The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has backed calls for declaration of a state of emergency in the education sector.
Speaking at the National Conference on the Learning Crisis in Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday, Chairman of the NGF, Governor Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman of Kwara State, said resources must be provided for sustainable and promising education.
The conference, organised by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has the theme: ‘Scaling Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in Nigeria’.
Represented by the Vice Chairman of the NGF, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Abdulrahman said education is in crisis.
He insisted that a state of emergency should be declared in the sector.
The NGF chairman stressed the need to remove all barriers, such as gender, poverty, location, disabilities, language and ethnicity, that could hinder children from accessing foundational literacy and numeracy.
“We must follow UNESCO standards for an education system that is progressive and sustainable; governors at the various states must commit above 15 percent of our budget to education.
“I support the call for a state of emergency but it must be backed by actions, the resources must be provided and we must look at issues that have mitigated against achieving that sustainable growth.
“It is one thing to declare a state of emergency but it’s another thing to put all the resources and elements that will allow us to achieve it.
“So I support putting the resources in place to allow us to move fast at it. Our education is in crisis and a state of emergency should be declared in all sectors. We need a solid roadmap and I believe it is a collective involvement,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu, said the learning crisis had been a challenge the education sector is faced with which needs urgent solution.
“The consequences of the learning crisis are far-reaching and profound as we risk widening the already significant education gap, perpetuating a cycle of poverty, illiteracy, diseases and stifling innovation and progress.
“Education is the cornerstone of societal progress and individual empowerment, yet the challenges we currently confront demand our immediate attention, dedication, and action.
“In recent years, Nigeria has been grappling with a severe learning crisis that hinders our youth from achieving their fullest potential.
“A significant portion of our school-aged population, especially those in underserved communities, face barriers to access quality education.
“The factors contributing to this crisis are multifaceted and include inadequate infrastructure, teacher shortage, unequal
distribution of resources, outdated curricula, and socio-economic disparities,” he said.