HipCity Innovation Centre Advocates for Government’s Commitment to Safer Learning Environment and Quality Education for every Nigerian Child
The proclamation of International Day of Education six years ago, by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), inviting member states, international and regional organizations, civil societies and other relevant stakeholders was targeted at giving attention to the Sustainable Development Goals 4- Quality Education; ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
This aspect of Sustainable Development Goal is integral, considering the central role education plays in building a sustainable and resilient society.
This year’s theme, “Learning for Lasting Peace”, is drawing attention to the impact of the rising violent crisis to education, which has far-reaching consequences on the younger generation and transcends geography, gender, religion, tribe and politics.
The government of Nigeria has so far not demonstrated strong commitment to ensure that learners especially girls and those with special needs, learn in a safe environment. The educational system of the country has continued to suffer setbacks such as incessant strikes, insecurity, poor funding in education, poor learning environment, lack of qualified teachers, poor infrastructure, and bad governance.
Globally, children are entitled to free and quality education, yet the number of out-of-school children in the world is alarming and, on the increase, due to crisis. According to UNICEF 2023 report on Basic education in Nigeria, the rise is particularly obvious in sub-Saharan Africa with Nigeria at the epicenter, with a staggering number of 18.5 million children out of school made worse by insecurity. This is a sharp increase from UNICEF’s 2022 earlier report of 10.5 million out-of-school children. Shocking as these figures are, it is evident that Nigeria sits on a keg of gunpowder!
The report further revealed that, gunmen abducted 1500 schoolchildren, killing 16 of them within the space of three (3) years 2020-2023. Since December 2020, 11,000 schools in Nigeria have been closed owing to security concerns. These attacks have made the learning environment unsafe and discouraged families from sending their children to school.
Education is a human right and no child should be left behind!
We therefore advocate that the government should prioritize the safety of children by implementing comprehensive security measures in schools. Allocate adequate funding to education especially basic and secondary education to ensure that schools have the necessary infrastructure to create a secure learning environment.
In line with today’s observance, we call for a culture of peace and tolerance, and urge the government to integrate peace education into the national curriculum. This involves incorporating modules that teach conflict resolution, empathy, and the value of diversity. By instilling these values in students from a young age, the government can contribute to building a society that values peaceful coexistence.
In addition to safety measures, the government must commit to investing in quality education infrastructure and teachers/tutors’ welfare; including well-equipped and conducive classrooms, access to modern learning technology, accessible classrooms for children with disability and Water sanitation and hygiene facilities (WASH) which is one of the leading causes of girls missing school days when they are on their period.
In conclusion, it is imperative to mention that the education gap for the original inhabitants of Abuja remains widened and with the decades of marginalization and negligence suffered by them, rapid and urgent actions need to be taken to bring them up to speed with their other contemporaries in other states, so they can lead their lives and contribute meaningfully to national growth and development.
We call on the Tinubu-led administration alongside the thirty-six (36) State governors including the FCT to prioritize education and speedily undertake these specific actions in ensuring that the future of Nigeria’s next generation is secured and insured. By so doing, the government would have demonstrated a genuine commitment to providing a safe and quality education for all children, fostering an environment conducive for learning and personal development.
HipCity Innovation Centre
HipCity Innovation Centre, is a research, development and advocacy organization, with a focus to support everyone especially youths have the right mind-set to create wealth through skills, coexist, value human rights, respect the rule of law, realize their full potential, and meaningfully become tools for positive sustainable development.