An Emergencies report to assess the level of schools damaged in the north east region of the country has been presented to Stakeholders in the Education sector.
The joint Education Needs Assessment report which was presented in Abuja, focused on 5 main key areas in the sector.
The joint Education Needs Assessment report include access to education, safety protection and emergency .Others are school infrastructure ,Teachers .response and community.
The humanitarian crisis in Northeastern Nigeria has claimed more than 20,000 civilian lives and forced over a million children of school age to flee their homes. Targeted abduction of children and attacks on schools have left children and their parents in constant fear.
More than 600 teachers have been killed, nearly 1,200 schools are damaged or destroyed and at least 1,500 schools have been forced to close due to attacks.
The North East also has poor health records with the highest levels of under 5 mortality and maternal mortality in the country. The relationship between girls’ education, health as well as child marriages must be addressed in a holistic manner.
Presenting the report, UNICEF Chief of Education,Terry Durnnian, said about five hundred classrooms were destroyed and over one thousand three hundred damaged in the North-east.
“The findings are broken into 5 areas : the first one is access to education. Safety, protection and emergency. School infrastructure. Teachers. Response and community. Now Access : Large areas are inaccessible to humanitarian actors.”
Representative of the Norway Ambassador Chargé d’affaires, in Nigeria Mrs. Vibeke Søegaard, expressed worry that Nigeria tops out of school figure in the world.
“According to UNICEF 10.5 million children in Nigeria are out of school, this is the highest number for children in school going age in any country, so Nigeria has the displeasure of topping the statistics of children out of school in the world”
“Although Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, it is not the most populous country in the world there are more bigger countries like India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh but they still have few children out of school when compared to Nigeria. I think this is something the Nigerian government should take very serious.”
According to Mrs Søegaard” Norway and Nigeria have had a different kind of relationship in the past like in 1880s when fish was fish was been exported to Nigeria, the relationship between the two countries go way back, they have had dealings in trade, oil and gas.”
She said developmental support in Nigeria was new it actually boomed with the crisis in Northeast Nigeria, which was the biggest developmental programme in the north east, educational programme through UNICEF.
“We’ve entered into an agreement with UNICEF after the chibok girls got abducted, in fact I was in Norway myself and there was a demonstration in Oslo many Nigerians and some others reporters marched in the streets to Oslo and demanded to see the foreign minister and the foreign minister received them and then they said what is Norway doing for girls education in Nigeria,’
“Look at what has happened. this is terrible you know the chibok girls abduction went viral all over the world, then the foreign minister ask the embassy to find a partner so that Norway could support education in Nigeria ,and that it is how it all started in 2014.”
“From 2014 till this year Norway provides a total of 135,000,000 Norwegian crooner to education in the northeast through UNICEF which is the equivalent of about 60 and a half million U.S dollars, for a small country like Norway that’s a big some of money.”
“Norway has funded education globally, in Norway there are hardly any private schools everybody goes to government schools and the University is almost free ,you pay a cheap sum. Anybody who studies well or is above average intelligence can go to university in Norway you don’t have to have rich parents unlike many other countries”she added.
The Country Director , Save the Children Nigeria, Ben Foot,said a lot of challenges are been faced getting the children back to school in the North-east..
Save the children is working in Borno state,together with UNICEF and PLAN to ensure that children get back to school ,that is our main objective”,The security situations the country is restricting our movement ,and we can’t reach children in some areas .
The teachers have to be very aware of what is happening around them,and have to be fully prepared in case such attacks comes up again .’We want them to be fully aware of the scenarios happening around them and be fully prepared ,and also protect the children when such situation occurs .
We want them to be better prepared ,and fully informed to counter such attacks .
Mr Foot stressed the need to engage communities so as to be sensitized on how to keep the school safe at all times .
“If you put soldiers with guns in the school ,the soldiers will come for the gun,but when you properly mobilize the community members ,they will be in a good position to protect the students .”Let the children be aware of the potential dangers and how to respond when such situations occur ,we need to change the way of doing things. “Foot said.
“I am very happy that we have such a wide group represented here who have a wide experience to share and we will save the children although we are outnumbered I think there’s a smal plan for that we don’t for a moment think we have all the answers and we are keen to hear what others have to say
In a message .Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission ,UBEC, Dr. Hammid Bobboyi said plans have been concluded to organised a general audit in all states of the federation and local government areas to assess the education sector to with international best practices.