Nigeria Accounts For 5.5m Out-of-school Girls, Says UNESCO

By The Citizen

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in its Education for All Global Monitoring Report (EFA GMR) has listed Nigeria as one the countries with the highest number of out-of -school girls in Africa.

Nigeria leads the pack with 5.5 million, followed by Ethiopia with One million, Rwanda, 60,000 and Uganda 170,000.

According to a statement signed by the Communications Specialist, EFA GMR, Kate Redman to mark the International Day of the Girl Child held on Friday, she stated that if all girls went to primary school, one-sixth of child marriages could be prevented among girls aged under 15 years in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia.

'If all girls got the chance to go to secondary school, child marriages could be reduced by two-thirds in these regions, saving almost two million girls from becoming child brides,' she said.

She noted that the new EFA GMR analysis, 'Education Transforms', shows that one in eight girls is married by the age of 15 years in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia.

'It shows how education can empower girls to find greater confidence and freedom to make decisions that affect their own lives. In Ethiopia, for example, 32 percent of girls with less than primary education were married before the age of 15 years, compared with less than nine percent of those with a secondary education.

She quoted the Director of the EFA GMR, Pauline Rose as saying that 'Educating girls is one of the best investments we can make and yet 31 million girls of primary school age out of school, and 17 million are expected never to enter school at all. This situation desperately needs addressing.'

Redman added that in preventing child marriages, the EFA GMR's new analysis shows that educating girls can also prevent them from becoming mothers themselves when just children, risking their own, and their babies' health in early childbirth.

'Education transforms' shows that one in seven girls has given birth by the age of 17 years in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia. Yet 10 percent fewer girls would become pregnant at an age when they should be in school if they had a primary education. There would be 59 percent fewer pregnancies among girls under 17 years if all girls had a secondary education, Redman said