Developing Blueprint on the Girl-child Education for New Administration

Developing Blueprint on the Girl-child Education for New Administration

The incoming administration in Nigeria faces the task of reimagining education in the country, especially for the girl-chil. As the sector continues to grapple with various challenges that hamper the country’s economic growth and development. Rebecca Ejifoma analyses the blueprint critical stakeholders developed for the new administration to tackle

Education plays a crucial role in a child’s development, shaping their abilities, attitudes, and behaviours that contribute to society’s overall well-being. Research shows. Despite its importance to national development, stakeholders have decried that various upheavals, which pose a threat to the country’s economic growth, political progress, and social prosperity have hindered the nation’s education system. 

Challenges of the Education Sector

The education sector in Nigeria faces several challenges, as indicated by available statistics. Nigeria, being a complex country, requires expert financial planners to manage its education funds. It is crucial that all funds allocated for education, including foreign grants and other forms of financial aid, are used solely for the intended purpose. This is the only way to guarantee proper funding.

Despite successive Nigerian governments’ claims to allocate more funds for education, the sector’s budgets have never met the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) benchmark of 15 to 20 per cent of the annual budget. For example, Nigeria has pledged to allocate four per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 25 per cent of the national budget for education by 2025.

However, stakeholders have reported that the federal government’s education sector received its lowest budgetary allocation in a decade. The 5.39 per cent allocation in 2022 represents a 50 per cent reduction from the 10.79 per cent earmarked for education in the national expenditure in 2015. The Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report by UNESCO estimated that there are 20 million out-of-school children in the country as of 2022.

Stakeholders’ Manifesto to the New Administration

The Nigerian education sector is faced with a multitude of problems, but there is hope for improvement. YouthHubAfrica, with the support of the Malala Fund and other notable CSOs, has developed a manifesto that will guide the Nigerian education system as the new government takes office on May 29th, 2023.

Discussing the need to reimagine the education system in Nigeria, the Programme Manager of YouthHubAfrica, Mr. Olusegun Medupin, explained that there are two key issues that CSOs are advocating for access and quality. Notably, Nigeria has one of the highest rates of out-of-school children in the world, as recent figures have shown.

He underscored quality education as the second most crucial factor. “Despite the significant investments made by federal, state, and local governments in the education sector, the majority of Nigerian children who complete primary school lack adequate literacy and writing skills.

“Therefore, there is a need to address the quality of education in Nigeria. The government must provide additional resources and use them effectively to prevent financial mismanagement. Furthermore, data and research tools should be utilised to direct resources to where they will have the most meaningful impact.”

Medupin further noted that many state governors in Nigeria are primarily focused on constructing new classrooms as a popular way to showcase their achievements to the community during re-election campaigns.

While this is commendable, he suggested that they should also consider implementing non-tangible projects such as teacher training, stocking libraries with books, providing laboratory materials, ensuring timely and fair payment of teachers, and monitoring students’ numeracy and literacy skills, which are undoubtedly the primary benefits of education.

“For me, this is the focus and we want to see more state governments invest in quality education and ensure that no one, irrespective of their financial status, ethnicity, or religion is left out of benefiting from the standardised public education across Nigeria.”

Echoing the thoughts of Medupin is the Social Intervention Specialist at the Almajiri Child Rights Initiative, Joshua Arogunyo. He underscored the significance of safety, security, and funding in schools. 

He, therefore, urged the government to implement safety measures by revisiting the Safe School Initiative Project and addressing the accountability issues that have arisen. “Security personnel should be stationed at school gates in areas that are prone to conflict, while schools should be fenced to prevent intruders from easily accessing the premises.”

“The welfare of the Almajiri system should be a priority for the government. Despite the existence of the Child Rights Act, many children in the system still face harsh conditions, such as sleeping on the floor and going hungry. It’s essential to implement quality measures to address these issues,” says the intervention specialist.

He further added: “To regulate and improve the Almajiri system, the government needs to establish a time frame and curriculum that integrates both literacy and vocational skills. Additionally, it’s crucial to link the Almajiri to formal learning centres and schools.” Overall, the government needs to take significant steps to structure and regulate the Almajiri system to ensure the welfare and education of these children.

A policy advisor at the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA), Mrs Odinakachi Ahanonu, emphasised the urgent need for the government to address issues such as out-of-school children, gender inequality, and girl-child education.

She pointed out that in 2020, the federal government had committed N220 billion (a credit facility from the World Bank) to the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) in 17 states of the federation. 

Gender Inequality and Girl-child Education

On gender inequality and girl-child education, Ahanonu highlighted the need to ensure that the girl-child has equal access to quality, safe, and inclusive education, including adequate infrastructure, safe environments, and qualified teachers’ training.

She also called for an end to systemic gender biases, discrimination in school enrollment, female genital mutilation (FGM), and child marriage, emphasising that the practice of making the girl-child a second-class citizen and an object of different forms of violence must stop.

With technology rapidly transforming the world, the Team Lead at Eduplana Data and Tech, Oriyomi Ogunwale, hinted at the need for the new administration to give priority to digital education.  

He passionately expressed concern that even three years after the Covid-19 lockdown, Nigeria has yet to develop a comprehensive digital solution for education.

Ogunwale recommended that the federal government equip schools with computers and internet access to address potential disruptions like the Covid-19 era and create a central system for sharing digital resources across all schools, including those in underserved and rural communities.

Accordingly, he implored the government to continue radio learning, which was adopted by state governments during the pandemic, as a means of preparing students for potential future disruptions.

It is more than allocating the largest portion of the budget to education. It is first about having a deep-seated political commitment matched with state-of-the-art approaches and tools.”
 With just seven years to achieve SDG 4, which focuses on education, ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, stakeholders hope that the new administration will attain zero out-of-school children by 2030.

