The Nigerian government said to record adequate achievements in the education sector, the system would require a total overhaul in provision of a safe and secured environment for learners and teachers.
The government also said availability of professional teachers, strong political will on the part of government to invest in education, and provision for adequate funding mechanism are all priorities to realise better education system.
President Buhari said these in Abuja during the opening of the 4th International Conference on the Safe Schools Declaration jointly hosted by the governments of Argentina, Norway, Spain, AU Commission and the Global Coalition to protect Education from attack.
The President who was represented by his Chief of Staff Ibrahim Gambari, acknowledged that at will, bandits, kidnappers and terrorists invade
Education facilities in Nigeria and in some African countries to abduct the learners in large numbers.
According to the President, “A report released by S.B Morgen revealed that a total number of 1,462 learners and education personnel were abducted between 1st December 2019 and September 2021, in school-related abductions as well as home and community- related abductions of Learners and teachers”
“The highest number of abduction of 327 learners was also recorded in a single kidnap in Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria while Kaduna has experienced the greatest number of incidences of attack on education.
Out of 19 educational institutions attacked, 12 representing 63%, were secondary schools while 5 which represented 26% were within the tertiary educational system”
“Currently, there are more than 12 million children traumatized and afraid of going to school especially the girl child as reflected in S.B Morgen report”
Among the places already invaded are Chibok, Dapchi, Buni Yadi, Afaka, kagora, and Jangebe in Borno, Yobe, Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara states respectively”
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, stated that the objective of the conference is to build on experiences from the previous ones and highlights progress made by respective countries on the implementation of the Declaration’s commitments, share best practices and deliberate on challenges to improve the relevant approaches that would enhance the protection of learners, education personnel and educational institutions.
UNICEF Country Director, Peter Hawkins, said Nigeria has displayed commitment it has towards ensuring that children’s education is of paramount importance for Nigeria and to the international community
“SSD is an important tool to ensure that children attend school freely and safely wherever they are ,it’s an international phenomenon where schools are used by military ,impacts of the insurgents on children have been high a lot has been done to ensure that the insecurity problem is alleviated and to ensure that education do continue”
“The Street Child Country Representative, Marcheillo Viola ,said Community based implementation of the frameworks on Safe School Declaration is key to achieving the set goals of the document”
“To mainstream the guidelines into practice, the first will be awareness and identify the risk and help the children to know the sign of where the risks are, it is important to have government prosecute perpetrators, the document is systemic”
Head of Finland Mission in Nigeria, Yohanna Tedevitui, said as a signatory to the SSD, attacks on education in Finland have reduced in the last ten years, she expressed optimism that the document will help Nigeria and her partners to address the too many abductions of school children.
The theme for the SSD Conference is Making Schools and Learning Centers Safe, Secure and Enabling for Universal Access and Quality Learning Outcomes.