The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Youth Advocates for Education has asked government at all levels to increase budgetary allocation for education and release 50 percent of the total budget for the sector to basic education.
The President of UNICEF Youth Advocates for Education, Sagir Musa Yakubu, made the call on Sunday at a rally to mark the African Child Day in Abuja, with the theme, ‘Child Rights in all Situations, including during Humanitarian Crises.’
According to him, it has been observed that the allocation to basic education is low adding that the learning outcome is poor too.
He said the rally is taking place in 10 states of Bauchi, Niger, Katsina, Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba and the FCT, which have about eight million children out of school and, an average enrolment rate of only 57 percent.
He said: “Government should provide 20 percent of schools with access to digital learning platforms yearly and allocate specific funds for systematic monitoring, supportive supervision of teachers and schools.”
Yakubu said the campaign was expected to hold newly elected government officials accountable on their campaign promises to provide equitable access to free and quality education for every child especially girls in Nigeria.
The youths, according to him, through their platform resolved to take responsibility and make all necessary sacrifices to ensure that children enrol and complete at least secondary education and acquire some basic life skills in the process.
Also speaking, a consultant to UNICEF, Jeannes Yimbesalu, said it is worrisome that 59 million African children are out of school, with Nigeria having the highest number, thus the need to mobilise youths across universities in Nigeria to make unified call to action.
While noting that the march is an indication that young people matters, he said, “We demand education not just from government but private sector to push for education that equips student with the right skills.”
Meanwhile, the youths celebrated the day with a march from Eagle Square to Unity fountain in Abuja, just as children recited poems on the importance of education at the event.