• Saturday, December 02, 2023
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Had I known

Reps urge FG to increase education budget from 2022   James Kwen, Abuja   The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning to give further considerations to Education in the subsequent budgetary allocations, beginning from 2022 in order to attain the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) projection by 2030.   According to UNESCO, for a nation to achieve the goal of providing quality education for all by 2030, the country would have to allocate at least 26 percent of its national budget to education.   However, Nigeria’s budgetary allocation for Education in the last five years is 7.38% in 2017, 7.03% in 2018, 7.05% in 2019, 6.7% in 2020 and 5.6% in 2021, a far cry from the expected standards.   It is based on this premise that the House called for Federal Government consideration on Tuesday while adopting a motion on; “Urgent Need to Address the Falling Standard of Education in Nigeria” moved by Johnson Ganiyu from Lagos.   Moving the motion, Ganiyu noted that quality education is a crucial tool for the economic growth of any country, thus Goal 4 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is focused on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting life-long learning opportunities for all.   He also noted that Section 18 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that the Government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels.   The lawmaker said he was: “Aware that Nigeria’s education system within the last decade has been on a steady decline, ranging from influx of illegal institutions of learning as well as unqualified teachers in the system to poor funding, overcrowding and plethora of decaying infrastructure in schools across the Federation.    “Also aware that according to the United Nations, Nigeria has one of the largest populations of out-of-school youth in the world, with more than ten million Nigerian children, 60 per cent of them girls, not in school and will therefore not have the skills they need to get jobs and build secured and stable future.   Ganiyu acknowledged that Nigeria has achieved some progress in expanding access to school under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the domestic Universal Basic Education (UBE) Scheme, however, the expansion has not resulted in improved learning, as the flat learning curve in Nigeria is a proof that getting children to school does not automatically translate to adequate infrastructure, qualified teachers, conducive learning environment, frequent attendance, grade progression, effective classroom governance and more importantly, learning.   He expressed concern that the adverse effects of falling standard of Education to a nation is very grave, and the fall in educational standard in Nigeria implies a continued decline in its level of economic growth.   The lawmaker also expressed concern that with the current population of about 200 million, 45 per cent of which are below 15 years, there is high demand for learning opportunities translating into increased enrolment which has created challenges in ensuring quality education since resources are spread more thinly.   Ganiyu was worried that the burden on education in Nigeria has become even more overwhelming, resulting in more than 100 pupils to one teacher as against the UNESCO benchmark of 35 pupils per teacher; culminating in students learning under trees for lack of classrooms and other harsh conditions.  He said if no urgent action is taken, the problem will gravely affect the young and future generations as well as stifle the economic and social developmental prospects of the country.

Dad left us because he was angry with Mom for “giving him” five girls. One day he left the house and never returned.

Feeding six mouths with her meager income was no small feat for Momsy. She would often go without food because “she was fasting” and there were times I heard her crying all night when she thought everyone was asleep.

Life was tough but we never lacked the basics but Tata was rebellious, she wanted more. She dropped out of senior secondary to live the kind of lifestyle she always wanted. Mom pleaded with her, counseled her and even punished her sometime but Tata was beyond redemption.

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I don’t know what Tata did for a living but she obviously earned a lot of money. She tried to help out at home but Momsy would never take anything from her. Tata always talked about proving to our father that we could survive without him and she would do it no matter the cost.
By the time she was 20, Tata left home to start a new life in the UK. I must say, she was a good big sis. She encouraged us to do the right thing always. She promised to do anything for us as long as we stayed in school, stayed out of trouble and didn’t give Momsy any problem.

We had bank accounts (thanks to Tata) and she made sure that we always had enough money. So I thought to myself that if a secondary school drop out like her could make more money than Momsy who had two degrees, then there was no basis for an education. At this point I began to cut classes. This education thing wasn’t going to work for me.

Everyone thought I was in school but I had made the club my second home. I became exposed to drugs and sex and my life took a downward spiral. A voice in my head warned that I had no excuse living this kind of life but I was past caring. My next plan of action was to leave the country and it was during a routine health check for my proposed trip that I discovered that I was HIV positive with chances for an opportunistic cancer to grow. This was a death sentence.

Tata lived life on the fast lane and she’s never come down with as little as a flu. I’ve done this for less than a year and now I have a life threatening disease? What have I done to myself? No wonder Tata always emphasized that some people could get away with certain things while others might not be as lucky. I have ruined my life. I am doomed.

Can someone please tell me what to do because I’m so confused and miserable.