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75% of Nigerian children can’t read simple sentence, says UNICEF

By Rauf Oyewole (Bauchi), Murtala Adewale (Kano), Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri) and Emmanuel Samaila (Yola)
25 January 2023   |   3:32 am
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said 75 per cent of Nigerian children aged between seven and 14 years cannot read a simple sentence or solve a basic mathematics problem.

Urges next govt to prioritise education, children
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said 75 per cent of Nigerian children aged between seven and 14 years cannot read a simple sentence or solve a basic mathematics problem.

UNICEF Country Representative, Ms Christian Munduate, in a statement, yesterday, to mark this year’s International Day of Education (IDE), also called on the next president of the country to prioritise education and children’s welfare.

Munduate said: “I join the global call to ‘invest in people, prioritise education’ and urge Nigeria to deliver on the commitments made by President Muhammadu Buhari at the UN Secretary General’s Transforming Education Summit in September 2022 to end the global learning crisis.

“In Nigeria, 75 per cent of children aged seven to 14 years cannot read a simple sentence or solve a basic math problem. For children to be able to read to learn, they must be able to learn to read in the first three years of schooling.”

She expressed commitment to UNICEF’s support to the Federal Government’s commitment to transform education and to prevent the loss of hard-fought gains in getting children into school, particularly poor, rural children and girls, and ensuring that they remain in school, complete their education and achieve their full potential.

UNICEF, together with partners, she added, will continue to support federal and state governments to: reduce the number of out-of-school children by providing safe learning environments in formal and non-formal settings; engage communities on the importance of education and provide cash to households and schools.

The partners will also look into improving learning outcomes by expanding access to quality early childhood education, scaling foundational literacy and numeracy programmes, as well as offering digital skills, life and employability skills to adolescents to enable the school-to-work transition.

Her words: “As Nigeria’s presidential elections draw near, on behalf of UNICEF and the children in Nigeria, I call on all presidential candidates to include investments in education as a top priority in their manifestoes.”

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