ABUJA – 14 December, 2022 – Over 100 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), including ImpactHouse Centre for Development Communication, have endorsed a basic education manifesto, charging politicians and policymakers to prioritise basic education during and after the 2023 elections in Nigeria.
The manifesto titled Reimagining Education in Nigeria: A Civil Society Manifesto was developed by the Education Champions Network (ECN) in Nigeria and a coalition of international and local organisations, including Save The Children, Plan International, Invictus Africa, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All (CSACEFA) and Malala Fund.
The 12-page document offers insight into Nigeria’s education crisis, gaps and opportunities whilst detailing succinct recommendations for incoming national and sub-national governments on how to provide 12 years of safe, free, quality education for all. The manifesto is part of the #EducationNOW9ja inter-organisational campaign to engage stakeholders on the need for urgent and sustained intervention in the educational sector for holistic human and social development.
‘Nigeria’s education system is in a state of emergency and the country is lagging behind even the poorest countries in Africa. Out-of-school rates among adolescents and youth of secondary school age have hardly changed in 20 years’, the manifesto noted.
‘The number of out-of-school children of primary school age also increased by 50 percent from 6.4 to 9.7 million, as the out-of-school rate has remained constant at 28 percent since 2010. Nigeria is among the top three countries – alongside India and Pakistan – with the most children and youth excluded from education’.
Highlighting the benefits of basic education to Nigeria, the manifesto estimates a GDP growth of up to $243 billion if every girl completes a full 12-year cycle of education. It further noted that equitable access to quality education, particularly for girls, can reduce conflict and security across the country by up to 37 percent. Similarly, providing free, safe and quality education for up to 12 years will reduce early marriage, and social injustice, leading to a healthier, wealthier and happier population.
‘The government’s budgetary allocations for education, and the trajectory of those allocations, are the best indication of the governments’ priorities and political will’, the manifesto added.
Wrapped around three major advocacy ‘asks’, the manifesto called on the next government to:
Make Senior Secondary Education Free
- Amend the legislation to make education free and compulsory up to senior secondary level, thus guaranteeing 12 years of uninterrupted education for Nigerian children.
- Adopt a progressive universalisation approach to the implementation of 12 years of education, which prioritises support for those at greatest risk of not learning – the poor, the discriminated against, girls, children with disabilities and those facing multiple disadvantages.
Fund More. Fund Better
- Commission a task force, including members of civil society, to develop a roadmap to achieve Nigeria’s commitment to spend four percent of GDP and 22.5 percent of the national budget on education by 2025.
- Establish and mainstream minimum standards and guidelines for financial planning for education to include guidance on gender-responsive planning and budgeting and the establishment of national education accounts.
Make Schools Safe
- Ensure that students deprived of access to quality education as a result of the conflict, violence or crises are promptly given access to quality alternative education in a safe environment, in line with the National Guidelines for Accelerated Basic Education”, the manifesto read.
- Effectively and immediately roll out the implementation of the Safe Schools Plan of Action and the National Policy on Safety, Security and Violence-Free Schools.
- Enhance teacher training on school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) and create standard operating procedures for responding to rights violations and clear referral pathways for services.
‘What we want to do with this manifesto is engage with the candidates, interact with them and get their commitment on what they would want to do with education, either through their signatures, endorsing it and adopting it. This way we get a valid reason to ensure that when they are in office, we can come back and say this is what you promised Nigerians, please fulfill it’, said Fatima Askira, Malala Fund Programme Director, Nigeria, at the event.
Femi Aderibigbe, Advocacy Manager, Malala Fund, Nigeria, urged media practitioners to engage political candidates on critical development issues including free basic education for children, noting that education is not free if parents still buy books, bags and uniforms for their wards.
According to Bukky Shonibare, Executive Director of Invictus Africa: ‘It is the responsibility of every Nigerian to demand and track the implementation of these policies and promises. Come on social media, when you meet them one-on-one, ask them what they’re doing, when you see them in meetings, ask them what they’re doing. Until we get to that point where citizens are conscious and we occupy the office of the citizens and we have it as a collective responsibility, these things will not move’.
The Civil Society Manifesto on Basic Education will be formally launched in January 2023.
For media enquiries, please contact:
+234 802 387 6663