- Convinces Jonathan to meet Chibok girls’ parents
By Tobias Lengnan Dapam and Mashe Gwamna
Officials of the Malala Foundation have questioned the federal government education strategy, saying the country’s ranking as one with the worst figure of out-of-school children in the world was alarming.
The team also sought to know why the government was yet to achieve significant success in tackling the challenge of access to education and enrolment of the 10.5 million out-of-school children in the country.
The officials, who spoke during the visit of Pakistan girls’ education activist, Malala Yousafsai, to the Minister of Education in Abuja, urged the federal government to reverse the trend.
The members, who were from the United Nations and the Department for State Services, were on a fact-finding mission to the Ministry of Education, as part of activities to mark the Malala Day in Abuja.
Reacting on the issue, Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, explained that the Federal Government was not to blame for the challenge but the states. He revealed that 139 billion naira had already been given to states to improve support.
He assured that the government would ensure an additional enrolment of at least 2 million children by 2015.
Meanwhile, Malala told journalists that President Jonathan promised her that he would meet with the parents of the abducted girls as well as ensure that they are returned home safely.
“I am here in Nigeria on my 17th birthday, for a price, which is to see that every child goes to school,” Malala said. “This year, my objective is to speak up for my Nigerian sisters, about 200 of them, who are under the abduction of Boko Haram and I met the president, Goodluck Jonathan, for this purpose.”
“I conveyed the voice of my sisters, who are out of school or who are still under the abduction of Boko haram; and for those girls who escaped from the abduction but still do not have education. And in the meeting, I highlighted the same issues which the girls and their parents told me in the past two days. The parents said they really want to meet with the president to share their stories with him. And I asked the president that if he wants to meet with the parents of the girls; the president assured me that he would meet with them,” she said.
Malala also told journalists that the Malala fund had raised $200,000 “and we want to use it to contribute to those children’s education. We have started working with two organisations here in Nigeria to be able to help these girls continue their education”.
The Director of Operations of Malala Foundation also told journalists that Mr. Jonathan said to Malala that “he can guarantee that all the girls that have been kidnapped including the ones that escaped will be given scholarships to go to school in other parts of the country”.
July 14 is Malala Day, a day set aside by the United Nations for the world to focus on putting all girls in school.