A coalition of civil society organizations has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to increase funding for the education sector and also amend the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act.
A statement from the coalition signed by Rotimi Olawale, Executive Director, Youth Hub Africa, Abuja and Abubakar Askira , Program Manager, Hallmark Leadership Initiative, Borno said the call is part of the demands of the Girls’ Education Charter.
Other signatories to the statement include Kiki James of ACE Charity, Abuja and Habiba Mohammed, Team Leader, Centre for Girls Education, Zaria. The signatories are all Malala Fund Gulmakai Network Champions.
The Girls’ Education Charter is a publication of specific demands drafted by non-profit organisations working in the education sector in collaboration with girls to improve girl-child education in the country. Over 2,500 signatories have so far endorsed the charter.
The statement said the charter calls on the federal government to increase the education budget, amend the Universal Basic Education and commit to halving the number of out-of-school children by 2030.
Nigeria has more out-of-school girls than any other country in Africa — and the numbers are rising, it said.
The coalition also said education advocates would continue to use the charter to engage policymakers and political leaders in the new political dispensation as education policy and budgeting takes shape.
They said this would help ensure that the voices of active citizens and girls across the country who signed the charter were heard.
It also urges government “to increase the education allocation to least 20% of the national budget and 6% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and to ensure that the planning, budgeting, and the Medium Term Sector Strategies (MTSS) processes are transparent and open to civil society organisations.
According to the statement, it also demands an amendment to the Universal Basic Education Act (2004) “to extend its coverage from junior to senior secondary education thereby guaranteeing compulsory, free, safe and quality education with increased UBE Fund increment from 2% CRF to 5%.
“The UBE Act amendment should also remove barriers and hidden costs while providing schools with adequate running costs so as to eliminate the need for hidden fees and levies imposed by school administrators.”
Other demands of the Girls’ Education Charter include:
- to expand the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme to cover all public schools in Nigeria in partnership with state governments
- to commit to working with state and local governments to ensure the domestication and enforcement of the Child Rights Act, and providing a comprehensive quality girls’ education programme in safe spaces that is responsive to the needs of young girls and adolescents, among others.