Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed is to engage Security Chiefs, Donor Community and other Stakeholders at a meeting scheduled for Abuja on Tuesday to brainstorm on how to guarantee the security of schools in the north.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, international projections estimated that children missing out on five months of education would collectively result in $10 trillion in lost future incomes.
The World Bank estimates that COVID-19 may have increased learning poverty from 53 per cent to 63 per cent in countries like Nigeria.
The meeting will also discuss how to adequately finance the moribund Safe Schools Programme that was mooted seven years ago shortly after the abduction of students of Government Girls Science School, Chibok, Borno State.
“A number of critical issues need to be addressed in comprehensive strategies to facilitate sustained safe schools, safe education and sustained futures for Nigeria’s next generation,” her Special Adviser on Media, Mr Yunusa Abdullahi, quoted her as saying in a statement on Sunday.
Ahmed said there was a need to redouble efforts to achieve a safe school environment so that Nigeria’s next generation could flourish and contribute to productive economies and societies.
“A reimagined/revitalized sustainable strategy to finance and support safe schools will aim to increase enrolment in schools and make school environments safer.
“It will do this through taking a multi-sectoral approach to developing and implementing the strategy, engaging key stakeholders across all Nigerian States, national and multilateral donors and the private sector to garner firm commitments, foster champions and develop accountability frameworks to embed drivers for sustained change to push momentum forward,” she said.
“If trends continue, the worst-case scenario predicted is that half of all young people will not have skills necessary for entry-level employment reducing country workforces and moving the countries back into poverty,” she says.
The minister warned that the history of poor education provision in the country has been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts across.
“Out of school children are especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse and critically are ‘fundamentally ill-equipped’ to positively contribute productively to the economy.”
“The impact of conflict on education is especially stark for girls with lower literacy rates across the country for females of 12 per cent compared to males.
“Yet, reports on girls education predict that making sure girls complete secondary education could boost developing country gross domestic product (GDP) by 10 per cent and a return on investment of $2.8 for every $1 invested in girls education.” She said.
The dialogue would re-engage senior policymakers to take a stand, acknowledge the emergency and commit to taking action to reverse the current trend in the number of out of school children.
It would bring together state governors, the National Economic Council, members of parliament, National Security Advisers and Security Chiefs, Ministry of Education, multilateral institutions, donors, civil society and private sector representatives, including Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) to address the urgent issues which are stopping the safe education of children- our next generation.
Security agencies and human rights organisations are to develop cross-sectoral strategies to implement the Safe Schools Declaration, including developing strategies with students and teachers to make it safe for children to return to school and build confidence in the education system.
YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
In spite of the huge investment in the water sector by the government and international organisations, water scarcity has grown to become a perennial nightmare for residents of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. Finance minister to engage NSA, service chiefs, others ; Finance minister to engage NSA, service chiefs, others ; Finance minister to engage NSA, service chiefs, others.
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