We live in a world where things are not balanced. We have the good and the bad, poor and the rich, small and the big, Also, there are educated ones and the non-educated. Education remains an issue in the sub-Sahara and other developing countries. Occupying the No 4 on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) list, inclusive and quality education is no doubt, the foundation to improving people’s lives. For clarity, SDG 4 seeks to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. Education needs to be taken more seriously in view of the state of education in the developing countries.
According to the United Nations, enrolment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91 per cent but 57 million children remain out of school; More than half of children that have not enrolled in school live in sub-Saharan Africa; An estimated 50 per cent of out-of-school children of primary school age live in conflict-affected areas; and 103 million youth worldwide lack basic literacy skills, and more than 60 per cent of them are women.
As regards literacy, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) noted that over 757million adults worldwide still lack basic literacy skills with about two-third of them being women from Nigeria.
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has it that Primary school enrolment has increased in recent years, but net attendance is only about 70 per cent, but Nigeria still has 10.5 million out-of-school children – the world’s highest number. Sixty per cent of those children are in northern Nigeria. About 60 per cent of out-of-school children are girls. Many of those who do enrol drop out early.
It is estimated that about 4.7 million of primary school age are still not in school also it was discovered that about 30% of pupils drop out of primary school and only 54% transit to junior secondary schools in 2015. UNESCO (2010) further puts the value for school enrolment Pre-primary (%gross) in Nigeria at 13.39.
To turn around the statistics presented earlier, SDG 4 has stated some targets, among which are “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes; By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education; By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university; By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.
All the ten targets under Goal 4 are achievable by 2030, provided the government strengthens its policies and management of the education sector while the people in all the regions of Nigeria seize the opportunity of free basic education offered by the government.
Basic education is free in Nigeria. Therefore, there is no reason why any parent will not send his or her child to school. Besides, education is a fundamental human right which should not be denied any child. Let everyone claim it. Written by Oluwatoniloba Itabiyi (An intern)