A helping hand is coming in the way of the burgeoning population of out-of-school children in Nigeria via a UK-based international education charity, the IA-Foundation.
The Chief Executive Officer of the charity organization, Mrs. Ibironke Adeagbo, who disclosed this recently in Abuja, said her organization will partner with the Nigerian government to tackle problems that had prevented about 10.19 million children from going to school.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is known to currently have the largest number of out-of-school children in sub-Saharan Africa..
Adeagbo described the engagement with Nigeria as a fallout from the recent international education summit in London, tagged Global Education Summit, which had the British prime minister, the Kenyan president, and President Muhammadu Buhari participating.
She commended Buhari for pledging at the summit to double Nigeria’s education budget by 50 percent in the next two years, to stimulate growth in the education sector of the country.
Adeagbo, who is also the founder of the IA-Foundation noted, however, that the president’s gesture was too meagre to lift Nigeria’s education sector out of the woods when compared with the 23 percent budgetary allocation made to education by Nigeria’s neighbour, Ghana.
According to her, prevailing issues in Nigeria demand that corporate bodies and public-spirited individuals should rise to the challenge and partner with the government to engender an assured future for children.
She lamented what she described as the disturbing problems plaguing the education sector in Nigeria in recent years, saying that in the past 12 years, only 2011 and 2019 did not record brazen attacks on schools in the country.
Citing statistics, Adeagbo said that 35 percent of the attacks were on secondary schools, where girls captured by bandits were married off – to the amazement of Nigerians and the global community.
“Eleven states out of the 36 states in Nigeria have been affected in the attacks with 48 percent of the attacks occurring in boarding schools, while the Northeast geo-political zone experienced 73 percent of the attacks.”
Adeagbo said the apparent siege on the education sector had made Nigeria a nation, where one in every five of the world’s out-of-school children reside, describing the situation as worrisome and unacceptable.
She said that IA-Foundation had scheduled a fundraising event for Feb. 5 next year in Lagos, to stimulate the interest of individuals and corporate bodies on the need to tackle problems in Nigeria’s education sector and save the country’s future.
Quoting Victor Hugo, the French playwright, poet, and essayist, Adeagbo, a chartered accountant said: “He who opens a school door, closes a prison door’’.
She said the initiative to tackle problems in Nigeria’s education sector was part of the efforts by her organisation to bridge the gap in accessing education and to open opportunities, to make Nigerian children acquire basic education. “At IA-Foundation, we do not believe that we have the silver bullet to solving these challenges but we believe that we are part of the solution,’’ said Adeagbo.