NEC backing for State of Emergency welcomed by education groups — urge immediate action on UBE Act (2004) Amendment, focus on girls’ education and funding.
Today Malala Fund, the Development and Research Projects Centre (dPRC), Youth Hub Africa, Connected Development (CODE) and the Centre for Girls’ Education (CGE) called for increased funding for 12 years of free, safe and quality education to be a key priority under the State of Emergency for education.
As a first step, the education groups are calling on the House of Representatives and the federal government to urgently secure the amendment to the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act, currently being considered by the House Committee of the Whole.
It follows the National Economic Council (NEC) decision to call on all 36 state governors to each declare a State of Emergency in education.
Malala Yousafzai, Malala Fund founder and Nobel Peace Laureate, first joined dPRC, Youth Hub Africa, Connected Development (CODE) and CGE to call for the action to be taken during her visit to Nigeria in July 2017.
Crystal Ikanih-Musa, Malala Fund In-Country Representative, said:
“We are encouraged that the NEC has joined our call for a State of Emergency in education.
The Council, led by Vice President Osinbajo, has shown great leadership by publicly recognising the urgency and vital economic importance of all children receiving an education that prepares them for the future workforce.
“Under any State of Emergency it will be essential to focus on girls.
“Nigeria has the most out-of-school girls in the world, despite all evidence proving that educating girls grows economies, improves public health, reduces conflict and mitigates climate change.”
Habiba Mohammed, Malala Fund Gulmakai Champion & Team Leader, Centre for Girls’ Education (CGE) said:
“There must also be a recognition that we cannot achieve progress without reversing the current decline in federal education spending.
“As part of any state-level State of Emergency federal funding for education must also rise to reach 6% of GDP.
“We hope to see state governors and federal ministers seizing this opportunity to focus on our children’s education. In doing so, they will secure our nation’s future prosperity.”
“To demonstrate that the federal government is ready to play its part — the administration should urgently secure Presidential Assent for the amendment to the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act currently being considered by the House of Representatives.
“This would not only guarantee 12 years education for every child but also allow states to access more federal funding for education.”
Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive Officer, Connected Development, said:
“Connected Development [CODE] is interested in seeing government invest in Nigeria’s public education sector in a proactive and transparent manner.
“As an organisation, we are highly curious to learn that a declaration of a ‘state of emergency’ is followed up with accountable fund disbursements which puts millions of children in schools, and prove that government is able to fulfill its social contract to ensure quality education for children, especially girls.”
It is estimated that there are 10.5 million children aged 6-14 out-of school in Nigeria — the highest number in the world. Most of them are girls.
Under a State of Emergency, Malala Fund, Development and Research Projects Centre (dPRC), Youth Hub Africa, Connected Development (CODE) and the Centre for Girls’ Education are calling for:
- Education funding to reach 6% of Nigeria’s GDP
- Greater transparency in education funding at both federal and state level
- Implementation of the Child Rights Act in each state
- An amendment to the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Act to guarantee 12 years education for every child and to allow states to access more federal funding
Last week Malala Fund released a new report Full Force which outlined how the world has lost up to a staggering $30 trillion by not educating girls.
It warned that without urgent action to ensure all girls go to school and learn the skills they need to join the workforce, 1 billion girls will be left behind.