UNICEF Urges Media To Raise Awareness Over Learning Crisis In Nigeria

UNICEF Urges Media To Raise Awareness Over Learning Crisis In Nigeria

By Chika Mefor-Nwachukwu

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged the media in Nigeria to use its powerful mass-mediated channels of communication to raise awareness of the learning crisis in Nigeria.

UNICEF Chief of Field office Kano, Rahama Farah gave this charge on Friday, during a Media Dialogue organised for Journalists by the Fund on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as Child Rights, in Kano State.

Farah who was represented by Officer-un-Charge (OIC), Elhadji Issakha Diop, revealed that Nigeria presently faces a learning poverty in which 70 percent of 10-year- olds in basic schools are not learning.

“According to the World Bank, Nigeria is experiencing & learning poverty in which 70 per cent of 10-year-olds cannot understand a simple sentence or perform basic numeracy task,” he said.

To address the challenge, Farah stated that achieving basic learning outcomes at the foundational level of education is the key.

He also advocated for increased funding to the education sector, especially the allocation of adequate resources to pre-primary and primary level of education in Nigeria; and investing in improving teacher quality.

“As you will learn at this Media Dialogue, UNICEF is already supporting the Government of Nigeria to improve Foundational Literacy and Numeracy through tailor-made, teaching learning practices, such as Teaching at the Right Level (TaRL) and Reading and Numeracy Activities (RANA).

“But a lot still needs to be done to scale-up Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in Nigeria, and the support of every ally and stakeholder is needed-especially that of a powerful institution and ally like the media. That is why this Media Dialogue is not only apt, but timely and important!

“The media must deploy its powerful mass-mediated channels of communication to raise awareness of the learning crisis in Nigeria; advocate increased funding to the education sector, especially the allocation of adequate resources to pre-primary and primary level of education in Nigeria; and investing in improving teacher quality,” he said.

He urged the media to mobilize all stakeholders-parents, teachers, communities, government, CSOs and donors, to join in the worthy cause of addressing the challenge of learning poverty in Nigeria.

Speaking on the Sustainable Development Goals as Child Rights, a lecturer at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Dr. Chidi Ezinwa stated that achievement of SDGs will remain a mirage unless and until the rights of the children are fulfilled.

Ezinwa stated that Child Rights are entitlements of the child hence no right is more important than the other.

“Denial of one Child’s Right leads to the denial of other rights ,we must admit that the quality of children we have today determines the quality of future we have,” he said.

He added that the media needed to understand the rights of children in order to play their duty in ensuring that the rights are kept.

Also speaking, UNICEF Communication Specialist, Dr Geoffrey Njoku, said the objectives of the media dialogue is to improve media understanding of the current issues surrounding SDGs, raise awareness on the learning crisis in Nigeria and the need for a revamp of basic education in Nigeria.


Tags assigned to this article:
DiopLearning crisisUNICEF