As part of measures to increase access to safe, education and quality Education, about 2000 youths across the country in 10 Nigerian states, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, presented petitions to the Governors, Parliamentarians, Policy makers and other influential persons.
The Program with support from UNICEF is part of activities to celebrate the Day of the African Child, which commemorates the day in 1976 that hundreds of students were shot in Soweto.
The UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Dr Peter Kawkins disclosed that schools should be a safe place for children, where they can get quality education that will put them on the path to a secure future.
“Sadly, the demand for quality education by children in Soweto, South African in 1976, is still valid today, in too many countries around the world.
The youth actions we are seeing today across several states is a wakeup call for leaders to act on their commitments to provide quality education for all children in all situations”.
He said the engagement seeks to secure commitment from National and state government to prioritize children’s right to education in their governance agenda, including through states and the National level.
“The engagement will create an opportunity for Nigerian youth to advocate for policy and decision makers, and urge them to commit resources to education without which the substantial number of out of school children in Nigeria will not be reduced”.
The 10 states where the mass actions are taking place are Bauchi, Niger, Katsina, Kano, Sokoto,Zamfara, Kebbi,Gombe,Adamawa, Taraba. and the FCT which have about eight million children not in school, and an average enrolment rate of only 57percent.
The Nigerian campaign for access to quality education will hold the newly elected government officials at all levels accountable for the campaign promises to provide equitable access to free, safe, and quality education for every child especially the girl child in Nigeria.
“This action is calling for improved school infrastructure, a massive enrollment campaign to bring all children to school, and targeted investment to ensure an uninterrupted twelve years of schooling for girls.
It hopes to extract a commitment for a 10 percent increase in budgetary allocation and release of funds for education.”
“With 50 percent of the total budget to basic education, recruitment, deployment, and provision of incentives for 1000 female teachers per year, and recruitment and deployment of 1000 qualified teachers per year, especially to rural areas, where they are most needed.
The action is calling for improved school infrastructure, a massive enrollment campaign to bring all children to school, and targeted investment to ensure an uninterrupted 12 years of schooling for girls.”
This project is coming at a time the world celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The Convention is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, and stipulates that every child has the right to education.
It has helped to transform children’s lives, inspiring legislative changes to protect children and enable them to participate actively in the societies.
The Child Right body has released a “Passport to your Rights”, a copy of the CRC in child friendly language in pocket format. The aim is for every child to have a copy of the booklet by 2030.