‘Nigeria is the richest country in Africa, but it has the highest number of out-of-school girls in the world. When I first visited the country in 2014, the government spent 9% of its budget on education. This year it’s only 6%. (The international benchmark for spending on education is 20% of the overall budget‘ (Yousafazi, 2017).
I have been drawn to discuss the education climate in Nigeria, after learning that the Malala Fund categorised Nigeria as a ‘priority country’, where the most girls of all the countries the fund supports miss out on secondary education.
Similarly to the stories of the girls featured in Girl Rising, both males and females in Nigeria face many barriers to education. Extremist group Boko Haram, which operates within in Nigeria, is said to be one of the deadliest extremist groups in the world (Human Rights Watch, 2016). Human Rights Watch (2016) estimates that 10,000 innocent Nigerian civilians have died at the hands of Boko Haram since its inception in 2009.
Boko Haram roughly translated from the dominant Nigerian language of Hausa means ‘Western education is forbidden”, this group has made schooling almost impossible to continue in some parts of the country.
Countless attacks on schools, teachers and students have been undertaken by this extremist group. The incident which received the most global attention was the 2014 kidnapping of 276 female students from a Government Secondary School in Northeast Nigeria. A number of girls have been released over the three years since the initial kidnapping but more than 100 girls still reman missing (BBC, 2017).
An heartbreaking video of some of the abuses faced by girls and women captured by the Boko Haram. WARNING contents may be disturbing to some viewers
BBC. (2017). Nigeria Chibok abductions: What we know. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32299943
Human Rights Watch. (2016). “They set the classroom on fire”: Attacks on education in Northeast Nigeria. Retrieved from: https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/04/11/they-set-classrooms-fire/attacks-education-northeast-nigeria
Image 1) Central Intelligence Agency: The World Factbook (n.d.). Nigeria map. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni.html
Yousafazi, M. (2017). Malala Yousafzai: notes from my Girl Power trip to Nigeria. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jul/21/malala-yousafzai-girl-power-trip-nigeria-women-education