Developing Blueprint on the Girl-child Education for New Administration

The incoming administration in Nigeria faces the task of reimagining education in the country, especially for the girl-chil. As the sector continues to grapple with various challenges that hamper the country’s economic growth and development. Rebecca Ejifoma analyses the blueprint critical stakeholders developed for the new administration to tackle

Education plays a crucial role in a child’s development, shaping their abilities, attitudes, and behaviours that contribute to society’s overall well-being. Research shows. Despite its importance to national development, stakeholders have decried that various upheavals, which pose a threat to the country’s economic growth, political progress, and social prosperity have hindered the nation’s education system. 

Challenges of the Education Sector

The education sector in Nigeria faces several challenges, as indicated by available statistics. Nigeria, being a complex country, requires expert financial planners to manage its education funds. It is crucial that all funds allocated for education, including foreign grants and other forms of financial aid, are used solely for the intended purpose. This is the only way to guarantee proper funding.

Despite successive Nigerian governments’ claims to allocate more funds for education, the sector’s budgets have never met the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) benchmark of 15 to 20 per cent of the annual budget. For example, Nigeria has pledged to allocate four per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 25 per cent of the national budget for education by 2025.

However, stakeholders have reported that the federal government’s education sector received its lowest budgetary allocation in a decade. The 5.39 per cent allocation in 2022 represents a 50 per cent reduction from the 10.79 per cent earmarked for education in the national expenditure in 2015. The Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report by UNESCO estimated that there are 20 million out-of-school children in the country as of 2022.

Stakeholders’ Manifesto to the New Administration

The Nigerian education sector is faced with a multitude of problems, but there is hope for improvement. YouthHubAfrica, with the support of the Malala Fund and other notable CSOs, has developed a manifesto that will guide the Nigerian education system as the new government takes office on May 29th, 2023.

Discussing the need to reimagine the education system in Nigeria, the Programme Manager of YouthHubAfrica, Mr. Olusegun Medupin, explained that there are two key issues that CSOs are advocating for access and quality. Notably, Nigeria has one of the highest rates of out-of-school children in the world, as recent figures have shown.

He underscored quality education as the second most crucial factor. “Despite the significant investments made by federal, state, and local governments in the education sector, the majority of Nigerian children who complete primary school lack adequate literacy and writing skills.

“Therefore, there is a need to address the quality of education in Nigeria. The government must provide additional resources and use them effectively to prevent financial mismanagement. Furthermore, data and research tools should be utilised to direct resources to where they will have the most meaningful impact.”

Medupin further noted that many state governors in Nigeria are primarily focused on constructing new classrooms as a popular way to showcase their achievements to the community during re-election campaigns.

While this is commendable, he suggested that they should also consider implementing non-tangible projects such as teacher training, stocking libraries with books, providing laboratory materials, ensuring timely and fair payment of teachers, and monitoring students’ numeracy and literacy skills, which are undoubtedly the primary benefits of education.

“For me, this is the focus and we want to see more state governments invest in quality education and ensure that no one, irrespective of their financial status, ethnicity, or religion is left out of benefiting from the standardised public education across Nigeria.”

Echoing the thoughts of Medupin is the Social Intervention Specialist at the Almajiri Child Rights Initiative, Joshua Arogunyo. He underscored the significance of safety, security, and funding in schools. 

He, therefore, urged the government to implement safety measures by revisiting the Safe School Initiative Project and addressing the accountability issues that have arisen. “Security personnel should be stationed at school gates in areas that are prone to conflict, while schools should be fenced to prevent intruders from easily accessing the premises.”

“The welfare of the Almajiri system should be a priority for the government. Despite the existence of the Child Rights Act, many children in the system still face harsh conditions, such as sleeping on the floor and going hungry. It’s essential to implement quality measures to address these issues,” says the intervention specialist.

He further added: “To regulate and improve the Almajiri system, the government needs to establish a time frame and curriculum that integrates both literacy and vocational skills. Additionally, it’s crucial to link the Almajiri to formal learning centres and schools.” Overall, the government needs to take significant steps to structure and regulate the Almajiri system to ensure the welfare and education of these children.

A policy advisor at the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA), Mrs Odinakachi Ahanonu, emphasised the urgent need for the government to address issues such as out-of-school children, gender inequality, and girl-child education.

She pointed out that in 2020, the federal government had committed N220 billion (a credit facility from the World Bank) to the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA) in 17 states of the federation. 

Gender Inequality and Girl-child Education

On gender inequality and girl-child education, Ahanonu highlighted the need to ensure that the girl-child has equal access to quality, safe, and inclusive education, including adequate infrastructure, safe environments, and qualified teachers’ training.

She also called for an end to systemic gender biases, discrimination in school enrollment, female genital mutilation (FGM), and child marriage, emphasising that the practice of making the girl-child a second-class citizen and an object of different forms of violence must stop.

With technology rapidly transforming the world, the Team Lead at Eduplana Data and Tech, Oriyomi Ogunwale, hinted at the need for the new administration to give priority to digital education.  

He passionately expressed concern that even three years after the Covid-19 lockdown, Nigeria has yet to develop a comprehensive digital solution for education.

Ogunwale recommended that the federal government equip schools with computers and internet access to address potential disruptions like the Covid-19 era and create a central system for sharing digital resources across all schools, including those in underserved and rural communities.

Accordingly, he implored the government to continue radio learning, which was adopted by state governments during the pandemic, as a means of preparing students for potential future disruptions.

It is more than allocating the largest portion of the budget to education. It is first about having a deep-seated political commitment matched with state-of-the-art approaches and tools.”
 

With just seven years to achieve SDG 4, which focuses on education, ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, stakeholders hope that the new administration will attain zero out-of-school children by 2030.

Related Articles