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Stakeholders finger govt on policies, funding for quality education

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Blessing Taiwo

 

The attention of the government has been drawn to the need to revise its educational policies and increase funding for remarkable progress in the education sector.

 

Recall that the federal government allocated the sum of N1.54 trillion for education, which amounts to 6.39 per cent of the total budget for year 2024. This allocation is below the 15 per cent recommendation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

 

Stakeholders have frowned at the current state of the Nigerian education system, decrying the decline in its quality.

 

According to a child rights advocate and Co-Founder, Child Solidarity Group, Idara Kalu, only a few who can afford quality  education give their children while a larger percentage rely on the meagre public schools.

 

In an interview with our correspondent, Kalu expressed displeasure over the state of Nigeria’s education system describing it as a time bomb.

 

She urged the government to build a system whereby every child will enjoy quality education in order to raise quality adults that will positively impact the society in the future.

 

Her words, “so many things contribute to the factor of poor education in our nation. It’s becoming alarming that the quality of adults we are grooming right now as children in the public schools and non-ivy league schools may not have the mental capacity to lead our nation to the place that it ought to be. This is a thing of concern for our leaders to take very seriously.

 

“The government needs to build basic and quality input into our nation’s education in such a way that every child irrespective of their background will have access to basic quality education that is accessible and in most cases free.

 

“The challenge of quality education is becoming a time bomb. This involves inadequate quality teachers. This has become a cry for help.

 

The child rights activist spoke on the issue of inadequate and unequal opportunities for children in Nigeria, sending a wakeup call to the government.

 

She said, “the Nigerian child has to bear the consequences of being born into a poor home or enjoy the privileges of being born into a wealthy home.

 

“You may say that that is equivalent in every other part of the world but no. For most countries, their basic social and economic right includes every child, irrespective of their background, culture, status.

 

“The quality of education currently in our nation is so poor that you can instantly tell the difference between a child who is in an ivy league school and a child from a public school. The level of education is so poor that the mental capacity of both children education wise are walls apart which shouldn’t be so.”

 

Commending the works of non governmental organisations and Civil society organisations on improving the system, Idara Kalu called for the  collaboration of every society to provide quality education for its future leaders.

 

“In the north, we face the huge challenge on the Almajiri children who have little or no access to basic education. NGOs and CSOs are working tirelessly to ensure that things can be changed.

 

“Imagine the millions of children that are in this system and are growing daily. Time is of essence to learn basic things. They grow daily without the privilege of literacy, not even mathematics. Meanwhile, in the same country, you have people whose parents can afford their education. These children are being brought up in the same country. Yet, the gap is so big and keeps growing and growing.

 

“Every society should ensure its system gives quality education to the children. They need a good curriculum, quality teachers, adequate funding, a less corrupt system, well regulated school system. With these, we can ensure a fair standard for every child,” she concluded.

 

On his part, Felix Upata, Director of Studies, Ferscoat international school, Ipaja-Lagos, enjoined government officials to shun corruption in the education system.

 

Upata frowned at illegal diversion of funds meant for education, harping on the need to increase funding for the sector.

 

“Be serious with educational policies as there are so many policies that are not being implemented. Also, funding is missing. Our money going underneath should be channelled to education which will help the nation at the long run,” he charged the government.

 

The educationist further spoke against the menace of examination malpractice which several schools and parents have embraced.

 

He called on examination bodies and government agencies to fight such ill in order to save the education system from further decay

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