Mairo Mandara, a consultant obstetrician, gynecologist, and public health physician, said that more than 120 million young Nigerians between the ages of 15 and 24 are illiterate.
She stated that 72 million were women or 60 percent of the total. She said this in Abuja at a round table discussion with traditional and religious leaders urging collaboration to enhance human capital development via girl-child education.
According to Mandara, who also serves as the governor of Borno State’s special adviser and coordinator for partnerships, sustainable development, and humanitarian response, only 70% of students who enroll in elementary school in sub-Saharan Africa finish their education.
In her presentation on the “importance of girls’ education in improving MNCH outcomes and accelerating Nigeria’s demographic transition,” she disclosed that 29.5% of junior secondary students and 13.9% of senior secondary students graduate from high school.
The ability of our institutions to absorb elementary education graduates at the secondary level in Africa is now at 36%, the speaker continued. Only 30-35 percent of girls register in high school and 14 percent of them graduate. By limiting their involvement in education, social dynamics harm girls more than boys.
“In contrast to fewer than 15% in the South-South, over two-thirds of women live in the North West and North East areas. The sixth grade of elementary school is when dropout rates are highest, and females are more likely than boys to leave school. Between the ages of 15 and 19, over 28% of females are already married. Girls aged 15 to 19 who are already moms or who are expecting their first child make up 23% of the population.
Mandara underlined the significance of young Nigerians, particularly girls, completing at least secondary school.
She went on to say that empowering women and promoting girls’ education may significantly impact social and economic advancement.
She claims that “studies have shown how education enhances the lives of women, children, and families, as well as improves maternal and child health. The chance of getting married as a youngster before turning 18 is decreased by five percentage points or more for every year spent in secondary school.
“Earnings might rise by up to 10% for each additional year of education. A child’s chance of living past the age of five increases by 50% if the mother can read and write.
“Women with secondary education are more likely to utilize family planning, attend prenatal care, give birth in a hospital, immunize their children, and seek medical attention when they or a member of their family is ill.
“Primary school completion has no statistically significant effect. A kid born to a mother who can read and write has a 50% higher chance of living through the age of five and of attending school. A youngster with more education also does better financially.
She asked dads to take the initiative in ensuring that every child, especially the girl child, completes secondary school to achieve this goal.
“Our fathers, the ball is in your courts,” Mandara commanded. We urge you to utilize your power to make sure that every ward has at least one secondary school that is fully staffed from JSS to SSS. Advocate for a policy that makes secondary education completion the minimum requirement for basic education rather than JSS, as this has no discernible impact on the lives of females and does not promote maternal and child health. Please take the initiative to better Nigeria’s and our communities’ futures.