The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) yesterday raised the alarm over the number of childrenthatcanneitherread nor solve basic mathematical problem in the country. The Nigeria Representative of UNICEF, Ms Cristian Munduate, in a statement on the International Day of Education, said 75 per cent of children aged seven to 14 years cannot read a simple sentence or solve a basic mathematics problem.
Munduate said for childrentobeabletoreadtolearn, they must be able to learn to readinthefirstthreeyearsof schooling, and inability to do that has negative effects on the teenagers. However, she said UNICEF was committed to supporting the Federal Government to transform education and to prevent the loss of hard-fought gains in getting children into school, particularly poor, rural children and girls, ensuring that they remain in school, complete their education and achieve their full potential.
She saidUNICEF, together with partners, would continue to support federal and state governments to reduce the number of out-of-school children byproviding safe, secure and violence-free learning environments both in formal and non-formal settings, engaging communities on the importance of education and providing cash transfers to households and to schools. Others, she said included improve learning outcomes by expanding access to quality early childhood education, scaling foundational literacy and numeracy programmes, and offering digital skills life andemployabilityskillstoadolescents to enable the school to work transition.
As Nigeria’s general election draws near, Munduate called on all presidential candidates to include investments in education as a top priority in their manifestos. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Ondo State UniversalBasic EducationBoard (SUBEB), Victor Olabimtan, has described education as the most important weapon to right, illiteracy, ignorance, tribalism, nepotism, corruption and all other sociopolitical ills too numerous to mention. Speaking on the significance of the International Day of Education, Olabimtan described education as the bedrock of all civilisation and development.