From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
In a bid to ensure equitable educational provision for boys and girls with a firm emphasis on addressing gender disparity, a three-year project, known as ‘Getting Girls Equal Initiative’, has been launched for 30,000 students, and 300 teachers in Oyo State.
The disclosure was made by the Chief Executive Director, Rural Education Access Initiative (AREAi), Prince Gideon Olanrewaju, and the Speaker, Oyo State Youth Parliament, Israel Fawole, during a recent encounter with journalists at the American Corner, Magazine Road, Jericho, Ibadan.
The Youth Parliament in the state, according to Fawole, was incorporated into the project for effective grassroots mobilisation for the beneficiaries. The project, being funded by Malala Fund is being implemented by AREAi, with the support of Oyo State Youth Parliament.
Olanrewaju stated that the beneficiaries were selected from 30 secondary schools across the three senatorial districts in the state. He explained that Ibadan was picked for Oyo South, while Oyo town was selected for Oyo Central, and Ogbomoso for Oyo North. He added that 10 schools were selected from each senatorial district, and that other towns would also benefit from the project subsequently.
He said the beneficiaries would enjoy learning opportunities by being taken through technology-supported, teacher professional development and digital learning access. The 300 teachers, he stated, would not only be trained for improved knowledge, attitude and practice, he said 60 among them would be supported with mobile devices to support their classroom practices.
According to Olanrewaju: “The overarching objective of ‘Getting Girls Equal’ is to complement the efforts of their state and its leadership to drive a gender-responsive plan that will ensure equitable educational provision for boys and girls with a firm emphasis on addressing gender disparity through introduction of practical professional development training, development of digital learning solutions, provision of key policy recommendations and establishment of community support systems that will help us deliver quality learning opportunities for our female beneficiaries.
“So, over the next three years, working with the state Ministry of Education, school administrators, community leaders and other key stakeholders across 30 schools in Oyo, Ibadan and Ogbomoso. Our efforts will be geared towards enabling 30,000 girls, including boys, ensuring no cultural, societal or traditional barrier will interfere with their educational aspirations and they are better supported in learning by their families or within their communities.
“Upon completion of this Getting Girls Equal Initiative, we believe that our synergistic collaboration with all stakeholders, including government officials, traditional leaders, religious leaders and other community stakeholders, will culminate into increased allocation and effective mobilisation of resources for improved school infrastructure support, improved awareness on the role of families and communities in encouraging girls to pursue a quality education, delivery of series of gender-responsive practices within the educational sector planning and administration in Oyo State and above all, the realisation of an Oyo State, where girls will exercise their rights to learn continuously without any form of barrier.”
The Senior Programs Manager, AREAi, Edidiong Anthony, also said: “Building on these past accomplishments, our Getting Girls Equal Initiative will be working with 300 teachers, providing tailored training to them for improved knowledge, attitude and practice of teachers towards delivering gender responsive classroom instruction and use of data for classroom decision making.
“We will also work with 30,000 female students across 30 schools, providing them with active and tailored academic and career mentorship opportunities to complete at least secondary education. Also, our work will include developing and deploying an electronic monitoring application to track our female students and their teachers to increase their performance and address any barrier affecting their school attendance rates.
“Over 60 teachers will be supported with mobile devices to support their classroom practices. We will be engaging with the state and local government for a renewed commitment to gender responsive policies through key dialogues and workshops.”
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