The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for a renewed commitment to transforming the educational landscape in Nigeria, emphasising the need for every child to have equal opportunity to learn, grow and contribute to building a world that is not only peaceful but also prosperous.
Juliet Chiluwe, chief of field office, UNICEF Enugu, who made the call during a one-day Multi Zonal Press Conference on 2024 International Day of Education held in Enugu with the theme ‘Learning for Lasting Peace,’ also called for increased resources to education sector.
According to her, “The objectives for UNICEF Nigeria resonate deeply with the heart of our mission: delivering on commitments, ending the learning crisis, ensuring safe learning environments, and advocating for increased domestic and international financing for education.
“To achieve these objectives, it is imperative that we embrace a deep commitment to strengthen learning outcomes, accelerate skills development, and ensure that education is a beacon accessible to all, particularly those on the fringes of society.”
Chiluwe also noted: “In a bid to ending the learning Crisis, let us strengthen learning outcomes and accelerate skills development, making education a reality for every child, including those with disabilities and our adolescent girls.
“We must increase resources allocated to education, advocate for debt swaps, and enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of spending to ensure that no child is left,” she said.
According to the leader of Enugu UNICEF field office, “The International Day of Education serves as a poignant reminder of the transformative power of education in building peaceful societies,” adding that “It underscores the critical need for accessible and equitable quality education, especially during times of crisis, as we strive to uplift the hearts and minds of all individuals.”
Chiluwe further said: “The theme for this year International Education Day, ‘Learning for Lasting Peace,’ carries a weighty significance. It speaks to the enduring power of education as a tool for preventing, building, and sustaining peace. This theme compels us to recognise the indispensable role education plays before, during, and after conflicts, with a particular emphasis on ensuring continuity for those who are most marginalized.
“Education becomes a beacon, reducing inequities, injustices, and inequalities, while nurturing the cognitive, social, and emotional skills essential for safeguarding peace.
“We are well aware of the daunting global challenges of climate change, democratic erosion, persistent inequalities, discrimination, hate speech, violence, or conflict, in all of these, education emerges as a beacon of hope. It equips individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the complexities of our present world.
“The recommendations on education for peace and human rights, international understanding, cooperation, fundamental freedoms, global citizenship, and sustainable development serve as compassionate guide in our collective pursuit of a more peaceful world,” she said
“Together, we can make lasting strides in achieving the objectives set forth for UNICEF Nigeria and, ultimately, contribute to global efforts for sustainable development through quality education,” she said
Earlier the Enugu State Commissioner for Education, Ndubeze Mbah who described Education as a cornerstone for building a tomorrow, a catalyst, and equalizer of opportunities, said the government of Mbah was working heard to qualitative education for all through the building of smart schools in all the wards in the state
He explained that his principal’s priority to education was close to none in the country.
“It is on record that Peter Ndubuisi Mbah is the first at both state and National levels that has dedicated more than 30percent of his annual state budget to education as evidenced in the 2024 budget of Disruptive Economic Growth which allocated 33percent to education,” he said.