The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said Nigeria’s current situation portends a bleak future for the nation.
The UNICEF Chief of Field Office in Kano, Rahama Mohammed, said this at a Media Dialogue in the state.
Quoting the World Bank in his remarks, Mohammed lamented that Nigeria is experiencing a learning poverty in which 70 per cent of 10-year-old children in the country cannot understand a simple sentence or perform basic numeracy task.
Mohammed who was represented by the Officer-in-Charge of Field Office Kano, Issakha Diop, canvassed a holistic improvement in education sector in Nigeria to curtail the menace.
Mohammed said UNICEF in executing its mandate of promoting, protecting, advocating and collaborating with partners for the realisation of the rights of children, has been collaborating with the Government of Nigeria to improve outcomes in the education sector.
He noted that progress was being made, but much more needs to be done.
He also lauded the Nigerian media for being a strong ally and advocate for the rights of children.
UNICEF Communication Specialist, Dr Geoffrey Njoku, said the Media Dialogue focused on the Sustainable Development Goals as Child’s Rights, saying that Nigeria is very unlikely to meet the SDGs 2030 unless children’s rights are protected.
He said “Talking about children’s rights, Education is one of such rights. Education is a fundamental human right, and that right is well-articulated in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which guides the work of UNICEF, and of course, in other legal instruments, including the Nigerian Constitution.”.
A lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu, Dr. Chidiebere Ezinwa, in his presentation said Nigeria might suffer deficit in human capital in the future, cumulating into widespread poverty in the country unless the learning crisis was reversed.
He said education is right of children, not a privilege, and urged the media to raise awareness on children’s rights especially as it concerns education.
Ezinwa said, “The sustainable development goals can not be achieved without realizing the rights of the child. The convention on the rights of the child provides a legal framework for realizing the rights and the SDGs.”
UNICEF Education Specialist, Manar Ahmed, in her presentation, harped on training and retraining for teachers to be able to provide learning for the children.
She also called on Nigerian government to increase budgetary allocation for education sector to aid the realization of the expected outcome in terms of ensuring quality education for children.