The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) yesterday raised the alarm over the number of children that can neither read nor solve basic mathematical problems in the country. The Nigeria Representative of UNICEF, Ms. Cristian Munduate, in a statement on the International Day of Education, said 75 percent of children aged seven to 14 years cannot read a simple sentence or solve a basic mathematics problem.
Munduate said for children to be able to read or learn, they must be able to learn to read in the first three years of schooling, and the inability to do that has negative effects on teenagers. However, she said UNICEF was committed to supporting the Federal Government to transform education and to prevent the loss of hard-fought gains in getting children into school, particularly poor, rural children and girls, ensuring that they remain in school, complete their education, and achieve their full potential.
She said UNICEF, together with partners, would continue to support federal and state governments to reduce the number of out-of-school children by providing safe, secure, and violence-free learning environments both in formal and non-formal settings, engaging communities on the importance of education and providing cash transfers to households and to schools. Others, she said included improving learning outcomes by expanding access to quality early childhood education, scaling foundational literacy and numeracy programmes, and offering digital skills life and employability skills to adolescents to enable the school-to-work transition.
As Nigeria’s general election draws near, Munduate called on all presidential candidates to include investments in education as a top priority in their manifestos. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Ondo State UniversalBasic EducationBoard (SUBEB), Victor Olabimtan, has described education as the most important weapon to right, illiteracy, ignorance, tribalism, nepotism, corruption and all other sociopolitical ills too numerous to mention. Speaking on the significance of the International Day of Education, Olabimtan described education as the bedrock of all civilisation and development.