The President of Idumange Educational Foundation (IEF), Dr. John Idumange, has decried the increasing rate of out-of-school children in Nigeria, most especially in the South-South region and Bayelsa state in particular.
Dr. Idumage made the observation while giving a keynote address on Dec. 16th, 2023, at Ebitare Hotels, Yenagoa, during the Occasion of the Recognition award to Sixteen (16) distinguished Personalities for their Contributions to Human Capital Development in Nigeria.
In the address titled “Nehemiah Complex: And the Fallen Walls of Basic Education in Nigeria,” Dr. Idumange lamented the continual diminish in the financing of basic education despite the rising rate of out-of-school children as shown in the index.
Dr. Idumange proposed a partnership for educational development in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, noting that a 1% contribution of the derivation funds from each state in the Niger Delta region can help to establish an Education Bank in the region.
He said “in every human endeavour, the foundation is critical. For students to excel in their educational journey, a solid foundational education is crucial. It was against this background that Albert Einstein said “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death”. It’s a life long journey. In Mathew 7:24, Jesus states that those who hear His words and do them are wise builders. They have built their homes on solid foundation. the whirl wind and flood cannot destroy the foundation”
“More than ever, the world has become more conscious of the importance of basic education. A UNESCO report noted that approximately 20 million Nigerians are not enrolled in school. Globally, there are about 250million out-of-school children. As the out-of-school index increases, the financing of basic education diminishes. This is coming against the background of increasing population, and the educogenic trend across the world. UNESCO Director General Audrey Azou lamented:”Education is in a state of emergency while considerable efforts were made over the past decades to ensure quality education for all, UNESCO data demonstrates that the number of children out-of-school is now rising. States must urgently remobilize if they do not want to sell out the future of millions children, (Unesco 2023)”
“In Nigeria, data collected in 2018 show the geographical spread of out of school children as follows:
Zone No of School Children
North – Central – 2, 595, 000
North – East – 2, 159, 000
North – West – 3, 065, 000
South – East – 1, 352, 000
South – West – 1, 718, 000
South – South – 2, 140, 000
Source: Federal Ministry of Education, 2018.
“In Bayelsa State, government has raised alarm over the high rate of out-of-school children. As at January 2023, an estimated 250,000 children are out-of-school. Government has called on traditional rulers, youth leaders and other stakeholders to sensitize the people on the need to enroll their children in school.
“Apart from poor funding, the basic education system in Nigeria is plagued by:
*Low budgetary allocation to basic education.
*Dearth in teaching aids and other educational inputs.
*Preponderance of non-trained teachers in the system
*Outdated curriculum and value erosion.
*Corruption and politicization of education.
*Policy failure leading to infrastructural decay and
*Non-implementation of promotion and demotivation of teachers.
“Articles 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), posits that “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free at least in the elementary and fundamental stages”. Now, hopes are dimming, it is becoming obvious that Nigeria may not meet target 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Our inability to meet the SDGs target will reduce access to basic education and jeopardize our poverty alleviation efforts. The foundation of basic education as not deep enough. We cannot risk a total collapse of the system.
“After the Israelites returned from exile in Babylon, it took Nehemiah 52 days to reinforce the gaps and rebuild the temple walls; he gathered his people together, equipped them and provided much needed leadership in rebuilding the city walls of Jerusalem.
“Distinguished champions, the challenges facing basic education are surmountable. Solutions to address there challenges come down to three key issues namely:
*Policy making and implementation including adequate funding.
*The cooperation of parents, faith-based organizations, government agencies and other international agencies such as UNDP, UNESCO, etc to work in synergy and reinforce our commitment to providing basic quality education.
*The issues of accountability are also critical in our quest for rebuilding the fallen walls of basic education in Nigeria.
“We should imbibe the Nehemiah complex and hold government agencies accountable. To the awardees, I say some of you in the academia; have been role models in this endeavour. For those holding the levers of political power, you have built solid institutions, established agencies and contributed personal resources to procure school infrastructure including the award of scholarships. We must re-double our effort to make foundational education work.
“It was Nelson Mandela who averred that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.With respect to the oil producing states in the Niger Delta Region. I propose a partnership for educational development. A paltry 1% contribution of the derivation funds from each state can establish an Education Bank. We can make the oil multinationals to take basic corporate social responsibility more seriously,” the address read in part.
The Idumange Educational Foundation was incorporated under CAMA on the 16th of December, 2020. It was formally launched on July 3rd 2021.
The aims and objectives of the foundation include: to partner with state and non-state agencies to provide educational inputs for schools, to assist physically challenged children to acquire basic and non-formal education, to work in synergy with other agencies, NGO’s and Foundations in pursuit of educational development across gender and to seek sponsorship for the development of young talents in any area of technical and vocational education.
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