A human rights organisation, Save the Children International Nigeria, has called on the Federal Government to increase its education funding and investment to 14 per cent in 2022 to fast-track the Sustainable Development Goals.
SCI is a leading child rights organization headquartered in the UK with offices in over 120 countries around the world.
The Country Director of SCI, Mercy Gichuhi, made the demand in a statement issued on Monday evening as the world commemorates the fourth International Day of Education.
She called on the government to ensure “inclusive, equitable quality education that promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all to achieve the SDGs.”
Gichuhi said, “It requires the Nigerian government’s fulfilment of the commitment President Muhammadu Buhari made at the Global Education Summit (2021) to increase education funding to 14 per cent by 2022, 16.7 per cent in 2023, 20 per cent by 2024, and 22.5 per cent by 2025.
“Education is no doubt at the heart of the Global Goals for sustainable development.
“It is a singular act that is needed to reduce inequalities (Goal 10), reverse cycles of intergenerational poverty (Goal 1), and improve health (Goal 3) as well as the vehicle to achieve gender equality and eliminate child marriage (Goal 5). It is high time the government and all stakeholders prioritise education as a public good; support it with cooperation, partnerships, and funding; and recognize that leaving no one behind starts with education.”
According to her, the report of SCI on education (2017) in Borno State titled: ‘Turning education around: Responding to the crisis in Borno State’, revealed that, one of the key drivers of the conflict in Borno was the pre-existing crisis in education.
Gichuhi said, “Over the years, especially in North-East Nigeria, schools cannot cater to the high demands of out-of-school children due to lack of adequate funds, technical capacity, and loss of infrastructure, materials, and teachers’ lives because of insurgency.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a pre-existing education crisis while reliance on digital technology for learning has deepened exclusion and gender inequalities. There are more children out-of-school now in northeast Nigeria than before the insurgency.
“In some other parts of Nigeria, schools do not have the technical capacity to support physically challenged, marginalized, or minority children. Funding remains a challenge to the education system across the board.
“Children constitute a great number of the world population and they are the future of the society. The worst option is to see a generation of children and young people who lack the skills they need to compete in the 21st-century economy or leave behind half of humanity. The prize of non-providing the necessary skills to the leaders of tomorrow is a catastrophe.”
SCI, therefore, recommended the incorporation of technology in education that is inclusive, prioritises the girl child to ensure no one is left behind in the race to agenda 2030.
“We ask that teachers be recognised and be provided with professional support so that they can bring innovation to learnings,” the statement added.