Save the Children International (SCI) Nigeria, an NGO, on Monday called for a 14 per cent increase in education investment to fast track the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Ms. Mercy Gichuhi, Country Director, SCI Nigeria made the call in a statement in Abuja commemorating the International Day of Education.
Gichuhi said that SCI Nigeria also called on the Federal Government to ensure inclusive, equitable quality education that promoted lifelong learning opportunities for all to achieve SDG.
According to her, it requires the Nigerian government’s fulfillment of the commitment President Muhammadu Buhari made at the Global Education Summit (GPE) in 2021.
She said the commitment was to increase education funding to 14 per cent by 2022, 16.7 per cent in 2023, 20 per cent by 2024 and 22.5 per cent by 2025.
“Children constitute a great number of the world population and they are the future of the society.
“The worst option is to see a generation of children and young people who lacked the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy or leave behind half of humanity.
“The prize of non-providing the necessary skills to the leaders of tomorrow is a catastrophe,” she said.
Gichuhi said that education was no doubt at the heart of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development and the singular act needed to reduce inequalities (Goal 10) and reverse cycles of intergenerational poverty.
She added that it was also necessary for (Goal 1) to improve health (Goal 3) as well as the vehicle to achieve gender equality and eliminate child marriage (Goal 5).
“It is high time the government and all stakeholders prioritised education as a public good; support it with cooperation, partnerships, and funding; and recognise that leaving no one behind starts with education,“ she said.
According to her, Save the Children’s report on education in 2017 in Borno entitled “Turning Education Around: Responding to the Crisis in Borno State”, revealed that one of the key drivers of the conflict in Borno was the pre-existing crisis in education.
She said that over the years, especially in northeast Nigeria, schools could not cater to the high demands of out-of-school children due to some factors.
The factors are lack of adequate funds, technical capacity, and loss of infrastructure, materials and teachers’ lives because of insurgency.
She said that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a pre-existing education crisis while reliance on digital technology for learning has deepened exclusion and gender inequalities.
Gichuhi said that there were more children out-of-school now in North-East Nigeria than before the insurgency.
She added that in some other parts of Nigeria, schools did not have the technical capacity to support physically challenged, marginalised or minority children.
She added that funding remained a challenge to the education system across the board.
Gichuhi said that SCI, therefore, recommended the incorporation of technology in education that is inclusive, prioritises the girl-child to ensure no one is left behind in the race to agenda 2030.
“We ask that teachers be recognised and be provided with professional support so that they can bring innovation to learning.’’ (NAN)
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