Recent research across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria reveals that there is a 92 percent learning deprivation among children in the country.
The research conducted by the Centre for Policy Innovation, (PIC), a behavioural insight and research-driven organization, indicates that foundational literacy, which is critical for children to grow up and succeed in life, is under serious threat and in need of immediate intervention to reverse the trend.
Deputy Director of the Centre, Dr Osasuyi Dirisu, made this known at an interactive panel discussion of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group session 28, (NESG 28), in Abuja.
Speaking on the implication of the findings and the need for all hands to be on deck to support the Nigerian child, she stressed the need for foundational literacy for children in the early stages of life, irrespective of their chosen career paths or vocations later in life.
Dirisu listed factors contributing to the high rate of learning deprivation, including poverty, which she said has resulted in parents wanting their children to engage in income-generating activities to support the home.
“Sometimes issues, like the lack of infrastructure in the school, poor teacher competency, and basic amenities such as toilets.
“Other drivers include poor nutrition, issues relating to communicable diseases, and the negative belief system as some parents do not see the value of education probably because they were not educated themselves due to cultural or social norms within their context, she explained.
The Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, said insecurity has become a national issue that must be dealt with to ensure that schools are up and running and children can be educated.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has said that before he leaves office, he will fulfil his promise to tackle insecurity, and we pray that this promise is secured so that we can have our children go back to the classroom fully.”
Cristian Munduate, Country Representative, UNICEF, pointed out that education should be a service to guarantee the rights of the child.
According to her, it is important for the government at all levels to prioritise children’s education for meaningful development in all sectors.