As the world marks the 2020 International Day of Education on Friday, iChange Foundation, a nonprofit committed to social transformation in Africa by addressing core social deficiencies affecting children and adolescents, has said more commitment and not celebration is needed to tackle the ticking time-bomb that educationally deprived young people represent to the Nigerian nation.
Friday, January 24, 2020, will mark the second celebration of the International Day of Education; the day was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018 to celebrate the role of education in bringing about global peace and sustainable development. The theme of this year’s event, ‘Learning for People, Planet, Prosperity and Peace’, seeks to position education and the learning it enables as humanity’s greatest renewable resource as well as reaffirm the role of education as a fundamental right for public good.
As part of its contribution towards addressing the phenomenon of out-of-school children in Nigeria, iChange Foundation has recently launched an education intervention programme that aims to enroll three hundred out-of-school children in school, between January and September 2020. “The programme aims to support the educational pursuit of the children over the next six years with the aim of shaping the life outcomes of the beneficiaries. The programme will also support the psychological development of the beneficiaries as well as exposed them to mentors who will inspire them to continue with their education,” says a statement by iChange.
Speaking during the launch of the first batch of iChange’s education intervention, where scholarships were disbursed to one hundred recipients in Abriba community of Abia state, Ada Eme, the project lead for Ada Goes To School (a partner of iChange) said: “The idea was to use my platform as an individual to send five children in my community to school but iChange Foundation decided to partner with me and make it one hundred children. It is a great way to support the human capacity development of tomorrow’s leaders; as a Foundation, we are excited to be contributing meaningfully to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Nigeria has about 10.5 million children out-of-school. However, Nigeria’s educational budget for 2020 was a mere 7%, which is by far below the Education for All (EFA) Steering Committee recommendation of 15% to 20% contribution of national budget to education. In other to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there has to be more investment in education by the government, private sector and non-governmental organizations.
Investment in education will help curb the menace of out-of-school children, dilapidated school infrastructure and poor teaching staff. Providing inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all will also help countries achieve gender equality and break the cycle of poverty among children, youth and adults.
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