IDE: UNICEF makes case for schools’ safety, enhanced numeracy in Adamawa
The United Nations Children’s Funds (UNICEF) has made case for enhanced schools’ safety as well as literacy and numeracy in Adamawa State at a roundtable meeting to mark the 2024 International Day for Education (IDE) in the state.
The roundtable meeting was the climax of a three-day activities including airing of advocacy jingles in radio stations in the state and distribution of learning materials to vulnerable children across the state.
The event which took place at the ADSUBEB office in Yola on Wednesday attracted government officials, civil society groups, officials of UNICEF as well as students from different schools who deliberated on learning crisis in Adamawa State and proffered solutions to them so as to improve access to quality education, and the strengthening of education governance systems in the state.
Some of the identified issues bedeviling the delivery of safe and quality education include dearth of infrastructure and logistics, insufficient funding and monitoring and the existence of unqualified teachers in some instances.
Other issues raised include inadequate number of teachers, non attendance of classes by some teachers, non-completion of school syllabus, closure of some schools as a result of disasters, and use of school facilities for non-school activities, as well as absence of perimeter walls in a number of schools.
It was validated that there is need for the government and other stakeholders to enhance funding for the sector, ensure sturdy surveillance, and weed out unprofessional and unqualified teachers.
In his goodwill speech, UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Bauchi, Dr. Tushar Rane noted that the roundtable discussion was convened to deliberate on learning crisis in the state and how to mitigate identified challenges to deliver quality education and strengthens governance systems.
He noted that the United Nations General Assembly recognizes 24 January as the International Day of Education adding that the 2024 IDE is the sixth International Day of Education.
Rane noted that the theme of this year’s IDE “learning for lasting peace” was deliberate considering the global surge of violent conflicts and it’s concomitant impact on safety and sustainability of learning.
“In northern Nigeria, there were 499 schools closures due to floods, fear of attacks, or occupation by state/non-state actors in 2022 – 26 of these schools were in Adamawa state.
“According to the 2022 Humanitarian Needs Overview, conflict in the Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states has left approximately 1,400 schools damaged, many of which remain unrehabilitated or without sufficient learning materials.
“Unsafe school environment is a catalyst for children staying out of school. One in three children Nigeria is out of school (10.2 million at the primary school level and 8.1 million children at the junior secondary level). 3 in 4 children cannot read nor solve a simple mathematics problem. This portends huge socio-economic risks for the country, if not checked,” he said.
While delivering a paper on the crisis of education in Adamawa State, Abdurrahman Ibrahim Ado, Education Specialist with UNICEF Bauchi Field Office noted that for various reasons, 1.4 million children are out of school in the Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
He added that the condition of education delivery especially around the North East has become so bad that 72 percent of pupils cannot read simple text after completing primary six.
Highlighting some of the interventions of UNICEF to mitigate the situation, the education specialist said UNICEF has aided technical support to national plans, state-level safe steering committees and training as well as state-level implementation planning committees, among others.
He noted that UNICEF will maintain the tempo of its interventions in the areas of technical support, training of personnel et all.