****Tasks FG to mitigate it urgently
The National Association of Seadogs, Pyrates Confraternity, has raised issues over the dwindling fortune in the education sector in the country that has put the figure of out of school children at 20million
The association called for urgent measures to be adopted to stop the negative trend
A statement issued by
Abiola Owoaje, in Abuja on behalf of the association on the occasion of the International Day of Education 2023, attributed the decay to poor budgetary allocation to education, the impact of banditry and terrorism and poor government policies.
He asked the relevant government at all levels to collectively declare a state of emergency in the education sector to address the rot.
The statement entitled,” At a Crossroads – The Time to Act is Now! reads in part:” The astronomical out-of-school numbers in Nigeria can be said to be as a result of multiple factors, chiefly, the adverse impact of perennial terrorism and banditry on education, especially in the northern Nigeria, and the cavalier attitude with which governments across board have handled issues pertaining to education – from budgeting to matters of policy formulation and implementation.
“We are aware that a lot of the issues bedevilling education in Nigeria persisted because of a disturbing lack of political strategy, and political will, in the scanty instances where a semblance of such strategy exists.
“Governments, over the years, have continued to allocate paltry percentages of the yearly national budget to education, in spite of United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation, (UNESCO)’s persistent recommendation of at least 15 – 20%. In the last 8 years, Nigeria’s education budget has hovered between a meagre 5.68% and 8.8% of the national budget.
“Allocating 8.8% of this year’s budget to education may look like an improvement on previous years, but in the face of the odds that continue to mount, it can best be described as perfunctory.
“In the wake of the devastation caused by lockdowns and lost school time occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, crippling insecurity, a chronic dearth of infrastructure, declining quality of curriculum and teaching, and worsening out-of-school statistics, we urge the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately declare a state of emergency in the education sector.
“We strongly recommend that the Better Education Service Delivery For All, which was rolled out by the Federal Government in 2018, and which has reportedly ensured the enrolment of over 1 million out of school children, needs to be re-evaluated and primed for improved results.
“The Alternative School Programme, which came on stream in January 2021 as a federal government education and social welfare programme for pupils has not quite made the much needed impact beyond the pageantry of its inauguration day. “The Federal Government of Nigeria should lead from the front in ensuring qualitative, affordable and compulsory education for a young demographic bursting at the seams, and upon whose frail shoulders the very future of the country rests.
“The rankling dishonesty that characterised the government’s handling of the recent industrial action by public university lecturers does not present much hope.
“The International Day of Education is another opportune moment for all stakeholders to reflect and redouble their efforts to ensure that the future of present and future generations is secured.
“The approach has to be holistic and sincere, else we run a grave risk of contending with tens of millions of young people, bereft of formal education, unable to compete with peers across the world, and cannon fodder for all sorts of social vices.
“Anything short of a concerted effort, hinged on increased funding and a collective will to see plans to fruition, will come back to bite one and all.”