Edem Dorothy Ossai

2016 Fellowship Alumna, Nigeria

Education in emergency in Nigeria: Creating gender equitable policies so all girls have an uninterrupted right to learn

Photo Credit: The Brookings Institution

Even under what some may describe as normal conditions, girls in Nigeria face a distinctive set of barriers to formal education at all levels. Nearly 2 out of 3 (about 6.34 million) of the country’s 10.19 million out-of-school children in the country are girls. Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, violence, child, early, and forced marriages (CEFM), lack of schools, inadequate infrastructure, unsafe environments, limitations in teacher training, and systemic gender biases impeded girls’ participation and learning in formal schooling across Nigeria.

With the outbreak of the pandemic and the subsequent closure of schools, the country has not only suffered direct losses from its impact, but also an ever-worsening spate of insecurity and violence across the country, including attacks on school children—especially girls. For instance, at the start of 2020, 935 schools in Northeast Nigeria were closed as a result of attacks and conflict. Indeed, schools are among the worst institutional casualties of complex disasters, as is evident from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boko Haram insurgency, and several attacks on communities in Nigeria, which have all compounded the problems many girls face in consistently accessing schooling. This calls for improved responses for education during emergencies in Nigeria…

Learn more about how 2016 Alumna Edem Dorothy Ossai‘s research addresses these issues in this article from The Brookings Institution.

Please note that this piece reflects the thoughts and opinions of Fellowship Alumni and may not reflect views of the U.S. Government.

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