How education transformed a rural girl’s life in Bauchi
Rahma Muhammad Adam would have been like any other girl in Nigeria whose parent’s financial status may have deprived of an opportunity to further her education beyond primary or secondary school.
This is not usual in the North, where parents are reluctant to invest in their daughters’ education.
However, Rahma, now an English teacher at a local primary school in Kariya village, Ganjuwa Local Government Area of Bauchi State, is one of the success stories of the jointly funded UNICEF/ Bauchi State government sponsored programme for the education and empowerment of the girl-child called Female Teachers Trainee Scholarship Scheme (FTTSS).
It was introduced under the Girl’s Education Programme 2 (GEP2) through a tri-partite agreement between UNICEF, SUBEB and the College of Education, Azare in the state.
The FTTSS programme was introduced in five states to address the dearth of female teachers in rural schools which discouraged parents from enrolling their daughters in schools to be taught by men.
The Katsina, Sokoto.
The programme was to boost the number of female teachers in schools who could be role models to help improve enrolment, retention and transition of girls from the basic to the tertiary levels of education.
It is also aimed at improving gender-sensitive educational delivery and create girl-friendly learning environment for the girls so they can realize their full potential, leading to economic opportunities and empowerment. The opportunity Rahma was enrolled alongside other girls by UNICEF to further their education and help their states include Bauchi,
Niger, Zamfara and communities.
She hails from a village called Kafin Madaki in Ganjuwa Local Government Area of Bauchi State. When she passed out from the College of Education Azare, she was employed as a teacher at another community, Sabon Kariya, few kilometers from her village.
She said “The programme helped me further my studies. I gained a lot. If I had stopped my education after finishing secondary school, I wouldn’t have become a teacher. In fact, I can’t even stand in front of the children to teach,” she said. A snag Rahma suffered a delay due to choice of her course which she said was caused by the school. She had to wait for a year to get admission to read the course she wanted to study at the college. She now teaches at a primary school in Kariya community.
“I was among the first set of students. The school used my SSCE result to give me admission and I was to study Mathematics/ Economics which I don’t like. I had to switch courses to the Department of Languages and studied English/Hausa, which caused the one year delay,” she said. One among many Rahma added that other girls from her community joined the programme to study at the College of Education Azare, but were unable to finish their courses. She was the only one who graduated on time.
“Some of the girls had problems of having carry-overs which made them to stay longer while some of them were withdrawn.”
Increased female enrolment
According to Rahma, there has been significant increase of female students enrolment in schools due to awareness and presence of female teachers who are role models in their communities.
“Most of the parents who were reluctant to send their girls to school have now changed their
students minds. They look at us and decide that their girls need to be educated, as they can have jobs and earn salaries. Most of them have allowed their daughters to join the programme,” Rahma added. An advocate Rahma being a beneficiary of the FTTSS programme has now become an advocate for the education of the girl-child for the benefit of the society.
She said that she used every opportunity to show people that there is need to invest in the education of the girl-child and that educating the girl-child is a right that must be given to her.
“I enlightened members of my community about the importance of girl-child’s education. I met a family debating on whether they should allow their daughters further their education or marry them off. I told them that educating girls has more significance to the family and society as even if she did not work, her education will benefit her children and the society. “I wish there was another programme for elderly married women who did not get the opportunity of going to school to be taught in an adult literacy programme so that they can acquire education and become literate,” she said.
Rahma added that there are presently three female teachers at Kariya Primary School where she teaches. She however said there are two others who are not beneficiaries of the UNICEF’s FTTSS programme which she benefitted from.
On the celebration of the GirlChild’s day
She said the International Day of the Girl-Child was very significant as it reminds her of the lack of adequate access to education being suffered by the girl-child in developing countries like Nigeria.
“I celebrate the day because I am happy that the girl-child is being given special attention. Education of the girl-child is very important, it has enabled me to help my siblings with their school work and monitor their progress.” Testimonies The head teacher at Kariya Primary School where Rahma teaches English, Malam Murtala Yusuf described her as one of the brilliant teachers in the school.
“She is a very dedicated staff, despite not being from this community, she always comes to work early and never misses her classes and the students like her a lot,” he said.
District Head of Kariya, Alhaji Yakubu Yusuf, described the programme by UNICEF and the Bauchi State government as a good step towards the upliftment of the girl-child in particular and the society in general.
According to one of the GEP officers, Ibrahim Umar Kariya, who is involved in the project, the girls enrolled in the programmes were given scholarship which covers their registration, accommodation as well as all other educational requirements throughout the duration of their NCE programme in addition to N5,000 monthly allowance given to them.
According to the UNICEF’s programme document, the FTTSS is a special scholarship scheme that supports rural girls to study NCE programme with the objective of deploying them to rural schools upon successful completion of their programme.
The programme started in January 2009 with 350 girls admitted into various NCE courses in College of Education (COE) Azare during the 2008/2009 academic session.
Candidates were sourced from the rural areas of Bauchi State through their respective LGEAs.
The document further showed that apart from the pioneer 350 students admitted during the 2008/2009 academic session, another batch of 243 students was admitted in the 2009/2010 academic session.
Out of the 243 students,200 were sponsored by the state government, 40 by UNICEF and three by Kirfi Local Government Education Authority.
It added that another batch of 295 students was admitted in the 2010/2011 academic session where 200 were sponsored by the Bauchi State government, 45 by the local governments education authorities (LGEAs) and 50 by UNICEF
An additional 250 students were admitted in the 2011/2012 academic session with 200 cosponsored by the state and LGEAs and 50 by UNICEF.
Another batch of 240 students was also admitted in the 2012/2013. 200 of them were sponsored by the state and LGEAs and 40 by UNICEF.
Challenges facing the FTTSS programme
According to UNICEF, the programme is facing a lot of challenges which include poor retention and graduation rates.
Trend analysis of the pioneer sets revealed 70% retention and 48% graduation rates. Withdrawals of some students from the programme due to some sociocultural factors such as early marriage, lack of cooperation from husbands and ignorance among others and low capacity and poor background of some candidates particularly in English language caused some delay thereby making them unable to cope with the demands of the studies.
Other problems, according to the document include rampant maternity leaves and nursing of infants among the students which lead to unnecessary disruptions of academic activities and progress.
Despite the challenges being faced by the programme at various levels, the success stories of girls like Rahma are still encouraging and raising the expectations that there is hope for the girl-child to acquire a decent education and become productive.
Rahma Muhammad Adam