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Hope for Nigeria’s out-of-school children as youths activists deliver 1.5 million petition signatures to UN

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Nigerian children

• UN, World Bank, RDBanks support finance facility for education

There is ray of hope for millions of Nigeria’s out-of-school children as the United Nations, World Bank and regional development banks are set to fund the education sector.

Given the number of out of school children in the country, Nigeria is part of global education crisis, which calls for urgent steps to address these woes.

Consequent upon this, over 1.5 million youths have signed a petition, which was handed over to world leaders to launch a new International Finance Facility for Education.

This initiative was facilitated by youth activists from around the world who met with United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in New York with the message: “We need more and better funding for education to achieve our full potential.”

Part of their requests is that world leaders should provide an additional $10 billion for global education investments for the most marginalised young people throughout the world.

During their meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Moreno, and the World Bank’s Vice-President for Human Development, Annette Dixon to discuss the progress, they argued that the International Finance Facility for Education could help countries like Nigeria bridge the education funding gap and get all children in school and learning.

They maintained that the facility put forth by the Secretary-General would make aid more effective by leveraging and maximising the impact of donor resources through the World Bank and regional development banks to provide an additional 20 million places in school in its initial stage.

Upon meeting with the youth advocates and receiving the petition, the United Nations Secretary-General said it was unacceptable that 250 million children in the world would be left out in learning the most basic skills as the world is changing fast.

“In our fast-changing world, we cannot accept 250 million children failing to learn even the most basic skills. In the coming decade, some one billion young people will enter the workforce. They all need education so that they can help build a world of peace, prosperity, dignity, and opportunity for all. That is why the proposed new International Finance Facility for Education is critical.”

Amongst the 250 million children deprived of education globally, about 10 million are Nigerians.

“Among eight million Nigerian children, 60 per cent of them are girls who are not in school and won’t have the skills they need to get jobs and build secure, stable futures. If no action is taken, more than 400 million girls around the world will not be on track to have the skills needed for employment in 2030

“Learning standards across Africa are 100 years behind today’s average high-income countries, and by 2030 the international Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity estimates that more than half of the world’s children and young people-some 800 million youths- will not have the basic skills needed for the modern workforce.”

Also, UN Special Envoy, Gordon Brown, while speaking on the petition, said: “The human faces behind these statistics are the most heart-breaking. In Nigeria, girls living in poverty bear the greatest burden – many of them drop out of school and get married early. They are left without skills for the modern economy and won’t have much hope for the future.”

Learning standards across Africa are 100 years behind today’s average high-income countries, and by 2030, the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (the Education Commission) estimates that more than half of the world’s children and young people – some 800 million youth – will not have the basic skills needed for the modern workforce.

On current trends, it will take until after 2100 for all countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) target of ensuring that all children complete primary and secondary education.

The International Finance Facility for Education would work with countries to collectively achieve the largest education investment in history and empower the next generation to fulfill their potential.

History shows that innovative and concerted international efforts can have profound impact. A decade and a half ago, such cooperation generated extraordinary new resources for the health sector and saved millions of lives.

Similarly, achieving universal education would increase GDP per capita in low-income countries by almost 70 per cent by 2050. The facility will make what was once considered impossible, quality education for every child possible within a generation.


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