It is estimated that one third of all girls are out-of-school in Nigeria, amounting to over 5.5 million school-age girls not in school.

The figure for the Northern part of Nigeria is even more abysmal.

Girls’ Net Attendance Rates in Nigeria

North West, North East and North Central of Nigeria have the worst girls’ net attendance rates in the whole of the country. Dropping out of school early is especially a more significant issue among girls. 12% girls compared to 10% boys will drop out of primary school in the last class, class 6, before completion. In fact, 70% of young women (age 15-24) in the North West have not completed primary school (UNESCO, 2014).

Many girls fail to make the transition to junior secondary school for a range of educational, economic and socio-cultural reasons. An over-age start to school, the onset of puberty or increased costs of secondary education may all put an early end to girls’ education. Girls’ low levels of transition and retention in junior secondary schools is becoming an increasing concern because it implies that girls will continue to fail to acquire fundamental life skills, including literacy and numeracy.

But what exactly is the cause of the problem of girl child education in Northern Nigeria? There are many obstacles ranging from girls’ participation in a full cycle of basic education. Distance to school and perceptions of school security may hinder parents from encouraging their daughter to attend school. Many families cannot afford the costs of schooling, for uniforms or books. Other families prefer to send their children to Qur’anic schools or to keep them at home to help with domestic work or generate additional income.

Barriers to Girls’ Education in Northern Nigeria

What are the probable solutions?

According to UNICEF the following are the interventions needed to sustain girl child education in Northern Nigeria:

Interventions on Girl Child Education (UNICEF 2017)

Are these enough? Do we need any other measures? Do let us know your input in the comments section.