Malala Yousafzai has called for a state of emergency for education to be declared in Nigeria.
On Monday, the 20-year-old Nobel Prize winner met with the acting president of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to discuss the importance of investing in children’s education in the region.
The human rights activist is visiting the West African country as part of her #GirlPowerTrip, where she plans to visit Africa, North America, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe in order to meet girls and learn about their fight to go to school.
According to UNICEF, more than 8 million primary school aged children are out of school in Nigeria. In north-east Nigeria alone, 2.9 million people are in need of education due to the ongoing humanitarian crisis. That’s a population almost the same size as Abuja. Around one in three girls of primary school age are out of school.
This is a massive emergency, the impact of which can only be measured in loss of potential. Of potential economic gains. Of potential health gains. Of potential innovators and world leaders.
An additional year of schooling for girls is estimated to result in almost a 12% increase in wages. This impact is not as visible or immediate as other emergencies, like a war or a flood. But no less urgent. This is what makes the emergency even more alarming: it’s quietly stealing the enormous potential of each and every one of us – of Nigeria.
ONE wholeheartedly supports this call and hope it will prompt a nationwide response commensurate with the size and scope of this crisis.
To start, the Nigerian government must take concrete steps to make education work for every girl, and every child, by breaking every barrier, monitoring every outcome, connecting every classroom and investing in every teacher. In practice, that means Nigeria must update its education sector plan to include the following reforms:
Monitor every outcome – The Nigerian Federal Ministry of Education (FME) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) should invest in collecting and publishing disaggregated education data from the state and local government on a regular basis. Good quality data is imperative if we are to address this crisis.
Break every barrier – The Minister of Education should lead a thorough multi-stakeholder investigation to assess the greatest barriers that keep girls out of school, and learning once they are in school – focusing on the poorest, most marginalised and those in conflict affected areas.
Invest in every teacher – Teachers must have the training, qualifications and support they need to ensure engaging content is accessible to all students.
Connect every classroom – Innovative technology should be adopted to address the scope of the educational challenges in Nigeria and provide additional opportunities for learning.
We #StandwithMalala and support her request to make education a state of emergency in Nigeria.