Adult School For Women In Progress -Aisha Alhassan

The Federal Government’s decision to establish special schools for women who earlier abandoned school in order to get married is not a wise one. This is indeed the kind of agencies that are created to duplicate the work of other agencies, which at the end of the day lead to wastage, acrimony and unhealthy rivalry

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Minister of Women Affairs Hajiya Aisha Alhassan announced this plan in Katsina State, where she also appealed to religious and traditional leaders to continue supporting ongoing efforts to boost school enrolment of the girl-child. She said, “All women that married at an early age will have the opportunity to continue with their education from their husbands’ houses.

The school will be in two categories so as to avoid problems emanating from the establishment of the schools. The first category is for those who started their schooling but due to one reason or another dropped out. The other category is for the Adult Literacy classes that will be established in all local governments to assist women attain a certain literacy level.

“In Adult Literacy schools, the women will also be empowered with skills training during their lessons. The women will be trained on how to make soap, local soft drink, candle, pomade and other small businesses,” she said. Laudable though her intention is for the promotion of women education, what the minister is advocating for already exists. We already have in this country a National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education [NCMEC] which was established in 1990.

Some of the programmes being run by the commission include adult basic literacy, post literacy, functional literacy, literacy by radio, girl-child education and women vocational education. It should be pointed out that the history of mass literacy education in Nigeria precedes 1990, and every state and local government as well had an agency geared towards adult education.

In some states the agency is called Agency for Mass Education. They also teach skills such as carpentry, sewing and general home economics. Some of the agencies were so successful that they won international awards, such as the Kano State Agency for Mass Literacy won a UNESCO award in the early 1980s.

Throughout the years, young married women and also adults including those widowed or divorced have been enrolling in such schools where they sit for secondary school examination certificate. Many of them have pursued their education further by going to higher institutions. And this category is for women only, so it has been carted for. It shows there has always been a provision for those that have dropped out of school to get married or for any other reason not being able to attend school and want to continue with their education.

The other category of Adult Literacy has always been there as well. Many have gone on to attain more importance through the adult education they got, which proves that it is never too late to learn as the saying goes. They are held in high esteem and used as an example. This has really encouraged women who feel that they too can achieve such feat through adult literacy education.

However if the minister still feels strongly about the issue of the girl-child education and women in general, she can do so through the existing structures and improve on them. She should also collaborate with the commission through the Federal Ministry of Education to see where she could come in.

This is better than setting up a new bureaucracy and duplicating the functions of a commission that has been doing well for decades. The money for the establishment of the proposed special married women schools should be channelled in strengthening existing structures of adult and non-formal education.

Source: allafrica.com

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