Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja
A research facilitated by the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Education and other stakeholders has revealed that the role of female teachers is crucial in the retention of female pupils in schools.
To this end, the world body called on the federal, state and local governments to engage the services of more female teachers as this step will be significant to the development of education in Nigeria.
Speaking during the opening of a two-day workshop on research findings in Abuja on Wednesday, UNICEF key resource person, Dr. Noel Ihebuzor said that states that engage more female teachers have higher probability of attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said the research was carried out in the North-East, North-West and three additional states in the southern part of the country, using parents, leaders, students, faith leaders, media and trade unionists.
While presenting the key findings of the research, Ihebuzor, said with greater awareness on boosting teacher enrolment in schools, more girls in Northern Nigeria who are inhibited educationally will get opportunity to get educated.
“More female teachers are needed in northern Nigeria’s rural schools. Our research has unambiguously shown that the mere presence of female teachers has a significant and positive influence on girl’s educational outcomes.
“Female teachers are shown to not only influence school attendance decision making at the household level, as evidenced by the fact that girls are more likely to enroll in schools with female teachers as opposed to schools with all-male teaching staff, but also provide a higher quality of learning for their pupils.
“Female teachers are important to the girls and the community as well because when the communities see them they also feel that women can also be leaders and can assist in the development of the area. Some parents even send their daughters to these female teachers for counselling where they feel not open to them.
“They are advisers apart from being role models. Having a female teacher at a primary and secondary school is really important because most girls are usually left home to do household chores and so when the communities see these female teachers they also encourage their daughters to work hard and become teachers one day,’’ he said.
The researchers added that many of the developmental challenges facing the country cannot be extridcate from wide gender gaps between male and female teachers in the education sector.