Addressing Nigeria’s Universal Primary Education Challenge by Tayo Elegbede Jet
Education either formal or informal is the bedrock of any human and social development. It liberates the mind, expands thoughts, broadens horizons, connects generations and promotes intellectual exploration and expression. Undoubtedly, investing in education is the single most effective means of reducing poverty, especially in a developing country like Nigeria.
According to recently released data by UNESCO, an estimated 61 million children of primary school age are being denied their right to education globally.
Nigeria alone is home to an estimated 10.5 million out-of-school children. A figure that keeps Nigeria as the country with the highest number of out-of-school children of primary school age globally.
Apparently, Nigeria’s quest to advance her socio-economic status as well as achieve the Universal Primary Education goal of the Millennium Development Goals, might only be a pipe-dream if more willful and viable efforts are not invested in the educational sector, particularly that of primary education.
Rising to this challenge, a non-governmental organization, Child Advocacy on Rights and Education (CARE) Trust is flagging off a 3-year campaign of ensuring that 60 percent of the out-of-school children in Nigeria have access to basic education by 2015. This is in pursuit of the attainment of the Universal Primary Education Goal 2 of the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria.
The campaign which is dubbed “All Children, One Goal’ Campaign will specifically serve as a rallying call to action for all state and non-state actors to speed up actions towards achieving Goal 2 (universal primary education for all children by 2015) of the Millennium Development Goals and most importantly offer solutions to the situation of over 10million out-of-school children in Nigeria. The campaign will serve as platform to gather adequate information on out-of-school children in Nigeria, conduct school enrollment mobilization-drive, sensitize people living in poor/marginalized communities on the importance of child education and also mobilize support for the poor and out-of-school children”.
According to the campaign director, Olakunle Sanni, “The campaign is targeted at ensuring children have access to basic and quality education. Also, the campaign will be used as an advocacy tool to seek necessary actions from governments at various levels and also work closely with government and other stakeholders to ensure that no child is left out of school”.
Questioned on the possibility of reaching out to the millions of out-of-school children spread across the 36 states of Nigeria, Sanni stated that “We rely on a working campaign team or committee comprising non-governmental organizations, faith-based organizations, community-based organisations, youth groups, indigenous groups, trade unions, business organizations, media organizations, corporate bodies and social enterprises whose vision are in line with the objectives or share in the vision of the campaign. The campaign team will be responsible for implementing projects and activities of the campaign in line with the outlined goal and objectives”.
The “All Children, One Goal” Campaign which posits that no sustainable development can be attained without ensuring qualitative education for children will formally kick-off on Saturday 4th May 2013 with a visit to Otto/Ilogbo Community, a marginalized community in Lagos-Nigeria.
Making a plea for support from the general public, the campaign director noted that the initiative would be more successful if individuals and organization would support either morally or materially. He therefore, encouraged all stakeholder to partner with the initiative in order to achieve the Universal Primary Education Goal 2 of the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) in Nigeria before the 2015 deadline.
Tayo Elegbede Jet
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