My organization Centre for 21st century issues (C21st) is a member of the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education (CSACEFA) and Here is our Pres release in celebration of the global Action Week on Education
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the press welcome to this media conference organized by Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA, Lagos, ESSPIN and other stakeholders to mark the 2013 Global Action Week on Education
The Global Action Week is one of the major focal points for education movements. It provides every state, national and regional Education Campaign an opportunity to highlight one area of Education for All Agenda ,and make targeted efforts to achieve change on the ground.
This year, Global Campaign on Education (GCE) and millions of campaigners and the public worldwide are joining together to support the theme ‘’ EVERY CHILD NEEDS A TEACHER’’ The theme is premised on current education gaps. Globally 61 million children are not in primary school, the biggest thing we can to guarantee their Right to Education is make sure they have access to a trained Teacher. (1.7 million Teachers more teachers are needed – 1million more in Africa,)
For the 2013 Global Action Week, CSACEFA Lagos, ESSPIN and other stakeholders have adopted the theme, ‘THE CHILD OUR FUTURE’ .to highlight the various advocacy efforts and interventions on child centered issues – child awareness , child rights, child safety , protection and participation in institutions and processes that connect to the child’s development and wellbeing.
INCLUSION and INCLUSIVE GROWTH
Children are the future of any nation and their access to quality education should be a key priority. The focus on good learning outcomes must be combined with one on equity. The poorest and most marginalized children often have teachers with the least training, fewer learning materials and fewer opportunities to learn outside school. They are also less likely to benefit from good early childhood services, despite the strong evidence that support at a very young age helps ensure children can learn later in their lives. As a result, poor children are less likely to start school ready to learn.
Education systems need to ensure inclusion and inclusive growth. The local and state development frameworks must focus on reducing the learning gap between the poorest and richest children. An explicit focus on equity requires the poorest 10% of children who are currently out of primary school to be both in school and learning. This will require targeted action, including targeting funding, to reach the poorest children, disabled children, girls, children from minority and closed up communities. Achieving inclusive growth will require that all young people have basic literacy and numeracy, technical and life skills to give them the chance to become active citizens with decent employment.
LEGAL AND INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORKS
Education is both a right the bedrock of development. All children have a right not just to schooling, but to learn. Virtually all the countries that have developed rapidly over the last few decades had strong education systems. Some legal and institutional frameworks support the right of all children to good quality education and good learning outcomes
The foremost of them is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in its article 26. Of importance are articles 28 and 29 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as explained by the CRC committee in its General Comment 1. To include access and content (quantity and quality). Articles 13&14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in calling for compulsory education recognize education as a human right. The ICESCR Committee explained education in General Comments 11 and 13 as being central to the full and effective realization of all other human rights.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA) program recognize it as key to development of other areas of human endeavors thus sustaining it a global burning issue. In Lagos State, the Child Right Law was passed in 2007 and the Ministry of Women Affairs & Poverty Alleviation also introduce the Yellow card for child abuse programme.
CSACEFA is established as a pressure group in the area of education and is committed to the attainment of EFA goals which are:
• Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children
• Ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls’, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality.
• Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life –skills programmes.
• Achieving a 50 percent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults.
• Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005 and achieving gender equality in education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality.
• Improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence of all, so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life-skills.
In identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the educational sector, CSACEFA draws attention to these factors undermining the realization of Education for all in Lagos State-
The proliferation of private schools where exorbitant user fees are charged defeats the overall goal of free education
While many public schools are renovated in the urban areas of Lagos State, the reverse is the case in the rural areas particularly in the riverine areas such as Amuwo Odofin and Ibeju Lekki, Ojo, Makoko, Apapa, Badagry, Epe.
Many areas of Lagos State especially rural areas have insufficient schools serving the teeming population compelling parents and guardians to send their children and wards to private schools
The issue of street trading by children during the school hours defeats the compulsory, universal basic education provided for the Child Rights Act. Yellow card should be strictly efforced.
The inadequate training and retraining of teachers affects the quality of education which the ICESCR provides as a necessary component of education
The poor quality of education in both private and public schools increase the number of unemployable graduates pushed yearly into the Nigerian labour market
The non provision of basic infrastructures in schools
The neglect of this all important sector by the media.
The lack of political will to implement policies on education and adequate budgetary allocation to the education sector in line with the internationally agreed 26% 0f total budget.
CSACEFA, Lagos as a matter of urgency calls on Lagos State Government to:
Live up to its responsibility of providing sufficient public schools in every area of Lagos state, particularly the riverine areas such as Ibeju-Lekki, Amuwo Odofin, Ikorodu, Ilaje Bariga etc.
Apply greater efforts in employing, training and retraining of teachers
Remunerate teachers adequately and improve their conditions of service their commitment to quality service.
Strictly monitor available private schools to ensure that quality of education is not compromised.
Guarantee the implementation of laws and policies on education particularly CRA and UBEA
Address more vigorously the issue of child beggars and hawkers in Lagos State.
CSACEFA Lagos hereby calls on
• The media to take issues of education seriously by giving it needed coverage as is done in politics. For example the poor infrastructures in schools ought to be constantly highlighted.
• The Ministries of Education, Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, and the Youth and Sports Development are urged to pursue more vigorously programmes that will attract children and keep them in schools (e.g extra curricular activities such as Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade, Scouts, girl guides etc.).
• Demands that Law Enforcement Agencies collaborate with the Ministries to prosecute parents/guardians who make children hawk on the streets of Lagos during school hours.
• Ensure the sustainability of school based management committees SBMCs) as active community stakeholders.
• To encourage the Civil Society Organizations to mount enlightenment programs for parents and guardians in their localities on the value of education, rights of the child and responsibilities of the adult citizens in these areas.
• Be more proactive in demanding for the implementation of laws and policies that would improve the quality of education.
We implore all and sundry to join hands in equipping our children and wards for a better tomorrow and a greater Nigeria.
If we all agree that education is the best tool for development, going by the present state of education, the future of our dear nation is at stake. Drastic educational measures are urgently needed because the children are the leaders of tomorrow and they need to be nurtured and assisted to develop into responsible and produce adults who will take over the running of the affairs of the society.
Gentlemen of the Press we sincerely appreciate your presence and count on your support in this noble task of ensuring a bright future for our children.
Dr (Ms) Keziah Awosika
Coordinator CSACEFA Lagos
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Girls Transform the World 2013.