How ed­u­ca­tion trans­formed a ru­ral girl’s life in Bauchi

Daily Trust - - HOME FRONT - From Balarabe Alka­s­sim, 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

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