United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that 75 per cent of Nigerian children, aged between seven and 14 years, could not read a simple sentence or solve a basic mathematical problem.
UNICEF Country Representative, Ms Christian Munduate, in a statement, on Tuesday, January 24, to mark this year’s International Day of Education (IDE), called on the next president of the country to prioritise education and children’s welfare.
Munduate said: “I join the global call to ‘invest in people, prioritise education’ and urge Nigeria to deliver on the commitments made by President Muhammadu Buhari at the UN Secretary General’s Transforming Education Summit in September 2022 to end the global learning crisis.
“In Nigeria, 75 per cent of children aged seven to 14 years cannot read a simple sentence or solve a basic math problem.
“For children to be able to read to learn, they must be able to learn to read in the first three years of schooling.”
She expressed commitment to UNICEF’s support to the Federal Government’s commitment to transform education and to prevent the loss of hard-fought gains in getting children into school, particularly poor, rural children and girls, and ensuring that they remain in school, complete their education and achieve their full potential.
UNICEF, together with partners, she added, would continue to support federal and state governments to reduce the number of out-of-school children by providing safe learning environments in formal and non-formal settings; engage communities on the importance of education and provide cash to households and schools.
The partners, she said, would also look into improving learning outcomes by expanding access to quality early childhood education, scaling foundational literacy and numeracy programmes, as well as offering digital skills, life and employability skills to adolescents to enable the school-to-work transition.
She stated: “As Nigeria’s presidential elections draw near, on behalf of UNICEF and the children in Nigeria, I call on all presidential candidates to include investments in education as a top priority in their manifestoes.”