Abuja, 24 January 2023 – On this International Day of Education, I join the global call to “invest in people, prioritize education”, and urged Nigeria to deliver on the commitments made by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari at the UN Secretary General’s Transforming Education Summit in September 2022 to end the global learning crisis.
In Nigeria, 75 per cent of children aged 7 to 14 years cannot read a simple sentence or solve a basic math problem. For children to be able to read learn, they must be able to learn to read in the first three years of schooling.
I commit UNICEF’s support the government of Nigeria’s commitment to transforming education and preventing the loss of hard-fought gains in getting children into school, particularly poor, rural children and girls, and ensuring that they remain in school, complete their education, and achieve to their full potential.
UNICEF, together with partners, will continue to support federal and state governments to:
Reduce the number of out-of-school children by providing safe, secure, and violence-free learning environments both in formal and non-formal settings, engaging communities on the importance of education, and providing cash transfers to households and to schools.
Improve learning outcomes by expanding access to quality early childhood education, scaling foundational literacy and numeracy programmes, and offering digital skills and (https://nigeria.learningpassport.org/), life and employability skills to adolescents to enable the school-to-work transition.
Increase domestic spending on education to meet the 20% global benchmark by 2030 and address the infrastructure and teaching backlog affecting all children’s access to inclusive and quality education.
As Nigeria’s presidential elections draw near, on behalf of UNICEF and the children in Nigeria, I call on all presidential candidates to include investments in education as a top priority in their manifestos.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit https://www.unicef.org/nigeria/.