ABUJA – The Association for Literacy Support (ALS), an NGO, has said that the inability of the girl-child to complete secondary school education can work against girl-child and women literacy.
Mrs Cordelia Adamu, a member of the association, stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
“In a lot of communities there are no complete secondary schools, you have the junior secondary schools and the senior secondary schools elsewhere.
“Some communities did not have a full-fledge secondary school to learn up to JSS 3; we looked and also discovered a lot of early child marriages were common with the people.
“At a point where your female child and your male child go to school up to JSS 3 and the next level is the senior secondary school and it’s not within your community.
“Most parents are forced to withdraw the girl-child because she has to go longer distances, she might be committed to household chores and she is not available.
“Also economically they see it as more beneficial, leading the male child up to SS 3 to graduate while the girl-child is married off.
“So when we looked at all of that, being sensitive to what was happening, we decided to focus more on literacy to try and see if the communities will allow their women to come up and embrace the literacy programme; and it has been very challenging.“
Adamu condemned early child marriage, saying that it was a challenge undertaking the promotion of girl child education in the FCT.
“Most of the girls are married off even before they are of age, and this does not make things easy for us as an association because as soon as they are married off they are put in the family way.
“Then the child that should be fed intellectually, becomes an adult overnight and now has children and husband to take care of; so these are really challenges that make girl-child education in the FCT difficult.“
Adamu said it was unfortunate that most of the literacy centres built by the government had been abandoned.
She urged the government to make policies that would suit the needs of the people rather than make generalised policies that would hardly be implemented.
She said: “We have this policy thing, when we make policies and they are so broad and general, it becomes a problem for you to implement.
“We thought that the Abuja Municipal Area Council or all the area councils in Abuja would have gone round and looked at all the women development centres they’ve built in these communities.
“There is a women’s centre that was built in Pyakasa that has been abandoned since 2008.
“We were the first NGO that approached the area council for the use of that centre but the centre is also not equipped so we have to bring in equipment.“
The Association for Literacy Support (ALS) is a coalition of NGOs working in the area of literacy and skills acquisition for the girl-child and women. (NAN)