A call has gone to government and stakeholders to join forces to bring the over 10 million out-of-school children back to school.
This call was made on Friday by Mrs Adejoke Adefulire, a Senior Special Adviser to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Abuja on Friday awhile marking the 2020 world education day.
According to a UNESCO institute of Statistics report, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of education exclusion of all regions of the world which means that more than one-fifth of children between the ages of about 6 and 11 are out of school.
The report further stated that though primary education is officially free and compulsory, more than 10 million of the country’s children aged 5-14 years are not in school.
According to Adefulire, the construction and renovation of primary and secondary schools across the country and the production and distribution of educational materials across schools were some of the strategies.
“Undoubtedly, education holds the key to unlocking the huge potentials of people on the planet. More specifically, learning can empower people, build shared prosperity, foster peace and preserve the planet.
“As we are celebrating this year’s IDE, let us be reminded that in every five out-of-school children, I doubt if Nigeria is not one and out of over 10.3 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, 60 per cent of them are girls.
“This is very unfortunate and we must do everything humanly possible, everything politically possible and every support that we can gather, every partnership that we can gather, every movement that we can make to ensure that all our children all over Nigeria in the rural communities, in the riverine areas, in the cities, everywhere in Nigeria must return to school.
“The Federal Ministry of Education has announced that 10 million out-of-school children be returned to school.
“So we are going to work together with the Federal Ministry of Education and sub- national government in our various states to ensure that all hands are on deck working with the international organizations, the private sector, civil society organisations including the local governments and other NGOs to come together to work and ensure that young people are back in school, “she said
Adefulire, however, said that inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all’ was central to the achievement of all the other 16 SDGs.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu said the ministry was working with stakeholders to ensure that the Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP) of government in the area of access, quality and system strengthening align with the SDG-4.
Adamu, who was represented by Mr Joel Ojo, Director of Tertiary Education in the ministry, added that the ministry had already adopted strategies for speedy implementation of the plans.
“As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2020 IDE, we must pause to ponder on our roles as stakeholders in the field of education and consider this theme the most appropriate in view of the poor learning outcomes in all the challenges facing education sector in the country.
“The administration of President Muhammudu Buhari is committed to quality education. To this effect, the Ministerial Strategic Plan 2018-2022, titled ‘education for change’ was developed to address the challenges confronting education sector.
He listed the MSP as Out-of-school children phenomenon, Strengthening Basic and Secondary Education, Teachers Education Capacity Building and Professional Development, Adult and Youth Literacy Education and Education Data and Planning Curriculum.
Others, he said are Technical and Vocational Training, Quality and Access in Higher Education, Information and Technology in Education and Library Services in Education.
Also, the UNESCO Regional Director in Nigeria, Ydo Yao called on Nigerian government to address the education and learning crisis confronting the sector.
Yao said it was a collective responsibility to ensure we fight to get all out-of-school Nigerian children back to school.
He, therefore, called for urgent action, not only in ensuring the out-of-school children are returned to school but also ensuring quality learning outcomes.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the IDE was proclaimed in December 2018 by the United Nations General Assembly and January 24 was however declared to commemorate the day.
The theme for 2020 is tagged ” Learning for People, Planet, Prosperity and Peace’ aimed at demonstrating the centrality of education to human well-being and sustainable development.