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70% of school children not learning — UNICEF

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UNICEF communication specialist Mr. Geoffrey Njoku made this known in Kano on Friday at a two-day media dialogue on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Njoku said that no country could focus on its SDGs without considering children’s rights, and said that stakeholders must start focusing on the SDGs as children’s rights.

According to him, attention should be paid to one aspect of education which is fundamental literacy and numeracy.

“Since 2010, we have pushed to change the narrative of the 10.5 million children who are not in school, yet 70% of those who are in school are not learning.

“We need to include this 70% in school who do not learn the 10.5 million children who do not attend school so that they are given adequate attention.

“So it’s about time we focused on learning the education system through teacher training, changing the curriculum, and changing the narrative through quality education,” he said.

70% of school children not learning — UNICEF

In addition, Mr. Rahama Farah, Head of UNICEF Field Office, Kano, said that UNICEF and the Federal Government have been collaborating to improve the outcome of education, but much remains to be done.

Farah, who was represented, Officer-in-Charge of the UNICEF Kano field office, said that improving learning outcomes was key to achieving basic learning.

“According to the World Bank, Nigeria is experiencing learning poverty in which 70 percent of 10-year-olds cannot understand a simple sentence or perform basic arithmetic tasks.

“To address the challenge, achieving basic learning outcomes at the basic level of education is key.

It is clear that in order to improve learning outcomes in Nigeria, the achievement of basic foundational skills at that level of learning cannot be overemphasized.

“Therefore, we must mobilize stakeholders to join forces to address the challenges of eradicating learning poverty in the country,” he said.

Along the same lines, Dr. Chidi Ezinwa, Department of Mass Communication, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, said that the SDGs will remain a mirage until children’s rights are realized.

Ezinwa added that poverty and gender inequality must be overcome as they are essential ingredients for the denial of children’s rights.

“One of the objectives says that there is no poverty, but when there is poverty, several rights are taken away from children.

“Children who don’t go to school, who don’t get good health care are linked to poverty.

“So the SDGs and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which serve as a legal instrument to achieve the goals, are universal and aim to leave no one behind,” he said.

He also said that there was a need for different countries to come up with their law to address the issues, saying duty bearers had been assigned an assignment on what to do to address the issue.

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