Wednesday 7 September 2016

In The News... Nigeria Likely to Miss the 2030 Universal Primary Education Target.

Stakeholders in the Nigerian educational sector need to arise and take seriously, the prediction that Nigeria is likely to miss the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target set for all children to acquire a minimum of Primary School Education. This was reported in the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) released by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) which stated that the country will only achieve its universal primary education by 2070. The report also stated that universal lower secondary education is to be achieved by 2080 while achieving universal upper secondary education would take place in the next century.

The implication of this is that Nigeria will be 70 years behind the target having missed this target twice in the past- first in 2000 and then in 2015. Obviously, we have already derailed from the 2030 target as stated by the report.
This report sent my head reeling. I did a quick mental calculation to see how old I would be or if I would even still be around by then. I am more resolute than ever to make every input I can into the Nigerian Educational sector. 

It was sad to read about gender inequality and the wide disparity that exists in our education system as richest males had over 12 years more education to their name than the poorest females. Titled, “Education for people and planet,” the report showed that less than 10 percent of the poorest rural females in the country can read where only six per cent were enrolled in tertiary education in 2014. Kudos to all the girl-child education initiatives out there but clearly, we need to do more. We need to take the issue of gender inequality seriously if we would reduce the high risk of conflict and violence it portends. 

“A fundamental change is needed in the way we think about education’s role in global development, because it has a catalytic impact on the well-being of individuals and the future of our planet,” said UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova. “Now, more than ever, education has a responsibility to be in gear with 221st-century challenges and aspirations, and foster the right types of values and skills that will lead to sustainable and inclusive growth, and peaceful living together.”
To this end topical issues like climate change ought to be emphasised in our curricula and the need for sustainable developments should be stressed in taught content, in Sub-Saharan Africa especially.

According to the report, a lot would be achieved if education ministers and other education actors, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, collaborate with other sectors. One of the benefits of this partnership will be the prevention of 3.5 million child deaths between 2050 and 2060 if mothers are educated up to lower secondary education by 2030. The cost of delivering health care will also reduce considerably if it is done through schools. 

In the words of Aaron Benevot, the Director of the GEM report, “If we want a greener planet, and sustainable futures for all, we must ask more from our education systems than just a transfer of knowledge. We need our schools and lifelong learning programmes to focus on economic, environmental and social perspectives that help nurture empowered, critical, mindful and competent citizens.” 

This is a wake-up call to all lovers of education for all in Nigeria. It is easy to fold our arms and blame the government but there is still a lot of ground to cover and the government cannot do everything. Fundamental changes ought to be put in place if we will hit this target before the turn of a new century. 
What are you doing to shorten the time if possible? What brilliant idea and project can you contribute towards educating Nigeria? 

Bring it on.


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