As Nigeria joined the rest of the world in marking the fifth International Day of Education (ODE), local and international organizations have raised new concerns about the growing number of children out of school in the country.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the number of children out of school increased from 10.5 million to 18.5 million in 2022, said a civil society organization (CSO), Save the Children International ( SCI), while raising concerns about the increase, stressed the need for the Nigerian government to increase investment in education.

The theme of this year’s International Education Day is “To invest in people, put education first”, building on the global momentum generated by the United Nations Transformational Education Summit in September 2022, which calls for the maintenance of a strong political mobilization around education and cartography. how to translate global commitments and initiatives into action.

Save the Children, in a statement on the occasion of the IDE, notes that access to school is not only essential for children’s well-being and ability to thrive, but is also a prerequisite for children to acquire the knowledge and the skills that are fundamental to building a life full of opportunities. .

“We reiterate our demands that the Nigerian government honor HE President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment at the GPE Global Education Summit to increase education funding to 14 percent by 2022, 16.7 percent in 2023, 20 percent by 2024 and 22.5 percent by 2025,” the statement read.

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“Therefore, SCI calls on governments, donors, partners, the international community and key stakeholders to honor their commitments to prioritize investment in education and educational transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.” added.

Onorakwa Godgift, 16, from Ogoja, Cross River State, said: “Most of my classmates come to school hungry and thirsty and have to walk a long distance every day to get to school. This means that our social and emotional needs are not being met, which is detrimental to our learning and behavior. This must change through more funding for education, which will allow us to reach our potential and become responsible people tomorrow. And as we reflect on and commemorate the annual IDE; We sincerely hope that our leaders will be more committed to prioritizing education.”

Ibrahim Sunoma, vice president of the National Children’s Parliament, said: “Almajiri is also a child; there must be a deliberate effort by parents, government and NGOs to invest in his formal education. Education must be for everyone, including children with disabilities and street children. If you don’t stay out, believe me, we can change our tomorrow for the better. Everyone must get down to work to ensure that all children have a free and quality education at all levels.”

Famari Barro, Country Director, SCI Nigeria, reported that children make up a large part of the Nigerian population and are the future of society; therefore, any investment that prioritizes education will not only boost Nigeria’s economic development, but also ensure lasting peace, stability, accelerated growth and sustainable development for the country.

In the same vein, UNICEF urged Nigeria to honor the commitments made by President Muhammadu Buhari at the United Nations Secretary-General’s Transformative Education Summit in September 2022 to end the global learning crisis.

The agency also urged Nigeria’s presidential candidates to include investment in education as a top priority in their manifestos as elections approach.