Monday, August 12, 2019 6:11 am
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate this year’s International Youth Day, a development communication expert and former communication specialist with UNESCO Nigeria, Mr. Akin Jimoh, has raised the alarm on the urgent need to declare a state of emergency in the country’s education sector.
This is even as he opined that educating the girl-child is a major strategy to reducing poverty in the country.
He stated this in a statement he released to mark this year’s International Youth Day, with the theme: Transforming The Educational System for A Sustainable Youth Development.
Jimoh who is the Program Director at Development Communications Network, described as alarming, the number of out-of-school children in the country, adding that not declaring a state of emergency on education is quietly stealing the potential of every Nigerian.
“The statistics of out of school children is alarming, and a state of emergency should be declared on the country’s education sector. Educating children contributes to the economy, increase health gains, as people are more knowledgeable, and also help create world leaders.
“To address the present turmoil and gap in educational development among Nigerian youths the Nigerian government as well as parents and guardians, should take education as a paramount goal and a basic necessity of life.
“Not declaring a state of emergency on education is quietly stealing the potential of every Nigerian and the impact is not immediately visible till it’s too late,” he said.
According to him, “Education is the best gift to bequeath to a child as it gives people the tools to help provide for themselves in the future. It has positive impact on key development parameters such that the rate of poverty, early girl child pregnancies and other social vices will be reduced among a large number of Nigerian youths.
“Specifically, Nigeria needs to take action now to prepare the youth population to take over leadership roles as evidenced in most progressive countries today. The involvement and education of young people in all facet of life should be taken with all seriousness.”
He said it was pertinent to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all as enshrined in the number 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Evidences abound that educating girls is a major strategy to reducing poverty in Nigeria. Therefore government needs to ensure it breaks every barrier in other to make education and sexuality education a reality for every child, especially girls.
“It needs to intensify efforts in monitoring outcomes, investing in teachers, making education either affordable or free and update education sector plan.
“According to UNICEF, Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world (10.5 million), with 60 per cent in Northern Nigeria. Also, about 60 per cent of out-of-school children are girls. Majority of the girls enroll in school but many of those who do enroll drop out early.”
The development communication expert blamed low perceptions of the value of education for girls, early marriages and low socio-economic status, among factors that increase drop out statistics in Nigeria.
“Gender inequality continue to be a leading cause of education deprivation in the country. Adolescent girls and children are the most vulnerable groups who sometimes are denied of right to education due to early marriages, unplanned pregnancies and as such they drop out of school or not attend any.
“If youths are better informed and educated about their sexual rights, they will concentrate better in school to gain knowledge and have a better life.
“Education for young people encompasses learning about physical development, including sexual and reproductive knowledge, gender identity and social issues. It sits within the broader area of relationship education and includes violence prevention education.
“All young people need access to information and opportunities to be able to understand issues related to relationships, gender, sexual identities, sexual orientation, sexual behavior, sexual and reproductive health, and societal messages.
“Sexuality education is therefore paramount for every child and young people. Together, let’s transform the education of our Youth in Nigeria and give them the best inheritance, that can be given to every child,” Mr. Jimoh said.