Following the recent celebration of International Day of the Girl Child, Bridge International Academies has reiterated that education remains key to unlocking the potentials of a child regardless of gender.
It said despite recent successes with increasing enrolment of the girl-child, a lot still need to be done to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) before 2030.
Managing Director of Bridge Nigeria, Foyinsola Akinjayeju, said the International Day of the Girl-child is an opportunity “to lend our voices to this course as we call on parents, educators, private institutions and policymakers to take steps towards empowering the girl child and ensuring equity between genders.”
Compared to the World Bank’s data that showed 43.7% of girls and 50.4% of boys completed lower secondary school in Nigeria as of 2010, the 2022 UNICEF Country Office Annual Report (COAR) says 67% of girls and 69% of boys completed lower secondary education in 2021.
The above reports illustrate that there has been some improvement in the education of the girl-child in Nigeria but there is still a lot more to be done to reach Sustainable Development Goal targets by 2030.
In a statement, the Bridge Academies observed that there are still child marriages, cultural barriers, socio-economic factors etc. affecting the education of the girl-child.
The MD said, “October 11th is set aside every year to spotlight the rights and unique challenges that girls around the world face, and this year’s theme – ‘Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being’ resonates very deeply with Bridge’s mission and values especially as it concerns issues around digital and life-skills training.
“Bridge International Academies recognizes that education is the key to unlocking the potential of every child, regardless of gender.
“Every time we deprive a ‘girl-child’ of her rights, we stifle potential, we dim a prospect, we short-change our world and for us at Bridge, we are aligned with the SDG4 to provide inclusive and equitable education for every child,” Foyinsola added.
Bridge schools, it said, are places of equal opportunity and equal learning benefits for all children, adding, “Reports and independent studies have consistently shown that girls in Bridge Schools perform exceptionally well, on par with their male counterparts.”
During the 2023 National Common Entrance Examination in Nigeria, numerous female Bridge pupils emerged as top performers during the National Common Entrance Examinations in Nigeria. These achievements have earned them scholarships and admissions into some of the country’s top secondary schools, further highlighting the quality of education and equity in opportunities provided by Bridge.
The Schools’ Director, Bridge Nigeria, Omotola Francis-Akinlolu, added: “Bridge International Academies actively engages with communities to promote the importance of girls’ education. Through initiatives like parent-teacher associations and community meetings, we encourage parents and caregivers to support their daughters’ education and break down traditional barriers.”