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Nigeria ranks 27th in world’s toughest place for girls to get education

altAs the world marks the United Nation's International Day of the Girl on Wednesday, October 11, a new report has ranked Nigeria as the 27th toughest place for girls to get education, but this ranking, the report noted, did not reveal regional disparities.

On the eve of International Day of the Girl, this new report by The ONE Campaign reveals the toughest place for girls to get an education is South Sudan, followed by Central African Republic and Niger.

Since 2012, October 11 has been marked as the International Day of the Girl.

In North East Nigeria, for example, the violent extremist group Boko Haram (which translates as 'Western education is forbidden'), poses increased obstacles to girls completing their education.

Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014.

As of 2016, over 1,000 schools in the region had been damaged or destroyed and 1,500 schools had closed, the report observed.

"This means that while Nigeria as a whole does not make list of toughest countries, at a regional level, North East Nigeria is a tougher place for a girl to get educated than other regions in the country.

"In Nigeria's South-South geopolitical zone, five per cent of girls have never been to school, whereas this figure increases more than 10-fold  (to 52%) in the North East," it read in part.

ONE's 'Toughest Places for a Girl to Get an Education' investigation shows nine of the top 10 countries where girls fail to get a life-changing, poverty-busting education are in Africa, and all are fragile states.

The ground-breaking report also highlights some of the many barriers girls continue to face in securing a good education. In South Sudan 73per cent of girls ages 6-11 are not in school and in Central African Republic there is just one teacher for every 80 students.

President and CEO of The ONE Campaign, Gayle Smith, said: "Over 130 million girls are still out of school — that's over 130 million potential engineers, entrepreneurs, teachers and politicians whose leadership the world is missing out on. It's a global crisis that perpetuates poverty.

"Across countries in Africa today millions of girls didn't get to go to school, or walked long distances in dangerous conditions to get there, or sat in a classroom without a teacher or textbooks. This is not just about getting more girls into school, it's about the women they grow up to be: educated, empowered and employed."

The report further revealed that Burundi has the world's lowest national income per capital at $286 USD, but it outperforms 18 other wealthier countries.

When more girls are in school, countries' adolescent fertility rates are likely to be lower. This has knock-on benefits according to the report, as women who wait until adulthood to have children are less likely to experience health risks and are often better able to  provide for their children.

"Our research shows a strong relationship between girls' primary school completion rates and their literacy rates.

"On a global level, addressing the gender gap in education could yield between $112 billion and $152 billion USD a year in developing countries," it stated.

The ONE Campaign is a UN-recognized policy and advocacy organization of more than 8 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Not politically partisan, it raises public awareness and presses political leaders to combat AIDS and other preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programs.

In February 2018 world leaders will be asked to fund the Global Partnership for Education, an international fund that supports education in developing countries.

Smith concluded, "In 2018 leaders have a chance to turn the corner on the girls' education crisis – it starts with fully funding the Global Partnership for Education. This is a global crisis and it needs an emergency response."

ONE Africa Deputy Director, Nachilala Nkombo said: "it is worrying that 53 million of the 130 girls out of school are African girls. Without investment for girls left out of school, Africa risks missing out on achieving its Demographic Dividend in full. We urge African governments to increase their investment in education to reach 20% of their national budgets to education by 2030 but also have targeted education investments that expand skills and opportunities for its young people particularly young women in poor households."


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