Global Resources

Effects of insurgency on girls education in North Eastern Nigeria

Publisher: European Journal of Education and Development Psychology
Publication Date: Mar 2015

Since gaining independence in 1960, Nigeria has been a relatively peaceful, dynamic, multicultural society compared to much of Africa. However, since 2000, north eastern Nigeria has experienced increasing terrorism in the form of the Boko Haram insurgency, which has led to the brutal killing and kidnapping of thousands of innocent civilians. Since 2009, Boko Haram have conducted efforts to disrupt the educational system in the region, with the explicit goal of denying girls the right to education. To investigate the causes and effects of this insurgency on girls’ education, this study examines the historical perspective and context of the Boko Haram insurgency, and solicits the views of teachers across the six states that constitute Nigeria’s troubled north-eastern region.


The study begins by tracing the historical emergence and development of previous insurgent groups in Nigeria, noting that where such groups used to have overt political aims based on attaining rights and equality, now the insurgency in question is more religious, with the express intention of denying rights to others; the very name 'Boko Haram' is descriptive of their aim, which is opposition to all and any education that is percieved to be western, particularly for girls


Following this context, the methodology of the study is outlined. The sample for the study was 180 teachers of primary and secondary schools, selected on the basis of 30 teachers from each of the 6 states in question. The instrument for data collection was a 20-item questionnaire designed to uncover whether, and to what extent, the activities of the insurgents have had a direct effect on girls’ education. Two research questions were formulated: What are the challenges of girls education in north eastern Nigeria? And what are the effect of insurgency on girls education in north eastern Nigeria? The data received was then analysed to answer these questions.


The finding reveals that:


  • The insurgent attacks have affected the girls education through direct attacks on schools.

  • Frequent abduction of schoolgirls from their dormitories, and occasional kidnapping of schoolgirls on their way to school, have reduced their attendance in schools drastically.

  • Most educational activities on girls education in the most affected states have been suspended since most teachers and school heads in region are among the internally displaced persons.

  • Female teachers and school girls have been traumatised, and are afraid of going to their schools on fear of attacks from insurgents.

  • Educational planners and inspectors of girls education programme can’t conduct periodic checking on schools as most education officers in the region are also displaced.


It is therefore recommended by the authors that the Nigerian government do more to assure and provide safe, free and compulsory girls education at all levels of education, show higher commitment in mobilising armed forces to end the insurgency in north eastern region, and provide adequate security in schools. It was also recommended that religious leaders play a more active role in encouraging girls’ education in their respective communities.