UNESCO seeks improved education system for migrants, IDPs
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) advocated improved education system for migrants and internally-displaced children in the country.
The organisation, in its 2019 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report made available to The Guardian, said government’s efforts at providing inclusive education for internal migrants in the country are grossly insufficient.The report, titled “Building bridges, not walls,” highlighted the nation’s achievements and shortcomings in ensuring the right of migrant and refugee children to benefit from quality education, a right that serves the interests of both learners and the communities they live in.
The GEM report examines the education impact of migration and displacement across all population movements, within and across borders, voluntary and forced, for employment and education. It also reviews progress on education in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
In view of increasing diversity, the report analysed how education can build inclusive societies and help people move beyond tolerance and learn to live together. Launched at a regional event in Nairobi, co-hosted by the Government of Kenya, the report made available by Communications and Advocacy Specialist, UNESCO Kate Redman, stressed the need for improvement in education for migrant children in Nigeria who have ended up in informal settlements, nomadic communities and those who are internally-displaced.
GEM noted that rural to urban migration has had major implications for population redistribution in Nigeria and makes urban development planning, including education, challenging.The report projected that the number of children living in slums in Nigeria would increase by 67 per cent by 2030, a total of 13 million children who could fill over 400,000 classrooms.
Although it noted that internal migration of nomads in northern Nigeria has prompted government at all levels to introduce several initiatives, such as mobile schools and collapsible classrooms, canoes and boats for migrant fishing communities, and improved infrastructure and technology aids over the years, the report identified the major problem to be how to tackle the socio-economic challenges that sustain the Almajiri system.
“Between 2010 and 2013, the government invested in 117 model Almajiri schools in 26 out of 36 states. However, integration may not be achieved if parents have concerns about the quality of formal secular schools.
“As at 2017, there were 1.6 million IDPs, including an estimated 700,000 school-age children, as a result of violent attacks on civilians by Boko Haram. The dreaded group has destroyed nearly 1,000 schools, displaced 19,000 teachers and killed almost 2,300 teachers,” the report said.