When Kano commemorated first-ever International Day of Education

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For the first time, the Kano State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), conducted series of weeklong activities in commemoration of the 2020 International Day of Education

 

School children and education policymakers  from Kano state, during one of the activities to commemorate the 2020 International Day of Education            Image: UNICEF Nigeria

 

On Friday, January 24, 2020, the global community commemorated the 2020 International Day of Education – an annual international observance day held every January 24, dedicated to promoting the need for education. This year’s theme was: ‘Learning for people, planet, prosperity, and peace’. It was against this backdrop that the Kano SUBEB in collaboration with UNICEF through the UK DFID-funded Girls Education Project (GEP3), hosted series of programmes and activities on January 24 and the days preceding it.

Amongst others, the activities conducted were a creative art session where school children developed drawings and paintings on what education meant to them; vox pop interviews were conducted by journalists with out of school children and also in-school children, across select public, private as well as Qur’anic and Islamiyya schools in Kano metropolis. The series of activities were targeted at showcasing donor-funded interventions aimed at increasing equitable access to safe and quality education in Nigeria as well as stirring public dialogue on children’s right to safe and quality education.

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Bilkisu Masud, a student from Dambatta, one of the 6 UNICEF–GEP3 LGAs of Kano State, emerged elected president of Nigerian girls during the 2019 commemoration of International Day of the Girl-Child (IDGC) held in Abuja, in October 2019. While addressing a select group of school children who participated in the creative art session, Bilkisu said she believed the commemoration of the 2020 International Day of Education was a dynamic way of showcasing young talents from among school children, which would also encourage school children to realize their proven knowledge and skills as a result of being in school.

“My fellow students, girls and boys, I want to please use this medium to call on children to enroll and remain in school in order to build a strong nation with young resourceful people. Let’s enjoy our day on behalf of school age children in Kano State, I wish to extend our profound appreciation to the government of Kano State under the able leadership of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, for declaring education free and compulsory.  A special gratitude goes to UNICEF, DFID and other development partners,” she told the students at the creative art session.

It would be recalled that the Kano State Government had in 2019 introduced a compulsory and free education policy, from primary to secondary levels across the state. While addressing a group of journalists as part of the celebration of the Day of Education, the Kano State Commissioner of Education, Sanusi Saidu Kiru, said the current administration in Kano state was prioritizing education out of the belief of education’s capacity to transform the lives of the people.

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“It is only through education that we can transform the lives of our people. Education will help in addressing unemployment and reducing security risk. The free and compulsory education policy has placed Kano in a leading position in terms of education in Nigeria.  We are providing free uniforms, feeding and instructional materials in all our schools; we will soon be recruiting 7000 teachers for the schools. We are therefore calling on development partners to come in and support us in the area of teacher development and infrastructure,” said Kiru.

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While also addressing journalists at one of the commemorative events, Maulid Warfa, UNICEF’s chief of field office in Kano, said the theme for 2020 International Day of Education i.e ‘Learning for people, planet, prosperity, and peace,’ underscored the importance of learning “for the future of our children, environment, and planet.”

“UNICEF wants children to be part of decision-making on issues that concern their future. We want to see every child enjoying the right to education, happiness and a life of dignity as well as sense of identity, which is the most important right for the children. I am happy that children all over the world are no longer unconcerned about issues that concern their future like climate change. We are asking the decision-makers to recognize and invest in the children who are the leaders of tomorrow,” said Warfa.

 

 

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