Noah Ebije, Kaduna
A group of Nigerian women under the auspices of Women In Technical Education and Development (WITED), Kaduna Polytechnic chapter, has lamented rising challenges bedevilling girl-child education in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Women In Technical Education and Development was set up in 1988 by the Common Wealth Association of Polytechnics in Africa (CAPA) with its main objective of enhancing the participation of women in technical education at all levels.
However, gathered at WITED 2nd National Conference held in Kaduna on Tuesday, the women noted that aside the traditional discrimination against girl-child educational development in favour of the male child, ignorance, poverty and other forms of violence have continued to deny female counterpart from attaining educational development.
The Theme of the conference was titled, “Emerging Challenges: Innovation & Technology”.
Speaking to declare the conference open, chairperson of the occasion, Dr Asma’u Abdulkadir of the college of technical and vocational education, Kaduna Polytechnic said WITED as one of the facilitators for the emancipation of women, particularly in science education, the discrimination would soon be a thing of the past.
She said, “The discrimination starts right from the home where the special preference of a male child over female the female child is well pronounced in some families.
“The girl-child was traditionally and culturally regarded as a potential housekeeper, child-bearer, drawer of water, farmer and was believed to remain in the kitchen while the men work outside the home.
“Today, the situation is slightly changing. Women are gradually struggling to get the much-needed equity in all spheres of life just like her male counterpart.
“Despite the progress made so far, there are still challenges being faced by the ordinary African woman. These include ignorance, poverty, health issues, domestic and other forms of violence, broken marriages, insecurity and inadequate counselling centres.
“At present, there is the dire need for the enrollment of more girls in all disciplines especially in science and technology right from post-primary school through tertiary institutions.
“Women should have more access to farmland, credit facility, cottage industries in order to boost their socio-economic status.
“Government should encourage and sponsor girls to study science and technology. There should also be gender mainstreaming at the three tiers of government in order to give women the opportunity to be part of the decision making on important issues, particularly those that are directly concerned with women”.
Earlier, the Rector, Kaduna Polytechnic, Professor Idris Muhammad Bugaje who is the Chief host of the event charged participants to assist policymakers in building knowledge-based economy.
Represented by the Deputy Rector, Academics, Dr Rosemary Kato, Professor Bugaje said, “The theme of this conference is not only apt and timely but shows that the organisers are not only fully conscious of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but also recognize the need to adjust to the new normal in the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which includes the 17 post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
“Kaduna Polytechnic is proud to be associated with WITED in this regard as thinking forward affords academics the opportunity to research and explore the dynamic relationships which assist in the development of society”.
Also, earlier, in her welcome address, the WITED Coordinator, Comfort Mada Alabi advocated for 50-50 per cent constitutional gender equality with the male counterparts because “women can do what men can do, there is nothing too difficult. We want to be the voice and be heard all over the world.”