “What is the effect of female teachers on girls enrollment and retention in Northern Nigeria.
The research linked the increasing rate of out-of-school children in the country, particularly in Northern Nigeria, which is estimated at over 10 million to the inadequate number of female teachers in the education system.
The eight Northern states are, Bauchi, Gombe, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara.
The research is one of the two commissioned and conducted by UNICEF as part of its Nigeria Girls Education Project, Phase 3(GEP3).
Findings of the two studies were presented to stakeholders in Abuja on Wednesday at the opening of a two-day dissemination workshop.
According to the research findings, female teachers have substantial positive effects on girls’ educational outcomes.
“Across the eight Northern Nigeria states included in this study, 33 per cent of rural schools have at least one female teacher,” UNICEF said of the research findings.
“In these rural schools, we find a positive correlation between the presence of at least one female teacher and girls’ enrollment.”
The study also revealed that there is a huge demand for more female teachers in rural communities.
It noted that the higher the percentage of all teachers who are female, the higher the enrollment rate is for girls in rural schools.
UNICEF said a key qualitative data revealed that parents strongly prefer female teachers for their daughters because they provide safety and security for the pupils.
Speaking at the workshop, a UNICEF consultant, Noel Ihebuzor said Federal Government should employ more female teachers in order to improve access, retention and quality learning in schools.
He stressed that employing more female teachers across the country would close the gap of the workforce in the education sector.
Ihebuzor added that the report revealed that female teachers can change behavioural patterns of students positively, including retaining more pupils in schools.
“The presence of female teachers is a positive influence on parents’ decision to enroll their girls in school, by implication more girls will come to school, learn better and contribute to growth in society, “the study indicated,” he said.
Presenting the findings of the second research, “Communication for Development (C4D) Assessment in Basic Education (CABE) in Nigeria, UNICEF C4D specialist, Ogu Enemaku said the findings indicated that sometimes the presence of female teachers in school is a determining factor whether parents will send their children to school or not.
Enemaku noted that access, quality and accountability were essential for any society to develop its education system.
He said the study was conducted by an international consultant who came in from Pakistan to carry out the research.
”If the quality of education is improved, it becomes an attraction for parents to send their children to school,” he said.
According to him, the study also revealed that Boko Haram is not the main reason why parents do not send their wards to school in the North.
”Before Boko Haram, many families did not send their children to school. General security, poverty could also hinder parents to send their wards to schools, ”he said.