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EFA Goals: ‘Nigeria, Afghanistan, Others Unlikely To Meet Target’

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United Nations International Children’s Education Fund(UNICEF) has listed Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan as countries unlikely to meet Education for All (EFA) for children of school age by year 2020, unless collective practical involvement of stakeholders with political will is encouraged.

“The number of out-of-school children (OOSC) in Nigeria constitutes 20 per cent of the global total. We have datas of the almajiris, girls of school age not enrolled, same with nomadic herdsmen and fishermen children; as well as those displaced by the insurgency in the Northeast. If Nigeria gets it right, Africa gets it, “UNICEF stated last weekend at a one-day planning meeting with reporters as a prelude to the flag-off for the 2017 National Enrolment and Birth Registration Campaign billed for October.

UNICEF’s official, Mrs Azuka Menkiti, said statistical records have shown that over nine million children are still in Quranic system of education, adding that UNICEF still considers this lot under OOSC.

The three aforementioned countries top the globe’s ranking with alarming proportion of OOSC, necessitating the need to have EFA goals attained by them come 2030.

“Research has identified that more girls than boys are out of school in the North,” Menkiti noted

“What we are concerned about is equity, fairness and justice for every child of school age. Every child has a right to be educated without gender disparity.

“UNICEF is passionate about children in the Northeast whose education foundation has been threatened,” he added.

The meeting, which had as its theme: For a better tomorrow, enrol your child in school today and get free birth registration certificate from the National Population Commission, was organised by the Federal Ministry of Education, and the Universal Basic Education Commission in collaboration with UNICEF, Nigeria

Menkiti, however, identified socio-cultural norms and practice, religious beliefs, lack of qualified teachers, inadequate infrastructure, and poor governance, among other factors responsible for denying the child the right to education.

In her brief presentation titled: ‘Objectives, expected results and rationale for expanded partnerships,” she attributed the poor level of enrolment to poverty, distance and parental ignorance on the benefits of educating their wards.

UNICEF noted that 70 per cent of Nigeria’s children were not registered, stressing the need for data and records on early childhood population to determine the size for adequate and responsive planning for children education through active partnership.

“Nigeria has the highest number of both absolute birth and child population with a projected figure of 136 million babies to be born between now and 2030. Also, from 2031until mid-century, there will be 224 million more.”

Representative of the Federal Ministry of Education Mr Elisha Francis, who spoke on the Federal Government’s framework on enrolment, said the first tier of government had designed a responsive drive to reaching out to OOSC for integration into the formal school system through effective campaign implementation drive at all levels.

Francis added: “The drive would consider parental demand for education, influence of change of attitude, inherent benefits, promotion of equity in basic education delivery, stakeholders participation as well facilitate Nigeria’s attainment of education related goals.

Nonetheless, Francis said other strategic approaches would include; advocacy, collaboration with traditional and religious leaders, social mobilisation, community engagement and interpersonal communication.

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