The Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs) Monisade Afuye, has commended the State Government for partnering the World Bank for the full implementation of the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE) to boost girl child’s access to education in the state.
Mrs Afuye, said the educational programme, codenamed ‘AGILE’, will help in tackling the noticeable exponential spiraling of teenage pregnancy, early marriage and school dropouts in Ekiti, regarded as cankerworms destroying the society and creating gender imbalance.
Mrs Afuye spoke, yesterday in Ado Ekiti, while presenting her goodwill message during the official launch of AGILE project and distribution of laptop computers to students by the Ekiti State First Lady, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji.
The Deputy Governor, in a statement by her Media Aide, Victor Ogunje, bemoaned that thousands of girls drop out of schools due to poverty, saying AGILE would offer veritable opportunity for girls of poor background to climb the ladder of education without encumbrance.
Mrs Afuye stated that teenage pregnancy and early marriage are two worrisome plagues militating against the society, Ekiti inclusive, saying the adoption of AGILE will reduce the ills and promote gender balancing in the education sector.
She added that the programme , which includes distribution of laptop computers to students, will help in catapulting e-learning concept to higher pedestal, for Ekiti students to compete with their counterparts in other climes.
She said; “AGILE is a programme that is coming to change the face of education in Ekiti. It is regrettable that a lot of girls that are of school age are not in school due to poverty. Many parents and guardians cannot afford to pay the school fees of their children, buy required textbooks, uniforms , footwears, school bags among other basic needs.
“It is therefore heartwarming to note the intervention of the world bank to address some of these challenges through the AGILE programme. This will go a long way in complementing the free education programme of the present administration.
“Other challenges confronting our girls are the issues of teenage pregnancy, and early marriages. These are part of the reasons why girls drop out of schools. I therefore appeal to handlers of AGILE to carry out advocacy programme to create awareness of the negative effect of unwanted pregnancy among teenagers.
“Our dear state is lucky to be one of the seven states and the only state in the Southwest geopolitical zone that is participating in AGILE project. I congratulate my boss, Governor Biodun Oyebanji on this achievement. This feat, no doubt, is the fruit of unrelenting efforts of our progressive governor.
“I am aware that her Excellency, the wife of the governor, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji will distribute laptop computers to some famale students. I urge the students to utilise the laptops for studies and learning and not for home theatres or to watch films .
“I am appealing to our parents to monitor and support this programme, so that it is not turned into another thing. The computers are not to be used for Internet fraud called yahoo yahoo or for other criminal practices”, the deputy governor warned.
The Ekiti State First Lady, Dr. Olayemi Oyebanji, said she particularly took interest in the programme being her primary constituency as an educationist, saying no education can function optimally when the primary and secondary cadres are not strengthened enough.
She said the AGILE programme will play complementary role to the free education policy of the governor and human capital development as part of the pillars of Governor Oyebanji’s policy thrust.
The First lady disclosed that an aggregate of 900 laptops will be distributed to 35 schools while over 1600 will be distributed to 65 schools within the next two months”.
“You all know that a sum of $25m dollars is to be allocated to Ekiti to provide laptop computers, renovate schools and provide instructional materials and empower the students, who are majorly adolescent girls to keep them comfortably in schools.
“Let me also warn that the Gender Based Violence Prohibition Law is still in force in Ekiti and violators of any segment of it will face the consequences of their actions”.
In his submission, the Chairman, House Committee on Education, Hon. Bode Johnson Adeoye, pledged the House of Assembly’s readiness to initiate all the necessary legislation to institutionalise the programme for sustainability.
“As ally to the executive in the act of governance, we shall support this project. Education is the main industry of our dear state, so promoting girl child education is one priority we should all support. Women are no longer taking the backseat in Ekiti. And we know that AGILE will also help in widening girl child’s access to education”.
Other speakers at the event include: The President , Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Bosede Abodunde, Special Adviser on Education, Dr. Olabimpe Aderiye, Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akin Oyebode, Oba Gabriel Ayodele Adejumo, AGILE National and State Coordinators, students, among others.