By Esther Atani, The Sight News
ABUJA: According to the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), with the increasing out-of-school population in Nigeria, only 45 percent of girls in Northern Nigeria are enrolled in school, with the North accounting for 69 percent of the 13.2 million out-of-school children.
There is a need however, for journalists to add their voices to girl child education issues through increased research and grassroot advocacy.
This was expressed by the Head of Department, Mass Communication, Nile University, Professor Muhammad Kabir Yusuf at the Monthly Discourse Meeting of the Young Journalists Forum (YJF) in Abuja on Friday, November 29.
Professor Yusuf, while challenging media houses to equip journalists with all the tools necessary for their work, urged journalists to regard their profession as a responsibility to shape society’s perception and reality positively.
He asserted that as journalists whose words impacted world happenings, it was time to revamp the negative girl child education narrative affecting Nigeria and Africa as a whole through locally sourced data for a more accurate picture.
In the same vein, he advised journalists to collaborate with the government and non-governmental organizations as advocacy is a multi-sectoral and multiplayer effort, adding that home-grown solutions were the answer to girl child education issues.
Meanwhile, Adeolu Sobanjo, a representative of Global Rights Nigeria, called on the media to drive strategic conversations about girl child education, as education plays a role in the growth of the economy and morality of a nation.
Urging the government to prioritize education, he called for a change in school curriculums recommending that they become more skill-based to fit the needs of the 21st century world.
The forum which was themed, “Media Advocacy For Girl Child Education” was supported by the Embassy of Ecuador and Global Rights Nigeria.