A coalition of five Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) under the auspices of the Education Champion Network (ECN) has decried the falling standard of education in Adamawa state calling on concerted action to stop the drift.
The Organizations which include ACE Charity, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Center LSD), Legal Defense for Assistant Project (LEDAP), The Inclusion Project (TIP) and Sustainable Collective Advocacy for Africa Development Initiative (SCAAD Initiative) were supported by Malala Fund.
Reading a communique presented by the coalition at a press conference in Yola Wednesday, spokesperson of the group, Hassana Shuaibu said the communique will serve as the CSOs manifesto for political candidates ahead of the 2023 general elections in Adamawa State.
The Education Champions Network (ECN) is a global network of Champions advocating for girl child education and envisions a situation in which all Nigeria women and girls, particularly the most vulnerable have access to 12 years of free, safe, quality education.
“The Education manifesto was developed by Civil society organizations in Adamawa State under the Election Education Advocacy project being implemented by Ace Charity, Center LSD, The Inclusion Project, SCAAD Initiative, and LEDAP to ensure political candidates prioritize education in the manifestos and even after being elected into offices.
“The project is also empowering the traditional and religious leaders, media, school girls, and the
general public to hold the leaders accountable and ensure that political candidate include specific education asks in their agenda during electioneering campaign and implement the same when elected. The project is part of the Joint Action, Grant supported by Malala Fund,” she said.
Shuaibu noted that records have shown that not only is the standard of education falling but also the rate of out-of-school children particularly the girl child does not give hope fo future of the girls and the people of Adamawa state.
“With about 20 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, 60% of this figure is from the Northeastern part the country inclusive of Adamawa state. In Adamawa State, 30.2% of prima school-age children are not enrolled in any school. 32.7% of girls of primary school age are out of school compared to 27.7% of boys.
“The number of out-of-school children for junior and secondary school-age children is even higher across both genders but more so for girls. This record is further confirmed by the national manifesto of ECN in Nigeria states that the number of out-of-school children of primary school age in Nigeria increased by 50 percent from 6.4 million, while the out-of-school rate has remained constant at 28 percent since 2010. Nigeria is among the top three countries alongside India and Pakistan with the most children and youth excluded from education, and the vast majority of these children are girls.
“The implication of this is evident in the inability of the country to harvest the benefits of basic education to Nigeria’s economy. It is estimated that GDP growth of up to $243 billion will be gained if every girl completes a full 12-year cycle of education in Nigeria. With the level of human resources available to the country, and if well harnessed, Nigeria will not be mentioned or categorized as educationally poor alongside the others in Southeast Asia,” she added.
The education champion noted that as a result of the challenge, Nigeria is deep-seated in multifarious conflicts and violence covering all the geopolitical zones of the country be it Boko Haram, banditry, farmer-herded clashes, and other criminal elements.
“The advent of these crises has taken a toll on the country’s economy, the people, and especially women and girls. The ECN believes strongly and notes that equitable access to quality education, particularly for girls, can reduce conflict and insecurity across the country by up to 37 percent. Similarly, providing free, safe, and quality education for up to 12 years will reduce early marriage, and social injustice, leading to a healthier, wealthier, and happier population.
“It is for this reason that the ECN draws the attention of stakeholders in Nigeria
and Adamawa state to take up the challenge of championing the cause of basic education for all children of school-going age and particularly the girl child in the state. The current administration in Adamawa state has done its best by providing free education at the basic education levels but more needs to be done concerning girl child education in the state,” she added
The CSOs in a ten point demand urged the state government to adopt far reaching measures for the betterment of education.
The demands include more and better funding of the sector, by increasing funding to 22.5% of the state budget in line with FG’s commitment, providing counterpart funding to access UBE funds, to allow for increased financing of the education sector, strengthens the education monitoring and evaluation systems by implementing the UNESCO National Education Account to guide proper budget preparation and implementation, and make budgets gender-responsive, transparent, and utilized in education.
Others are the government should ensure schools are truly free for 12 years by eliminating hidden fees such a education levies, PTA fees, and exam fees, provide quality education for all children, provide educational resources and make schools safe amongst many other demands.