Towards A Policy Brief On Delaying Early Marriage In Northern Nigeria Through Girls’ Education

Summary of findings

The development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) is supporting a Consortium of three indigenous Nigerian NGOs in promoting girls’ education in some Northern States (Kaduna and Kano). The project is funded by the Ford Foundation and anchored by Action Aid Nigeria. The main objective of this project is to contribute to the
delay of early marriages of girls in Northern Nigeria through girls’ education programmes such as girls’ camps and mentoring. The project holds that if more girls and their parents are sensitized enough to attend and complete secondary education, that would substantially delay their early marriages, with overall health benefits for the girls. An end of project review which has taken recently taken place and generated important findings about what works in girls’ education. Given that Nigeria 2015 marks the final year of the 4-year Strategic Plan for the Development of the Education Sector, and that the Federal Ministry of Education is now poised to develop the new Plan, findings from this project are particularly significant as they offer lessons and point to strategic directions that the new Plan may wish to consider. The issue of education is the focus of study approved by the last administration for the 2015 Senior Executive Course of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru, with the theme: Repositioning Nigeria’s Education System for Global Competitiveness. As is customary every year, NIPSS will soon present the report of its findings to Mr. President. As governmental think tanks such as NIPSS and non-state research institutes such as the dRPC, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group explore the relevance of education for the health and development of the nation it is important action follows research findings.

I. Introduction

The key findings of the Consortium Project end of project assessment point to the following:

  1. Government Girls Secondary Schools do not provide opportunities for girls to learn craft subjects for livelihood as envisaged in the new WAEC Curriculum.
  2. That when girls participate in safe space clubs they become more confident and perform better in exams.
  3. That NGOs working on girls’ education programs require a platform to give feedback to all stakeholders on their findings. Feedback should also be treated as important and incorporated into the planning process.
  4. That the training of teachers, child protection issues should be deepened, conducted and carried out with government support.
  5. Parents continue to be sceptical about the benefits of sending girls to schools as they do not see the economic benefits. It is therefore to develop a strong school to work programs for girls at risk of child marriage.
  6. Community and religious leaders are important stakeholders with tremendous capacity to support girls’ education when consulted, mobilized and included in interventions.
  7. That NGO advocacy around the right to education laws provide opportunities to increase awareness of poor access for girls and constitute an important mobilization point.

This presentation is guided by two main questions:

  1. Whether the current Education Sector Strategic Plan (2011-2015) addresses the findings of the Consortium Project to delay the age of marriage?
  2. What recommendations could be proposed to education planners based on the findings of the Consortium project and how would those recommendations shape the new education plan?

To address these questions, the presenter was required to do a brief review of the current Education Plan and to conduct a quick interview with officials of the Federal Ministry of Education.

Following this Introduction, the presentation is divided into three sections: A Brief Review of the Current Education Plan; Report of the Interview with the Director of Education Planning at the FME and Suggestions on Policy Input for the next Education Plan. Download the full report