The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan yesterday said giving quality education to girls at younger age was better than distributing empowerment items to older women as currently being done by politicians.
He stated this at the 7th Edition of the Annual National Quiz competition organised for Secondary Schools across the six geopolitical zones of the country by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).
The competition was won by students from Top Faith International Secondary School, Mkpatak, Akwa Ibom State. Model Secondary School, Akure, Ondo State, came second while Global kids Academy, Sokoto, Sokoto State, came third.
Lawan advocated for the education of the girl child insisting that it was the best form of empowerment for the gender.
He explained that an educated girl child would hardly be vulnerable at the stage of womanhood for the type of women empowerment programmes being carried out in the country today at various levels .
He said, “If you want to empower women, you don’t do that only through organising city women and say they must have this and that, go back to the basis by giving the girl child quality education.
“They don’t have to beg anybody to get there once they are educated, they don’t have to beg anybody saying give us this percentage or that of whatever position.”
“Education of the girl child is very important for any society or country that want to be genuinely developed and I’m very happy that girls are well represented among the competing schools here today .
“Combination of competitors from the seven schools across the six geo – political zones and the Federal Capital Territory for the final stage of the NILDS Quiz Competition today , symbolises a New Nigeria where both men and women can make their contributions for national development.
“NILDS should partner with relevant agencies for internalising content of this competition into the National curriculum on the template of Civic Education or any other relevant subject,” he said .
Lawan appealed to government at all levels in the country to invest a lot more in public schools.
The Senate President observed at the commencement of the programme that held within the National Assembly complex that more private schools than public schools made it to the final of the competition.
He also noted that more female students than male students emerged as finalists in the competition.
Lawan said it was evident from his observation that, “our private schools appear to be more successful and therefore can win and beat public schools silly.
“That is very significant for us. One, it is a wakeup call. Government must invest a lot more in our public school.
“Education at the basic level particularly and probably up to secondary school level should be not only mandatory but free for all indigenes or citizens across the country.
“In fact, education at that level should be a right or must be a right because for any nation to develop, you have to get the foundation right.
“Education has multiple impacts. When you have people educated, they take care of their health. They can hardly join bandits or Boko Haram and all these evil groups that we have in the country. So it has many positive impacts and therefore we must invest a lot more in our public schools.
“But I also believe that those who invest in private schools are partners in national development and therefore they should also be supported.”
The Director General of National Broadcasting Commission ( NBC) , Balarabe Shehu Ilelah , said the content of the annual national quiz competition of NILDS was on practice of democracy and in particular, the role of the legislature.
The NBC boss who was represented by Mrs. Clementine Usman Wamba, an Assistant Director in the agency , said thematic channels for packaging of such programmes are available .