Save the Children International Nigeria has expressed concern that with the total or partial closure of schools in Zamfara, Katsina, Adamawa, Kaduna, Niger and other states due to kidnapping and abduction of school children, the number of children that would be prevented from accessing education in Nigeria could be on the increase.
The Country Director, Save the Children International Nigeria, Mercy Gichuhi in a press statement issued on Thursday to mark the second International Day to Protect Education from Attack, lamented that the persistent attack on schools, students and teachers in Nigeria.
In the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) report, between 2015-2019, there were 100 reported attacks on schools in Nigeria.
These attacks have been on the increase between 2020 and 2021, which led to the close down of many schools by the government due to fear of being attacked.
According to the reports from January to August, 2021, over 1000 children were abducted in Nigeria, with so many of them still in the hands of their abductors.
She said Save the Children research found that on average, children in low-income countries have lost 66% more of their lifetime schooldays during the pandemic compared with their peers in well-off countries.
Mercy further said many children in such times will have no choice but to discontinue their education and some will never return back to school – with their childhood dream fading away.”
“In Nigeria, the number of out-of-school children, according to UNICEF, was at 10.5million before the effects of the conflict, humanitarian crisis and COVID-19 pandemic were felt.
“With the total or partial closure of schools in Zamfara, Katsina, Adamawa, Kaduna, Niger and other States due to kidnapping and abduction of school children, the number of children that would be prevented from accessing education in Nigeria could be on the increase.
“We know that education is in the grip of an unprecedented crisis across West and Central Africa (WCA). For the first time in human history, an entire generation has had their education disrupted.
“But, before COVID 19, the education system was already in crisis across WCA, with the lowest school enrolment rates in the world at the primary level. In fact, in normal times, 1out of 5 of children aged 6-11 years are out of school in WCA,” she said .
Also, Save the Children Girl Champion in Borno State, Madina Abdulkadir, said closure of schools does not only affect our present but it also endangers our future. It is not appropriate that the first thing done in crisis is the closure of schools.
“We understand that the government wants to save our lives but shouldn’t there be a better option like providing the necessary security arrangements to protect the learning environment?”.
“Save the Children urges governments to put in place mechanisms that ensure the protection of schools and other learning environments,”.