Th United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says 75 per cent of children between the age of 7 to 14 years in Nigeria cannot read a simple sentence or solve a basic math problem.
Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Nigeria representative, disclosed in a statement to mark this year’s International Day of Education (IDE) on Tuesday.
Munduate called on presidential candidates in Nigeria to make investment in education a top priority if elected.
“On this International Day of Education, I join the global call to ‘invest in people, prioritise education’ and deliver on the commitments made by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari at the UN Secretary General’s Transforming Education Summit in September 2022 to end the global learning crisis,” the statement reads.
“In Nigeria, 75 per cent of children aged 7 to 14 years cannot read a simple sentence or solve a basic math problem. For children to be able to read to learn, they must be able to learn to read in the first three years of schooling.
“I commit UNICEF’s support to the government of Nigeria to transform education and to prevent the loss of hard-fought gains in getting children into school, particularly poor, rural children and girls and ensuring that they remain in school, complete their education and achieve to their full potential.
“UNICEF, together with partners, will 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 schools.
“Improve learning outcomes by expanding access to quality early childhood education, scaling foundational literacy and numeracy programmes, and offering digital skills and, life and employability skills to adolescents to enable the school to work transition.
“Increase domestic spending on education to meet the 20% global benchmark by 2030 and to address the infrastructure and teaching backlog that are affecting all children’s access to inclusive and quality education.
“As Nigeria’s presidential elections draw near, on behalf of UNICEF and the children in Nigeria, I call on all presidential candidates to include adequate investments in education as a top priority in their manifestos.”