The Lagos-based Development Communications (DEVCOMS) Network has called on the Federal Government, as well as parents and guardians, to take education as a paramount goal and basic necessity of life.
Its Programmes Director, Mr Akin Jimoh, said in Lagos on Friday, August 9, 2019 that it was necessary to address the gap in the youth education.
Jimoh made the call in commemoration of the 2019 International Youth Day marked annually on Aug.12 with the theme “Transforming Education”.
He said that it was pertinent to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all as enshrined in the Goal Four of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Education is the best gift to bequeath to a child as it gives people the tools to help provide for themselves in the future.
“It has positive impact on key development parameters such that the rate of poverty, early girl-child pregnancies and other social vices will be reduced among many Nigerian youths.
“Specifically, Nigeria needs to take action now to prepare the youth population to take over leadership roles as evidenced in most progressive countries today.
“The involvement and education of young people in all facets of life should be taken with all seriousness,” the programme director said.
Jimoh said that statistics of out-of-school children was alarming and called for a state of emergency to be declared on the country’s education sector.
According to him, educating children contributes to the economy, increases health gains, as people are more knowledgeable, and also help create world leaders.
“Not declaring a state of emergency on education is quietly stealing the potential of every Nigerian and the impact is not immediately visible till it is too late.
“According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world (10.5 million) with 60 per cent in the Northern Nigeria.
“Also, about 60 per cent of out-of-school children are girls; majority of the girls enrol in school, but many of those who do enrol drop out early.
“Some of the factors that increases drop out statistics in Nigeria include low perceptions of the value of education for girls, early marriages and low socioeconomic status,” he said.
Jimoh said that gender inequality continued to be a leading cause of education deprivation in the country.
He said that adolescent girls and children were the most vulnerable groups who sometimes were denied of right to education due to early marriages, unplanned pregnancies and as such they dropped out of school or not attend any.
“If youths are better informed and educated about their sexual rights, they will concentrate better in school to gain knowledge and have a better life.
“Education for young people encompasses learning about physical development, including sexual and reproductive knowledge, gender identity and social issues.
“It sits within the broader area of relationship education and includes violence prevention education.
“All young people need access to information and opportunities to be able to understand issues related to relationships, gender, sexual identities, orientation, behaviour, sexual and reproductive health and societal messages.
“Sexuality education is, therefore, paramount for every child and young people,” Jimoh said.
By Esenvosa Izah