The IA-Foundation Out-of-school Children Summit 2023 has said the education crisis in Nigeria requires urgent, collective, and concrete action to surmount.
Speaking at the summit titled, ‘Street to school: A panacea to a menace,’ Founder, AI-Foundation, Ibironke Adeagbo, stated that the crisis was not just about marginalised ‘out of school’ children, but also about children who were in school and not learning, due to lack of resources both at home and at school.
The IA-Foundation is committed to helping achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal four of ensuring that quality education becomes a reality for the millions of children in Nigeria.
She said, “Ironically, one of the reasons we have higher out-of-school children is because we have more children of the elite being out-of-country children. So, those that can make the necessary changes are not bothered.”
One of the guest speakers, human rights lawyer and activist, Mr Femi Falana, said, “AI-Foundation can write the Federal Government through the Universal basic education and demand to know the state owing UBEC. This debt, if gotten will help educate our children.
“The final suggestion is that we should join the campaign to amend the constitution to permit the Accountant General of the Federation to deduct from the money belonging to states and local governments every month so that it is spent on the education of our children.”
Chairman of the summit, Mr Babajide Olagundoye, explained that terrorism, poverty, malnutrition, banditry, prostitution, child trafficking, and cultism, were some of the reasons for neglecting children on the street.
He said, “The worldwide migrant and refugee crisis is not unconnected to the challenges created by out-of-school children.
“The situation is escalating to a dangerous position.” We need to begin remedial actions. We need to plan and design solutions, based on collaboration. We need to create strategies and identify milestones.”
Pastor Ituah Ighodalo opined, “We must look for leaders in Nigeria who value education. Anyone who’s not interested should leave us. We need to think among ourselves and think of the kind of Nigeria we want and the leadership that will take us there.”
While speaking as a panellist, Mrs Mojisola Hunponu-wusu advised that child marriage should be stopped to get the girl child to school.
The panel session, titled, ‘Trends of out of school phenomenon in Nigeria: causes and implications,’ also had Mr Babajide Kolade-Otitoju, saying, “We must have and implement a road map to education and educate our people, compel the government that we have an emergency in the educational sector.”